"A Meeting Place: Online Global Discussions for Museum and Gallery Professionals" is a new online webinar series facilitated by British Council in partnership with ICOM UK and Museums Association for leading museum and gallery professionals around the world. Five webinars took place from October 2020 through March 2021 where speakers explored some of the most significant topics of interest facing museum and gallery professionals today like the pivot to digital, community engagement, decolonisation, environment and sustainability and equality, diversity and inclusion.

Full transcripts, links and resources and full speakers' biographies can be downloaded for each recording here.  

#AMeetingPlaceDiscussions 

ACCESSIBILITY

  • This series offered Closed Captioning and a British Sign Language interpreter
  • Live captioning/Claire Hill, speech-to-text reporter
  • British Sign Language/Catherine King, interpreter (BSL/English)  

Leading Digital in a Time of Uncertainty – 22 October 2020 (11 am CET)
Hosted by Professor Ross Parry, Deputy Head of School & Professor of Museum Technology at the University of Leicester, in conversation with Nikita Yingqian Cai, Chief Curator, Times Museum in Guangzhou, Niall Kerr, Making the Future Programme Manager at the Nerve Centre, Northern Ireland and Irini Papadimitriou Creative Director of Future Everything. 

“It’s time to recognise that digital change in museums is about supporting people and not just mastering technology. Leading digital adoption and transformation in museums has always required taking a holistic and contextual view of the organisation and its specific needs. And so now, amidst a pandemic, with individuals and institutions both feeling uncertain, how might we locate new skills of empathetic and equitable leadership?

Community Engagement: Inspiring Engagement – 24 November 2020 (12 am CET)
Hosted by Dhikshana Turakhia Pering, Head of Engagement & Skills, Somerset House, London, in conversation with Arta Agani, Professor of Typography at Akademia Evolucion for Communication Design and Director, National Gallery of Kosovo, Aug 2016 – Aug 2020, Kamini Sawhney, Director, Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), Bangalore, India and Nia Williams, Director of Learning & Engagement, Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales.

"Cultural rights and democratic participation are the future of our museums. With the global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, 2020 has reshaped the way we connect to our audiences - what can we learn from this and how can we work together better with our communities? What working examples can be shared to demonstrate how community engagement looks different in other countries and how can we go from mission statement to practice?"

Decolonisation: Moving Towards a More Holistic Perspective and Relational Approach – 19 January 2021 (8:30 am GMT)
Hosted by Tonya Nelson, Director, London, Arts Council England, who will be in conversation with Miranda Lowe, Principal Curator, The Natural History Museum, Co-Founder of Museum Detox; Professor Shahid Vawda, Archie Mafeje Chair in Critical Humanities and Decoloniality Director of School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics; and Peter White, Senior Manager, Aboriginal Strategy and Engagement at Create NSW.

"In the past the decolonisation debate within museums was dominated by question of restitution of artefacts to countries of origin. However, as the conversation has expanded to consider how museums reflect the voices and experiences of a diverse range of audiences and communities, approaches have become less transactional. This session will explore the process of decolonisation through relationship building between countries, institutions, communities and people far and near."

Time for Change: tackling underrepresentation to bring about innovation and equity  16th February 2021 (5 pm CET)
Hosted by Esther Fox, Head of Accentuate Programme at Screen South, Artist and Researcher, in conversation with Zeina Arida, Director, Sursock Museum, Beirut; Daniel Kotowski, Visual Artist and Educator at Zachęta National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Ruth McCarthy, Artistic Director, Outburst Arts, Belfast; and Hanna Wróblewska, Director, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw and Commissioner of the Polish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

“It is largely accepted that Museums across the UK are lagging behind other cultural sector organisations when it comes to workforce diversity, with Disabled people and those from ethnically diverse backgrounds most underrepresented.  This inequality within Museums is further reflected in terms of their collections and displays, with exhibitions rarely being curated by disabled people, or those from ethnically diverse and LGBTQI+ backgrounds who would bring their own authentic understandings.  However, over the last year the Covid-19 Pandemic has shown us things do not need to remain the same and there is an opportunity for great change.

But will this change be for the good or will it further disadvantage people? Championing equality, and inclusion is a step towards challenging current underrepresentation and bringing about positive change, but is this radical enough to create a culture shift and change mindsets? This session looks at whether we need to consider an equity focussed approach instead.”

From an unsustainable past to a sustainable future – Tuesday 23 March, (4 pm CET)
Hosted by Henry McGhie, Founder, Curating Tomorrow, in conversation with Julie Decker, Director/CEO, Anchorage Museum, Alaska; Karin Weil González, Anthropologist and Heritage Officer, Wetlands Research Centre Río Cruces, Universidad Austral de Chile; Dr. Susanne Nawrath, Scientific Exhibition Manager, Klimahaus® Bremerhaven 8° Ost; and Elena Trimarchi, Learning and Engagement Manager, David Livingstone Birthplace, Blantyre, Scotland.

"Sustainability means the ability to last, to continue, to persist. It doesn't necessarily mean staying the same, but it does mean contributing positively to society, the environment and the economy. COVID19 has revealed the many vulnerabilities that existed in society, and in museums before the crisis hit. Now is a time of recovery and rehabilitation, but it is also an opportunity for reconstruction: to 'build back better' to a more sustainable future and more sustainable museums.

What does this mean? A sustainable future needs sustainable museums, just as a sustainable future will be no place for unsustainable museums. This webinar will explore sustainable development ideas and how they can be used to 'build back better'. We will explore how we balance the need to get back on our feet, and the need to transform. We will draw on global perspectives and experience, to ensure that we don't end up back at square one, and that we work towards a better future where risks are understood, managed, and mitigated. We will explore how Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals can be used as a blueprint for this reconstruction, working to ensure that no community, and no museum, is 'left behind'."