writing about talking + talking about writing

I’ve been thinking about blogging and social media lately; about what it means to ‘grow up’ professionally in public, and about what the indiscriminate opportunity to publish – open to anyone, but grasped by relatively few – is doing to our professional dialogue. The longer I think about these issues, the less certain are my conclusions.

Andrew Sullivan, a veteran of the art form, writes of blogging this way:

This form of instant and global self-publishing, made possible by technology widely available only for the past decade or so, allows for no retroactive editing (apart from fixing minor typos or small glitches) and removes from the act of writing any considered or lengthy review. It is the spontaneous expression of instant thought—impermanent beyond even the ephemera of daily journalism. It is accountable in immediate and unavoidable ways to readers and other bloggers, and linked via hypertext to continuously multiplying references and sources. Unlike any single piece of print journalism, its borders are extremely porous and its truth inherently transitory. The consequences of this for the act of writing are still sinking in.

The consequences for museums, and museum professionals too, are also still uncertain. In his post, entitled Why I blog, Sullivan further proposes that “…the key to understanding a blog is to realize that it’s a broadcast, not a publication. If it stops moving, it dies. If it stops paddling, it sinks.” But if this is a broadcast medium, it lingers like a publication. What are the consequences of this for our profession, or for those individuals who choose to engage in this space regularly? Although there are some museum blogs that have been around for years, it is a form still in its nascency.

In November, I have two opportunities to reflect on these questions. The first is in a panel on blogging at MCN2012 with Ed Rodley, Eric Seigel and Mike Murawski, which will consider blogging from both a personal and institutional perspective. We’ll ask what it means “to learn in public, and be an active and consistently open communicator? Where does blogging fit into an institutional, professional and personal identity? How do you manage multiple online identities? How do you deal with the inevitable public criticism and negative reactions to your work? What impact has blogging made on your career and life more generally?”

I’m super eager to work through these questions with smarter and more experienced heads than mine, particularly at a conference like MCN. I loved MCN last year, and with the program for MCN2012 looking great, I cannot wait to head back to the USA.  The conference is kicking off with an Ignite session to pop the mood into “stimulating” from the start. MCN2012 will also be a chance to catch up with so many museumers who challenge me, and to follow up in person with some of my favourite museumgeek guest bloggers like Janet Carding, Liz Neely and Matthew Israel. I’m feeling inspired already.

I will also be reflecting on social media as a disruptive force in museum discourse at INTERCOM2012 in Sydney. INTERCOM is  ICOM’s International Committee for Management, which “focuses on ideas, issues and practices relating to the management of museums, within an international context.” The 2012 conference has #museumchallenges as its theme, which recalls Rob Stein’s discussions from 2011 (I wonder how the conversation will have altered in a year). The INTERCOM program looks great, and I’m looking forward to learning what museum directors and speakers from around the world see as being the greatest immediate and long-term challenges facing museums now (plus, Jasper will be here!). How different are the concerns of museum professionals in China, Finland or Colombia from my own? And what can we learn from their experiences?

No doubt I’ll pick up lots of new insights to share with those playing at home, too.

Are you attending MCN2012 or INTERCOM2012? Do you think that social media has impacted your work or profile as a museum professional? How do you feel about its influence on your own career, or the sector at large?

BTW – Mar Dixon is conducting her second annual survey on social media and the cultural sector. You should fill it out.

Inside/Outside: Criticising museum practice

Given the ostensible parameters and protocols of the call for contributions to this volume, I am given to imagine myself as one of a group of contributors situated “outside” a (museum) “profession” and “looking in,” as a “scholar who has written books about museums but who [is] trained and work[s] in other disciplinary areas.” In accepting the generous invitation to contribute to the collection, I am nonetheless placed, however provisionally, and according to the self-admittedly tentative nature of the editorial formatting of the volume, in a curiously dichotomous relationship to those “looking from within the profession.”

So says art historian Donald Preziosi, by way of locating his contribution to the 2006 book Museum Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century (pp74).  His statement raises interesting questions about the positioning of those who write and speak about the museum and its profession, and their space within or external to it. This is particularly the case, given that only pages before, Preziosi issued a provocation that:

There seems to have been, at least among “insiders” or museum professionals, an endemic, across-the-board abandonment of critically engaged and historically responsible attention to the fundamental questions about the functions and social and political roles of museums. The disjunction between the “external” critical and philosophical literature relating to museums, museology, and collecting and that emanating from “within” the profession is very great and growing. (pp70)

He critiques the sector as an outsider, a position he has been “placed” into, simultaneously arguing that those on the “inside” have abandoned “critically engaged and historically responsible attention to the fundamental questions about the functions and social and political roles of museums.” It seems he slays “insiders” for their lack of engagement, whilst distancing himself from such a position.

Is his criticism of museum professionals valid? Honestly, I don’t know. The conversations I have within the sector are often highly engaged and highly critical; in recent years there has seemingly been a noticeable turn towards theoretical and critical discourse. Yet most of the time business as usual continues (as it must). Critical reflection is a great luxury, but one often far removed from the practicalities of actual work.

Still, his ideas leave their stain on me because I can’t identify exactly where I am positioned within the sector. Before my first conference, my PhD supervisor cautioned me that as soon as I mentioned that I was an academic, I might be dismissed summarily as unable to speak to the ‘real concerns’ of the profession. And I know from discussions with now-close friends that this indeed happened (although fortunately not to such a great extent as to prevent later connection). As such, I now go out of my way to prove my credentials as a legitimate member of the museum community. I work in museums, I volunteer. My friends and colleagues, those whose ideas I respect, are museum professionals far more frequently than academics. I spend as much time working in the sector as possible, and hope that it’s enough to clean me of the taint of “outsider”.

But paradoxically, perhaps it is this very mark of difference that gives me the most freedom to criticise and speak to the philosophical concerns of the sector. Were I welded to a single institution, any criticism that I might make could be seen implicitly as a criticism of my home museum. Being outspoken under those circumstances could cut too close; creating internal tension that would make the business of getting work done much harder. Speaking out from the outside comes with a freedom rarely afforded to true insiders, because the possible costs are only personal and not institutional. (Incidentally, I also wonder if this isn’t at least part of the reason that the MuseTrain authors have chosen to stay anonymous thus far.)

This issue is on my mind now for two reasons. The first is because of a conversation I had with an old friend yesterday. He is an artist whose early work highly controversially questioned some unspoken and seemingly unquestionable ideas here in Australia. This work, which he was not “allowed” to make but did anyway (his then youthful naivety giving him a sense of bulletproofness) raised and continues to raise very significant critical questions. It also left him out in the wilderness as an artist, unshowable for a significant period of time afterwards. Now, with hindsight, he questions his own right to make the work that he did, to critique the situation in the way he did; doubts raised in part because of his outsider status from that community. His right and ability to ask questions are diminished because he is on the outside, but they are questions not being raised elsewhere or from the inside. Preziosi’s criticism of the museum profession equally rings true of my friend’s experiences as an artist.

In addition, I am starting to think more carefully on my position in this sector as the end of the PhD looms more forcefully on the horizon. Although I still have more than a year until completion, there has of late been a small chorus of people asking what I intend to do after it’s finished. Will I go into academia, or work in a museum? Where do I want to work? What do I want to do?

They are difficult questions to answer with any certainty or clarity of vision. Once I make a choice, particularly between working in a museum (insider) or as an academic (outsider), then I am effectively choosing to align myself in a particular direction. I am either in; or I’m out. I can speak as one of you, or I can choose a different voice altogether. It will become harder and harder to straddle the divide between the two, which is what seems to make the current space I inhabit so interesting.

Museum philosopher Hilde Hein introduces herself and her position in the sector in the preface to The Museum in Transition: A Philosophical Perspective with the inclusion of this paragraph (pp xiii):

My own experience with museum practice and with theorizing about museums has been gained through internships in museums and more than two decades of academic investigation. By following both of these avenues I hope to have found common ground between those who reflect upon museums from a cultural perspective and those who know them by working inside.

She intentionally positions herself as someone who can speak from within, and without. Is this a necessary requirement for those who do wish to consider and critique the institution as theorist? Are her reflections upon museums more or less critical as a result of this urge to bridge the divide between professional and theorist? Are they more palatable than if she did not spend time in institutions? Is it, in fact, the place of museum professionals to critique the institution, or to work towards its effective functioning?

Obviously this post comes by way of my own existential crisis career concerns, but I wonder if it doesn’t scratch at a larger and more pervasive itch. Do museums need “outsiders” to critique and provoke discussion about fundamental issues? Or can those working within the sector, or within particular institutions, ask unanswerable (and sometimes un-askable) questions and continue to function effectively on the inside? Are there people who do manage to successfully straddle the divide between insider/outsider, or is it inevitable that in a relatively short time I will have to choose?

What do you think?

Follow up to: a museumgeek-in-residence

Wow! Time flies. I was just looking back over my posts of recent weeks, and realised I had not yet written an update to my post on being a museumgeek-in-residence whilst in the States this November. Eep.

When I first came up with the idea of being a museologist-in-residence, I wasn’t absolutely sure that anyone would be as into the idea as I was. It was a wonderful surprise when I received a number of really interesting offers, from institutions big and small across the States (and one in Australia, too). Thank you SO much to those who responded and offered me the chance to come and visit. In truth, I would have absolutely loved to take up any of those opportunities, because they each offered something different and interesting. But with only one of me and one week available, I can only attend one institution, and so I have decided to accept a joint invitation from a number of staff at the Smithsonian Institution. It is such a radically different institution from anything here in Australia, in terms of scope and scale, and getting a tiny insight into its world piqued my interest.

At this time, there are still lots of details to be worked out in order to make it happen. Cross fingers that we can work through any complexities in the coming months, and come up with an interesting program for me, the Smithsonian, and for readers too. I will post updates as they come through, but in the mean time, thanks to all those who took the time to get in contact and invite me to your institutions. I hope that in the coming year or so, I might find a way to take up a few more of those offers. Being a travelling museologist-in-residence could be both a very fun way for me to learn, and also a useful way to share that learning with the sector. One sentiment that keeps coming up in discussions about this is how many people are interested in having someone visit, and in finding new ways to connect directly with people in other areas of the sector in order to learn from that contact. There seems to be a lot of value in this as a model, so it would be nice to find ways to make this happen for people other than me as well. (Or just invite me to come and play in your institution! That sounds like fun too.)

In the mean time, I am very much looking forward to being a museumgeek-in-reSIdence. It will be amazing to get an insider’s view. Thank you to those at the Institution who are working towards making it possible.

I also wanted to do a very quick thank you to some people in my home town, whose support is also incredibly valuable. This year, the Friends of the University of Newcastle, a wonderful group of benefactors whose work supports both capital and student investment at my home university, decided to award a new scholarship for a postgraduate student in fine art. The Friends do incredible work each year, holding a used book sale and (now) an art sale, in order to raise money for these scholarships. I was absolutely honoured on Friday to be the recipient of the Inaugural Margaret Olley Friends of the University Postgraduate Scholarship in Fine Art, an award recognising research innovation and merit. The scholarship is for $2000 to be put towards research costs, and will help me pay for my travel to the USA this November.

Both the scholarship, and the offer to have me as a museumgeek-in-residence from the Smithsonian and other institutions, continue to reinforce for me just how valuable a supportive community is for any work. And because my community includes those of you who read and respond to the blog, I just wanted to do a shout out to you, too. Thanks!

A museumgeek-in-residence?

The cultural sector has a lot of residencies. There are writers-in-residence, artists-in-residence, and even Wikipedians-in-residence. I want to be a museologist-in-residence.

In November, I’m heading to the USA for MCN2012. It will be my fourth trip to the States in about twenty months, and I want to make the most of the opportunity of being there. What I am hoping is to find an institution willing to put me up for the week following the conference as an in-house museumgeek.

During the residency, I would ideally meet with staff from across the institution, explore the buildings and learn about the museum programming. I’d hope to get a fairly intensive introduction to a different museum, and learn more about the particular complexities it faces, sharing the insights I gain here. My reflections on the institution will feature on museumgeek for a full week (and no doubt continue to shape my thoughts after as well).

I’m hoping that this idea sounds like a good bargain for someone, somewhere. You’ll get an in-house blogger and museumgeek; I’ll get new insight and inspiration (and experience life in a different city).

I don’t have any preconceived notions about the sort of institution that I’d like to end up in or its location, so if you would be interested in playing host to your very own museumgeek-in-residence, get in touch here or find me on Twitter. I’d love to hear from you.

Hey girl – (S)useum edition

If you are a museum person who is reading this, I am hoping by now that you have seen Hey girl. I love museums. My awesome friend Erica had one of her own images posted on it the other day, and that has kicked off a little Ryan Gosling creativity amongst the other geek gals I know. So here is my own contribution to the site. I’ve sent it in, but in case it doesn’t make the cut, I thought I would post it here, too.

hey girl

PS – Ten points to any museum that can actually get Gosling to do a guest voice on their audio tours in 2012!

A (personal) 2011 round up

This time last year, as the days crawled towards the start of 2011, I had very few expectations for what the year would bring. I knew that I’d been accepted for my PhD, and that I’d received a scholarship – and I knew I’d been accepted for Museums and the Web 2011. But little did I have any sense about what that might mean, and how much my life would change in the months after the conference.

The first months of the year were quite normal. I got into a study routine, and threw myself into reading. My PhD research started on a different tangent than the one I am now pursuing, and I was trying to get my bearings in a new academic territory.

Then April arrived, and changed everything.

Prior to Museums and the Web, I had never even attended a professional conference, much less spoken at one. I was out of depth, and drowning. I remember hoping desperately to get too sick to travel in the days before I left, so scared was I of doing everything wrong. And I did make some mistakes. Despite this, MW proved to be a true turning point in not only my career, but also my life more generally. Whilst there, I met others who shared my passion for museums, technology and all the nuances and difficulties they bring. People like Bruce Wyman and Koven Smith, in particular, helped me feel like there might actually be a place for me in the field, despite my newness to it.

I also met Seb Chan, and approached him to let me start interning a day a week at the Powerhouse Museum. After reading his blog for four or so years prior to this time (which ultimately lead to me joining the profession and moving to undertake research in the field), this was an incredible opportunity, and I still appreciate that he said yes to an unknown Aussie ambushing him in Philly (Thanks Seb!).

From there, the year only continued to bring new and surprising opportunities. Koven invited me back to the States in November to be part of his panel at MCN2011 on the very subject that helped re-focused my PhD – on What’s the Point of Museum Websites? I had no money, and no immediately foreseeable way to get there, but I of course said yes.

I had started volunteering with the MCN2011 marketing committee just prior to this time (bringing lovely people like Vicki Portway and Neal Stimler into my life), and so the idea of aiming to actually make it to the conference for real was tantalising. Thus I applied for the MCN conference scholarship, and also for a $3000 arts grant from ArtsNSW – our state arts funding body. And, upon receiving both, suddenly I was heading back to the States for the second time in about 7 months.

If these were the only note-worthy things that had happened during the year, it would still have been amazing. But I was also given the chance to participate in the Digital Culture Public Sphere, contributing to a publicly peer-reviewed submission to Australia’s cultural policy and speaking on my vision for the coming ten years of digital cultural policy in Australia in front of the Minister of the Arts, Simon Crean, Senator Kate Lundy and many more (thanks to Pia Waugh for inviting me to be part of such an amazing process).

I also entered and won an art prize, with a conceptual work of art that played with museological/tech ideas (which, I recently found out, has been accepted for a demonstration at MW2012! So hopefully that means I’ll be back to the States again. Thanks to Tim Hart for suggesting that I apply); I went to THATCamp Canberra (thanks to the Kress Foundation for giving me a THATCamp grant!), and I got to spend two weeks at MCA Denver after meeting the inspirational Adam Lerner at Reprogramming the Art Museum in Sydney.

Finally, at MCN2011, I met even more wonderful people, played with arduino (inspiring the purchase of an arduino starter kit, which arrived for my birthday a couple of weeks ago), and  started an interesting research project on the side with Eric Johnson (which I’ll write about sometime in coming months, once it’s a bit more established).

In between all this, I have researched, written sections of my PhD, thought a lot about museums, had incredible conversations, and met people who will be lifelong friends. I’ve recently started to work with a few interesting digital culture people in my home town of Newcastle on some projects that will hopefully break down some of the silos between cultural bodies in my own city, and I’m also trying to get a semi-regular “drinking about museums” event kicked off too.

As the year draws to a close, I face 2012 with some trepidation, not wishing to farewell a year like this in which everything has changed. This has, without question, been both the most amazing and most significant year of my life. I could not, in my wildest imaginings, have guessed at where it would take me. However, for all the events that have occurred and the opportunities I have been given, it is the people I have been lucky enough to meet that have really made the difference.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my 2011. You are amazing to me.

Back in 5.

It’s been slightly longer between posts for me this month – and it’s a trend that might continue for a couple of weeks. I’m currently in the States for the dual purpose of attending (and being a panelist) at MCN2011 in two weeks; and I’m also spending two weeks at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver after meeting the MCA’s Director Adam Lerner when he spoke at the Reprogramming the Art Museum symposium in Sydney a few weeks ago. I’ve just finished my first day at the MCA, and I think it is going to be a fabulous – if intense – couple of weeks. Add into the mix the heady combination of new people, new sights and a little jetlag, and I don’t know how much energy I will have left for blogging.

No doubt the experience in a very different museum environment from the two that I currently work in will leave me with huge inspiration and food for thought that will inspire future blogging. Similarly, I think MCN will open me up to some interesting new conversations as well. I think the period straight after I return home will probably be the antithesis of this quieter time on the blog front, but in the mean time, you should check out O, Song! This blog has nothing to do with museums, but does always link to interesting articles that will give you a different and interesting perspective on the world. And after all, one of the reasons I frequently try to work in institutions that are very different from the ones that I’m already familiar with is because creativity happens when seemingly disparate things are combined. Therefore, reading things just because they’re interesting is recommended – and you’ll probably find something worth looking at on O, Song!

Money for nothing; or how to win an art prize without making a thing

Regular readers will know that last week I made my first foray into ‘meta-museology’, entering and winning the 2011 UoN Ltd Annual Student Art Prize. This was the first art show I’d ever entered, so to win was super exciting. I missed the actual exhibition opening (stuck on the train from the Powerhouse Museum), so winning didn’t quite seem real until Cash Brown and Jason Wing, two of the judges, came into the Art Gallery where I work on Friday to meet me.

It was lovely to chat to both of them (albeit briefly), and to hear them talk about what they liked in the work. Both Cash and Jason were very encouraging, with Cash even suggesting I should look at trying to organise a work for the International Symposium of the Electronic-Arts in the coming years. That might be a slightly ambitious step, but it’s definitely something to think about.

The other thing that was a bit fun about their visit however was their mention that apparently my win shocked a few people and has been reasonably controversial, which is no great surprise. Just like a museum without objects, winning an art prize with a concept rather than an object – a ‘thing’ – challenges and questions the idea of what art is. After all, an idea does not necessarily require skill, unlike a painstakingly made painting or sculpture. There is a sense that anyone could have an idea, whereas only an ‘artist’ can create a masterpiece. Again, we find ourselves facing an issue of classification and whether simply calling something art makes it so.

Additionally, it is very hard to put a price on an idea, and even harder to accumulate wealth by investing in concepts. The art market is driven in part by the sense that art is an investment that over time will bring financial gains. Similarly, museum objects have a quantifiable “thingness” that justifies their existence, and so a museum without objects is a difficult thing to argue for – particularly when public funding is at stake, and many multiple projects/institutions are competing for limited money.

“Things” have weight, value, and a tangibility. They are something we can hold onto, and that solidness makes them seem more ‘real’, more concrete. Concepts, stories and ideas have no weight to them. There is nothing that pins them down and ties them to the world. They are difficult to catch and trust, and cannot be expected to tell the same story into the future (though the same doubts can actually be cast on all objects, since meaning is constantly remade and reconstructed by context). In much the same way as we trust that photographs capture something that really happened (even knowing how easily they can be manipulated), objects have a claim to truth simply because we can feel them, and trust that bodily reaction to them. And that’s probably something something worth keeping in mind when creating in-museum displays too… after all, no matter how complete the concept behind my work of art in this exhibition, the actual display is pretty uncharismatic to say the least. It’s no wonder that my win caused a bit of a stir.


My thoroughly uncharismatic museum display for ClassifyMe2.0
A QR code next to Too Much is Barely Enough by Theresa Purnell
And my favourite (unexpected) thing.

Cracking the social media network

I just noticed that Mashable has declared 30 June as Social Media Day, and asked people to write in and contribute their stories of how social media has changed their life. Their request is a timely one for me, as I had started drafting this post on the same issue a couple of days ago.

Since MW2011 my use of social media has changed a lot. Prior to the conference, my interactions on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter had primarily been personal. Although I had some sense that there were online conversations happening in museum tech, I really didn’t know how to crack into the networks (this is something that Perian Sully talked wrote an excellent post about a few of months ago). I wasn’t sure what contribution of value I could make to the field, nor how to just start participating in a conversation that I hadn’t been invited into. In some ways, it felt like eavesdropping on a conversation at a party, and trying to interject… almost rude, and possibly unwelcome.

But at the conference I started to tap into the Twitter channels, and from there I started to feel a bit more confident entering into conversations in the blogosphere and so on. It turns out that it wasn’t so scary starting to join the conversation (even writing my own blog!)… most people are welcoming (even if they are still unlikely to interact closely with too many more than Dunbar’s number) and are often happy to interact. And thanks to overcoming those fears of joining in, I have now really started to tap into some great online networks – networks filled with great ideas and opportunities.

As a result of these new networks, I now read piles of interesting articles that I probably wouldn’t otherwise come across; I’m hoping to attending events like THATCamp Canberra and MCN2011; I’ve been participating in great cross-blog conversations (and here); and I’ve been meeting excellent new people – and even Skyping with museum techs across the other side of the planet. And I don’t doubt that in a couple of years time when I finish the PhD, and am looking for work, it is through these online networks that I will likely find it. It’s clear that in only a few months, social media has started to change my career landscape and helped me connect with like-minded souls from all over the world.

Despite this, I know a lot of people who work in museums – and other industries – who remain disconnected from the online social networks in their fields. For some, it is because they simply aren’t online, or aren’t looking for networks in the right places. For others, it is that they haven’t realised how beneficial such networks can be. And of course, there are people like me who know that the networks exist, but are uncertain how to tap into the opportunities or join the conversations.

But if you can locate those networks, they are definitely worth joining (you could start by commenting on my blog if you want). You might just find someone who’s passionate about the same things you are. And then another. And another…

In the meantime, if you are just starting out in museum tech or digital heritage and want to find out a bit more about the online community, Sheila Brennan’s Getting to know DH if you work in cultural heritage is a great starting place.

On creative risks and PhD blogging

Nina Simon has just written a post entitled Empowering Staff to Take Creative Risks in which she asks “What are you willing to risk to pursue your dreams?” It’s a somewhat timely post for me, because I am stuck deliberating on the role of blogging for me in the PhD process.

Yesterday I drafted a new blog post which I think poses an interesting perspective on moving museum collections to the Internet. Only in its fledgling stage, the idea is probably not particularly groundbreaking – but I think it has the potential to be developed further and it could be relevant to my PhD. And suddenly I find myself stuck as to whether to put it – and other PhD thoughts – online or not.

I’ve asked my supervisors for their thoughts, as well as asking an open question on Facebook and Twitter about what academics think of the issue. The responses have been mixed. Some have said they couldn’t imagine it being a problem, some have warned against the risk that someone would steal my ideas, and one friend pointed out the possible intricacies involved with people posting ideas in comments, and how difficult attribution might be if my ideas were later informed by discussion that took place online.

And so when I read Nina Simon’s post, it made me question precisely what I am willing to risk in the pursuit of my ideas and my career. This blog has become an interesting vehicle for me. Although it has only been up and running for a few weeks, I’ve had quite a few people contact me because of it, and have started some interesting conversations as a result. It is letting me make some interesting new professional (and personal) contacts, and has helped ensure that my mind never completely switches off thinking about the field, because I’m always on the look out for something new to post about.

But until now I have never actually wanted to post thoughts that might later be important to my research. Doing so could be a risk. Someone could indeed steal my ideas without attribution. Having said that, just starting a public blog and putting my ideas – mostly half-formed and in need of work around the edges – into the blogosphere carries with it certain risks. But ultimately, I think that hiding away from criticism and the opportunity to fall flat on my face would be worse. After all, the things that appear safe in life often aren’t. Seth Godin wrote recently on ‘exceptional’ brands, and why they fail:

The problem with brand exceptionalism is that once you believe it, it’s almost impossible to innovate. Innovation involves failure, which an exceptional brand shouldn’t do, and the only reason to endure failure is to get ahead, which you don’t need to do. Because you’re exceptional.

The take home message from both Seth’s and Nina’s posts is that pursuing big things – like dreams, careers and in the case of museums, innovation – is risky, and that risks bring with them real opportunities for failure. But that it’s only by being open to failure that really interesting things happen.

Does this mean that I will upload the post I drafted yesterday? I haven’t yet decided, and will seek further advice first. Though unless anyone can give me a compelling reason not to, I probably will. If someone steals my ideas, at least that means they were worth stealing (is this a Web2.0 attitude?).

In the mean time, I’d love to hear from anyone else who is or has been in a similar situation on what they decided to do. I know that a lot of museum bloggers are also research students, so surely this is something other people have grappled with too.