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Royal Academy of Music To Decolonize Collection

The British conservatory will remove rare instruments and sculptures of composers who were involved in the slave trade

The conservatory's 200-year-old collection is currently under review, officials at the school have confirmed.

The Academy's portraits and sculptures of Baroque composer George Frideric Handel may be taken down, as it has been discovered that he repeatedly invested in the transatlantic slave trade. Rare violins and pianos made from colonial ivory and ebony may also be removed from the Academy's on-site museum.

The review will be thoroughly conducted by a group of donors and makers. The school emphasized that whilst portraits of Handel may be taken down, his works will not be removed from the syllabus as the school does not wish to "cancel historical figures and artifacts."

“The Academy has always trained its students for the evolving professional environments of being a musician," Classic FM reported after speaking with a spokesperson.

“It is vital that they understand the cultural, political and socio-economic forces that have shaped musical traditions, as well as the issues that are shaping it in the present, such as the pandemic and questions around equality, diversity, and inclusion. As part of this, we will be reviewing the collection through a decolonisation lens.”

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