The Journey of Change Continues: Making the Permanent Move to “Agents of Change”

When I began the Art Museum Teaching site back in 2011 (now almost 11 years ago), my main goal was to create community — to develop a space online where educators and museum thinkers could share ideas, questions, and insights as we reflected on our practice.

It was also about having a space where we could be personal, vulnerable, and human with each other — leaving behind some of the depersonalizing traditions of academia or the institutional workplace. I wrote from my own personal voice, and regularly invited contributing authors to share their insights from their own personal voice and lived experiences.

Over the years, this site grew into a collaborative online forum for reflecting on critical issues in the field of museums, including issues of teaching and learning as well as community engagement, equity & inclusion, social justice, and reflective practice. Through more than 260 posts from myself and nearly 60 incredible guest authors (many of whom have since become close friends and colleagues of mine), this forum has brought together over 500,000 people from around the entire world to engage in a dialogue about museum practice, teaching practice, and community practice. We also organized some pretty amazing in-person, events, including a few Museum Teaching Throwdowns, Gallery Teaching Mashups, and, my all-time favorite, the Gallery Teaching Marathon in San Diego back in 2014. These events were such a key part of building community in the early days of Art Museum Teaching, and I’m grateful for everyone who helped make these possible.

This all started with a simple idea to bring people together in an effort to change museum teaching through experimentation, self reflection, personal & professional growth, and being the change we wanted to see in our field. Over the years, this focus on change has become a central part of my journey to build a better future for museums. That was the impetus for my 2021 book Museums as Agents of Change, and for so much of my professional work in recent years.

Now that journey of change is shifting online platforms, permanently moving from Art Museum Teaching to my new Agents of Change publication on Substack.

Making the Move

After a couple years of pausing my work with Art Museum Teaching, I’ve decided to officially write the last chapter at this site and make a permanent move over to the new Agents of Change publication. It has been an amazing 11 years dedicating my time to Art Museum Teaching, but I think it’s time for me to fully focus my work on growing this community of changemakers through Agents of Change.

As part of my efforts to keep this community together (and to continue to offer resources and support for this incredible group of educators and thinkers), I am going to transfer all the “email followers” over to the new Substack publication. If you are part of this group, you should receive a welcome message inviting you to the Agents of Change publication. I hope that you decide to become a regular part of the growing Agents of Change community, through which you’ll receive new content and posts.

If you have been following Art Museum Teaching through WordPress or simply finding this site through Google or social media, I welcome you to join us over at Agents of Change. To Subscribe, just click on this link and enter your email. It’s that simple!

Here are just a few examples of posts featured this past year through Agents of Change:

I will keep the archive of posts and content here on the Art Museum Teaching WordPress site for as long as I can, since I know that many people still use this site as a resource. There is some powerful, insightful writing here, and many useful posts that continue to be relevant and urgent. I hope to share some of the jewels from this community through Agents of Change, too.

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

So What is Agents of Change?

Agents of Change is a new Substack publication that I launched in the fall of 2021, focusing more broadly on how we can bring human-centered change to our work in museums, nonprofits, and beyond. I’ve been engaged in strategies of change for more than a decade now through my work and activism in the museum field as well as my work in environmental education, and I’m excited to be taking this new step to share what I have learned over the years, help support others in their change practice, and continue my own learning process.

I believe that we all have a role to play in demanding, creating, and supporting the change we need to see in the institutions that shape public life. But that change cannot truly start until we first look inside ourselves. 

I see Agents of Change as a space to expand our conversations around change, share new and ever-evolving ideas that can help us all advance change, and bring those strategies to our organizations (museums, arts & culture organizations, and more). I launched this publication so that it can become a resource and guide for those stepping up to become changemakers in their own organizations and communities, and to bring people together around key issues, questions, and strategies to make this change happen. 

A couple times a month, you’ll get free posts from me offering key questions, strategies, and resources designed to support you and to bring our changemaker community together to support each other. I encourage you to see this as a platform for active exchange, connection, and dialogue, so please add your thoughts, experiences, and questions to the comments. I’ll also be sharing audio notes (kind of like a mini podcast) and thread posts which encourage you to share your questions and experiences. And I’m sure there will continue to be experimentation and guest contributions, just as there was with Art Museum Teaching.

I have also begun a series of independent professional development & growth programs to further support changemakers and form an even stronger community. I offered my first-ever Summer Institute for Changemakers this past summer with huge success, and am now accepting registration for the Fall Institute for Changemakers (which starts September 27th). There will be more options for people to get involved as the Agents of Change publication expands and evolves this fall and into next year, including a new paid subscription option for those interested in more support, content, and ways to connect. But don’t worry, the free subscription option will always be available.

I believe that it is the deeply human act of love that is the utmost core of our work to transform organizations into more generous, welcoming places that center community, equity, connection, and care. And I’m excited to advocate for this transformation in a broader way, and work with people across all types of institutions, at all levels of their career, and across all boundaries.

I began Art Museum Teaching with a passion for change, and it is this passion that I bring to Agents of Change and this growing community of changemakers.

We Are All Agents of Change

In 2000, visionary science fiction author Octavia Butler wrote an essay for Essence Magazine entitled “A Few Rules for Predicting the Future.” At the start of the essay, she describes an encounter she had with a student while signing books after a talk she gave. The young man seemed overwhelmed by the daunting scope of the problems that Butler writes about in her books, asking her, “So what’s the answer?”

“There isn’t one,” she responded. “I mean there’s no single answer that will solve all of our future problems. There’s no magic bullet. Instead there are thousands of answers—at least. You can be one of them if you choose to be.”

I believe that we all have a role to play as agents of change in our own work and our own lives—choosing to be one of those “thousands of answers” that Butler refers to. We all have a role in solving our current crises because I believe that we absolutely can transform museums and nonprofits.

We can have hope for a better future and begin building that future right now. It is up to us to choose to step up, be a solution to the problems we’re experiencing, and make this change happen together.

Thank you all for being part of this journey with me, and for continuing to be part of this incredible community of changemakers!

See you over at Agents of Change!

Share Your Perspective & Add to the Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.