Category Archives: English

The Mendoza Review of museums in England

Have a look at the “The Mendoza Review: an independent review of museums in England”. This Review of the museums sector is the first to be conducted in more than 10 years. Whilst it focuses primarily on the 1,312 Arts Council England (ACE)-Accredited museums, it does consider the wider context of the sector, which encompasses approximately 2,600 museums in England. In total, this covers a vast array of museums that vary in governance, size, the nature of their collections, and their particular place in the cultural environment of our country.

It has been conducted to gain a deeper understanding of the sector, the issues it faces, and how it can be best supported by government. In particular it looks at the increase and diversification of audiences; the role museums play in developing local communities and placemaking; how museums support soft power; and, crucially, how government might help to create a resilient sector. For the first time, this Review also shows the full amount of public funding received by the sector. Over the last 10 years, we have determined that an average of £844m per year has been invested from 11 government sources, comprising multiple funding streams. Including tax measures, this funding has remained fairly flat between 2007/08 and 2016/17, although reduced in real terms.

The review identifies nine priorities for museums today, and sets out how DCMS and its Arm’s Length Bodies will work better together to create and fund an environment in which they can flourish. It also sets out what individual museums and institutions can do – either by themselves or in partnership with others – to thrive and drive improvement for the sector overall. In this report, we aim to focus on these nine areas through each of the recommendations we make. Those recommendations will be taken forward in an Action Plan produced by ACE, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), national museums and DCMS. Adapting to today’s funding environment is the most important challenge facing museums today. Over the last 10 years, although nominally maintained, funding overall has reduced by 13% in real terms, with some museums seeing larger cuts; there have also been a small number of closures over the period. Local authorities (LAs) have been particularly affected and, in response, there is an increasing move to trusts and other new governance structures. Many museums have successfully changed business models; how they programme for audiences to generate income and provide value for money; and other elements of their service.

Broadly speaking, though, museums do need to increase and diversify their income further. This will enable them to build sustainable and resilient models. At the same time, the use of existing public funding needs to be smarter to help support these objectives. Public funding is ultimately finite. Organisations like ACE and HLF, which are the key sector funders, should streamline their funding to make it easier for museums to access the support they need and to ensure that museums that would benefit the most, in the long term, have ready access.Growing and diversifying audiences reflects the important purpose of museums in engaging people and communities. Over half of the adult population now visits museums – up from around two in five a decade ago – a significant achievement. But those audiences are still less likely to be representative of the very young or very old, ethnic minorities, disabled, or lower socio-economic backgrounds. There is no complacency in the sector – museums are increasingly reaching out to their communities to provide exhibitions that welcome people. These include, for example, building more sophisticated partnerships to co-produce exhibitions; using new technology to collect and analyse visitor data; and gathering other evidence to understand how best to serve their visitors. I

n many ways, national museums have spearheaded these approaches, and provided support to museums outside London to improve access all over the country. This work needs to continue and develop as further best-practice techniques are established and economies of scale established. Dynamic collections curation and management are the fundamental point of museums – to protect and take care of the collections they hold, and to make them accessible to the public, not just physically, but meaningfully as well. This is not without its challenges: buildings maintenance backlogs (including insufficient storage) are a common issue, as is less available curatorial time and expertise, and the ongoing need for a sensible approach to both growing and rationalising collections. There are good examples of where sharing skills and infrastructure can help to overcome these issues; this is a particular area where a strategic framework for how the national museums’ work with the rest of the sector will benefit museums across the country. Contributing to placemaking and local priorities helps museums play a part in their communities and in local decision-making, as well as leveraging investment in culture to also deliver on priorities such as health and wellbeing.

There is increasing evidence to show that cultural institutions contribute a great deal to the local economy, to the wellbeing and education of its residents, and to attracting tourists and businesses to the area. Museums are especially able to do this because of their position as a civic space and their collections, which connect people to place. To encourage this work it is important that museums have and use consistent, statistically robust methods to measure economic and social impact. Delivering cultural education has benefits for schoolchildren as well as helping to make the adult museum audiences of the future. Museums can and do support pedagogy, enhancing the theory and practice of formal learning and the curriculum, as well as engaging children with development – particularly around their social history and place in the world. Developing leaders with appropriate skills and diversifying the workforce are long-standing concerns of the museums sector; they must be tackled successfully if museums are to adapt to reduced public funding and encourage more diverse audiences.

The skills needed for a museums career are changing, with greater emphasis now on flexibility and collaboration, business and digital, commercial, marketing and fundraising. Volunteers are still of crucial importance in keeping museums running, although routes to entry into the sector need to expand to offer greater opportunities to a wider range of people, particularly reflecting the make-up of the local communities they serve. Digital capacity and innovation is an area where museums have been slower than other arts and cultural sectors to develop. Beginning with senior leadership, but encompassing upskilling people in numerous roles, there is a need for greater understanding of the wide potential of digital in museums. Examples include display and interpretation, collections, communications, data – and the need for a strategic approach to embedding tools and technologies into every aspect of museums’ work. Working internationally is of particular importance as the UK prepares to leave the European Union. EU Exit brings challenges around staff resources, loans/movement of objects and tours, as well as funding. It also offers opportunities to refresh and develop further international partnerships, look and work globally, and involve smaller museums that may not have had the confidence or encouragement to find their place in the world.

Full Report for download from the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

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Fact sheet on equality and accessibility in Finnish cultural policy

Cupore, a Center for Cultural Policy Research, maintained by the Foundation for Cultural Policy Research, has published a fact sheet on equality and accessibility in Finnish cultural policy.
The fact sheet offers suggestions on how to improve equality and accessibility in Finnish cultural policy as well as a brief summary of the key policy documents and terminology of the subject.
The fact sheet is also available both in Finnish and Swedish and can be downloaded from Cupore website.
Emmi Lahtinen, Olli Jakonen & Sakarias Sokka. 2017. Equality and Accessibility in Finnish Cultural Policy. Fact sheet. Center for Cultural Policy Research Cupore. Translation: Susan Heiskanen & Cupore team.
Fact sheet on equality and accessibility in Finnish cultural policy here.
More information:
Communications officer Anu Oinaala, anu.oinaala@cupore.fi

ARCHES Project

ARCHES is a European project involving people with differences and difficulties associated with perception, memory, cognition and communication. Funded by the H2020 program, it aims to improve access to Museums and other Cultural Heritage Sites. ARCHES stands for Accessible Resources for Cultural Heritage EcoSystems. The Consoritum consists of museums, technology companies, universities and experts in making culture more accessible to everybody. Together, these partners will develop online resources, software applications and multisensory technologies.

The Open University and Bath University are leading the research for ARCHES. In the first year the participatory research groups will be exploring the museum and coming up with ideas for new technologies and activities. Each week there will be different activities within the museum. Together with the participants, the researchers will find the best ways to identify, capture and record their experiences and views. They will use cameras, sound recorders, video cameras, interviews, questionnaires, note taking, drawings, smart phones, tablets and different types of software.

In the second year the technological partners will be testing and redeveloping those technologies. In the third year, the consortium will be checking the new technologies are ready to use for other museums.

More details at the ARCHES Website, Facebook and Twitter.

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ARCHES has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 693229.

 

Stats on Museum Internships by Jim Richardson

Repost from https://www.museumnext.com/2017/07/stats-on-museum-internships/

Eye Opening Stats on Museum Internships

Internships offer a valuable way for young people interested in working in museums to learn more about the opportunities that the sector offers them. In a sought-after profession it seems almost expected that even the most junior applicant will have some experience and internships help to provide this.

We asked the MuseumNext community for their experiences of internships and found that 59% of the museum professionals questioned had done internships before starting work. These individuals felt that being interns had helped their careers, with 39% describing it as very useful.

The time spent as interns varied widely, but 25% of those who had undertaken an internships in a museum had done so for over 12 months, with just 4% spending doing so for less than a month.

A staggering 48% of these people received no pay for their work as interns, with only 8% receiving a living wage.

Having looked at their experience as interns, we now asked them about current practice in the museums they worked in.

88% of those responding to our survey said that their museum offered internships. The renumeration for these internships mirrors the experience of those currently working in museums with 53% receiving no pay for their work.

We also dug further, asking museum professionals for their views on internships.

‘They should always be paid! Unpaid internships perpetuate a lack of diversity in the field because only some folks can afford to work for free’.

‘Worth it for the experience, but tend to only be available to those with money behind them’

‘I got my job from my internship’

‘They’re unfair but necessary in the sector. They favour wealthy people whose parents can afford to help them financially’

‘No pay was an issue for me. Although individual staff made me feel welcome and valued, the lack of financial support was financially challenging. For many the lack of pay would have acted as a barrier into gaining experience into the sector.’

‘They are far from ideal, but an unfortunate reality of our current system’

‘Our current approach is to offer flexibility to allow interns to take on paid work around the internship, and to limit the length of internships to a few weeks. We also ensure there is a learning and development plan for each intern, so that the internship is tailored to their training needs,  and provide training and mentoring as required. We are seeking funding to allow us to provide a living wage in future.’

‘I completed several internships throughout my education. Every one of them useful to my career only because of the great leadership that guided and mentored me. They made my time at those institutions well worth it, fun, and educational. I can’t stress enough how important internships are to young aspiring museum professionals.’

‘Our interns receive minimum wage, which is set in the United States at $7.25/hour unless a state chooses to pay more, which mine does not. Additionally of all our interns are full-time students at the university where I work, so the liveable wage is tough to answer since the internship pay is not presumably their only means of financial support.’

‘Our industry needs to drastically change it’s reliance on unpaid labor. We need to value our interns appropriately.’

Many comments echo’d the points in our recent piece on the cost of internships to the museum sector. Internships do provide an excellent opportunity for those who can afford them, but this restricts who works in museums.

My fear is that by showing how widespread the practice of interns working for long periods without pay is, this may provide an excuse for others to do the same. But if we want museums to have a positive impact on society, we need to consider how internships can be reformed to be more inclusive and less exploitative.

I think that there is that desire, but how do move towards towards fair paid for interns when funding is limited?

– A note on our research. 420 museum professionals took part in this survey on July 10th 2017, with the majority of these being in Europe and the United States. Participants were recruited from our MuseumNext mailing list and posts on Twitter and Facebook.

About the Author

Jim Richardson is the founder of MuseumNext. He has worked with museums for over 20 years, with 16 years of that leading a creative / digital agency working in the museum space. Jim now splits his time between running MuseumNext and consulting on tech and innovation in the cultural space.

Art Museum Hires Neuroscientist. Repost

This Art Museum Hired a Neuroscientist to Change the Way We Look at Art

  • Anila Quayyum Agha, All the Flowers Are for Me, 2017. Courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum.

From the late 16th to the early 20th century, the salon-style hang was the predominant display convention across Europe. But hanging paintings like this—crammed cheek to jowl in a gallery space—has since fallen out of favor, in part because it tends to prevent viewers from concentrating on a single work.

But why, exactly? The reason may have something to do with the circuitry of the human brain—which is why at least one museum is branching out and recruiting a neuroscientist to join its team.  “On a behavioral level, it can be distracting to walk into a room and have tons of things to look at,” said Dr. Tedi Asher, who earlier this year joined the Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem, Massachusetts, for a one-year appointment as Neuroscience Researcher. “At the level of neurological activation, each painting will be presented less strongly.”

I met with Asher at her office, where the walls are decorated with brain-themed cartoons and diagrams, including a jumbo-sized image of Purkinje cells in a mouse cerebellum. To corroborate her claim, Asher invoked the theory of sensory suppression, which holds that a barrage of sensory stimuli—such as the salon-style hang—deadens the optical-neurological apparatus of the viewer.

She illustrated the point by pointing to her smartphone and a plastic pen. “If you have multiple objects in the same view, you’re going to have some neurons that respond to the phone and other neurons that respond to the pen,” she said. “It’s been shown that the neurons that respond to one are going to actively suppress the neurons that respond to the other. The representation of the objects in the brain seems to be weakened by having multiple objects.”

The appointment of Asher is part of a broader campaign by Dan Monroe, the museum’s Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Director and CEO, to deploy neuroscience in the service of exhibition design.

Under his leadership, this mid-sized museum north of Boston, which is best known for its extensive holdings in Asian and maritime art, has already gained national attention for convention-busting exhibitions. At the entrance to “Asia in Amsterdam: The Culture of Luxury in the Golden Age,” visitors were greeted by cylinders of spices—cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns—that promoted more lasting memories by engaging multiple senses. For “Rodin: Transforming Sculpture,” a troupe of live dancers confounded viewer’s expectations of the white cube.

Hiring Asher in May was the next step in pushing forward the Peabody’s mission. Over the next year, she’ll meet regularly with an advisory panel of neuroscientists, and will ultimately produce a publication that crystallizes her findings.

“Anecdotally, we’re all familiar with the idea that a satisfying experience has this delicate balance of meeting and violating our expectations,” Asher said. “In the context of exhibition design, how can we surprise people in a way that won’t be jarring but will help viewers make sense of what they have seen? Something that is unexpected takes longer to detect—but it also makes a more lasting imprint.” At the Peabody Essex, Asher will apply the principles of neuroaesthetics—the synthesis of neuroscience and aesthetics—to a reinstallation of the museum’s permanent collection that will unfold over the next five years. Since arriving at the museum, she has been an advocate for the gallery-goer’s brain, making the case for display conventions that sidestep outmoded curatorial strategies (overloaded walls, indigestible wall text).

How the White Cube Came to Dominate the Art World

One idea that she is developing are rest areas, or “palate cleansers,” that will allow visitors a respite from sensory stimulation, much like the intermission in a play.

The implicit aim of the museum’s neuroscience initiative, made possible by a $130,000 grant from the Boston-based Barr Foundation, is to boost the institution’s relevance at a time of declining attendance across the museum landscape. A 2015 study by the National Endowment for the Arts presented a startling number: Only 21 percent of adults in the United States visited a museum or gallery in 2012, a drop of 5.5 percent from 2002. While the Peabody Essex Museum has defied this trend—over the same period, attendance at the museum has risen steadily—it is nonetheless attuned to the plight of the museum sector as a whole.

“The loss of attendance leaves one to ask, ‘What are the dynamics that are causing this?’” said Monroe. “The strategies and practices that we, as a field, continue to employ are not very effective and, in my view, never will be—they do not recognize the way that people’s brains works.

“That said, we have to all recognize that neuroscience is in its infancy. Nobody understands, for example, how consciousness is created or even what it is.…Ultimately, the deciding factor will be whether or not we’re able to demonstrate that, by better understanding some key elements of the way our brains work, we can create experiences that more people find meaningful and impactful.”

  • Bosoma Dance Company perform in “Rodin: Transforming Sculpture’ at the Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by Swong95765, via Flickr.

  • Bosoma Dance Company perform in “Rodin: Transforming Sculpture’ at the Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by Swong95765, via Flickr.

Asher arrived at the Peabody Essex Museum almost by happenstance, dashing off a cover letter to the museum when an advertisement for the position was circulated on an internal listserv. Raised in Washington, D.C., she remembers “falling over” after seeing Claude Monet’s haystacks at the Art Institute of Chicago but ultimately dedicated herself to the sciences, receiving a bachelor’s degree in biology from Swarthmore College and later a Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School’s Biological and Biomedical Sciences program, where she investigated the linkage between aggression in male mice and serotonin-producing neurons. Her role at the Peabody Essex Museum is that of a benign disruptor, evaluating the format of forthcoming exhibitions in the context of neural pathways. “People seem to appreciate that I’m a little bit of an outsider,” she said.

Having a scientist on staff might be a new development, but the machinery of vision—and the relationship between sensation and perception—has vexed art lovers for millennia. In Art and Illusion (1960), Ernst Gombrich tells of a Pythagorean sage who, upon considering the case of a cloud that resembles a centaur or stag antelope, surmised that perception is a creative act on the part of the beholder. Or, as Gombrich put it: “What we read into these accidental shapes depends on our capacity to recognize in them things or images we find stored in our minds.” Thus, an image is not an index of the material world but a function of the brain.

“The beholder’s share, as it’s known, is a classic problem in art history,” Eric Kandel told me. He’s a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist at Columbia University and author of Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures (2016). “What’s going on in the beholder’s head when he looks at a work of art? This is an ongoing area of research. It’s still in its early stages but potentially quite interesting and, I think, quite important.”

In recent years, Kandel has emerged as an evangelist for interdisciplinary inquiry, taking it upon himself to mend the schism between art and science “by focusing on a common point at which the two cultures can meet and influence each other,” as he writes at the beginning of his book. Nevertheless, some art historians are skeptical of neuroaesthetics, which may at times slip into “a spurious reduction of art to the science of the brain,” as Jonathan Gilmore, currently an Assistant Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and Baruch College, wrote in 2006.

  • Portrait of Tedi Asher. Courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum.

  • Anila Quayyum Agha, All the Flowers Are for Me, 2017. Courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum.

“Some art historians are enthusiastic [about neuroaesthetics], and others think it’s ridiculous,” said Kandel. “They say, ‘What does it have to offer? It demeans art to think that it has a biological explanation.’ But they should not worry: Neuroscience is not going to replace an art-historical approach to art; it’s going to supplement and enrich it.

“This is a very interesting experiment on the part of [the Peabody Essex Museum],” Kandel continued. “One of the things that strikes me with many current exhibitions is that they’re too damn large! It’s absolutely exhausting to go through them.”

For her part, Asher is sensitive to the fact that her appointment is a landmark event—but she’s also eager to focus on the business at hand. The challenge before her is to apply lessons from carefully designed experiments in a laboratory setting to the business of running an art museum with more than 300 personnel and an operating budget of $30 million. “The way [my colleagues here] talk about things feels much less structured than in the science world, where it is much more about connecting the dots,” she said. “I feel like there is more fluidity to how things are approached in a museum.”

After our interview, we entered the museum to see Anila Quayyum Agha’s All the Flowers Are for Me, an immersive installation in which the white cube has been converted into a light chamber, with a foliate pattern projected on the floor, walls, and ceiling. Encased in a lemon-colored aureole, Asher expounded on the neurological processes at work in our experience of the installation—and the sensation of being caressed by light.

“Your experience of this installation depends on what it reminds you of,” she said. “When you recall a memory, the regions of your cortex that process different senses become activated. So, if you’re looking at an image of a fur coat, you might feel as though you can touch the fur, and that’s because that part of your brain that would process the tactile experience is becoming activated by the memory.”

“But, of course,” she added, “it’s all in your mind.”

—Christopher Snow Hopkins

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-art-museum-hired-neuroscientist-change-way-art

Museum Accesibility Resources, repost from The Incluseum

The Incluseum is a project based in Seattle, Washington that advances new ways of being a museum through critical discourse, community building and collaborative practice related to inclusion in museums. The Incluseum is facilitated and coordinated by Aletheia Wittman and Rose Paquet Kinsley.

 

ONLINE:

Autism in the Museum This website offers examples and resources to museums and other informal educational setting interested in engaging with children on the autism spectrum. This site was launched by Lisa Jo Rudy, a museum writer, consultant, and mother of a teen with an autism spectrum diagnosis. She’s been involved with researching, writing, training, and consulting on autism and inclusion since 2006.

Center for the Future of Museums. (2008). Museums & Society 2034: Trends and Potential Futures. (Chapters of particular interest: The Changing Face of America).

Center for the Future of Museums. (2010). Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums.

Center for the Future of Museums. (2012). Trends Watch 2012: Museums and the Pulse of the Future. (Chapters of particular interest: Takin’ it to the Streets and Creative Aging.)

Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium has compiled a list of cultural accessibility and inclusion resources for everything from exhibition design to presentations.

Dodd, J., & Sandell, R. (2001). Including Museums: Perspectives on Museums, Galleries and Social Inclusion. Research Center for Museums and Galleries: University of Leicester.

The Empathetic Museum. This blog is a collaborative effort that explores what a culture of empathy looks like in museums.

From the Margins to the Core?  An international conference that explored the shifting roles and increasing significance of diversity and equality in contemporary museum and heritage policy and practice. Conference videos, reflections, and papers.

Group for Large Local Authority Museums. (2000). Museums and Social Inclusion: GLLAM Report. Research Center for Museums and Galleries: University of Leicester.

Jackson, M. R. and Herranz, J. (2003, November 1). Art and Culture in Communities: Unpacking Participation.

The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience: “…sites, individuals, and initiatives activating the power of places of memory to engage the public in connecting past and present in order to envision and shape a more just and humane future.” Organizations can join as members and gain access to resources, training and capacity building strategies provided by the Coalition.

Lopez, M. and Candiano, J. Room to Grow: A Guide to Arts Programming in Community Spaces for Families Affected by Autism. (2012).

Matarasso, F. (1997). Use or Ornement?: The Social Impact of Participation in the Arts. Comedia.

Multimodal Approaches to Learning Conference: Podcasts. A selection of presentations at the Multimodal Approaches to Learning Conferences, co-sponsored by Art Education for the Blind and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and held at the Met.

Museums & Race 2016 Reading List. Compiled by Planning Team Leaders and Facilitators of the Museum & Race 2016 Convening in Chicago.

Museums and Society. This is a free, peer-reviewed, online journal published by the University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies. Some issues have interesting articles that touch on themes of social inclusion and representation.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). When the Going Gets Tough Report: Barriers and Motivations Affecting Arts Attendance.  (2015)

trivedi, nikhil. “Pronoun Stickers at MCN 2016.” Museum Computers Network Blog, (2016).

The Pop-Up Museum is a project directed by the Museum of  Art and History of Santa Cruz. The site hosts a great how-to, organizer’s kit and many examples of past pop-ups. You can even submit information regarding your own pop-up museum!

Reach & Associates. (2010). Who’s Coming to Your Museum? 

Resources for the Museum Industry to Discuss the Issue of Unpaid Internships. (2015). American Alliance of Museums.

Sandell, R. (2003). Social Inclusion, the Museum and the Dynamics of Sectoral Change. Museum and Society, 1 (1), 45–62. 

Sidford, H. (2010). Fusing Arts, Culture and Social Change: High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy.  National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. (A recent analysis of this report here.)

Social Justice Alliance of Museum aims to build an international platform to promote best practices related to social justice and democracy in museums. The site hosts many inspiring case studies.

Southern Poverty Law Center’s, “Who’s Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy” Report. (2016).

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. (2006). Community-Based Exhibition Model. 

PRINT:

Barrett, J. (2010). Museums and the Public Sphere. John Wiley and Sons.

Bourdieu, P. (1993). The Field of Cultural Production. Columbia University Press. (Bourdieu conducted early and extensive audience research at European art museums.  Conclusions of research address class barriers to access/social exclusion.)

Brown, C., Wood, E., & Salgado G. (Eds.). (2009). Inspiring Action: Museums and Social Change. London: MuseumsEtc.

Gurian, E. (2010). From Soloist to Impresario. In F. Cameron and L. Kelly (eds.) Hot Topics, Public Culture, Museums. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Gurian, E. (2010). Museums as Soup Kitchen. Curator: The Museum Journal 53(1), 71-85.

Kreps, Christina. (2003). Liberating Culture. Routledge.

Lonetree, Amy. (2012). Decolonizing Museums. UNC Press. (A project of First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies.)

Museums and Social Issues. (This is a peer-reviewed journal that explores contemporary social issues and their engagement with museums. Most issues are relevant to the theme of social inclusion in museums)

Sandell, R. (Ed.). (2002). Museums, Society, Inequality. New York: Routledge. (This book presents international examples of museums working towards social inclusion.)

Sandell, R.  & Nightingale, E. (Eds.). (2012). Museums, Equality, and Social Justice. New York: Routledge.

Silverman, L. (2010). The Social Work of Museums. London: Routledge.

Sullivan Sorin, G. (2007) The Problem of the 21st Century is Still the Color Line. Museums &  Social Issues 2(1), 11-44.  ( If you are interested in the Sorin & Ladson Billings articles then check out the article by Liz Dwyer)

Teslow, T. (2007). A Troubled Legacy: Making and Unmaking Race in the Museum. Museums & Social Issues, 2(1), 11–44.

ONLINE & PRINT – APPLICABLE TO THE MUSEUM FIELD AND BEYOND

You can read more about racial justice specific resources here.

Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.

A syllabus on Urban Design, Race and Justice posted on CityLab.com here.

#FergusonSyllabus, a crowdsourced syllabus about race, African American history, civil rights, and policing. Find an associated Atlantic piece about the syllabus here.

Applied Research Center. (2011). Racial Equity Impact Assessment Toolkit.

Eck, D. L. (2006). From Diversity to Pluralism. On Common Ground: World Religions in America, Columbia University Press.

Hayward, C. R., & Swanstrom, T. (2011). Justice and the American Metropolis. U of Minnesota Press.

Ladson-Billings, G. (2006). From the Achievement Gap to the Education Debt: Understanding Achievement in U.S. Schools. Educational Researcher, 35(7), 3 –12.

Low, S. Taplin, D. and S. Scheld. (2005). Rethinking Urban Parks: Public Space and Cultural Diversity. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Art for the Blind access tour at Rome’s Ara Pacis Museum

Bringing art to life for blind museum visitors

One of Rome’s most prestigious public museums is offering a pioneering experience for blind visitors that perfectly demonstrates the possibilities of combining the latest technology with the greatest art.

Co-created by Antenna International and partially sighted consultants from Italian tech specialists Tooteko, the Art for the Blind access tour at Rome’s Ara Pacis Museum allows blind and partially sighted visitors to interact with the museum’s 2,000-year-old Ara Pacis Augustae and other ancient treasures in truly innovative ways.

Positioning technology allows independent exploration, while multisensory content, such as evocative audio descriptions and tactile elements, bring exhibits to life like never before.

What technology does it use?

The Art for the Blind tour uses the latest in smart, wearable rings, portable technology, and 3-D printing. Software is also key: iPad minis feature an app specially designed for visually impaired users.

How does it work?

At the start of the tour, blind and partially sighted people receive three items:

  1. A high-tech, smart, wearable ring
  2. An A4, 3D thermoform map
  3. An iPad mini attached to headphones

As they explore the museum, users can touch the ring to tags on exhibits in six main areas of the museum. This wirelessly connects their iPad to sensors at the base of works, which then triggers a unique experience of the exhibit and artwork.

For instance, users have the opportunity to feel details of the famous floral frieze of the Ara Pacis. And at the busts of Augustus’s family, visitors can touch the heads and each sculpture ”speaks” to them in character.

 

 

How have we made sure it meets the needs of our audience?

The multisensory tour and audio guide descriptions were co-created with the help of two key consultants at Tooteko. Anna Spina is partially sighted and Deborah Tramentozzi is blind and an expert on issues affecting blind people. Their insights were fundamental in making the tour and the technology both user-friendly and immersive.

Fabio D’Agnano, CTO at Tooteko comments:

To us, it was important to combine touch and hearing and allow an independent and rich experience for the visually impaired. We wanted to add real innovation into museum accessibility, and the historic Museo dell’Ara Pacis was the perfect environment for it.

Paola Spataro, Head of Digital Media, Italy for Antenna International adds:

Technological advances, both big and small, are turning museum tours across the world into unforgettable experiences. The work we’ve done in Rome is a great example of what can be achieved. There are so many innovations out there which can enrich and enliven what museums are creating, and I’m excited to see where even the next twelve months will take the industry.

 

VERTIGO STARTS Artistic Residencies Program. Deadline: April 10, 2017

The VERTIGO STARTS Artistic Residencies Program organises collaborations between artists and research and development (R&D) projects in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). VERTIGO is funded under the H2020 European STARTS initiative, innovation at the nexus of Science Technology, and the ARTS.

The program is organised in 3 yearly open calls for proposals which will be selected by an international jury. A total budget of 900.000 € is allocated by VERTIGO for funding the participation of artists in at least 45 residencies. The selected artists will contribute to the innovative aspects of ICT R&D projects’ research by bringing original perspectives through artistic practices. Those practices should naturally lead to an original artwork based on the project technology featuring novel use-cases with a high potential for innovation. VERTIGO will also act as a platform to showcase produced works to the public and actors of innovation.

 

R&D projects interested in the program are invited to fill an online submission form until April 10th (10:00 CET).

Look at their impressive Artistic Network which includes the V&A, ars electronica and the Venice Biennial. Organisations can still become part of this network.

Requirements and process

Pre-conditions for first residency call:

  • The project is funded through a public European or national program in the field of ICT;
  • It ends after February 2018;
  • It is fully committed to integrate the artist into the project organizational and collaborative framework;
  • It gives the artist access to technologies developed by the project;
  • It provides a basic working environment for the artist. Optionally: provides a technical infrastructure for hosting the artwork production process (otherwise will be supported by a Producer third party brought by the artist).

Submission process:

  • Interested projects fill a form presenting their activity, technology and hosting offer;
  • The projects submission platform will close on April 10th at 10:00 am CET. No additional submission will be accepted after this deadline for the 2017 Call.
  • A selection of available projects will be published from April 15th;
  • The selected residencies will start from September 2017 at the earliest;
  • A co-production contract will be signed between all concerned parties including the partner of the ICT-Project in charge of the residency.
  • Residency applications will be submitted in relation to one of the selected projects.  Conditions and process

 

Participatory research post at the Open University.

We are looking for a researcher to work on ARCHES. This is an Horizon 2020 funded project involving partners in Heritage and Technology across Europe. The OU is leading the research component, establishing a range of participatory research groups to work with partners in Heritage and Technology across Europe. The researcher will have personal and/or professional experience of supporting people with intellectual and/or sensory impairments. They will have a post-graduate qualification (preferably a PhD) and will speak English + Spanish and/or German.

The 3-year project begins in October 2016. It will develop online resources, software applications and multisensory technologies to enable access to Cultural Heritage Sites within and beyond the project. Our partners include The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Wallace Collection, Bath University, Treelogic, Centro Regional de Bellas Artes de Oviedo, KHM-Museumsverband, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza and Fundación Lázaro Galliano, Signtime, ArteConTacto, Coprix Media and VRVis.

This is a fantastic opportunity to work on a highly innovative and ground breaking project. Details can be found at: http://www.open.ac.uk/about/employment/vacancies/arches-research-associate-12365