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robertogreco : museumeducation   10

Against a "Life Hack" Approach to Art Education | Claudia Ruitenberg - Academia.edu
"This paper critiques de Botton and Armstrong’s Art as Therapy project (2013-2015), a collaboration with art museums in Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia, in which labels in the gallery, as well a catalogue and website, explain how viewers might use works of art to serve therapeutic purposes in their lives. The paper argues that, instead of making art more accessible to those who, allegedly, do not find access to art on their own, the Art as Therapy project undermines the force and richness of art by first declaring it useless and inaccessible and then repurposing it as therapeutic life hack "



"I commend de Botton and Armstrong for their premise that art is not the exclusive preoccupation of the cultural cognoscenti, but can have a bearing on anyone’s life— as long as we’re willing to let it. I also commend them for highlighting that art is not a purely cerebral affair, that works of art do something to us, and that the emotions are involved in this doing. My main criticisms of their approach are that they predetermine what bearing art can and should have, and that they privilege the therapeutic over the aesthetic value of art.

There is an important difference between a life hack approach in everyday life, where household items are repurposed but also retain their original use-value, and a life-hack approach to art, where the practical utility of “repurposed” works offers redemption for purported uselessness. Life hacks typically repurpose discarded or cheap materials; people don’t turn objects they already value into life hacks. de Botton and Armstrong’s message seems to be that art is useless, but that with the help of their commentaries, these useless works can be turned into something viewers can benefit from.

Whatever else art is and does, it offers an aesthetic experience, which is to say that it intervenes in perception (“aesthetic” is derived from the Greek verb aisthesthai, meaning to perceive, sense). This intervention may have various further effects, including therapeutic ones, but art is not useless if its effects are not therapeutic. Art may make us laugh or cry or leave us indifferent. It may disturb or console us, give us nightmares or fits of giggles. It may do this and a whole host of other things—but it does not inherently need or mean to do any of them. When de Botton and Armstrong cite the “art for art’s sake” credo, they dismiss it as saying that art has no purpose. That, however, is not what the credo says. That art is done for the sake of art suggests that art has no purpose other than to be art —and the latter is quite a bit of purpose."
2016  claudiaruitenberg  alaindebotton  johnarmostring  arttherapy  lifehacks  accessibility  artastherapy  inaccessibility  museumeducation  education  aestheticexperience  experience  interpretation  interpretativefreedom  pedagogy  pedagogicalintervention  intervention  freedom  aesthetics  carelpeeters  uselessness  purpose 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Asking Beautiful, Scary Questions: Reflections on “Leading the Future of Museum Education” | Art Museum Teaching
"Much of the program and conversation in Denver focused on change on many different levels—the ever-changing and vast-paced world in which we live, the shifts and much-needed changes in our field and institutions, the rethinking of museum education, and the changes in us as individuals. Both Kaywin Feldman, the Duncan and Nivan MacMillan Director and President of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Marsha L. Semmel, principal of Marsha Semmel Consulting, spoke of our VUCA environment and the need for adaptive and strategic leadership. VUCA is short for volatility, uncertainty, complexity,and ambiguity, and a catchall for our turbulent, dynamic reality. In order to thrive, we must have vision, understanding, clarity, and agility and be willing to experiment and take risks. Laura Roberts from Roberts Consulting points out there is no one way or single path to get us where we want to go and the “best practices” from the past won’t be sufficient.

We must challenge ourselves to find these new paths and ask beautiful, scary questions, which will inspire us to take risks and head into uncertain territory, and possibly fail. Some of the beautiful questions that emerged from our brainstorming and conversations in Denver:

• How might we encourage greater diversity and inclusion in our field?
• How might museums become truly visitor-centered institutions?
• How might we find balance in engaging both our core and new audiences; balance between co-creation and expertise?
• What if we broke down silos and collaboration was the new norm?
• How might we rethink our work with the public education sector?
• How might we harness the power of technology to expand access, improve engagement, and try new approaches to our work?
• What if excellence isn’t enough?
• What if educators became more empowered and began breaking the rules?

To begin exploring the strategies and solutions to these beautiful questions, we must become adaptive leaders and both individually and collectively embrace the gradual but meaningful process of change. Marsha Semmel introduced us to John Seely Brown who believes in social, participatory learning and teaches us that museums need to stop protecting our assets—our stocks—of authoritative knowledge and instead nurture our flows—creating new knowledge. We are poised to cultivate these flows.

Laura Roberts, who was asked to reflect on and summarize the convening stated in her closing remarks, “museum educators routinely use the sort of skills an adaptive leader needs. Moreover, if we are going to shift our museums from a focus on objects to a focus on visitors and community, it is clear we are positioned to lead the way…” She noted these observations about our character:

• Educators are trained to elicit observations and points of view and to bring people together in dialogue. We are good facilitators. We have those “soft skills” to be boundary spanners.
• We are clever, creative, and imaginative. We are good problem solvers. We are good listeners.
• We practice the skills of collaboration and partnering. We are matchmakers and brokers.
• We often serve as the integrators in the institution, bringing disparate staff together.
• We are often “empowerers.” Many educators are refreshingly light on ego."
education  museums  2015  lauraroberts  complexity  uncertainty  ambiguity  museumeducation  questions  facilitation  karleengardner  siols  collaboration  inclusion  marsgasemmel  johnseelybrown  participatory  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  knowledge  flows  inlcusivity  inclusivity 
july 2015 by robertogreco
A Bad Education | The Pedagogical Impulse
"PH: … I don’t want to make art that’s about say­ing that I did some­thing. I want to make art that does some­thing. I don’t always care whether peo­ple under­stand or not that I am doing it, but I want to know for my own sake that what I did had that impulse.

To me, that’s the enor­mous gap between art that claims to be about social change, and art that embod­ies social change. And that is why the rela­tion­ship between ped­a­gogy and art is absolutely cru­cial, because ped­a­gogy and edu­ca­tion are about empha­sis on the embod­i­ment of the process, on the dia­logue, on the exchange, on inter­sub­jec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and on human rela­tion­ships. The prod­uct may or may not be nec­es­sary or impor­tant. But it can­not hap­pen if this exchange does not take place. Art, tra­di­tion­ally, has not always been about the process. Ulti­mately in a museum when you look at a paint­ing, the process of its mak­ing is inter­est­ing to know, but it is not essen­tial to expe­ri­enc­ing the work. What mat­ters is that it’s there; that it hap­pened. In socially engaged art, that is the oppo­site: what is impor­tant is the process, and the process is inex­tri­ca­ble from the experience.

HR: What you are say­ing reminds me of some­thing that Shan­non Jack­son men­tioned in her talk at Open Engage­ment this past year. She said some­thing to the effect of what looks like inno­va­tion in one field may be old news in another field. And I’m think­ing about this in the way that some processes of edu­ca­tion are taken up in socially engaged art.

I was read­ing a bit about Reg­gio Emilia before I came to meet you, because I had learned that you have a Reg­gio Emilia com­po­nent in the show down­stairs. I found this quote by Loris Malaguzzi: “We need to pro­duce sit­u­a­tions in which chil­dren learn by them­selves, in which chil­dren can take advan­tage of their own knowl­edge and resources… We need to define the role of the adult, not as a trans­mit­ter, but as a cre­ator of rela­tion­ships — rela­tion­ships not only between peo­ple but also between things, between thoughts, with the envi­ron­ment.”[ii]

PH: Sounds a lot like socially engaged art, right?

HR: Right! But I wanted to ask you about where we diverge. It feels like we may be in a com­pro­mised posi­tion. As artists there is an imper­a­tive to par­tic­i­pate in a cycle of pro­duc­tion, to be acknowl­edged as authors, or to be thought of as pri­mary authors, and to par­tic­i­pate in an art dis­course. In what way do we have to diverge from edu­ca­tional processes?

PH: We still belong to a tra­di­tion of art mak­ing where things acquire dif­fer­ent mean­ings depend­ing on the con­text. So like Duchamp’s uri­nal, of course it’s use­ful as a uri­nal and when it becomes art it becomes use­ful in other ways as art. And like what Tom Fin­kle­pearl was say­ing, it’s time to put the uri­nal back in the bath­room[iii], because we’ve come to a point where the use­ful­ness of art as aes­thet­ics has run its course. So it’s time to go back and think about aes­thet­ics as some­thing that func­tions in the world in a dif­fer­ent way.

Which cre­ates an inter­est­ing prob­lem: why don’t we just aban­don aes­thet­ics alto­gether? Why don’t I just become a Reg­gio Emilia edu­ca­tor since their phi­los­o­phy is close to what I do? Maybe I should just move to Italy and teach lit­tle kids. There’s this ten­dency by young artists of think­ing: “maybe I’m just doing some­thing ill informed and ridicu­lous, and I might as well just become a pro­fes­sional in what­ever field I’m inter­ested in. Maybe I should become a hor­ti­cul­tur­al­ist”, or what­ever. The other side is that the artist is per­form­ing roles that are osten­si­bly per­formed bet­ter by pro­fes­sion­als of those dis­ci­plines, like in Rirkrit’s case: the edu­ca­tors do it so much bet­ter than them, so why is he get­ting the credit? And why is what edu­ca­tors are doing not con­sid­ered art? Why should a mediocre edu­ca­tion pro­gram be cel­e­brated as this won­der­ful rela­tional aes­thet­ics piece, when a won­der­ful edu­ca­tion pro­gram that really changes people’s lives can never be con­sid­ered an impor­tant artwork?

So the issue is really, what is the con­tex­tual social ter­ri­tory where this takes place? Where are you stak­ing your claims? And where are you pro­duc­ing crit­i­cal­ity? To sim­ply say that Reg­gio Emilia is a great art­work is com­pletely untrue. That’s not their goal; their goal is to cre­ate bet­ter cit­i­zens for the world, etc. As an artist, what becomes really inter­est­ing is to con­sider this think­ing within the con­text of art mak­ing, the con­text of the role of art in soci­ety. Art, for bet­ter or for worse, con­tin­ues to be this play­ing field that is defined by its capac­ity to rede­fine itself. You can­not say, “This is not art!” because tomor­row it could be, or “It can be art,” because I say it is. Art is a space, which we have cre­ated, where we can cease to sub­scribe to the demands and the rules of soci­ety; it is a space where we can pre­tend. We can play, we can rethink things, we can think about them backwards.

But just to clar­ify: when I say that Reg­gio Emilia is not real art, I don’t think it’s enough to make art with “pre­tend” edu­ca­tion. I don’t think one should jus­tify the use of any sem­blance in edu­ca­tion for the sake of art, as was the case of that children’s activ­ity by Rirkrit I described, unless if you are just meant to be jok­ing or play­ing (which is not very inter­est­ing to begin with). My point is that when you are mak­ing cer­tain claims, or even gen­er­at­ing cer­tain impres­sions about what you are doing, you need to do them in an effec­tive way in order to really affect the world, oth­er­wise your artis­tic inter­ven­tion in the social realm is no dif­fer­ent from mak­ing a paint­ing in the stu­dio. And there is a dif­fer­ence between sym­bolic and actual intervention."



"PH: Why is it that we can be very crit­i­cal of stan­dard art­works that we under­stand the para­me­ters of? We can be very crit­i­cal of this work because we are very famil­iar with for­mal­ism and with abstrac­tion, and there are a slew of the­o­ret­i­cal approaches. When­ever you do an abstract paint­ing that looks exactly like Mon­drian, peo­ple will tell you that your work is not very rel­e­vant because you’re just copy­ing Mon­drian. And yet, you’re com­pletely home free if you do this con­cep­tual project of a school that doesn’t teach any­body and where nobody learns any­thing, but it looks really great in the press release.

HR: So by “abstract edu­ca­tion” you meant projects that use the lan­guage and frame­work of edu­ca­tion, but don’t func­tion as education?

PH: It’s com­pli­cated. Because I don’t want to say that it’s bad to do that. Some­times you just want to do a project that’s about the idea of this or that. You want to do a project that’s about dance; it doesn’t mean that you have to dance. It’s very dif­fer­ent to do a paint­ing about war, than to par­tic­i­pate in a war.

That’s why in my book, Edu­ca­tion for Socially Engaged Art, I tried to address this prob­lem by mak­ing a dis­tinc­tion between what I under­stand as sym­bolic ver­sus actual prac­tice. What I tried to argue in the book is that in art, the strongest, more long­stand­ing tra­di­tion is art as sym­bolic act; art that’s a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the world. You make an art­work that is a thing on its own, but it addresses the world. Guer­nica is a sym­bolic act. It tells you about the hor­rors of Guer­nica, the mass killings.

In the 60s that starts to change, artists don’t want to do things about the world; they want to do things that are acts in the world. That’s why per­for­mance art emerges. I’m not going to make a the­atre piece where I pre­tend to be x, y or z. I’m going do a real live action where I am Pablo Helguera and I’m talk­ing to you, Helen. And we’re going to have this expe­ri­ence, and this expe­ri­ence can only pos­si­bly exist in this moment in time and never again, any­where else. And that’s what this art­work is about. That’s what Fluxus was about, that’s what John Cage talked about, and that’s what Alan Kaprow’s hap­pen­ings were about; it’s a very Zen idea. Suzanne Lacy’s per­for­mances, for exam­ple, they were about these women at this moment. It might be art his­tory later. It might later become a prod­uct. But the fact of the mat­ter is that what it is at that moment can never be repeated.

So, to me, socially engaged art emerges from that tra­di­tion of the here-and-now. What the “here-and-now” means, in my view, is that the artis­tic act is inex­tri­ca­ble from the time/place con­text, but that it also affects it in a very direct way. The work needs to be under­stood, described, and pos­si­bly eval­u­ated and cri­tiqued in terms of what those actual events were. When­ever you don’t have that infor­ma­tion, which is unfor­tu­nately most of the time, there is no way to know whether it hap­pened or not. Those projects that you know are really cre­at­ing an impact, that they have a pres­ence; it’s almost self-evident. I mean what­ever you want to say about Tania Bruguera’s Immi­grant Move­ment Inter­na­tional, you can go there today and see it. It’s hap­pen­ing right now. She isn’t mak­ing it up.

HR: Can you talk about the ten­sion between use­ful­ness, ambi­gu­ity, and learn­ing out­comes? You men­tion that we eval­u­ate things all the time any­way. How do you eval­u­ate art ped­a­gogy projects?

PH: Cre­at­ing an … [more]
via:ablerism  2015  art  education  helenreed  pablohelguera  socialpracticeart  pedagogy  reggioemilia  informal  accountability  relationships  arteducation  artschools  learning  howwelearn  teaching  howweteach  institutions  revolution  resistance  stabilization  socialengagement  conversation  critique  criticism  alternative  altgdp  museums  museumeducation  schoolofpanamericanunrest  usefulness  ambiguity  outcomes  evaluation  happenings  performance  performanceart  fluxus  hereandnow  taniabruguera  johncage  suzannelacy  context  socialchange  experience  everyday  openengagement  shannonjackson  aesthetics  buckminsterfuller  power  artschool 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
"The MOCAD Teen Council is a select group of young creatives from metro Detroit and the surrounding areas. These teens come together to plan, and with the help of museum professionals, produce programming for youth and adults here at the MOCAD."

[See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjmdkxT1vSc ]

[via: https://medium.com/why-2015-wont-suck/2-you-will-summer-in-detroit-91e6f0e0cb96

"But more than brick and mortar, what makes Detroit’s creative atmosphere special are programs truly investing in the city, like MOCAD’s Teen Council. Select high school students win yearlong mentorships with contemporary art pros and, as a group, they design and produce museum programming of their choice. No doubt, these are America’s coolest docents."]
mocad  detroit  art  museums  museumeducation  curation  curating  teens  youth 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Alexandra Lange on the problems with the museums experience
"This is Mexico's most visited museum, frequented, on the day I was there, by tourists from many countries – Mexicans, families, old, young, rambunctious, quiet. There was space for them all and there was time for them all. You did not have to read a word (I don't speak Spanish) to feel that you had learned something. All you had to do was walk and look, and the alternation of indoor and outdoor spaces meant that you tired less easily. The oscillation between small and large meant that you had to adjust your eyes more often and look again. It felt like a walk in the park, but it was a museum. And we need more museums that let us relax into knowledge, showing, not telling us everything by audioguide.

In New York, at least, the friction of timed tickets, crowds and lines are now baked in to many big museum experiences: one can rarely expect to be able to just walk in, buy a ticket, see a show. Lines for the Museum of Modern Art-hosted Rain Room this summer stretched past the four-hour mark – and that's a separate line from the one for tickets that forms along 53rd Street.

My experience at the MNA caused me to think back on other museum discussions and visits of the past year, big and small: the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, stunts like the Rain Room or James Turrell at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Donald Judd’s House at 101 Spring Street in SoHo. Art may be more delicate than Aztec heads, but there isn't only one way to show it. Thinking about each of these visits as variations on a theme, I have found what I crave is not more access but less: a discrete, informal, and time-limited chance to look at work in peace. To wander rather than move in lock-step. To walk in the front door, look at art or artifacts for as long as I want, and leave."
museums  museumeducation  education  art  experience  2014  alexandralange  exploration  curating  curation  showing  telling  exposing  exposition  exhibitiondesign  design  exhibits  exhibitions  guides  wandering  time  space  attention  learning  howwelearn  informal  informality  artifacts 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Peer2Peer - Embracing a Digital Mindset in Museums - YouTube
"What does it mean for a museum to have a “digital mindset”? Join us for a conversation with Mike Murawski, Director of Education & Public Programs, Portland Art Museum, unpacking his recent Medium article, “The Moon Belongs to Everyone: Embracing a Digital Mindset in Museums.” Mike will briefly discuss the major ideas of openness, participation, and connectivity that underpin his article, then we’ll dive into a lively conversation about the role of technology in museums today. This conversation will also feature Ed Rodley, Associate Director of Integrated Media, Peabody Essex Museum, Chelsea Emelie Kelly, Manager of Digital Learning, Milwaukee Art Museum, and Michelle Grohe, Director of School and Teacher Programs, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Before the Hangout, we recommend you the following articles by Mike, Ed, and Chelsea:

https://medium.com/code-words-technology-and-theory-in-the-museum/the-moon-belongs-to-everyone-embracing-a-digital-mindset-in-museums-b73f48aa18a5.

http://artmuseumteaching.com/2014/11/06/beyond-digital-open-collections-cultural-institutions/

https://medium.com/code-words-technology-and-theory-in-the-museum/the-virtues-of-promiscuity-cb89342ca038 "
mikemurawski  edrodley  chelsieemiliekelly  michellegrohe  2014  museums  education  digital  storytelling  openness  participation  museumeducation  technology  collections  publicprograms  participatory  connectivity  inclusion  inlcusivity  inclusivity 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Audio guides turning museum visitors into 'zombies' - curator - Life & Style - NZ Herald News
"Next time you make a beeline for the audio guides at a museum, it might be an idea to think again.

According to one of Britain's most respected curators, taped commentaries are ruining the nation's exhibitions and turning visitors into "zombies".

Sir Roy Strong complained yesterday that visitors are now not engaging with the nation's treasures and instead walking around "on autocue".

The 79-year-old said audio guides tended to "go on" too long, leading people to blindly stand in front of paintings or exhibits for hours.

Sir Roy, former director of the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, said he now feared people were beginning to prefer audio-guides to the actual artworks.

He said: "With these sound guides, there's a tendency to tell you too much and to go on too much.

"Often, some of these gallery guides go on and on and on. And you see people on autocue going around like zombies.

"It's good if the person can have their own discovery."

Sir Roy made his outspoken criticism at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, where he was speaking about The Laskett Garden.

The garden, in Herefordshire, is the largest private formal garden to be created in England since 1945 and was a 30-year labour of love for Sir Roy and his late wife Julia Trevelyan Oman.

He was quick to point out that visitors to the Laskett receive only scant information about each section.

But recalling one mosaic exhibition he saw recently, he joked that he urged one visitor to stop listening to the guide, saying: "Look at the mosaic, woman, not her!"

He also remembered becoming exasperated when observing another museum visitors' group looking at an iPad version of Rembrandt's 1642 painting The Night Watch when they were stood in front of the real thing.

He said: "They'd rather watch the Night Watch on TV than see the real picture."

Sir Roy, whose wife Julia died in 2003 from pancreatic cancer, lives in the village of Much Birch, which lies 8 miles south of Hereford.

It was here that the pair created their garden, which is full of references to their romance of three decades.

He said that after her death, he tried to clear out some of her plant collections, including her 130 varieties of crab apple trees.

His head gardener ended up planting them around Hereford at bus stops and other random locations, which, he said, "she would have liked."

He added: "[The garden] has been edited down from what it was. It was much more confused before."

On his gardening philosophy, he said: "I never mind breaking the rules. It accounts for a lot of my success. Never take any notice of whatever anyone else says.""
via:anne  2014  museums  audioguides  experience  museumeducation  education  lectures 
october 2014 by robertogreco
We Don’t Need New Models, We Need a New Mindset | Art Museum Teaching
"The old models we’re using aren’t matching up with the deeply complex challenges we’re faced with right now.

Income/Revenue
Old model: Ticket sales + government + foundation + corporate + wealthy patrons + small donors + endowment income = Balanced budget
New challenge: To generate new sources of sustained revenue and capital

Audience development
Old model: Sell subscriptions and market shows
New challenge: To engage new and more diverse groups of people in meaningful arts experiences

Governance
Old model: Give/get boards focused on fiduciary oversight and maintaining stability
New challenge: To cultivate boards that are partners in change

Evaluation
Old model: More ticket sales, more revenue, bigger budget, nice building = Success!
New challenge: To evaluate the success of our organizations based on the value they create in people’s lives

Leadership development
Old model: Attend leadership conferences and seminars, build your network, wait for your boss to finally leave/retire/die. (Alternatively, change jobs every year.)
New challenge: To develop a generation of new leaders equipped with the tools they’ll need to tackle the wickedly complex challenges the future has in store

Artistic development
Old model: MFA programs, residencies, commissions, occasionally a grant, get a day job
New challenge: To support artists in making a living and a life

Strategic planning
Old model: Decide where you want to be in 5 years. Outline the steps to get there in a long document no one will read.
New challenge: To plan for the future in a way that allows us to stay close to our core values and make incremental improvement while also making room for experimentation, failure, and rapidly changing conditions.

Funding allocation
Old model: The money goes to whoever the funder says it to goes to. Usually bigger organizations run by white people in major cities.
Our challenge today: To distribute funds in a way that is equitable, geographically diverse, and creates the most value

Note: I decided I was too ignorant in the areas of creative placemaking, advocacy and arts education to weigh in. I’ll leave that to my colleagues.

Here’s my main argument

Over 60 years in the field, we’ve developed standard practices, or models, in all these different areas. They worked for a while. Now they don’t. This has given us a false notion that we need new models in each area. This is wrong.

Models, best practices, recipes, and blueprints work only when your challenge has a knowable, replicable solution. Sure, there are some challenges that fit this mold. I’d argue that having a great website, designing an effective ad, doing a successful crowd funding campaign, and producing a complicated show are all challenges where best practices, models, and experts are really valuable. You might not know the solution, but someone does, and you can find it out.

But what happens when there actually isn’t a knowable solution to your challenge? When there is no expert, no model to call upon? When the only way forward is through experimentation and failure?

I’d argue that every one of the big challenges I name above falls into the realm of complexity, where the search for replicable models is fruitless. There isn’t going to be a new model for generating revenue that the field can galvanize around that will work for every or even most arts organizations. Nor is there going to be a long lasting model for community engagement that can be replicated by organizations across the country. For the deeply complex challenges we face today, there simply isn’t a knowable solution or model that can reliably help us tackle them. These kinds of challenges require a new way of working.

We don’t need new models, we need a new theory of practice

Instead of new models, I’d argue that we need a new theory of practice, one that champions a different set of priorities in how we do our work.

Our old models imply a vision of success that’s rooted in growth, stability, and excellence. They drive us towards efficiency and competition by perpetuating an atmosphere of scarcity. They are not as creative as we are.

What if a new vision of success in our field could prioritize resilience, flexibility, and intimacy? What if we could be enablers, not producers? What if we could harness the abundance of creative potential around us?

This new vision of success doesn’t demand consensus around a new set of standards, best practices, or “examples for imitation,” it demands a new way of thinking and acting that empowers us to shift and change our routines all the time, as needed.

A proposed theory of practice for the future

Here is my call to the field: a proposed set of practices that align with the world as it is today, not as it was before:

• Let’s get clear about the challenges we’re facing and if they’re complex, treat them as such
• Let’s ask hard questions, listen, do research, and stay vulnerable to what we learn.
• Let’s question our assumptions and let go of what’s no longer working.
• Let’s embrace ambiguity and conflict as a crucial part of change
• Let’s bring together people with different experiences and lean into difference
• Let’s experiment our way forward and fail often
• Let’s recognize the system in which we’re operating.
• Let’s rigorously reflect and continuously learn

In conclusion

When I set out to write this post, I wanted to question the premise that a conversation about “broken models” could even be useful in a time when expertise, excellence and replicability are the values of the past. I wanted to propose that we move past the very notion of models – let’s jettison the word itself from our vocabulary.

In the end, I guess you could call what I’ve proposed a kind of “new model.” But I’d rather think of it as a new mindset."
change  museums  museumeducation  2014  complexity  organizations  models  paradigmshifts  theory  karinamangu-ward  practice  bestpractices  experience  difference  funding  strategicplanning  corevalues  values  experimentation  failure  art  arteducation  leadership  evaluation  purpose  governance  audience  income  revenue 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Falling in Love with Your Visitors | Art Museum Teaching
[Also available here: http://mariannaadams.blogspot.com/2014/07/falling-in-love-with-your-visitors.html ]

"I know this sounds a bit too new-agey but it’s what keeps coming up for me after my first full week in my residency at the Gardner Museum. Three families came to the museum this past week and the best way I can describe the experience is that I just fell in love with all of them. They arrived so excited and in good spirits, even if some of the children were a bit wary at first. Their openness to new experiences reminded me to be more open in turn to their unique ways of visiting and looking at art. A few reflections are shared below (while the experience are real, the names of the family visitors have been changed)."



"At the beginning of the visits this week, I let families know that I did not have any plans for them, I just wanted to wander around with them, that I didn’t know the collection but there was a Gardner Museum educator with us in case there was anything they wanted to know. Having a knowledgeable person with us proved to be a popular feature for families, for when questions came up Julia Brucker and Michelle Grohe were there. I’m grateful for their skilled ability to know just when and how much to engage so that the experience stayed in the family and was not diverted to the educator. That said, the families did not automatically think to ask the educators when a question arose. In most cases, after listening to families wonder out loud about something, I suggested asking the museum educator, which they eagerly did and it enlivened the conversation. I’m not sure why this is the case and together with families enjoying but not asking for the magnifying glass and flashlight, it feels like a pattern might be emerging. I will see if it continues in this week’s visits.

talking with volunter and elbow of hanger-onAt one point a group intercepted a gallery volunteer roaming the gallery for just this purpose. The volunteer noticed that Suzie and Chuck were interested in a silver encased ostrich egg and talked to them about it. This brief interchange warmed my heart as the volunteer was focused totally on the group’s interest and experience. She had no agenda except to facilitate visitors’ interest."

Implications for Practice

I am continually fascinated by what draws children’s attention and this week’s visits were no exception. Typically it is not what educators tend to include on tours. For example, Suzie was first taken with the missing head on a statue in the courtyard. Throughout the visit she commented on how many statues were missing heads and arms. This caused us all to heighten our attention to what was missing. When we passed along a hallway to go upstairs she paused at a niche housing several stone and marble heads a long with a sculpture missing all limbs and the head. She said, “Oh, so this must be where they keep the heads” and calmly walked on."



"Realistically we can’t accompany every family group in this way, but it feels increasingly important that we, as educators, connect with audiences on more than an intellectual level. Finding practical ways to fall in love with the visitors seems key to me. When we connect with visitors on a deeply human level then the way we design experiences will change. When we start to see visitors as thoughtful, insightful friends who are eager to explore what the museum has to offer, we stop seeing them as security risks or potential dollar signs. I invite you to find your own ways to authentically connect with your visitors and share what happened."
museums  education  2014  mariannaadams  audience  families  children  curiosity  inquiry  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  conversation  learning  johnfalk  lynndierking  engagement  exploration  experience  art  museumeducation 
july 2014 by robertogreco
‘Getting In On the Act’: Exploring Participatory Arts Practice | Art Museum Teaching
"A recent study published by the James Irvine Foundation (October 2011) entitled Getting In On the Act: How Arts Groups are Creating Opportunities for Active Participation draws insights from nonprofit arts groups and experts to explore a new model for understanding and supporting participatory arts practices, a growing trend here in the United States as well as across the globe. Here is how the reports’ authors begin to frame this “siesmic shift” towards a participatory arts culture:
“Technology has fundamentally changed the way people interact, learn, and think about culture. Contemporary notions of creativity, shaped by Web 2.0, center on shared construction of cultural identity and an ethos of participatory experience…. The open, free and instantaneous exchange of digital content affords people the resources to control their own creative experiences and make their own meaning. Interactive experiences of all sorts are now an expected norm.” (6)

But, then the report got a lot more interesting to me…
“This shift is about more than just technology. People are thinking about the experience of culture differently than in the past, placing value on a more immersive and interactive experience than is possible through mere observation…. Americans are activating their own creativity in new and unusual ways … [as] part of a larger ‘participatory economy’ in which social connection eclipses consumption. Americans want to meet the people who make our products, share in the work of the makers, and make things ourselves.” (6)

The report’s human-centered focus brings much-needed attention to the ability of the arts (and arts institutions) to connect people, to create shared experiences, and to contribute to the cultural fabric of the communities in which we live and work.

For art museums (and museum educators, especially), the report provides an extremely meaningful tool for reflecting on how we involve audiences in shaping their own experiences and making their own meaning. The report’s “Audience Involvement Spectrum” provides a nice, workable model for audience engagement, from “receptive” involvement (the type of spectating and educational enrichment occurring in the vast majority of arts museums) to increasingly “participatory” involvement (the types of crowd-sourcing, co-creation, and public artistic experiences that more and more art museums are slowly striving toward).

The report is worth a close read. It asks some essential questions about arts programming in the 21st century, and I think art museums would have much to gain by thinking more about how they fit into this new landscape of active arts participation. As museum educators, we have our hands on the wheel when it comes to programs — and the Irvine report clearly and strongly states that “attracting the next generation of audiences and visitors will require a transformation in programming” (11). At the core of this transformation is both thinking outside the box (‘the box’ in this case being the rigid walls and traditions of art museums) and letting go of institutional and curatorial authority so that visitors can feel comfortable and empowered to shape their own creative experiences.

If you have a chance to peruse the Irvine Foundation’s report, I’d love to hear how your institution’s programs (or your own teaching philosophies) fit on their spectrum of audience involvement. Has your institution embraced any of these aspects of participatory arts practice? Do you value these types of creative, artistic experiences when you visit art museums yourself (or do you shy away from them for more passive types of engagement)?"
art  arts  mikemurawski  2012  education  museums  participatory  participation  openstudioproject  technology  learning  learningbydoing  irvinefoundation  audienceinvolvement  teaching  arteducation  museumeducation  creativity 
june 2014 by robertogreco

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