Reading list, 5 May 2018

Rebecca Solnit on US national narratives and who’s controlling them. Whose Story  (and Country) Is This? If you can only skim it go for the pull-quotes:

More Americans work in museums than work in coal, but coalminers are treated as sacred beings owed huge subsidies.


We are as a culture moving on to a future with more people and more voices and more possibilities. Some people are being left behind, not because the future is intolerant of them but because they are intolerant of this future.

Moana Jackson reminds us that no one’s right to free speech and freedom should lead to another’s oppression in in e-Tangata: Moana Jackson: No one’s exercise of free speech should make another feel less free:

The dispossession of indigenous peoples was pursued by European states as part of their self-proclaimed freedom to rule the world, but it always involved denying the freedom of those they decided to rule.

Back to Solnit’s idea of people being left behind Peter Gilderdale suggests champions of the humanities face being left behind by a neo-liberal society that simply doesn’t value the arts anymore: The university library row reveals a seismic shift in NZ’s middle class.

Conversely, a new study from the UK study reveals that the black and minority ethnic people comprise only 2.7% of the museum, gallery, and library workforce. Hyperalleric reports in Rampant Social Inequalities Persist in the Arts According to New UK Study. Is New Zealand any different or does the cultural sector remain predominantly wealthy and white?

The Baltimore Museum of Art is bucking the trend and deaccessioning big name works to purchase works from a more diverse community: ‘It Is an Unusual and Radical Act’: Why the Baltimore Museum Is Selling Blue-Chip Art to Buy Work by Underrepresented Artists.

On people leaving the musetech sector behind, Koven J Smith with a few thoughts prompted by MW18 in Is the museum technology sector shrinking?. Some key points I can relate to, anyone who’s tried to maintain a large online product as business-as-usual, is the failure to plan for maintenance or manage expectations, creating “an environment in which we’re now simply tasked with maintaining a lot more than we once were”. That and the point of centralising costs for digital projects into single teams, which draws attention to the scale of digital costs more than when it’s distributed across an organisation with a little bit here and a little bit there.

Pia Andrews provides some big ideas for transformational change across government, rather than tweaking the system we already have, in Exploring change and how to scale it.

And finally a quick wrap on some writing about Anzac and remembrance following the annual WW1 commemorations: