To the authors / initiators / co-signers of the second open letter of June 9, 2021
We would like to thank the more than sixty co-signers for once again taking the initiative and for the work they have been putting into throwing light on the reality of anti-Black racism within the Swiss arts and culture scene. We as an institution are learning essential lessons from the expertise that went into the questions raised by the first letter. We would like to engage the initiators and other experts in productive conversations about their demands and hope to be in contact with them very soon in order to outline possible ways in which we can exchange ideas and work together in the future.
The first letter, which was addressed to us in June 2020, already prompted discussions and a process of reflection within the museum. We are currently engaged in a process of internal reorganization in which questions of accessibility, visibility, and cultural participation of marginalized perspectives and lived realities are a key concern. We are determined to continue to let these considerations guide our future work. Our conversations, observations, and reflections have led us to the realization that considerable groundwork on our part is needed before the next concrete steps to be taken, which will be part of a sustained learning process, can be formulated.
As an institution that plays an active and influential role in local and international contexts in an art world dominated by North Atlantic scenes, we recognize our complicity in structures that result in exclusion. We believe that this entails the responsibility to address social inequities and the disparate distribution of resources and rights to be heard, with a particular focus on our own involvement, and to frame proposals for solutions that are grounded in a critique of power. We would like to emphasize that concrete steps to be taken must be systematically integrated into the museum’s contents, practice, and structures in equal measure.
The conversations of the past several months have led us at the museum to adopt the following stances:
- We are prepared to uncover our own blind spots with respect to racism, sexism, classism, and ableism and to invest sustained energy into unlearning discriminatory patterns.
- We have begun to learn an anti-racist language and a precise anti-hegemonic and anti-discriminatory (written, oral, visual) vocabulary and to bring these to bear and institute them in all divisions of the museum.
- We strive to pursue an intersectional approach that recognizes different forms of discrimination and exclusions on the levels of both content and structures and is alert to their impact on the institution’s various fields of operation in order to counteract them in lasting fashion.
Initial ideas for how to put these considerations into practice will be discussed in the fall of 2021 and successively implemented. The museum will inform the public of these measures in a timely manner.
The team at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst