It’s taken me a while to write this post, it got to the point where anything slightly dissertation related went straight out of my head, out of my laptop, never to be thought about again. I went to Leicester at the start of April to hand in what felt like years worth of work, and I suppose to an extent it was a culmination of everything I’d learnt so far doing the Masters in Museum Studies course with the University of Leicester. I researched how museums use social media to engage with activist and social justice themes, concluding that museums don’t use social media in this field to the extent that they could, but when they do they do it well. Basically, the whole experience has taught me that:
- I’m never doing a PHD.
- I need a bit of a break from thinking about museum social media, or museum activism, but that is oh so definitely where my heart is.
- Coffee fuels all.
I wrote a summary of the themes of my dissertation for the London Museums Group blog, which is available to read here, but here’s a few quotes from the blog.
“Museums and social media have much in common. Both have potential to emit knowledge, both arguably exist for the audience they speak to, and both have unprecedented influence upon their communities. Social media has the capacity to construct dialogue and social values, as do museums. Inspired by Richard Sandell, my Masters dissertation was always going to be in the social justice remit. But, equally fascinated by the fine-tuned practice of museums engaging with social media and the unprecedented changes social media use has brought to the sector, I thought, why not combine the two? Why not see what happens when both the museum sector, and the unique character of social media platforms unite to democratize knowledge, engage communities in equality and tolerance, deconstruct grand narratives, and develop a practice of social justice and activism awareness.” “As social media shifts museums use of the Internet from information to personal, including grass-root audience experiences and opinions diversifies debate and opens the collection to social justice agendas. It is the work of the future museum to effectively balance the intricacies of both social media and activism. Ultimately, the reciprocity, accountability, collaboration, and shared authority that social media can incite with its audiences makes our museums more engaging to the communities they are there to serve.”
I visited the brilliant New Walk museum in Leicester just after I’d been to hand in, I planned for this post to include a little review and some photographs while I was there. But, I was far too distracted after such a big day, so here’s just a photo of me holding my pride and joy like a proud mum.