The long hello.

Last week marked nine months since I moved to the USA, and in that time I have barely written. It seems an age since my blog was a critical part of my museum practice. But why?

I’d long wondered whether my move into an institution full time would impact my work, and the obvious takeaway from my drop in writing would be that it has. But I’m not sure that’s the correct answer. While for three years, this was my space for making connections, and participating in an international conversation about museums, it was mostly a place where I could ask questions and think through problems. And somewhere along the way – probably as I wrapped the writing of my dissertation – I ran out of questions.

I was concentrating on trying to resolve lines of thought rather than opening up new ones; consolidating ideas rather than expanding them. Then, intellectually tired and emotionally exhausted from a series of major life changes, my curiosity faded away.

This was distressing. Since joining the museum sector, my curiosity had become the thing I valued most about myself, and now it was lost to me. Fortunately, this seems to have been temporary. As winter breaks here in Baltimore, I am discovering new energy and new questions for the first time in what feels like a very long time. The process of renewal that comes as the snow thaws is not just to the land, it seems.

My renewed desire to investigate the world, and issues facing museums now, has been helped by being Program Chair of the Museum Computer Network conference for 2015, alongside the wonderful Ed Rodley and Morgan Holzer. The last several weeks have been filled with great discussion between members of the Program Committee on the question of theme (and man, am I excited about what we’ve come up with), and it turns out that talking to smart people about interesting topics is a great way to remind yourself of your own mission and reason for being in a sector.

So this is a “hello world” from Baltimore. I am not going to promise that I will dive back into blogging as before. But if all goes well, if the sun brings me new questions along with new energy, I’m hoping that I can explore all those topics I once loved – and some new ones – with you.

6 thoughts on “The long hello.

  1. Great to hear from you Suse!

    I can really relate to the “intellectually tired and emotionally exhausted” bit – although I didn’t have the same upheavals you did in 2014, I think some late PhD loss-of-mojo is common. It’s really only been in the new year (and starting working on things that has put me in a completely different headspace) that I feel like I’ve got any of my writing and intellectual energy back. We’ve come out the other side! 🙂

    1. Regan, thanks for writing. You’re right! We have come out the other side. And it’s lovely to be here. That said, I was very sapped by the process, and more than I expected to be. It’s only recently that I’ve found the capacity to even look outside myself to consider joining conversations again… But it’s nice to know that there are still people to chat with on the other side of that 🙂

    1. Yes! As soon as we can make the theme public, I’ll share it here. The discussions we’ve had amongst the program committee have really sparked a lot of thought for me, and hopefully that will make for lots of great discussion at the conference too.

  2. Hi Suse, glad you are back on the airwaves, as I always enjoyed reading your blog. And I think you’ve just answered my question about what “MCN” stands for – I presume it is “Museum Computer network” ?? Not even their website (which I clicked through to from your most recent post) contained this info. I do hate it when websites and blogs assume knowledge of abbreviations. I hope the winter thaw is continuing to sprout new questions and thoughts for you, Alison

    1. HI Alison. Ooops! You’re right. MCN does stand for the Museum Computer Network. I’m sorry I didn’t spell that out better. It’s funny how having something in your own mind can obscure the realisation that it isn’t automatically known to everyone. I will also pass along your observation to the organisation, and see if there isn’t something we can do to make the name more visible.

      And yes, many new thoughts and questions. I’ve spent the weekend doing some writing for a side project, and absolutely enjoying it. It’s nice to want to explore, think, and write again. I hope you’re well as well! 🙂

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