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MW18 Presentation: Connecting The Dots: The Impact Of Diversity In The Museum Workforce On Innovation, Relevance, And Audience Engagement

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By Haitham Eid, Southern University at New Orleans, USA; Bettina Fisher, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, USA; Jennifer Himmelreich, Peabody Essex Museum, USA; Heather Hart, The Broad, USA

Beyond a few articles and some statistical studies, and despite its importance to museum work, it can be argued that the issue of workforce diversity in museums has been overlooked. This article aims to investigate how workforce diversity can impact the innovation capabilities of museums as well as their relevance to the communities they serve.

The lack of diversity in museums exceeds professional positions and extends to board members, constituents, and donors, who are usually described as overwhelmingly White, able-bodied, college-educated, and affluent. This research questions if some of the problems which museums face today, such as the lack of attendance, relevance and innovation are linked to the lack of diversity. Workplace diversity is a major factor in how the public perceives the institution, and accordingly chooses to interact, or not to interact, with it.

This research uses aspects of the Museum Innovation Model (Eid, 2016) around social innovation, and draws upon some empirical studies in the museology and business studies literature on workplace diversity. For example, the definition and impact of two-dimensional diversity—which takes into consideration inherent and acquired factors—is explored. Additionally, this paper reviews some of the common strategies inside and outside the museum sector to increase workforce diversity, including training and internship programs, as well as affirmative action policies and guidelines.

The paper concludes by acknowledging that museums with a diverse workforce are better positioned to innovate and engage more diverse communities. Workforce diversity ensures that there is a large pool of knowledge, skills, life experiences, perspectives, and expertise to help the institution face today’s challenges more effectively and efficiently.

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MW18 Presentation: Connecting The Dots: The Impact Of Diversity In The Museum Workforce On Innovation, Relevance, And Audience Engagement

  1. 1. Connecting the Dots: The Impact of Diversity in the Museum Workforce on Innovation, Relevance and Audience Engagement • Haitham Eid, Southern University at New Orleans, USA • Bettina Fisher, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, USA • Jennifer Himmelreich, Peabody Essex Museum , USA • Heather Hart, The Broad, USA
  2. 2. Connecting the Dots: The Impact of Diversity in the Museum Workforce on Innovation, Relevance and Audience Engagement Haitham Eid, PhD M.A. Museum Studies Program Southern University at New Orleans The Paper @HaithamEid
  3. 3. @HaithamEid the Demographics of Museum Workforce (Schonfeld et al., 2015)
  4. 4. “A diverse and inclusive workforce is necessary to drive innovation, foster creativity, and guide business strategies. Multiple voices lead to new ideas, new services, and new products, and encourage out-of-the box thinking” (Forbes Insights, 2011). @HaithamEid
  5. 5. @HaithamEid 85% agreed, or strongly agreed that “a diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial to encouraging different perspectives and ideas that drive innovation.”
  6. 6. Museum innovation is “the new or enhanced processes, products, or business models by which museums can effectively achieve their social and cultural mission” (Eid, 2016). @HaithamEid
  7. 7. The impact of workforce diversity on museum work (Eid, 2018)
  8. 8. Strategies for diversifying the museum workforce: - Training, internship and fellowship schemes - Affirmative action @HaithamEid
  9. 9. @HaithamEid workforce diversity in museums is not just a moral issue, it is essential to the effectiveness, sustainability, and survival of the museum as an organization. Museums that lack diverse voices risk the ability to thoughtfully collect and interpret the experiences and perspectives of diverse communities. Museums with diverse workforce are better positioned to innovate, engage diverse audiences, establish their relevance, and build stronger relationships with the community they aspire to serve. Workforce diversity ensures that there is a large pool of knowledge, skills, life experiences, perspectives, and expertise that can help museums face today’s challenges more effectively and efficiently.
  10. 10. Native American Fellowship Program
  11. 11. I am here to tell the truth about the human condition, more specifically, the indigenous experience of colonization. I will continue to push the conversation of breaking through “National Amnesia” while utilizing my personal worldview and thought process. -Dedric Lupe, White Mountain Apache/Tohona O’odham/Hopi
  12. 12. • Full-time, paid Summer and Long-term Fellowships • Travels to/from MA provided • Housing provided for Summer Fellows • Professional development funds • Academic Credit Available Benefits
  13. 13. …we have responsibilities that exceed simply assuring that collections are properly cared for and that we’re doing innovative exhibitions and publications. We feel a responsibility for helping steward and support the continuation and advancement of Native American and Native Hawaiian cultures. Dan Monroe, 2016
  14. 14. www.pem.org/naf
  15. 15. Connecting the Dots at The Broad Actionable steps For Change April 20, 2018
  16. 16. About The Broad 2million+ 200+Visitors served since opening in 2015 Employees AAM | May 8, 2018 | Page 21
  17. 17. The broad - average visitor age: 33 Art museum average visitor age: 47
  18. 18. 63% of visitors to The Broad identify their ethnicity as other than Caucasian National art museum average: 29%
  19. 19. Chart from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Art Museum Staff Survey, 2015 AAM | May 8, 2018 | Page 24
  20. 20. CAM | February 7, 2018 | Page 7
  21. 21. Diversity Apprenticeship Program (DAP) 1. Apprenticeships ▪ 16 paid, fulltime, preparator’s apprentices ▪ 1 month training, 8 months rotating ▪ 10 non-profit, commercial, and city government partner organizations 2. Toolbox to replicate the program ▪ Curriculum ▪ Training materials ▪ Guide for an inclusive and equitable workplace ▪ Evaluative framework ▪ Manual of best art handling practices AAM | May 8, 2018 | Page 27
  22. 22. Actions toward equity Specific steps any hiring manager can take
  23. 23. Actions toward equity Steps to improve your hiring process ▪ Audit your current practice. AAM | May 8, 2018 | Page 29
  24. 24. Actions toward equity Steps to improve your hiring process ▪ Audit and improve your current practice. ▪ Examine your own biases. AAM | May 8, 2018 | Page 30
  25. 25. Actions toward equity Steps to improve your hiring process ▪ Audit and improve your current practice. ▪ Examine your own biases. ▪ Make recruitment more inclusive and equitable. Outreach to community centers, colleges, and small galleries. AAM | May 8, 2018 | Page 31
  26. 26. Actions toward equity Steps to improve your hiring process ▪ Audit and improve your current practice. ▪ Examine your own biases. ▪ Make recruitment more inclusive. ▪ Use objective decision making methods. AAM | May 8, 2018 | Page 32 Variable preparator candidate scorecard Interviewer name:_____________________________Date_____________________ Candidate Name: ___________________________________ Rating Scale (unless otherwise defined):3 = Adequate response 5 = Superior response 2 = Marginal response 4 = Good response 1 = Inadequate response Process stage Score Comments 3. We strive to create an inclusive work environment where people from all backgrounds, with different learning styles, beliefs, and abilities feel welcomed and respected. How will you contribute to this kind of environment? Spatial Reasoning aptitude test: scores based on percent correct divided by 2 (5 is the highest score) 6 points Obstacle Course: score 1 - 5 based on results, worth 6 points 2D installation: see instructions, worth 8 points In Person Interview = 20 points: each interviewer rates separately Aptitude Tests = 20 points: each interviewer rates separately
  27. 27. AAM | May 8, 2018 | Page 33
  28. 28. Actions toward equity Steps to improve your hiring process ▪ Audit and improve your current practice. ▪ Examine your own biases. ▪ Make recruitment more inclusive. ▪ Use scoring rubrics. ▪ Interview with panels of people with differing perspectives. AAM | May 8, 2018 | Page 34
  29. 29. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% The Broad preparators Los Angeles TB preps 2015 (19) TB preps 2017 (24)
  30. 30. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Female Male No answer Non-binary White Black or African American Native American Asian Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander No answer Two+ Hispanic The Broad VS team Los Angeles TB VSAs 2015 (86)
  31. 31. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Female Male No answer Non-binary White Black or African American Native American Asian Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander No answer Two+ Hispanic The Broad Staff Los Angeles TB staff 2015 (144) TB staff 2018 (225)
  32. 32. You are not alone Reach out to colleagues inside and outside of your organization. AAM | May 8, 2018 | Page 38
  33. 33. Take away What you can do ▪ Evaluate your current hiring process and change it. ▪ Check your own biases. ▪ Start with what you have control over. AAM | May 8, 2018 | Page 39

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