Making museums community connectors

Making museums community connectors

May 29, 2017 by Andrea Goulet
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Museums are more and more community connectors and places for people to meet not only their friends, but also strangers... The Wellcome collection has achieved that by creating several event programmes that engage their audiences at different level. One of these programmes, Open Platform, will be explored by Rosie Stanbury, Head of the Live Programme at the Wellcome Collection, during her talk “Talking to Strangers” during the next edition of We Are Museums in Riga.

Open Platform” is a way for the Wellcome Collection to give the keys of their Reading Room to their audience: anyone can submit a proposal for a one-hour event, discuss its feasibility with the museum’s Events Officer and maybe see it come to life. Selected events have to have a strong connection with the Reading Room – a space that invites audiences to dig into what it means to be human through books and artefacts –, focus on low-tech activities (poetry readings, drawing workshops, discussions…) and of course strongly involve their audience – that never exceeds 20 people. Successful events are participatory and encourage people engage with each other as well as with the Reading Room subject matter.

Open Platform is only a piece of the event programme of the Wellcome Collection, an experiential place directed to people that are 14 and older.

In Friday Late Spectaculars, visitors are invited to explore a subject – such as miniatures, the nose or elements – with artists, scientists, performers, writers, speakers and enthusiasts that they can meet in the whole building.

On a different scale, the Sick of The Fringe, that took place during an extended weekend in February, explored the body’s problems and possibilities with artists and scientists. It allowed audiences to reflect on their own bodies and selves through discussions, performances and installations such as We are the Latest Models of our Ancestry, that challenged perceptions of museum objects and what and who they belong to and what they say about us when put into a museum.

But Open Platform has a special place in the Wellcome Collection schedule. While it focuses on short events and small-scale, the programme also is a way for the museum audience to build their own events and to be community activators.

Attend We Are Museums on June 12 & 13 and let Rosie Stanbury tell you all about it!