The Museum As Contact or Conflict Zone?
23rd of February 2016
NODE Space, Hämeentie 135 C
The museum is failing… failing to support people’s rights as active agents, much less to realise the institution’s potential in bridging divergent social relations, and supporting people’s right of resistance. From her recent extensive research of professional practice across the UK, Lynch reviews the feeling of being ‘stuck’, as expressed by many museum professionals. For despite genuine attempts at democritising museum practice, Lynch’s research has shown that museums still attempt to control the dialogue, to contain and divert conflict and any form of resistance. She argues for a constructive deconstruction of museum practice to meet the needs of this troubled world, presenting examples of exciting new practices centred on notions of ‘social justice’ and collective struggle. Thus she points the way to the beginnings of a liberatory rather than conciliatory museum practice.
Dr Bernadette Lynch is an academic and museum professional with twenty-five years’ experience in senior management in UK and Canadian museums. Formerly Deputy Director at the Manchester Museum, University of Manchester, she has an international reputation for ethical, innovative participatory practice. In her influential research and consultancy work she specialises in public engagement and participation with diverse communities and in leading museum transformation and change, publishing widely on participatory democracy in museums. She is Honorary Research Associate, University College London working on power, democracy, debate, conflict, contested collections and difficult subject matter in museums. Her work is available online.