Two new internet sightings remind me that the future of museums is a lively topic of debate in the United Kingdom.
- Vaughan Allen, director of the URBIS arts center in Manchester, looks at “the future of museums, galleries, citizenship and culture” for the website Culture24. Among other things, he’s worried that the current economic downturn has shaken the commitment of many museums to engage with their communities. (By the way, this is also a featured clipping in the October 14 edition of Dispatches from the Future of Museums, a new weekly briefing from CFM. Click here for information about subscribing.)
- Planning to be in Birmingham on October 23? Then you might be interested in attending a Public Forum on Imagining Museums at the Ikon Gallery. Organizers describe it as “a debate on the future of museums in the light of the proposed new museum of contemporary art for Birmingham. With leading curators from the UK and around the world, our three panel sessions will explore issues of collecting in the 21st Century and developing innovative learning and research programmes.”
This is on top of a recent government summit devoted to the future of museums in Scotland (see here and here), a series of thoughtful reports by the Museums Association (on the future of collections, the workforce, and other topics), and Understanding the Future: Museums and the 21st Century, a 2005 report from the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
This is hardly an exhaustive list—so let us know about similar work on the future of museums in Britain or anywhere else in the world.
Contributed by Phil Katz, assistant director, research, American Association of Museums