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Free your mind! Funky futures & transformative education

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog
 If you free your mind, you free your relationship to time”—George Clinton, funky musician and Afrofuturist

Vibrant (adjective): Full of energy and enthusiasm. Pulsating. Bright and Striking…

Learning (noun): The acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.

My name is Sage Morgan-Hubbard and I am a constantly learning and creative being. My task is to help expand the evolving ecosystem of P-12 education and help to generate disruptive change. Over the next two years, as the Ford W. Bell Fellow in Museums and K-12 Education, I look forward to collaborating with each of you (museums, makers, educators, researcher, artists, consultants, activists and more…) to continue and expand the American Alliance of Museum’s educational resources in ways that stretch the boundaries of the field. I am excited to join you in this dynamic blog world through the Center for the Future of Museums.

I first time travelled and witnessed the future by listening to the funk music in my parents’ music collection and going to the free concerts at the Smithsonian’s annual Folklife festival on the national mall in Washington, D.C. where I was born and raised. Some might wonder how you could learn about the future from funkmaster George Clinton and yet he has been interplanetary and literally rode a Mothership into concerts for decades now. His “Mothership” is going to be one of the largest items displayed at the new National African American Museum of History and Culture and I cannot wait to have my worlds collide in such a beautiful and funkified way.

As you probably can tell, I am not a traditional learner myself and I advocate for multi-faceted approaches to teaching and experiential learning. I believe that there are so many different ways to acquire knowledge and become educated. Exploring museums has always been one of my favorite ways to expand my mind through encountering physical objects in new places and interacting with them in new ways.

I get renewed by all kinds of opportunities for informal learning and by continually including more varied voices into unexpected educational spaces. This radical inclusion work cannot happen alone or in a vacuum. It will require your help and involvement.
One of my first research projects at CFM will focus on discovering places where innovative education and vibrant learning pairs effectively with museums. I will be thinking a lot about transformative education or education that is not only about learning specific skill sets, but is also a reciprocal process between learners and educators that results in shifts of consciousness that alter our ways of being in the world, helping us better understand ourselves and relations of power in structures of race, class, gender and social justice, and more.
I am excited that CFM believes that “museums can change the world, and that museums can make learning in the US more equitable, enriching and effective.” These are some of my favorite “E” words and I’m ready to jump in full force and tackle the issues within our current educational landscape in the United States by:
  1. Spreading the Word: Compiling and sharing information needed to guide planning and decision-making by museums, educators and learners
  2. Disrupting Conventional Dialogue: Promoting unconventional thinking about education and expanding our conception of the educational landscape.
  3. Creating Systemic Change: Inspiring and instigating innovative experiments to strengthen the role museums play in education.
  4. Building partnerships between P-12 schools and museums.
  5. Fostering experiments in education innovation and organizing convenings around these experiments. 
  6.   Crafting toolkits to foster promising practices of museum education across the field.
  7. Contributing research that documents the significant role of museums as sites of learning.
  8.  Much more to be imagined… 

For a recent example my personal exploration of this topic, please see my fictional piece from the perspective of my son in the future.
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Sage Morgan-Hubbard is an educator, poet, mother, and lover of all things funky. You can talk to her at smorganhubbard (at) aam-us (dot) org and at the Vibrant Learning website.

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