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Black Atlantic, Fitzwilliam Museum

Exhibition Design

2023 - 2024

In late Spring 2023, West Port were commissioned by the Fitzwilliam Museum of the University of Cambridge to design two concurrent exhibitions opening in the Autumn of that year.

The first of those exhibitions to open was Black Atlantic: Power, People, Resistance, an exhibition that explores some new stories from history and the university and the museums links with the Atlantic slave trade. By bringing together collections (historic and contemporary) from across the University of Cambridge’s museums, libraries and colleges with loans from around the world, the exhibition asks new questions about Cambridge’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and looks at how objects and artworks have influenced history and perspectives. This exhibition was unique as it was the first time in the two century history of the museum that their main Founders Galleries (Grade 1 listed)  were to be used for a temporary exhibition space. 

The second exhibition, which opened a month later, was Real Families: Stories of Change. Bringing together more than 120 artworks spanning painting, photography, sculpture and film, the exhibition asks us to consider what makes a family today, and the impact our families have on us, through the eyes of contemporary artists. Developed in collaboration with the world-leading Centre for Family Research in Cambridge, the exhibition shows us that what matters most is not the make-up of the family but the quality of family relationships and the social world in which the family exists. This exhibition was housed in the modern galleries of the museum (the Adeane, 20th Century, Mellon and Octagon). 

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