Saturday, August 11, 2012

Make Sessions Better!

For next year's American Association of Museums Annual Meeting in Baltimore, AAM has embarked on an innovative process of session development.  If you haven't taken a look yet,  head on over and do so.  Until August 24,  session proposals are open for comment by colleagues.  Some sessions seem fully developed, others are looking for presenters, and still others seem very much in t the idea stage.  This gives you a great chance to comment on how proposals could be stronger,  on approaches you find useful (or not so much), and if you're thinking of attending the conference, a chance to share your own expertise.

I'm involved in several proposals and we'd love your feedback on all of them.   Rainey Tisdale and I, as part of our Museums & Creative practice project have two on the docket.  First, we're proposing a session in which we share our own learning in this process. As our proposal, Building a Creative Culture at Your Museum says,  "We’ve sought input from colleagues across the field at every step of this project, so it seems appropriate to spend some time at the AAM conference sharing the final results with you.  During this session, we’ll start by outlining the most critical things we’ve learned about museums and creativity. Then we’ll run through the most important first steps participants can take as soon as they return home to start building a creative culture at their museum."
But we also want to take our creative ideas a bit further.  In You’ve Just Won a Museum Workspace Makeover! we're going to take ideas about creative spaces and put them to work redoing those museum offices.  You'll be able to submit your own office space for the participants to rethink,  and everyone will gain tips on how to make your workplace (in the basement, the historic house kitchen, or a cubicle) into a place where good ideas flourish.

My colleagues Tricia Edwards of the Lemelson Center for Innovation and Invention at the National Museum of American History and Eugene Chervony,  this year a Fulbright Scholar at George Washington University and I have developed a session that looks at the ways in which ideas and museum practice can be adapted cross-culturally, based on our very different experiences in Ukraine.
And finally,  Greg Steven and I hope to return, joined by Anne Ackerson of Leading by Design,  for a fast-paced session, Strategize Me,  on assessing and developing your own career path.  Last year's session was standing room only with great audience participation--we promise fun and fast-paced.

So head on over to the AAM website (whether or not you plan on attending the conference) and share your feedback.  How can we make our sessions more meaningful and useful to you?  I'm intrigued by a wide range of sessions--Unintentional Lessons from Visitor Surveys; Grow or Die:  Is Expansion the Best (or only) Strategy;  Making the Case for Bricks and Mortar Museums in a Digital Age; and Cats and Dogs Living Together.  Got a session idea yourself?  It's not too late!

1 comment:

janice said...

I'm delighted to see this post since one of the potential problems that I am seeing with this new system is that it is operating somewhat in isolation from other more established forms of electronic communication between museum professionals. I very much understand the idea of wanting all the discussion about sessions to be done in the open on a single forum, but that means that it can be difficult to draw on the resources of various professional listservs and blogs. Letting your readers know about sessions in the works, but sending them to the AAM website to learn more is an excellent tactic and one that could stand some flattering imitation.