This public lecture will tell a story of a project (coronadefiancegallery.myblog.arts.ac.uk) I have done in 2021 initially for students of the module Exhibition Studies I taught at the University of the Arts, London. The Alumni who attended this unit in previous years, continued to explore the digital within the museum setting and worked with me to create a resource that will be useful in the newly-established virtual, e-classroom. This curriculum development, which extended to another project Digitalising the Museum, served the base for the chapter with the same title I wrote in the Handbook of Research on Museum Management in the Digital Era, depicting the experience of engagement with a ‘pandemic museum’ (IGI, 2022). My ex-students, now young artists, designers, curators and cultural managers generously offered their view on the role museums, galleries and cultural organisations should play at the time of crisis.
This was eye-opening calling on the responsibility of the cultural institutions in relation to planet sustainability, Black Lives Matter movement as well as Covid-19 pandemic. These young people were interested in activism as an imperative for changing the world and were not impressed by and somewhat even interested in Western art history. They felt it dominated global arts scene for centuries and contributed to halting the necessary process of change. It supported elitist tradition and paralysed inclusive actions that could diversify and enrich public histories of the world. Digital technology provided a great opportunity for this and cultural institutions should embrace it, but it is not enough for radical shift in the mindset dominating them. This turn must come from education and continue through their approach, policies and governance in order to create institutions which are adequate for our times.
The talk will be moderated by art historian Andreja Drobnjak, an associate of the programme visual art and young people.