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Curator, Writer

Michael McMillan

  • CountryUnited Kingdom
  • Born1962


Michael McMillan is a writer, dramatist, artist/curator and scholar born in England to parents who were migrants from St Vincent and the Grenadines.  

As an artist, he is best known for his acclaimed installation The West Indian Front Room (2005), a study of the role of the guest room in relation to migration, class, postcolonialism and his West Indian heritage.  The work attracted over 35,000 visitors to the Geffrye Museum, London, and inspired the BBC documentary Tales from The Front Room (2007).  The project was expanded into book form where the interior decorations of Moroccan, Surinamese, Antillean and Indonesian migrant groups are positioned in relation to the process of decolonisation 

In his academic work, his research focus is on ‘the creative process, ethnography, oral histories, material culture and performativity’ and he is an Associate Lecturer in Cultural & Historical Studies as well as Associate Researcher RAS project at University of the Arts London. 

He is 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 curatorial work includes: The West Indian Front Room (Geffrye Museum 2005-06), 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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