Sunday, October 14, 2012

I'm Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

One of my great joys over the last several years has been the opportunity to think more globally about the work that we do in museums and cultural organizations while at the same time, getting a chance to delve deeper into local communities.  I've got three upcoming projects I want to share with you that will offer new ways for me to expand my perspectives and understandings.
For the next six months or so, I'll be working as an education consultant with Context Travel, a small company that creates walking seminars for the intellectually curious in great cities of the world.  This fall I'll be taking tours and meeting their docents (all scholars and specialists) in New York, Philadelphia, Boston here in the states and in London, Rome, Paris, Naples, Florence and Venice.  The tours are amazing in their depth and variety--from Power and Propaganda in Roman Art and Architecture to Charles Dickens, Storyteller of Victorian London;  from The Birth of the Cocktail in  to a Paris Market Walk-- Context Tours provide a very special way to engage deeply in a city.

After my information gathering and learning this fall, I'll be developing resources and workshops for staff and docents,  and returning next spring to London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid,  Berlin and Istanbul, to share ways to enhance what is already a highly regarded venture.  An adventure all around, and an opportunity for me to think more deeply about the ways in which we present the history, art and contemporary life of the places we live and work in.  (and by the way,  European Uncataloged readers:  I will try and squeeze some time in for museums--and would love to meet you as well!)  Look for blog posts inspired by the walks and city visits during November.
 "I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library, " wrote Jorge Luis Borges.  A new project of the Museum Association of New York,  the New York Library Association, and Museumwise will work on making that paradise even more creative and interesting for the youngest members of our community.  I'll be managing an IMLS supported planning project to explore the ways that libraries and museums can work together to create engaging history-based exhibitions, sized and geared for early learners using children's rooms at libraries. New York colleagues will be hearing much more about this, but I'm very excited to explore what such a collaboration might look like and what new ideas we can bring to the table by working together.
And finally,  I'm happy to announce my return to Ukraine this winter for a couple weeks in February.  With my dear friend and colleague Gyorgyi Nemeth of Hungary,  I'll be a Cultural Manager in Residence at Eko-Art, a dynamic organizaton,  in Donetsk.  The residency program, developed by the Centre for Cultural Management in L'viv, aims to bring diverse perspectives on culture and the opportunity for a productive exchange of ideas.  Specifically, we'll be working with young people on imagining innovative ways to share the industrial history of Donetsk--a city where that history is so important that a statue of a coal miner welcomes you into the city.  (And Ukrainian colleagues--I'm attempting to sneak a few days in Kyiv as well, so I hope to see many of you!)

Top two photos via the Context website;  middle and bottom photos via Flickr.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Linda, having been on a number of city tours both as a traveler or as a museum staffer, I have to say I think you'll be a great help. But I think that working with local guides will be your real challenge as the tradition is so often to pretty much tell everything you know - you're not really doing a good job otherwise. So communicating the less is more approach should be a challenge, but you're up to it. Best of luck. G

Linda said...

Thanks Gretchen--I'm looking forward to the challenge and especially impressed that Context looked to our field for some ways to improve what is already a very well-regarded business. And a great adventure for me, to boot!