Thoughts for a Lean Museum, Musings on Times of Crisis
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Thoughts for a Lean Museum, Musings on Times of Crisis

on

  • 323 views

This presentation has been prepared for CMA 2014, the Canadian Museums Association's yearly meeting taking place in Toronto from 7-11 April 2014. It focuses on inclusion of audience as co-curators and ...

This presentation has been prepared for CMA 2014, the Canadian Museums Association's yearly meeting taking place in Toronto from 7-11 April 2014. It focuses on inclusion of audience as co-curators and co-creators of added value to museums collections, on digital engagement (Jasper Visser & Jim Richardson) and "stepping down" from curators as opinion makers/leaders, to focus towards museums (and museum professionals) as enzymes of under-the-surface-lying creativity in the communities they wish to address, facilitators for new values and new visions to emerge. The presentation, quoting case studies from Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Italy (the Visual Arts Research and Documentation Centre at MACRO Contemporary Art Museum), was discussed on April 10, 2014 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel (Imperial Room).

Statistics

Views

Total Views
323
Views on SlideShare
310
Embed Views
13

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0

1 Embed 13

https://twitter.com 13

Accessibility

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Microsoft PowerPoint

Usage Rights

CC Attribution-ShareAlike LicenseCC Attribution-ShareAlike License

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Thoughts for a Lean Museum, Musings on Times of Crisis Thoughts for a Lean Museum, Musings on Times of Crisis Presentation Transcript

  • “Come gather 'round friends and I'll tell you A tale Of when the red iron pits ran plenty But the cardboard-filled windows and old men On the benches Tell you now that the whole town is empty...” Bob Dylan (Newport folk festival, 26 July 1963)
  • The Future of MuseumsThe Future of Museums 2014 CMA National Conference Toronto, 7-11 April 2014 * * * * * Thoughts for a Lean Museum Musings on Times of Crisis by Alessandro Califano Visual Arts Research & Documentation Centre Rome (IT) - @crdav_macro / @a_califano
  • ANAI (National Association of Italian Archives) recently explained: “...in 2016, archives will operate with only 50% of the staff they’d need to properly work.” [ Quoted @ Digital Youth of Central Asia Forum, Dushanbe (Tajikistan), 13 November 2011 ] ANAI had however been quite optimistic: already by the start of 2013, our institution was run with only 42% of the manpower available in 2011...
  • ...and the trend appears to be the same elsewhere, too... What could be an effective answer to this challenge? Many approaches are being tried...
  • Increasing sustainability (no waste!) Downsizing (and doing more with less) Optimizing existing resources Volunteering Identifying new stakeholders...
  • ICT – Information and Communication Technologies – help us in stepping further: We can search for new segments of potential audiences more effectively, reaching out for them in their own (virtual) environment. This has been called “fishing for our audience” (Ken Coates, Whitehorse – CMA 2013) Perhaps we could go even a little further...
  • ICT – Information and Communication Technologies – help us in stepping further: We can search for new segments of potential audiences more effectively, reaching out for them in their own (virtual) environment. This has been called “fishing for our audience” (Ken Coates, Whitehorse – CMA 2013) Perhaps we could even take another step forward...
  • In fact,as long as we consider “the world outside” as “our (potential, at least) audience”, we are implying that WE are those in charge of providing content and expertise to THEM. How about somewhat changing the rules of the game, instead, and shifting our perspective?
  • Opening Keynote Speaker Jasper Visser wrote (with Jim Richardson) about Digital Engagement in cultural heritage related institutions, that ought to become social institutions “where audience and employees systematically work together to co-create value”. This should however not be limited to the digital world and its tools and strategies alone...
  • In fact, though ICT – and FOSS! (Free and Open Source Software solutions) – can help us a lot in this, we shouldn't focus that much on tools to achieve our aims. Without a change in functions, roles and mental attitudes, our “new” aims will be pretty much similar to the old ones...
  • Participation, crowd-sourcing, maybe even fostering a decentralized approach to curatorship might be ways to put new life into museums activities. But what we should scrutinise most is the very system upon which our cultural institutions are based.
  • This doesn't mean we should imply that we as museum professionals, or curator-based museum practice as such “are to be discontinued”. It merely means getting familiar with the idea that curator-based museum practice is not the only, or universally valid, practice and system. Two examples might make this clearer...
  • Samarkand – at the Registan
  • Heritability – a family line
  • I could interview twice the young ladies in the previous picture (2006 and 2008). Both had entered their Cultural Heritage positions at a mausoleum in Samarkand following in the steps of their mother: First as sweepers, then as assistants, eventually as responsible of a location. The younger one (right) was eventually in charge of a historical mosque nearby, when I again came to visit.
  • Kabul – at Babur Gardens (on my right, in a green robe of honour, Gen. Director of the National Museums, Omara Khan Massoudi)
  • Traditional positions: the key-keeper (in the picture, a colleague from Jalalabad at the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul)
  • Though the General Director of the National Museums of Afghanistan, Omara Khan Massoudi, is proceeding towards a curator based organization in museums, traditional roles going back to the times of the Mughal Empire – like that of the key keeper for a museum safe, responsible with his (and his family's) own estate for the integrity of the goods he has in custody – are still commonly in use.
  • There is no need to do without the system we are best familiar with, of course. But maybe, getting acquainted with different realities can make our shift more easy from being at the centre of proposals addressed to the public, to being facilitators and catalysts for under-the- surface lying creativity. Our new role should thus be to become an enzyme for our community of reference...
  • To give you an idea of the initial steps the Visual Arts Research and Documentation Centre has been doing in Rome, two very recent case studies are presented in the next slides. One shows the strategic alliance with a new local stakeholder – a design bistro named “la Portineria” that opened further down the road where our Centre is located. The second focuses on the process of the exhibition “Architecture and Memory. How Real is Real” that opened at our Library on 27 March 2014.
  • Integrating with the Community: a design-bistro and our Library
  • “La Portineria” is a design-bistro, led by a food designer and an award winning young chef, that opened in Rome a couple of months ago near the MACRO Contemporary Art Museum. We established contact, agreed on setting up for them a micro library with contemporary art volumes from our stock, and obtained from them a free catering for the opening of our exhibition at the Library. This synergy (design in food and art) should, in our intentions, lead us to further common action – the presentation of a book at their location, maybe, or a round table about food design at ours.
  • Planning an exhibition: co-creating value in a 1:6 ratio (at zero costs) L – A preparatory meeting; R – With photographer Jaroslav Poncar at the Library
  • “Architecture and Memory: How Real Is Real?” is an exhibition of pictures and photographic books featuring three photographers (Oscar Savio, Sergio Pucci, Jaroslav Poncar) that has been set up with a less-than-minimal budget, curated by an external curator (Simona Corsetti), a long-time assistant to the Centre (Elisabetta Bianchi), and myself. It opened on 27 March 2014 and has been the first outcome of an externalised research project about the new photographic Pucci fonds acquired by our Photoarchive.
  • “LETTING GO” Previously known paths, routines, and answers, giving control to others in our work and in its outcome, May not be too easy. So, before proceeding to the conclusion of this session, let us do a little experiment. It is called...
  • “the Sound of Silence” ( this exercise consists in the audience being perfectly silent, just listening for 45” )
  • What did you hear? ( Discussion follows – thanks to Paul for keeping track of it! ) ...and the good new is: There's no such thing as a wrong answer! What we just did was co-curating an event (and one participant's mention of “seeing coloured forms” was a very welcome extension of options). By the way, this is an introductory exercise for a soundscape workshop... :-)
  • Thus, going back to what have been “les mots clés” for this year's meeting in Toronto: If is is our INTENTION to stay relevant for today's audience and for tomorrow's society, Then we will have to INNOVATE our role as museum professionals, stepping down from the privileges of an “opinion maker” position, And to INVENT new ways to share responsibilities as co-curators, and co-creators of added value for our collections.
  • In this way we might be able to avoid our story to end with the final verses of the song I introduced my session with: “My children will go As soon as they grow, Well there ain't nothing here now to hold them” Since in reaching out to our audience for help and co-creation we should rather always keep in mind the Poet's words...
  • “We few, we happy few, we bandband of brothers” Kenneth C. Branagh in “Henry V” (1989)
  • And “Brothers” may there be, aplenty! Thank you, merci ! Toronto, 10 April 2014