Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Flip the Flop: Kenya's Ocean Sole Turns Trash Into Art



What would you do if thousands of flip-flops regularly washed up on the beaches where you live?

The creative folks who formed Ocean Sole in Kenya treat the flip-flops as raw materials for the art they create.

Ocean Sole workers and volunteers have removed over 1,000 tonnes of flip-flops from the ocean and waterways in Kenya. Ocean Sole has also provided steady income to over 150 Kenyans in their company and supply-chain, and the group contributes over 10% of their revenue to marine conservation programs.




What could museums and designers take away from this model of trash to art from Kenya?


You can find out more about Ocean Sole's work and products by clicking over to the Ocean Sole website.





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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Aim Higher. Work Faster. Make Museums Better.


One of my new sheroes is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the recently elected congressperson from New York.

Representative Ocasio-Cortez wants to aim higher and work faster to solve problems for her constituents.

With that spirit in mind, here are three areas of museum work that I think we can all make better by aiming higher and working faster.


1) LIVING WAGES FOR ALL MUSEUM WORKERS
It is unconscionable that museums do not pay all their employees and interns living wages.  I've heard all the excuses for low museum pay, and they all sound like bunk.  Unpaid internships and substandard wages are not the way to run any organization, let alone organizations that claim to have a higher social purpose.

One step to address this challenge: Stop "salary masking"! Commit to transparency by requiring salary ranges in all job postings.  Kudos to professional organizations like ACM, AASLH, and MAAM for being leaders in this effort.



2) JOINING OUR WORK TO OUR COMMUNITIES  
Does the staff, board, and programming of your museum truly reflect the communities your institution wants to serve? If not, why not?

One step to address this challenge: Start conversations with communities IN those communities, not your museum! Attend community events as a participant, not an "expert."  True engagement is an ongoing process, not a one-time focus group meeting -- and that process might begin with a simple and sincere Facebook or email message.



3) VALUING PEOPLE OVER SCREENS
Museums seem more willing to pay (or overpay) for screen-based opportunities over staff-facilitated activities, even though many studies show that visitors to cultural institutions often prefer non-screen based experiences.

One step to address this challenge: consider WHAT you want visitors to take away from an experience before immediately jumping to HOW you will deliver that experience. You may find an elegant non-screen based solution or a great "phygital" (mixed physical and digital) opportunity to explore.


I hope you aim higher and work faster to face whatever museum challenges you encounter in 2019!



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