Dr Carol Ann Dixon is an education consultant and academic researcher with interests in African and Caribbean diaspora histories, cultural geography, museology, exhibition curation and contemporary visual arts. Throughout a successful career as an educator, spanning more than 20 years, she has designed and developed a number of heritage projects, exhibitions and event programmes for culture sector institutions and education charities in the UK, and has also published a variety of creative teaching and learning resources for use in schools, museums, art galleries and other formal and informal educational settings.
Carol’s PhD thesis, completed in 2016, examined the ‘othering’ of Africa and its diasporas in Western museum practices. Case study research and fieldwork undertaken in archives and exhibition spaces throughout France, Germany and the UK enabled her to complete in-depth visual analysis of objects and exhibits in collections of ethnography, as well as critique the aesthetics and cultural politics of artworks and assemblages displayed in museums of modern and contemporary fine art. She has published several essays, journal articles, exhibition reviews and commentary pieces addressing these themes and interests in a range of periodicals, including Race & Class, Museums Journal, Africa and Black Diaspora International Journal, Soundings (Journal of Politics and Culture), Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies, IRAAA (International Review of African American Art) and CAA.Reviews.
A selection of some of the key national and international research and creative learning initiatives Carol has been involved in over the past 10 years – as an arts and heritage education consultant, a postdoctoral scholar, an adviser on designing inclusive curricula, a commissioned writer and also as a scholar-activist – are summarised below:
- Decolonial Dialogues – an online forum that was launched via WordPress in April 2020 as a shared space for advancing ideas and exchanging information about decolonial research methodologies, inclusive curricula and creative teaching and learning approaches across all areas of the arts, humanities and social sciences. The site was co-designed and developed by Dr Carol Ann Dixon, education scholar Dr Riadh Ghemmour (University of Exeter & CSSD, UK), and law lecturer Dr Ahmed Raza Memon (Cardiff University), working in partnership with fellow co-editor Dr Maica Gugolati (Institut des mondes africains (IMAF), France), and a network of postdoctoral researchers, educators, activists and artists based in the UK, Algeria, France, Italy, Jamaica, Pakistan, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil and the USA. https://decolonialdialogue.wordpress.com/
- CARISCC (Caribbean In/Securities: Creativity and Negotiation in the Caribbean) – an international, interdisciplinary research project and academic network funded by the Leverhulme Trust, comprising members and affiliates based at universities in the UK, continental Europe, the USA, Canada and the Caribbean region. The three-year project was launched in 2016 and managed by the postcolonial geographies scholar Professor Patricia Noxolo (University of Birmingham, UK). As Principal Investigator, Professor Noxolo’s primary concern was investigating how issues of security and insecurity (‘in/security’) relate to each other, and how creative practice reveals these inter-relationships within the context of the Caribbean region and its diaspora. Carol Ann Dixon worked as the Network Facilitator for CARISCC from 2017 through to the end of 2018, whilst also co-curating several touring art exhibitions and contributing research papers on visual arts themes at conferences, symposia and networking events held in Birmingham, Leeds, London, Amsterdam and Kingston, Jamaica.
- Freedom to Believe – an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded creative teaching and learning initiative about the history of African-oriented belief systems and spiritual practices in the Caribbean region since the 18th century, proposed and led by the Caribbean history scholar Diana Paton (William Robertson Professor of History, University of Edinburgh) as the Principal Investigator. This innovative education project was developed throughout the academic year 2016/17 and featured the planning and delivery of a series of school-based history, geography and citizenship activities and a bespoke programme of Theatre-in-Education (TiE) performing arts workshops for young people aged 11-14 years, piloted (in partnership with Talawa Theatre Company) at secondary schools and academies in London, Leeds, County Durham and Newcastle. The full-text of the 84-page Education Pack researched and written by Carol Ann Dixon – titled, ‘Freedom to Believe: A Caribbean Social and Religious History Resource’ (University of Edinburgh/AHRC, 2017) – can be freely downloaded from the Teachers’ Resources section of the Freedom to Believe website: https://www.freedomtobelieve.info/education-pack/.
- Making Freedom: Riots, Rebellions and Revolutions (Emancipation 1838 Project) – an HLF-funded education and participation project, featuring a UK-based gallery exhibition (“Making Freedom: Riots, Rebellions and Revolutions,” presented at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), 6 November – 21 December 2013) and a panel-based touring exhibition displayed in libraries, town halls and other community venues throughout the UK and the Caribbean region (2013-2016). This initiative was developed by Windrush Foundation to commemorate 175 years since emancipation in the anglophone Caribbean. Carol Ann Dixon co-wrote the successful Heritage Lottery grant application for this project during her time working as a commissioned bid writer and Education Consultant. Additionally, Carol’s sole-authored 90-page Making Freedom Education Pack was written to accompany the static and touring exhibitions as a learning and teaching resource for use with young people in both formal and informal educational settings.
The Education Pack Guidance Notes can be freely downloaded from this web page (using the link below). PDFs of the illustrated information handouts, creative learning activities and evaluation materials can also be accessed by writing c/o Museum Geographies, using the contact/feedback form on this website. The following journal articles provide additional background details about the project’s featured pedagogic approaches and curriculum outputs:
- Dixon, C. A. (2014) ‘Spotlight on… Making Freedom: Riots, Rebellions and Revolutions,’ Geography, Vol. 99 (3), pp. 153-156.
- Dixon, C. A. (2014) ‘Making Freedom: Riots, Rebellions and Revolutions.’ A Review of the touring exhibition, Museums Journal, Issue 114/07, pp. 52-53.