01 Jul 2017
New Book: "Museum Participation: New Directions for Audience Collaboration"
Independent publishing house MuseumsEtc has recently published Museum Participation: New Directions for Audience Collaboration, a collection of essays and case studies edited by Kayte McSweeney and Jen Kavanagh. The book provides examples of inspirational participative practice within larger museums and galleries throughout the world, as well as provocative and challenging thinking from eminent professionals. It shows what is being done, and how it can be done. Editors argue that genuine participation is about much more than simply “taking part”, but many museums’ commitment to engagement and participation remains at this superficial level. Larger museums, in particular, struggle to engage with their communities in genuinely participatory ways. And often, although the museum may be committed to social change - it has difficulty in changing itself. In this context, the book suggests that true participation should involve the sharing of authority, decision-making and power, and letting go of the boundaries between the professional and the public. Museum Participation: New Directions for Audience Collaboration includes examples from a wide range of museums in Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Slovenia, the UK and the USA, as well as contributions by authors in other countries. Among the case studies presented in the book are several from ASEMUS member museums, including the British Museum, the Horniman Museum (UK) and the Natural History Museum (UK). Editor Kayte McSweeney is the Object Journeys Partnerships Manager at the British Museum, whereas Jen Kavanagh is an independent curator and museum professional based in London. Museum Participation: New Directions for Audience Collaboration can be purchased for £85 at https://museumsetc.com/products/museum-participation