This edited volume critically engages with contemporary scholarship on museums and their engagement with the communities they purport to serve and represent. Foregrounding new curatorial strategies, it addresses a significant gap in the available literature, exploring some of the complex issues arising from recent approaches to collaboration between museums and their communities.
The book unpacks taken-for-granted notions such as scholarship, community, participation and collaboration, which can gloss over the complexity of identities and lead to tokenistic claims of inclusion by museums. Over sixteen chapters, well-respected authors from the US, Australia and Europe offer a timely critique to address what happens when museums put community-minded principles into practice, challenging readers to move beyond shallow notions of political correctness that ignore vital difference in this contested field.
Contributors address a wide range of key issues, asking pertinent questions such as how museums negotiate the complexities of integrating collaboration when the target community is a living, fluid, changeable mass of people with their own agendas and agency. When is engagement real as opposed to symbolic, who benefits from and who drives initiatives? What particular challenges and benefits do artist collaborations bring? Recognising the multiple perspectives of community participants is one thing, but how can museums incorporate this successfully into exhibition practice?
Students of museum and cultural studies, practitioners and everyone who cares about museums around the world will find this volume essential reading.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 481 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 20 mm
[Museums and Communities] supplies the current state of the theoretical and practical activity in museum studies. It shows that museums have made efforts to open themselves to diverse groups interested in creating new systems of representation. The authors remind us that artists' interventions in museums urge curators to be more responsible and involved, allowing for effective dialogue with communities within disputed histories. * Perspective (Bloomsbury translation) *
Museums and Communities thoroughly and unflinchingly interrogates the widely touted goal of collaborative museum work, providing a realistic assessment of the risks and pitfalls, but also the incredible rewards that come with a deep curatorial commitment to working collaboratively. * William Wood, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA *
All too often museums invoke the idea of "community" in naive and uncritical ways. Here at last is an attempt to complicate this construction, unpick its politics, and explore its dynamics in the context of museum exhibition, engagement and outreach. This book has much to teach us about how museums imagine their communities and reminds us of the need to develop more sophisticated approaches to collaborative museology. * Paul Basu , University College London, UK *