Future of Museums: NextGen panel reflections
Almost 2 weeks ago, I was on a panel (with the incredible Naiomy Guerrero & Alice Power) where we had a timely discussion about the future of museums.
The POV was geared to hearing from ‘young professionals’ — which I sometimes forget is actually applicable to me! In this post, I’ve rounded up three main points that resonated with me most during this discussion:
With mass redundancies affecting the museum sector globally, it was interesting to hear what progression meant from the perspective of Naiomy and Alice. For me, progression in the sector has equated to moving jobs. With opportunities often requiring knowledge or skill in a niche area combined with short term contracts, to progress is quite a challenge. Especially, if you’re still figuring out your niche or what interests or inspires you.
2. Who are museums for?
Whilst this question was not explicitly posed to the panel, we all had something to say about engagement. For me, I referred back to the subject of my MA — Socially Engaged Practices — as a reminder of the different approaches museums could utilise to authentically engage with a range of stakeholders. Authenticity, intention and transparency are key to building relationships with people museums seek to engage with. Yet, terms such as ‘engagement’ have been co-opted at times to present a positive-sounding relationship with people or community groups. But I wonder how people or community groups have genuinely felt during and after such ‘engagements’ with museums?
3. Relevance of museums
This pandemic has raised so many questions about the purpose museums as lockdowns (within the UK) have understandably limited the number of visitors. For me, this has reminded me of our inter-dependency. People make museums relevant. So how will this reality at present be remembered (and acted upon) in future? Perhaps that’s a question for 2021…
Special thanks to:
- David Van der Leer for the invitation and hosting this thought-provoking conversation.
- Maria and the wider team involved from the American Institute for Architecture NY Cultural Facilities Committee.
- And my amazing sis & mates who continuously support me!