A green jelly on a white plate. The jelly contains a plate of cookies, a flamingo and a marble bust. To the right is the text 'The Acquisitions Panel' in a bold red serif font.
Image credit: Guy J Sanders

The Acquisitions Panel

Reading, UK. The local museum is contacted by a woman who has found a musical instrument made out of a biscuit tin in a box of things that belonged to her great-grandfather. The biscuit tin is from the famous Huntley & Palmers factory in Reading - so perhaps the museum might want it? Her great-grandfather came into possession of it in 1905, in Congo. During an expedition during the reign of King Leopold II of Belgium.

The case is referred to a citizen acquisition panel, convened to help the museum make decisions. As part of this panel, you will hear from people with opinions on the object, you’ll discuss with your fellow panel members - and ultimately decide what should happen.

Placing you at the heart of the experience, The Acquisitions Panel is an interactive performance exploring how we choose the stories we tell about the past.

Content warning: this production contains descriptions of European colonial violence.

The Acquisitions Panel is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. It is commissioned by the Work in Progress project, a partnership between South Street and the Department of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading, funded by Arts Council England.



Alternate Realities Award Jury Special Mention, Sheffield DocFest 2022 “With twenty stunning works in the competition, it was very difficult to select just one. So we would like to start by giving a Special Mention to The Acquisitions Panel, by Fast Familiar, for facilitating a thought-provoking and dynamic exchange between strangers. The work challenges audiences to confront their own biases and hear from a range of nuanced viewpoints regarding contested heritage objects.” Irini Papadimitriou, judge - Alternate Realities award

Activist Museum Award, 2021


Cast and creative team

WRITER & RESEARCHER Rachel Briscoe | DIRECTOR Dan Barnard | COMPUTATIONAL ARTIST Joe McAlister | INTERVIEW FILMS Sheila Marshall | CAST Paul Brendan, John Gregor, Abla Kandalaft, Emma Pallant, Jamie Zubairi | FEATURED EXPERTS Debora Kayembe, Rachael Minott, David Nkusi, Léon Tsambu, Shirley Vinda, Sara Wajid, Frederick Yamusangie | WITH THANKS TO Ollie Douglas.

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