About 18 months ago, I wondered whether #MeTwo was going to be German museums’ Ferguson moment. It wasn’t. There was no initiative similar to #museumsrespondtoferguson, no MASS action project, no discussions at any of the museum conferences I have attended since. Just over a week ago, nine Germans with what we in the German … Continue reading German Museums after Hanau
Aesthetic Value is not an Excuse, Or: Why (Art) Museums Need Democracy
A couple of weeks ago, DIE ZEIT published an article on democracy in art museums. The article accepts that a museum is ‘a political space’  and that there is validity in arguments calling for greater democracy and diversity therein . However, the article asserts, these developments ‘almost inevitably endanger the freedom of art’  … Continue reading Aesthetic Value is not an Excuse, Or: Why (Art) Museums Need Democracy
The Promised Land, Or: (Re-)Considering Museums Practice for Refugees and Migrants
I am fortunate to be part of a cross-sectoral knowledge exchange project at the moment which looks at practices for working with new arrivals and minority populations . We are five partners in total: two theatre companies (one from Britain, one from Italy), a business consultancy based in France, a university in Turkey and the … Continue reading The Promised Land, Or: (Re-)Considering Museums Practice for Refugees and Migrants
Silence is not neutral, and objectivity does not exist
Last month, I presented  a paper at the Re-Imagining Challenging History conference in Cardiff, Wales. It combined and developed two of the key things I’ve written about a lot on this blog recently: that museums’ silence is never neutral, and that objectivity, as an expression of ‘truth’ (including a ‘material’ truth), does not exist. … Continue reading Silence is not neutral, and objectivity does not exist
British Museums and the EU Referendum
I have tried for a week now to pen a dispassionate response to the British Museums Association’s (MA) article in this month’s Museums Journal relating to Britain's EU Referendum . I can’t. However, I still think that my experiences and views, and my bitterness, can offer something of value not only to British colleagues, but … Continue reading British Museums and the EU Referendum
Integration goes both ways: Current practice in Germany
I am really intrigued by how German cultural institutions, including museums, appear to be contributing to the efforts of integrating refugees into German civic society. This announcement of an upcoming exhibition about 14 projects in Berlin notes what seems to be a conscious shift away from narrowly focusing on refugees’ stories toward integrative projects that … Continue reading Integration goes both ways: Current practice in Germany
‘I’m so glad to see you here’: Why inclusion must be more than a policy.
Last week’s #museumsrespondtoferguson discussion was on inclusion policies and their implementation in recruitment practice (you can read the Storify story here). At one point, one of the hosts of the chat, Adrianne Russell, shared, ‘I can’t count how many times black visitors told me “I’m so glad to see you here”’, which just floored me. … Continue reading ‘I’m so glad to see you here’: Why inclusion must be more than a policy.
The German MA’s Recommendations for Representing Migration
A couple of weeks ago, the German Museums Association (Deutscher Museumsbund) published recommendations for museums on how to include and represent migration and cultural diversity in their work. I was really impressed by two key concepts that frame the entire document: Migration is the Norm This is a fact that is evident when we burst … Continue reading The German MA’s Recommendations for Representing Migration
Have museums already become irrelevant?
In her latest blog post ‘Following up on Ferguson’, Gretchen Jennings mentions that several museum people told her that they had been specifically forbidden from answering visitor questions or commenting on social media about Ferguson . Having worked in local authority museums in the UK and knowing from my work here as a consultant the … Continue reading Have museums already become irrelevant?
“This time it was Ferguson, Missouri.” Or: What is the purpose of museums
Melanie Adams, Managing Director of Community Education and Events at the Missouri History Museum, ended her excellent guest post on the equally excellent Museum Commons blog yesterday with what I felt was not just a question, but a much-needed challenge for museums. She wrote: “This time it was Ferguson, Missouri. Next time it could be … Continue reading “This time it was Ferguson, Missouri.” Or: What is the purpose of museums