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Working together with students as co-creators of exhibitions and content in the Museum can produce a rich source of creativity, critical thinking and ultimately an ‘other’ voice for the public to hear about issues facing them and wider society.
In today’s increasingly participatory Museum environment there is the need to be more inclusive of audience voices. In particular, is the importance of championing the student voice and the opportunities that exist for greater collaboration. Students need to feel that they have a voice in order to participate and engage in the complex world around them. Museums, through their exhibitions and programs have the opportunity to more effectively collaborate with students and education stakeholders and provide them with a platform to express their feelings and aspirations in a critical and creative way. The Powerhouse Museum has enjoyed a long history of student-based exhibition which have gone on to become permanent fixtures, such as the annual DesignTECH exhibition, showcasing the best of the state’s Major Design Projects. The Museum is working more extensively to provide the public with an ‘other’ voice not always heard in public forums, such as evidenced with the recent 2012 Koori Art Expressions exhibition, in which students from years K-12 have produced artworks in response to this year’s NAIDOC theme – The Tent Embassy.
The reason why this initiative is significant is that the education audience are key Museum stakeholders, which in many instances are an untapped resource of creativity and critical thinking which can be harnessed through working together more effectively. The motivation to further champion this student voice is recognising the transformative role of students as future agents of change, through fostering these critical and creative skills.
Many people say not to work with animals or children however this presenter disagrees altogether with the latter. This presentation will provide delegates with an insight into what has worked at the Museum in collaborating with students and education stakeholders to produce exhibitions and content as well as highlight some of the challenges which exist.