The week of June 19th was @MuseumWeek, a worldwide cultural event on social media with a clever tagline: “Born in France, raised by the world.” The overarching theme this year was women and each day of the week had its own sub-theme: food, sports, music, stories, books, travel and heritage. It made for a neat little package of everything museum and you’ll find our clever take on each one on Facebook and Twitter.
Also that week was the Communicating the Museum conference by the irreproachable Agenda team. The topic for discussion was education – which is only really interesting if you’re in the biz – so I just wanted to share a couple quotes that were tweeted out that struck me as memorable. The first is from the director of the Palais de Tokyo telling his audience that “despite our efforts and our nightclub, it is hard to attract people from the suburbs”.
Suburbs or no suburbs that line stuck with me as I’d never heard a museum director talk about nightclubs, yet alone “our nightclub“.
The second is an insightful quote from Peter Aerts at S.M.A.K. in Gent, Belgium, explaining that “young people, they don’t see the museum for the art but for the institution.” Guess that means we young folks are attracted to dynamic institutions that speak our language and give us the experience we seek – in addition to putting on great exhibitions.
Give museums time…they’re slowly coming around to this novel idea 😉
And while on the topic of conferences, “startups foster collaboration between museums” and “don’t be afraid to be more like a startup” are among the top 10 takeaways from the recent We Are Museums conference in Riga. That’ll give you some insight into what’s going on in a space desperately in need of disruption. It also brought to mind a presentation by Seb Chan from the Australian Center for the Moving Image. ACMI redesigned its offices to be an open space – similar to a co-working – to encourage “ideas flow between commercial and curatorial.” Very startuppy of them!
On a more upbeat note, The Guardian’s recent article on the ‘Art of Music’ talks about “giving music roots in the [museum]”. Organizing a festival in a wheat field is cool. Organizing a “boutique festival” in a museum is literally plugging a cultural I.V. into our soul.
And then there’s sex. Artsy’s Alexxa Gotthardt talked to Serge Becker, the creative director at the Museum of Sex about how this New York institution is rethinking its mission. MoSex (yup…actual nickname) is overhauling its programming to “focus on another facet of sexuality: sex as artistic inspiration”. As Serge would go on to say, “the topic of sex is so important to almost any creative person”.
It just goes to show we can talk about anything if we know how to frame the conversation.
So…do you consider yourself a creative person?