Happy New Year and Decade! As we move into a new year, we wanted to share with you an updated of what last year brought and what’s on our mind for the months ahead.
New Project in 2019: Online Reading Group
In 2019, along with our regular publication activities, the Incluseum – with Rose’s project leadership – organized and facilitated the MASS Action online reading group. The goal of the online reading group was to create a learning community that engaged with the MASS ActionToolkit over the course of 16 weeks. A chapter and its accompanying worksheet were published via The Incluseum blog every other Monday. On the same day, a Tweetchat on the previous week’s chapter was held.
273 museum professionals, scholars, and students from around the world, albeit mostly the U.S. signed up to participate. Some joined as part of an institutional team committed to reading through the Toolkit together, some even holding regular meetings to work through the material together.
From the sign up sheet, we learned that the greatest representation of participants were from art museums, identified as female, and held positions in education and interpretation departments. Other participants were from history and archaeology museums, along with botanical gardens, and natural history and science museums. 23 participants were from the academic world (students and professors), 23 were joining from international locations, and 18 were independent professionals. Moreover, we counted 5 Deputy Directors. This representation of participants was interesting, but not surprising. The overrepresentation of those who identify as female is aligned with recent research that demonstrates that museum work is becoming a “pink collar” profession (see here). Additionally, the fact that the majority of participants occupied educational positions follows field-wide discussions that inclusion and diversity work seems to be associated with, if not seen as the labor of education departments. Inclusion advocates see this trend as problematic because the lack of institution-wide buy-in and participation in inclusion efforts limits the amount of institutional change that can occur.
Not all 273 participants took part in the Tweetchats, which saw anywhere from 2-25 active participants per chat (there is evidence that others followed along with the chats without actively tweeting). This was expected and we appreciate that people felt like they could participate in whatever way was meaningful to them. We would like to thank Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell (@KayleighBinDC), Janeen Bryant (@1Facilitateher ), Emily Potter-Ndiaye (@EmilyPotterBK of Amherst’s @meadartmuseum), Annie Anderson (from Philly’s @easternstate), Alyssa Greenberg (@greenbergalyssa), and Anniessa Antar (@anniessafatima) for acting as co-hosts.
In 2020, we are interested in publishing more perspectives on:
- Pay equity and how the conversation intersects with racism, sexism and classism.
- Decolonization, engaging with the current conversation in ways that highlight process and the ways process is being defined and led by Native and Indigenous people globally.
- Truth, justice, and reconciliation in the cultural heritage sector of the Deep South.
What about you? What would you be most interested in reading and learning about in 2020? What do you think are questions we should be pursuing, people we should be talking with, etc?
Thank you for engaging with The Incluseum in 2020! We love hearing from you and value your perspectives, so feel free to be in touch with any comments and feedback you might have (firstname.lastname@example.org). In the next weeks, we will be sharing an opportunity for you to get further involved with our work…stay tuned!
Warm wishes for a New Year,
Aletheia and Rose