Alice Butler is a writer based in London, and a PhD researcher in Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Manchester. Her work has been published widely in the art press, including Cabinet, Art Monthly, gorse and Frieze. In 2012, she was the winner of the Frieze Writer’s Prize. Butler has written catalogue essays for artists such as Joanna Rajkowska, Lucy Clout, Marianna Simnett, and Kate Lyddon. In 2015, Butler was Jerwood Visual Arts Writer in Residence, and in 2016 she produced a series of miniature chapbooks for the 2016 Whitstable Biennale.
Working transparently, museums must now move beyond mere representations of evidence to demonstrate explicitly how knowledge is developed, shared, or revisited. Making evident the gaps or omissions in our knowledge, identifying marginal or absent voices, helps audiences to explore with confidence and promotes engagement through nuance, perspective, and diversity. Authoritativeness has not enhanced cultural institutions, but authenticity has. Leveraging – and sharing – authenticity, museums must speak from multiple points of view, encouraging stakeholder and audience participation, even while bolstering scholarship. In assisting audiences to better understand how the past informs the present, how patterns and similarities can be observed in the seeming diversity and idiosyncrasies of history, museums can transcend institutionalism or parochialism to demystify a shared humanity in a singular world.