Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Competition for museum directors: a big step forward

Image taken from We Are Museums
As this is a matter of international interest, here's the translation of my article today in the Portuguese newspaper Público.

I can't breath

Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty Images, taken from NPR

The year of 2014 was marked in the USA by the death of unarmed black people in the hands of police officers in the cities of Ferguson, Cleveland and New York. It was the year Eric Garner died, repeating “I can’t breath”…

That same year, in their joint statement on Ferguson and related events (which became known as “Museums Respond to Ferguson”), museum professionals took a stand regarding the role of museums in the face of those tragic deaths. There are three points from that statement that I highlighted in a post I wrote at the time.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Quarantine readings #2 and a first version of my wishlist

Photo: Maria Vlachou

Since our confinement started, I had the opportunity of reading many thought-provoking articles and participating in dynamic online debates. There is a frequently expressed concern regarding the opportunity this crisis presents to rethink our practices, redefine our values and the system of valuing our work, develop relationships of proximity, respect and care both within our organisations and with our communities.

Will it happen? Will we manage to defy the usual (known) barriers and promote a new and necessary way of being and acting? Will we be able not to win the war (of changing the world), but a few decisive battles? Franco “Bifo” Berardi warned us back March that, when the quarantine ends, humans “will get the chance to rewrite the rules and break any automatism. But it is good to know, this won’t happen peacefully. We cannot foresee the shape the conflict will take, yet we must begin to imagine it. Whoever imagines first wins - one of the universal laws of history.”

Friday, 10 April 2020

Is this about postponing "business as usual"?

“I think it’s the responsibility of an artistic director, or let’s say, the collective, which is the artistic institution, to say here’s the pull that I’m feeling in our community. But, after all, isn’t it our responsibility to have a sort of eloquence or articulation around that, that maybe the community itself feels but does not deliver as a particular statement of need? So, I think being sensitive to that, to me, is leadership, saying here’s what we feel is in the air and what we think is worthy of giving voice to.”

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Quarantine readings

Ionian Sea, Summer 2019

Trying to make sense of everything that is happening, trying to put one’s thoughts in order, trying to take care of the immediate as well as imagine the distant, the “post-something”, my latest readings mix up, one feeding the other, and some words keep emerging:

fear and uncertainty; hope and imagination; care and solidatity;
 And… silence

Saturday, 7 March 2020

What if one likes broccoli?

A few weeks ago, I came across an advertising campaign of Folkoperan (Stockholm, Sweden) called “Broccoli vs. Opera”. The idea behind it is that the only think children dislike more than opera is broccoli. Thus, when having to choose between the two… they´ll go for the lesser of two evils.

The campaign irritated me. The prejudiced assumptions behind it irritated me. The way many in the classical music world avoid addressing the real barriers, the ones raised by them, upsets me. Do you remember the “Classical Cannabis: the high note series” promoted by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra back in 2014? That sort of thing… Anything but trying to understand better what is keeping people, of all ages, away. Perhaps because a better understanding would require action; and change.

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Beauty will prevail

“Today, our time requires lightness, humor, enchantment and poetry. It is no longer the struggle between good and evil, represented by Star Wars, but the utopia of a beautiful life. To discover the moment of beauty poetry gives us, the inspiration that reminds us that we are in this life not only to work, to fight, to bicker, but also to love, to smile, to dance, to hug, to dream. We live in a time where the most revolutionary thing is to be a poet.”