I’ve just been in Auckland for the annual Diversity Forum. This is a loose ‘umbrella conference’ which brings together a wide variety of perspectives and debates about diversity in our society. MA hosted a session for museums and galleries at the Auckland Art Gallery yesterday. Nearly 50 people from a wide range of organisations heard from colleagues who are engaging with diverse communities, and discussed some of the issues raised. Auckland Museum is taking its programmes out to youth through its UrbanLife programme, which you can explore on their blog and Facebook page.
Ema Tavola shared her experience of advocating for the Auckland Art Gallery’s free bus which is giving South Aucklanders the opportunity to get into the CBD to visit their Home AKL exhibition of contemporary Pacific Island art – and
the whys and hows of barriers to South Aucklanders engaging with the gallery.
Lynette Townsend explained Te Papa’s project to collect meaningful experiences of childhood and Richard Benge excouraged everyone to address barriers for disabled visitors. There was really useful discussion, and some clear ‘takeaways’, such as working with local disability advocates to ensure your website has relevant accessibility information, and the importance of really developing relationships, not just ‘putting on a programme’. The overarching goal has to be to transform the various ‘diverse’ voices into active and engaged participants in our museums and galleries.
Later in the day it was wonderful to see the Museum of Wellington join an inspiring cohort of winners of Diversity Awards. The museum’s Death and Diversity exhibition was a deserving recipient and our congratulations go to Brett, Jacqui and the rest of the team who put together such an inspiring project.
Back in Wellington, there are surveys galore. ATTTO recently surveyed a sample of museums and galleries to gain insight into staffing issues to inform its planning and reporting to TEC. The Ministry for Culture & Heritage is currently gathering data on philanthropy and the funding that cultural giving brings into the cultural sector. If your organisation hasn’t already done so, please answer their survey here.
Saving the most important until last, MA will be asking museum and gallery organisations to complete a comprehensive survey in a few weeks time. This will gather vital statistics about our sector to support advocacy, and which you will be able to use in your own planning and reporting.
Phillipa & Talei