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Artist, Curator, Writer

Michael McMillan

  • CountryUnited Kingdom
  • Born1962


Michael McMillan (b.1962) is a British born writer, playwright, artist/curator and scholar of Vincentian parentage.

He guest curated the critically acclaimed The West Indian Front Room exhibition at the Geffrye Museum (2005-06), which was also iterated in Tate Britain’s Life Between Islands (2021-22) and is now a permanent 1970s period room at the Museum of the Home (formerly the Geffrye Museum). The acclaimed installation was a study of the role of the guest room in relation to migration, class, postcolonialism and his West Indian heritage. 

McMillan was also chief consultant on the popular BBC4 documentary Tales from the Front Room (2007). Author of The Front Room: Migrant Aesthetics in the Home (2009), he has written many books, plays and articles on arts and culture, and teaches at the University of the Arts London.

In his academic work, his research focus is on ‘the creative process, ethnography, oral histories, material culture and performativity’. He has an Arts Doctorate from Middlesex University (2010) and is currently an Associate Lecturer in Cultural & Historical Studies at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, and Research Associate with VIAD (Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre) at the University of Johannesburg.

He is also the author of several plays including Master Juba (2006) and a new translation of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Sezuan (Trenchtown) (2010 & 2012). 

In 2015, the landmark exhibition ‘No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960-1990’, co-curated by McMillan at the Guildhall Art Gallery, was the focus of the Iniva’s Research Network.  Curators Michael McMillan and Makeda Coaston and artist Errol Lloyd discussed the research behind the exhibition and the extraordinary contribution Eric and Jessica Huntley and the artists around them made to the cultural life of the country. In the same year, McMillan engaged in discussion with artist Shiraz Bayjoo at Iniva, following a screening of Bayjoo’s film, Ile de France. 

His other curatorial work includes: The Beauty Shop (198 Contemporary Arts & Learning 2008) The Front Room: Migrant Aesthetics in the Home (Black Dog Publishing 2009), The Waiting Room (Stories & Journeys, Gwynedd Museum & Art Gallery, Bangor 2012), I Miss My Mum’s Cooking (Who More Sci-Fi Than Us, KAdE  Kunsthal, Amersfoort 2012) My Hair: Black Hair Culture, Style & Politics (Origins of the Afro Comb, Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology 2013). He has an Arts Doctorate from Middlesex University (2010). 

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