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The Idea of a Human Rights Museum. Karen Busby, Adam Muller, and Andrew Woolford, eds. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press

…here is a brief excerpt of the content,

Reviewed by

Jason Chalmers

The Idea of a Human Rights Museum is the first book-length collection that explores the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which opened in 2014. It situates the museum transnationally within the context of other ideas and human rights museums. Chapters explore museum content, debates within and surrounding the museum, and the potentials and problematics of human rights museums in general. The collection generally frames the museum as an important cultural institution in Canada, although several contributors are critical of the way it represents human rights and reproduces settler colonial narratives.

The editors structure the book in much the same way that a visitor might approach an artefact or artwork within a museum: first approaching from a distance to get a sense of general themes, inspecting particular details as one gets closer, and finally reflecting on content and situating it within larger contexts as one moves onward. The first set of chapters explores the purposes and functions that define the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. These include the museum’s role in creating space for public dialogue about difficult human rights issues as well as the dual (and potentially conflicting) functions of commemoration and education. The second section focuses on the way museum space is organized by considering architecture and conceptualization of the permanent exhibits. The third section considers curation within the museum by addressing some of the potential challenges and possibilities of representing what throughout the text is referred to as “difficult knowledge.” The final group of readings explores other museums from around the world to situate the Canadian Museum for Human Rights within the twenty-first-century global phenomenon of human rights museums. While these museums tend to be characterized by a commitment to the prevention of human rights violations, each is also shaped by the particular socio-political context in which it developed. [End Page 465]

A strength of the collection is that it historicizes the museum while maintaining a future-oriented approach. Christopher Powell argues that human rights did not descend upon humanity fully formed but, rather, were forged in the struggles of people in distinct socio-historical contexts.

Historical processes likewise shape the museum. Contributors view the museum as the unique manifestation of domestic pressures and global trends. It emerged from the interaction between Canada’s distinct political culture, the dynamics of settler colonialism, and the transnational push toward education and the commemoration of atrocities. However, while contributors frame the museum as a product of history, they simultaneously focus on future possibilities.

The purpose of “informed citizenship” is to cultivate a public that desires positive social change and has the tools necessary to conceptualize and realize this transformation.

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Centre for Social Innovation has office space.

click image to visit their site

click image to visit their site

Office Spaces Available at CSI Spadina and CSI Regent Park!

The Centre for Social Innovation has office spaces available for rent at CSI Spadina and CSI Regent Park right now!

Become a part of the CSI community and do your world changing work from an office at one of our beautiful Toronto buildings!

Email Kyle Shantz to inquire about availabilities.

CSI Spadina Spaces

Community Building…. a news series of on the blog highlighting community building. Today, The Centre for Social Innovation


A little bit of the international Big Society movement  has been created in Toronto.

All Italic text below  from The Centre 
for Social Innovation (CSI) 

For nearly five years we have been trying to explain what the Centre
for Social Innovation (CSI) does and what social innovation is. We
are officially giving up! Sure, we have created a dynamic shared
workspace for people with world-changing ideas. And yes, we are
home to some amazing incubated projects and an incredibly diverse
community of change-makers; the energy is infectious as social innovators come together under one roof. We are pushing new ideas,
new models, and new policies to reinvent the way things work. It is all
true! But this just doesn’t begin to get at it.

What we are really about is possibility. We are creating a vision of
how the world could be and we’re working every day to bring it into
reality. We are building new models, new initiatives and new ideas.
We are hybrids. We are inter-sections. We are solutions. We are the
inventors of new ideas that are resonating across sectors. We are
social entrepreneurs, artists, activists, idealists and pragmatists. We
are transforming the marketplace and finding ways to live in harmony
with each other and the planet. We are about creating the world that
we want, together.

What is social innovation? It’s about ideas that are changing the
world to make it better for all of us. It is about working together to
create the models and systems that will define our future. And for us,
that means prioritizing projects that are collaborative, entrepreneurial
and systems changing.
Here is just a taste of what we have been up to for the last five years.
We hope this inspires you to be a part of our shared journey