A couple of weeks ago, I put out a call for a collaborator, co-host and co-producer for Museopunks, the podcast for the progressive museum. I was overwhelmed by how many people reached out to find out more and put themselves forward. I had in-person or phone calls with nine potential collaborators, who ranged from people I knew very well to strangers with impressive or intriguing backgrounds within the sector.
Through those discussions, a few things became clear:
- Museopunks has become more than a podcast for me. It is how my professional identity expresses itself. It is my professional practice. The potential collaborators who stood out where the ones who understood that innately.
- Museopunks is vehicle for discussing boundary-pushing work in museums with an intersectional approach and nuanced focus. But because Museopunks tackles wide-ranging topics, the best collaborator was not necessarily someone with deep knowledge around a single aspect of progressive museum practice, but broad curiosity about museums, their place in the world, and their institutional practices.
- Since my collaborator will help shape the show, I wanted someone who was aware of the important issues in the sector and who has vision for ways that we can approach them in a “museopunks” way. I had one conversation with a potential collaborator who had great vision, but whose approach to storytelling was so different from my own that it felt like we were talking about a different show. Although collaboration will change the show by necessity, it was critical that my collaborator shared my vision of the work itself.
I’m thrilled to announce that I have, indeed, found a new Punk to join the show: Ed Rodley, Director of Integrated Media at the Peabody Essex Museum. Ed and I have worked together on a number of project over the years, including CODE|WORDS, Humanizing the Digital and the MCN2015 Conference. He is one of the smartest museum thinkers I know, and I never stop learning from him. As a bonus, we just finished working on a Museopunks episode together (recorded before I started looking for a collaborator, but probably part of the inspiration for doing so).
Although I’ve (perhaps unsurprisingly) ended up with a collaborator whom I know well, and have worked with for years, this process was a wonderful, generative one and has encouraged me to think more creatively about other ways that Museopunks might be able to explore other forms of collaboration, such as having regular guests and correspondents-from-the-field. While I do not know exactly what form that will take, the next few months will include some behind-the-scenes discussion, exploration and experimentation, as we look at the longer term impact of these discussions. I hope that many of the people I connected with in the last few weeks may be part of the future of the show.
Thank you to everyone who reached out, or who forwarded my post to friends and colleagues with recommendations for connection. It was wonderful to get better acquainted with listeners, colleagues from the sector, and potential collaborators. We have a sector filled with brilliant people, y’all.
And Ed… welcome to the show!
4 thoughts on “a new punk.”
I would love to hear more of your thoughts regarding Museopunks being your professional practice. That’s how the Incluseum has been for me too. How do you describe this practice and critically reflect on it? Especially as an academically situated person, does this practice intersect with your scholarship? Would love to hear your thoughts on these questions and whatever they evoke.
Rose, what a great series of questions. The short answer is that to date I don’t think I *have* been very deliberate about describing this as practice or critically reflecting on it. That was perhaps the most personally valuable thing about this whole process is that through the act of describing the podcast, its aims and intent, the way I use it and think about it, I became much more aware of it as a practice, rather than merely as a product. Where I used to do a lot of blogging (something I seem to be slowly returning to), the podcast has become the space for me to publicly think through the questions and issues and concerns I have about the sector.
During one of the conversations I had with a potential punk, they observed that Museopunks takes conversations that are often informal, such as those at in the hallways at conferences, and gives them formality and solidity. That was a really lovely way to think about what the podcast is as a thing in the world.
That intersects with my academic work in a number of ways. The conversations I have on the show help shape the way I approach certain topics in teaching and research. But I’ve also found that I place a lot of value on discursive approaches to research. Keir Winesmith and I are in the final stages of a book project, loosely titled Discussions on the Digital Future of Museums that is focussed around a series of practitioner conversations (due to the publisher next month). The end result will be quite different in many ways (not least of all because Keir conducts the interviews, whereas my work is in editing and writing some framing essays), but both include a value on the dialogic and on the interactions between practitioners or practitioner/theorists.
I don’t make exhibitions. I am not in a museum any longer. But the way I continue to be a museum professional or practitioner is through this kind of sector-reflective practice.
How does that connect with your experience with the Incluseum?
I am so excited that you are working with rock star Ed Rodley! I can’t wait to hear future podcasts.