Can’t We Just Get Along?

Over Christmas this post by Museum Geek (whose musings I heartily recommend you read anyway) touched on one of the strands of conflict in museums that were picked up at the MA conference session; the conflict that exists within museums themselves.

I felt that a lack of confidence and a general malaise at the mere thought of the future of the museum sector in the UK was a bubbling undercurrent that made up a proportion of the lunch conversation and corridor whispers when it wasn’t explicitly the topic of some of the sessions and workshops themselves. Many noted that it was the most politically charged and openly critical MA conference in recent memory.

Is this ‘new’ or is it just an artifact of the cathartic venting we can only share at conferences with colleagues who work in similar institutions? Is Museum Geek’s idea just a naive pipe dream requiring a cheery but unrealistic unilateral agreement across the sector? Are dissenting voices raising genuine concerns or is it merely trench mentality? Is there something specific about our sector that attracts pessimistic fatalists?

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