The last two decades have seen concerns for equality, diversity, social justice and human rights move from the margins of museum thinking and practice, to the core. The arguments – both moral and pragmatic – for engaging diverse audiences; creating the conditions for more equitable access to museum resources; and opening up opportunities to participate in (and benefit from) museum experiences, now enjoy considerable consensus (Silverman 2010; Marstine 2011). Their influence can be detected in the practices, programmes, policies and structures of museums and galleries throughout many parts of the world. Moreover, attempts to construct new narratives that reflect demographic, social and cultural diversity and represent a plurality of lived experiences, histories and identities – once the preserve of a few pioneering institutions – are increasingly widespread. These trends in democratic representation and display practice (and the controversies they have sometimes generated) have attracted considerable academic interest (Macdonald 1998; Anico and Peralta 2009; O’Neill 2011). Moreover, a growing number of museums, galleries and heritage organisations have become increasingly confident in articulating their purpose and value in social terms and claiming a role as agents of progressive social change (Sandell 2002, 2007). In particular, there is increasing professional and scholarly interest in the potential for museums to take up an explicitly activist moral standpoint on human rights issues – one that aims to actively shape the conversations that society has about difference – and to engage visitors in (frequently challenging) debates pertaining to social justice (Sandell 2007; Sandell et al. 2010).