Museopunks

Museopunks is a podcast for the progressive museum. 

Every month, Suse Anderson investigates the fascinating work and personalities in and around the museum sector. The Punks explore some of the sector’s most stimulating questions, institutions, and practices, with a focus on emergent, boundary-pushing work and ideas.

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Episodes

Museopunks Episode 31: Are Museums “Safe Spaces for Unsafe Ideas?”

Since the mid-1990s, it has been received wisdom that museums are, or should be, “safe spaces for unsafe ideas.” But is this true? Are museum safe spaces? And do they really deal in unsafe ideas? In this episode, Elaine Heumann Gurian, who is credited with first expressing this idea, helps us unpack whether it continues to make sense in museums today.

Episode 30: Truth & Reconciliation in Museums

How can museums participate in transitional justice, which seeks to address massive human rights violations? In this episode, Suse is joined by Omar Eaton-Martínez and Dr. Karine Duhamel to explore the implications of truth and reconciliation in museums.

Episode 29: Virtually Yours (Part 2)

In this special two-part episode, Suse and special guest co-host Desi Gonzales, explore virtual reality in museums. In part two, we take a deep dive into Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s academy-award winning virtual reality installation CARNE y ARENA with VR film-maker Paisley Smith.

Episode 28: Virtually Yours (Part 1)

In this special two-part episode, Suse and special guest co-host Desi Gonzales, explore virtual reality in museums. In part two, we take a deep dive into Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s academy-award winning virtual reality installation CARNE y ARENA with VR film-maker Paisley Smith.

Episode 27: #MuseumsAreNotNeutral

With a reticence towards partisan politics, museums are sometimes perceived to be neutral institutions, many avoiding taking a visible stand on issues. But can they really avoid being political when making choices about the allocation of resources, time, and energy? #MuseumsAreNotNeutral is “an initiative that exposes the fallacies of the neutrality claim and calls for an equity-based transformation of museums.” In this episode, LaTanya S. Autry and Mike Murawski break down the #MuseumsAreNotNeutral campaign, while Kaywin Feldman, Nivin and Duncan MacMillan Director and President of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), discusses what it’s like to run a museum at a time of crisis.

Episode 26: Decolonize the Museum!

The vision of the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine, describes how the museum “will reflect and realize the values of decolonization in all of its practices, working with the Wabanaki Nations to share their stories, history, and culture with a broader audience.” But what does it take to decolonize a museum? How does it change the governance structure and the practices of the board? What kinds of frameworks and internal work are necessary to shift the balance of authority within the institution, and turn theory into actionable change?

Episode 25: The Next Chapter

As former Museopunk Jeffrey Inscho leaves the museum world, we take a moment to reflect on the factors that influence a decision to leave or join the museum profession. We also examine what outside organizations can gain from hiring museum professionals–and what museums can gain from those who have grown up professionally in complementary industries. Plus, we preview a soon-to-air podcast that focuses on the wildly circuitous ways through which people come to and leave, museums.

Episode 24: Institutional Bravery

Increasingly, it feels like progressive museum practice is also political museum practice. So what does it mean for a museum to take a stand, and put social just at the heart of its work? In this episode, Suse talks with David Fleming, Director of National Museums Liverpool (NML) and President of the UK Museums Association, about the social impact of museum work, advocacy as a strategic objective, and what it means for a museum service to be openly political.

Episode 23: The Gendered Museum

Did you know that several studies in recent years have shown that when women enter a specific field in large numbers, the pay for that field declines overall, even for the same jobs that men were doing? This is one of many implications of gendered professions, which are at the core of this month’s episode of Museopunks. The Punks dig into the implications of the gendered museum, and its impact on pay and the sector more broadly with Anne W. Ackerson and Joan H. Baldwin, whose new book Women in the Museum explores the professional lives of the sector’s female workforce today and examines the challenges they face working in what was, until recently, a male-dominated field. The Punks are then joined by nikhil trivedi for a conversation about the impact of gender and masculinity on technology work, inside museums and beyond.

Episode 22: Human Behavior

Museums that want to impact their visitors are often concerned with changing their behaviors. However, before any kind of change can take place, it’s important to understand visitors and the behaviors that they bring into the museum with them. In this episode, the ‘Punks ask how museums can better understand and align their work around existing visitor behaviors. We talk to the first Neuroscience Researcher in an art museum to learn more about how the human brain understands the physical world, and how that connects to our emotions and then connect with an experience designer whose work has focussed on social media use in the cultural sector.

Episode 21: The “Outsiders” Edition

Since the 1960s, artists have been critically examining the practices of museums, at times critiquing the idea of what a museum is and how it presents its stories. One of the most influential exhibitions of Institutional Critique was Mining the Museum–an installation by artist Fred Wilson at the Maryland Historical Society, in collaboration with The Contemporary.

Episode 20: An Ode to Self-Care

Progressive museum work, particularly when focussed around community engagement, is often a form of emotion work that demands emotional labor. Museum professionals who are deeply engaged with the challenges of changing their institutions, negotiating a volatile political climate, or facilitating community work, can experience compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress, and burnout. So how can museum professionals look after themselves, in order to better care for their communities and colleagues?

Episode 19: The State Of Love And Trust

In this first episode of season two, the ‘Punks unpack the trials and tribulations of trust with Dr. fari nzinga and Adriel Luis. Report after report indicates that public trust in institutions is plummeting. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, which surveys more than 33,000 people across 28 countries, showed the largest-ever drop in trust across the institutions of government, business, media, and NGOs. Meanwhile, the Economist’s Intelligence Unit downgraded the US to a “flawed democracy” in its 2016 Democracy Index, due to an erosion of trust in government and elected officials.

Find Season One of Museopunks on Soundcloud

About Museopunks

Follow Museopunks on Twitter

Listen to the first season on Soundcloud

Presenting Sponsor

Museopunks is presented by the American Alliance of Museums.

All Museopunks published material is released as Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

The ‘Punk

Suse Cairns Anderson HeadshotSuse Anderson

For close to a decade, Suse has explored the intersection of technology and culture, with a focus on the impact of digital technologies on the museum. She is currently Assistant Professor, Museum Studies at The George Washington University, where she teaches courses on museums and digital technology, social media, and visitor experience. She holds a PhD (Creative Arts) and a BFA (Hons – 1st class, Faculty Medal), both from The University of Newcastle, Australia, and a BArts (Comms – Journalism) from Charles Sturt University.

Since moving from Australia to Baltimore in 2014, Suse has fallen in love with the city she now calls home. You should visit her there one day, or connect with her on Twitter.

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