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Introducing TrendsWatch 2019

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog
In the cover art for the 2019 edition of TrendsWatch, a figure in futuristic dress looks out into a view of space with a console consisting of abstract shapes above it.
The 2019 edition of TrendsWatch—the Alliance's forecasting report—covers the emergent topics of truth and trust, blockchain, decolonization, homelessness and housing insecurity, and self-care.

The Alliance’s annual forecasting report is now available! The new edition of TrendsWatch explores truth and trust, decolonization, blockchain, homelessness and housing insecurity, and self-care. Visit the TrendsWatch 2019 landing page to access the report and associated content.

Here is a short video overview of the report:

While seemingly disparate, this year’s topics are in fact deeply entangled with one another. Indigenous people on settled lands suffer high rates of homelessness and housing insecurity. Blockchain technology is being deployed to help people experiencing housing insecurity access services, and to combat fake news and rebuild trust. The weaponization of news (fake or not) contributes to the stress afflicting activists combating social and economic injustice. And now, more than ever, those who help society face these challenges have need of self-care to foster the resilience they need to sustain their work.

I’m honored to have had the assistance of many wise people in exploring these important topics, including, from the museum sector, Puawai Cairns, Cinnamon Caitlin-Legutko, Lisa Yun Lee, Jaclyn Roessel, Jessica and Matt Turtle, and Seema Rao.

The report highlights the good work being done by many museums to engage with these trends, for example:

  • The Newseum helping students avoid fakes, hoaxes, and misinformation with “Fact Finder: Your Guide to Media Literacy.”
  • The ZKM Center for Art and Media explaining the inner workings of blockchain through the accessible medium of the popular digital collectable CryptoKitties.
  • The San Diego Museum of Man establishing the position of director of decolonizing initiatives.
  • The soon-to-open National Public Housing Museum creating an Entrepreneurship Hub to serve as a business incubator for public housing residents.

I encourage you to use the report to spark discussions at your organization around how these trends are affecting your community, your staff, and your operations.

CFM’s work is made possible with the support of the membership of the Alliance as well as our corporate sponsors. In recognition of this support, TrendsWatch 2019 is free to individual members of AAM and to staff of member organizations.

This year for the first time, we are charging a nominal amount ($10) for non-members to access the report. The executive summary and the video introducing the report are free to all, as are PDF copies of past issues.

Thank you in advance for supporting TrendsWatch and other resources that CFM provides to the field.

Yours from the future,


CryptoKitties are digital collectables tracked and sold on the Etherium blockchain.
CryptoKitties are digital collectables tracked and sold on the Etherium blockchain.


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1 Comment

  1. Hi Elizabeth,
    Nice topic! I think our temporary exhibition News or Nonsense fits really well in this summary?

    In this temporary exhibition (November 2017 – July 2018) we confronted our visitors with their news consumption habits and strategies: How do you take your own responsibility on your own media behavior and truthfulness? Do you trust the news or check the news? How do you get out of your filter bubble? In other words, how do you filter your fact from fake, hard news from hoaxes? Are you news conscious or a news illiterate?

    The visitor learned more about the role, development and functioning of the journalistic media in Dutch society and experiences her / his own view of news and own media usage. The exhibition invited the visitor to think about what news is and how her / his opinion about the world is formed. At the end of the exhibition, the visitor was more aware of the role of news media and their own role.
    The exhibition included various participatory elements that allowed the visitor to contribute to the content of the exhibit, letting them reflect on how news equates to truth, the importance of journalism and the future of news.

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