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Wrapping up


This week, we have explored a number of complex issues which require more reading and thinking about.

We first defined ethics and thought about the ways that ethical leadership lies at the heart of inclusive practice. Through readings and listening to various speakers, we also uncovered some of the key issues, challenges and possibilities for greater diversity and inclusive practice that rest in good governance. The case study and interviews provided an opportunity to examine a range of contexts where participatory processes are embedded, and to catalyse thought around how you may adapt and apply them within your own context.

This session focused on the ‘eagle’s view’. In the overview, distance implies that there is an understanding of what needs to be put in place at strategic and leadership levels to nurture and sustain inclusive practice.

Without embedding these issues within institutional culture and practice, efforts to transform the institution into an inclusive and welcoming one may fail or be short-lived. Cultivating a sense of ‘belonging’ and minimising a sense of exclusion on the part of communities cannot be piecemeal or coincidental. Relationship building, as exemplified in the examples shared in the interviews this week, is clearly long-term, commitment focused and resource dependent.

The session has raised a number of challenging issues. More than providing answers, we hoped to spark discussion and debate. We thought about the ways in which ethics and governance inform participatory processes across an institution. This eagle’s eye view proposes that there is no one way to engage and sustain participation between museums and communities. However, the speakers, readings and discussion questions should demonstrate a continuum of such practices and, learning from others, what systematic and thoughtful approaches can do.

We also hope that the selected speakers and interviews have demonstrated how critical sensitivity and good practice is needed when working with communities that have experienced historical and contemporary trauma, as well as those who have been and remain marginalized by society. Holding ethics at the core of good practice provides a lens through which to make judgements about what is right and wrong, especially when contexts and circumstances become opaque in complexity. Similarly, thinking through the levels of shared authority and governance across the various functions of the museum creates a pathway to greater integration, innovative forms of collaboration and deepening relationships between museums and communities.

The introduction to inclusive design has also provided some practical ideas of how to translate ethical practices of inclusion into the operations of creating a museum, influencing its programming and systems. While challenges of complexity can arise through diverse partnership management, there are also many opportunities for generating new ideas and different kinds and sources of resources which are responsive to context.

Over to you

In what ways could the lessons learned during this week’s session be applied to your own context?

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Creating Meaningful and Inclusive Museum Practices

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