Anna Wiseman (c) Adam Robinson Photography http://www.pikchures.com/wordpress/

Inclusive: read all about it

Anna Wiseman, 08.05.2013
Attending the International Inclusive Museum Conference
I was fortunate enough to be awarded a bursary from the Trevor Walden Trust to attend the 6th International Inclusive Museum Conference last month.

The conference explores, on an international level, how museums can ensure their collections are accessible and inclusive through three themes: the relationship of museums to their communities of users, the practices and processes of collecting and curating and, museums as repositories and communicators of culture and knowledge.

The conference was hosted by the Statens Museum for Kunst: National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen and consisted of two days of plenary talks, papers and discussion groups with a practical day as a break in the middle.

The reason I wanted to attend was because, as part of my AMA, one of my main CPD goals is to become knowledgeable in community engagement, access and inclusion within the arts and museums sectors.

The opportunity to listen and participate in discussions surrounding these themes with international colleagues was not to be missed.

A vast array of papers were presented (see the final programme which outlines the quantity and variety on offer) on different themes from professionals representing a wide variety of institutions from all over the world and all of these papers are to be made available to all delegates as online downloads, along with a subscription to the International Journal of the Inclusive Museum and access to the series of accompanying books.

This open source style of curating a conference (managed by Common Ground Publishing) ensures the learning experience for delegates carries on after the end of the conference and is incredibly valuable.

The other element that made this conference uniquely valuable was the practical day, entitled Museum Day, where a range of choices were on offer to take part in workshops at different locations across the city.

I opted to visit the Museum of Copenhagen and learn about their initiative called The Wall in the morning and then go to the National Museum of Denmark in the afternoon.

08052013-the-wall-copenhagen

The opportunity to learn in depth about projects staff were working on and hear firsthand the challenges and rewards, as well as giving our feedback and making suggestions, was great, and not something that is often available at conferences in my experience.

Finally, the most important element of the conference for me was the opportunity to meet professionals from all over the world in a wide variety of roles and institutions.

To be able to speak to them about the effect of the politics and society of their countries on their institutions and their individual work was interesting and gave me a great perspective of the worldwide cultural landscape, especially within the context of engagement and inclusivity.

The International Conference on Inclusive Museums was a truly inspiring and incredibly motivating experience. I hope to be able to attend next year.

Anna Wiseman is the project officer, Leeds Stories of the Great War, at University of Leeds. Images of Anna Wiseman and of The Wall at Museum of Copenhagen (c) Adam Robinson Photography.

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