Saturday, 19 September 2020

Our homogeneous teams and our dreams of diversity

Jemma Desai, auhor of "This work isn't for us".

In 2020, the International Day of Museums (IMD) theme was “Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion”. In the field of Culture, we normally reflect on these concepts considering our so-called “audiences”. We express our wish to attract more people, diverse people, and to become a place “for all”.

The 2020 IMD theme allowed me to take one step forward (or is it backwards?) and consider: can we ever hope to become more relevant and create relationships with diverse people (the “audience”) if we ourselves (the teams) remain stubbornly homogeneous? I had the opportunity to first ask this question in a short video for the Municipal Museum Carlos Reis on IMD and more recently in a mini-conference for the Museum of the City of Aveiro, entitled “Museums, Education and Diversity”. This was also one of the points the cultural association Acesso Cultura | Access Culture, where I work, raised when commenting on the preliminary report of the Museums in the Future Project Group.

Friday, 11 September 2020

Our "tea and sympathy" values

In November 2016, a photo of the smiling director of the Byzantine and Christian Museum
 in Athens, Aikaterini Dellaporta,  next to Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, provoked in me a deep discomfort. It was the inauguration of the exhibition “Hermitage: Gate in History”. I expressed my discomfort by sharing its causes on the museum’s Facebook page:

Mr. Lavrov’s government is air striking civilians in Syria (including the children we see on TV and which break our hearts), supporting a dictator. They also invaded a neighbouring country and are occupying part of it. Why did the Greek Government and the Byzantine Museum give a chance to the Russian Foreign Minister and his government to appear… civilised? 

Friday, 4 September 2020

Are we with the bees or with the wolves?


Tania Bruguera, Marquee from Escuela de Arte Útil, 2017-ongoing. 
Installation view, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, March 2020. 
Photo: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

The Golden Dawn trial started in April 2015. The extreme-right-wing-party, holding at the time 17 seats in the Greek Parliament, was accused of being an organised criminal association which had perpetuated the murder of musician Pavlos Fyssas and the attempted murders of the Egyptian fisherman Abuzeid Ebarak and various members of the communist union PAME. In January 2020, the lawyer of Ebarak, Thanassis Kabagiannis, made his closing statement, saying: “Because on that wild night, it was not only the world of wolves that acted, because those who attacked Pavlos Fyssas were a herd of wolves. The world of bees also acted, emerged, the world of solidarity, of humanity, the world that sees a fallen man, covered in blood, in need, and doesn't say 'look, a stranger', but says 'look, my brother.'”