Changing Museums: The Role of Funders and Decision-Makers

Since starting work in the museums sector in Germany, I have gained a new appreciation for the positive role funders and political decision-makers can and do make in the effort to change museums into meaningful social agents. They can be and regularly are valuable allies. So, although I share most museum professionals’ unease about the … Continue reading Changing Museums: The Role of Funders and Decision-Makers

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Good-bye Britain, Hello Germany, or: On the notion of ‘home’

I have left Britain and relocated to my native Germany. Most Brits nodded knowingly when I told them I was going back to Germany, telling me that ‘Of course, you want to go home’. And in many ways I have indeed ‘gone home’. But in nearly as many other ways, I have also lost my … Continue reading Good-bye Britain, Hello Germany, or: On the notion of ‘home’

‘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.

Interpreting Country Estates: Somewhere between heritage and aesthetic

I outed myself at work this week when I declared that I actually don’t want any interpretation at a lot of the National Trust-style country estates. We were talking about places that have no other story than one family’s wealth and privilege. The new-ish trend has been for a few years now to explore the … Continue reading Interpreting Country Estates: Somewhere between heritage and aesthetic

Heritage Managers: Addressing poverty, social justice, literacy, numeracy, citizenship…

In one of my jobs, emails from our security guards about incidents were a regular occurrence, usually involving large groups of youngsters trespassing and getting drunk. One day, I was feeling rather depressed about this and I told my friend, ‘I feel I need to be a social worker in this job, not a heritage … Continue reading Heritage Managers: Addressing poverty, social justice, literacy, numeracy, citizenship…

Social inclusion, integration: Too big a task for interpretation?

Two days ago, I was told by someone calling himself ‘an Englishman’ that I should ‘go back to my own country’.  This has left me deeply shaken on several levels, and it is also making me ask some uncomfortable questions about my own assertions and beliefs about the potential of interpretation [1]. Only a few … Continue reading Social inclusion, integration: Too big a task for interpretation?