Part Two of Imagining Museums in the afternoon centred on a discussion chaired by Nigel Prince entitled Expanding Audiences. The panel consisted of Jinsuk Suh, Paulo Herkenhoff, Ruth Noack and Jonathan Watkins.
Again, here are some nice quotes and thoughts from the session:
PH: If we remove the centre all that is left is the universe (Birmingham). Diversity isn’t a problem, it is a wealth. Birmingham is a city of encounters, an opportunity for dialogue; it is the right of citizenship to have a museum.
RN: The eye of the world is on us (Birmingham) and makes us more active. To make it work we must consider time, money, resources and the people with a stake in the thing. It’s not a social endeavour; it’s about an aesthetic value, why should they be interested? Museums need to encompass a social space.
Teresa Gleadowe (from the floor): Education has turned into entertainment.
RN: Info-tainment and entertainment are now outdated concepts; we’re going back to traditional learning.
JW: This has to be a learning institution.
Tom Jones (from the floor): Worried about the term ‘audience’ – audio – we need to be their audience, we need to listen to the public who will engage with the museum.
RN: Due to the legacy of the avant-garde, we’re the minority.
In the afternoon there was an open forum led by Teresa Gleadowe with peoples comments ranging from the digital and websites to visitor numbers in Birmingham and audience types. Teresa led an interesting discussion and kept trying to bring it back to ‘what do you want?’ As she encouraged people to speak for themselves rather than the demographics they represented, this was particularly interesting as many people couldn’t answer the question, no one seemed to know what they wanted from a Museum of 21st Century Art in Birmingham. I look forward to seeing this develop.