Engaging Curators: The Ethics and Practicalities of Working with and Responding to Communities

Performing Tibetan Identities. Image courtesy of Ian Wallman and the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford.

Funded by Arts Council England, this project aimed to encourage both personal and institutional reflection on the theoretical and practical aspects of collaborative practice, especially in terms of curatorial involvement in community work.

The project responded to debates and discussions from papers presented at MEG’s 2012 conference. Although museum ethnographers have recently developed new practices to meet the needs of stakeholder communities in the UK and abroad, this knowledge often remains within institutions and individuals, lacking wider dissemination. Conference members and delegates highlighted the need for guidance and support in engaging with and responding to communities, as well as opportunities to learn from the experiences of others. Consequently, MEG received funding to organise two targeted workshops with invited speakers to discuss community engagement issues and facilitate face-to-face interactions between non-specialists, experts, and MEG.

Dr Bernadette Lynch, a renowned writer, researcher, and museum adviser, coordinated the project.