Since 2014, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews has invited museum professionals from across Poland to a "Museum think-tank". The project involves the creation of an informal network of museum professionals and organisations that support the development of museology. During subsequent "Museum think-tank" editions, we debate selected issues that we then follow up on in a few more meetings. The 1st edition of the "Museum think-tank" focused on the participating museum, while the 2nd one was devoted to researching the audience and their development. "Museum against exclusion" is the motto of the 3rd edition. During a few meetings within the next editions, we would like to create a platform for the exchange of inspirations, practices and experiences, and to discuss together our doubts and questions. The think-tank's programme includes discussion seminars, methodological labs, anti-discrimination and creative workshops as well as lectures; each participant may take part in creating the programme by proposing their own topics for discussion.
Under "Faces of Diversity", in 2016-2017 we have invited people to jointly reflect upon the "Museum against exclusion" motto. The meetings have focused on the following issues: What kind of audience do we invite for joint activities and in what way? Who do we give voice to and who do we forget? To what extent do we manage to take into account in our programmes the perspectives of various groups – and how successful are we? How are minority voices represented? To what extent are inclusive projects really inclusive and integrating ones really integrating? How do we avoid various forms of exclusion during planning and implementing activities? How can we more effectively support groups at risk of discrimination, break "cultural hierarchies" and prevent reproducing the existing social inequalities and divisions? And also: whether and to what extent are we trying to implement equality ideas in our institutions'/organisations' internal realities?
The think-tank's current edition ended in a joint manifesto on equality standards in museums. The next edition of the think-tank is planned for the second half of 2017, this time centred around the issue "A socially-responsible museum".
Watch the reportage from „Museum think-tank” project:
See the following:
Polecamy:Recommended: "Edukacja antydyskryminacyjna i jej standardy jakościowe” (Anti-discriminatory education and its quality standards), Towarzystwo Edukacji Antydyskryminacyjnej, 2011, pp. 38-60: a tool for equality-based monitoring of organised events
Think-tank 2015, Audience research and development
Issues discussed: What do museums know about their audiences? How do they recognise and research their opinions and needs? How does the audience (as well as people who do not visit museums) see individual facilities? What do their closer and more distant neighbours think about them? What are the museum offer research strategies? What does the visitors' behaviour tell us about the museum? What research tools – quantitative, qualitative – have museums used and what tools should they use? How to adapt them to various audience groups? And additionally: why to research the audience? How does researching the audience influence their development and how does it affect changes in museums themselves?
Think-tank 2014, Participating museum
Issues debated: How is participation understood today, years after the idea entered the museum domain? Does it take place at the institution's initiative, or is the need for participation a bottom-up phenomenon? Which participation models are really worth implementing in museology, also given the now-debated "destructive innocence" of the participation postulate? What does recognition of the recipients' needs mean in museum practice, how are they co-created by an institution, and how do we check and evaluate the efficiency of proposed projects in terms of quality? When we speak of creating "new standards" in museum education and "a different museum", how do we define these categories? How do we understand change in our activities? Does museum education involve one-off or long-term projects? In our everyday practice, what does it mean to look for the "open museum" idea and what problems do we face when we "open" museums?
The 2014 and 2015 editions were supported by The Boeing Company.
See the photo gallery: