While many of you may immediately be thinking “heck no … I never have time to read,” the answer is actually YES. And to prove it, ArtMuseumTeaching.com is launching a new Online Book Club. As educators and museum professionals, keeping our head buried at our desk or constantly busy in programs can only get us so far. And I know that many of us (including myself) struggle to carve out the time to read the publications coming out each month or even the classic texts of yester year. Perhaps we’re all too busy reading blogs (not entirely a bad thing). Not only is it hard to find the time to keep up with the reading, it may also be a challenge to find ways to make certain theoretical or academic texts relevant to our own practice and professional work on a day-to-day basis.
So let’s bring back the books! This summer, connect with current thinking and museum colleagues through a series of Google Hangout Book Club conversations that will bring a variety of ideas and questions to key publications in the field of museum education (past and present). These discussions will not simply “review” the book at hand, but focus on how what’s on our bookshelf can inform our practice. How do ideas forwarded by certain authors and scholars connect with our day-to-day programs and work in museums? What new ideas might be sparked from the pages of current or classic texts in museum learning?
The inaugural Online Book Club was held on July 8th at 3pm Pacific (6pm Eastern) focusing on the recent book Museums and Communities: Curators, Collections, and Collaboration (2013) edited by Viv Golding and Wayne Modest. For this discussion, ArtMuseumTeaching.com partnered with The Incluseum blog to take a deep dive into this collection of essays that explore the complex issues arising from recent approaches to collaboration between museums and their communities. The authors of this book outline a range of critical pedagogies and present important case studies that “challenge us to move beyond shallow notions that both elide the complexity of community identities and make simplistic claims to engagement by museums.”
As Viv Golding states in her introduction, this book explores best practice examples in detail to highlight how these provide “a better model of community collaboration” (3). In the chapter by Wayne Modest on youth participation and co-curating with teenagers, he addresses core thought-provoking questions such as:
“Who benefits from engagement, the museum or the community? How can we engage communities to their benefit? Who drives engagement, communities or the museum?”
Please view the video archive for this Hangout below — a great discussion about how the essays and case studies featured in its pages might connect to the work we’re doing on the ground in our museum or community.
Have ideas for other books we could feature in future Online Book Club discussions? Let us know in the Comments section below, and we’ll try to pull together a few more before the summer is over. We have some great ideas, so we’ll have more information available soon.
Note: Thanks to everyone who participated in the July 8th Online Book Club Hangout. Here is a link to the video archive:
We look forward to continuing this exciting conversation as well as this series of Online Book Club discussion! Stay connected with the Art Museum Teaching Google Community to learn about upcoming discussions. And, as always, if you have any ideas for a future Hangout or online get-together, let me know and we can work to schedule here within the ArtMuseumTeaching.com community.