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Introduction

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African fish eagle (Haliaetus vocifer) over Chobe River, Botswana

As in the metaphor in the title of this week’s session (Eagle’s view), this week we will explore issues at the heart of building inclusive practices in museum/institutional culture that need to be considered from the perspective of an eagle.

Studies indicate that when the culture of inclusion has not permeated from top-down and bottom-up, as in a reciprocal relationship, there is a failure to sustain innovative practices which expand and extend inclusivity. Leadership exists in multiple ways across and between institutions. There are clear roles and responsibilities of governance for the board and senior authorities. Yet, leadership can also be ascribed to professional and non-professional staff who contribute specialist expertise, experience and insights in the development of the museum. A welcoming institution can often be tested with its reception and frontline staff. Leadership is therefore also critical for non-professional and museologically defined roles. Reception, ticket sales, marketing, media, and support staff all have a role to play.

This week is therefore aimed at all tiers and layers of leadership within the museum: from governance to specialists and experts and support staff. The sessions will focus on these particular issues: understanding ethics and ethical principles and practices within the context of collaboration across the museum and between the museum and communities.

Special attention is focused on ethical practices which are necessary when working with communities which have experienced historical injustices, present inequalities and vulnerability. We will examine case studies which present ethical challenges in order to understand how ethics is also context bound, much like exclusion and social inclusion, as we saw in our previous week. In this section, we will also present articles and conversations around how to engage meaningfully and consistently through appropriate governance mechanisms such as principles, policies, representative committees and so on.

We wish through these articles, discussions and exercises to invite you to think about how best ethical practices for inclusion may be built into the cultural practice of the museum/institution, across programmatic and governance structures.

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Creating Meaningful and Inclusive Museum Practices

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