Heading home from Museums Association conference #Museums2016 in wonderful Glasgow. Many interesting provocations about whose voices are/ aren’t heard; the role of museums in creating or questioning identity assumptions; their contributions to health and wellbeing; and how to change the future (no less!). Amongst it all, some wonderful museums visited and the joy of simply being there, in front of the objects that it’s all about.
Highlights included (of course) catching up with some dear friends and old colleagues and clients, musing on the state of the profession in a vintage underground carriage in the delicious and witty Transport Museum with a bunch of young/ aspiring museums colleagues, and seeing fitness fanatics go in and out of the Kelvin Hall gym past displays of local artefacts from the Hungarian and Glasgow Museums collections.
Here are some snippets I noted from the conference sessions:
- “If it’s a short term project I’m not interested” – a real life reaction from community groups to approaches by museums. (Basharat Khan)
- Not BME or BAME or LGBGT etc – but ‘diverse communities’. More inclusive, more respectful. (Basharat Khan)
- Each person in a museum is an individual. Change happens because of individuals. If individuals in museums instigate small change, gradually the organisation could change.
- You need to demonstrate change and not talk about it.
- Find the 5-10 most interesting or innovative people or organisations in your area and invite them to lunch.
- Be a facilitating hub for change makers that already exist.
- There are more people in the Cabinet who went to State schools than people who are directors of our national museums and galleries.
- Traces should be left within museums permanently as a result of projects. So they can become part of the palimpsest – the organisational evolution. And for future diverse audiences to see.
- Make it big and bold not hidden away in a corner. Make it memorable – if want to have impact and change things.
- We are all leaders, at some scale. Positive culture has to start at the top. Lead by example