How can we ensure that everyone in our communities has access to the opportunities and benefits provided by museums and other cultural organizations?
That's a question that the museum field continues to struggle with, but I just became aware of two sets of resources that might help foster new ways to provide opportunities for increased communication and creative partnerships.
The first resource comes via the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, which has just released a new literature review on Public Engagement in the Arts.
The review explores:
- different ways in which “public engagement” can be defined and practiced,
- the purposes public engagement has been used for in the arts, and
- how the terms “audience” and “participant” have evolved and blurred over time.
The review also places public engagement in the context of one of the most important conversations taking place in arts and culture today, that of cultural equity and inclusion. (If you'd like to dig a little deeper, the Commission also published a literature review on cultural equity and inclusion earlier this year.)
I learned of the next set of resources through Nina Simon's Museum 2.0 blog:
A few years ago, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation wanted to help museums and galleries across the UK make changes in the ways that cultural organizations engage community partners and visitors as participants in their work. The result, Our Museum, is an extraordinary program with a focus on community participation.
The Our Museum program also produced a suite of online resources and reports that are tremendous resources to anyone engaged with communities and cultural organizations.
As all of these resources emphasize, public engagement is a powerful tool available to museums to help them work toward the goal of greater cultural equity and inclusion.
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