Sequoia Miller will deliver the Alumni Spotlight Lecture on Wednesday, March 18, at 6 pm. His talk is entitled “Blackface Harlequins and Other Challenges of New Museology.”

How does a small museum specializing in historical European ceramics face the challenges of contemporary socially-engaged museology? The Gardiner Museum in Toronto opened in 1984 featuring historical European ceramics collected by its founders, George and Helen Gardiner. Since then, Toronto has become one of the most diverse, dynamic, and cosmopolitan cities in the world. How do small museums anchored in elite European culture transform to engage more diverse audiences? How do colonial institutions build inclusive practices while staying true to their specific collections? This talk will consider the Gardiner Museum as a case study for these and other questions and challenges of contemporary museology.

Sequoia Miller is a curator, historian, and studio potter. He earned a BA in Russian & Art History from Brandeis University; an MA in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture from the Bard Graduate Center; and a PhD in the History of Art from Yale University. His Masters thesis at Bard Graduate Center considered studio pottery and youth counterculture in the 1970s, while his PhD dissertation studied the connections between ceramics and conceptual art practices during the same period. Miller’s curatorial projects include The Ceramic Presence in Modern Art at the Yale University Art Gallery and Ai Weiwei: Unbroken at the Gardiner Museum. He was a full-time studio potter for nearly fifteen years, and is currently the Chief Curator of the Gardiner Museum in Toronto.