I recently started working in a museum that is in the process of reinventing itself from the inside out as we launch a new strategic plan and prepare to open a major 30,000-square-foot exhibit in a year and a half. There has never been an educator here before, so people have been waiting anxiously for someone to come in and help them transform potentially geek-heavy content into exhibits and programs that are understandable, engaging, and thought-provoking for visitors – even the non-geeky ones. Expectations and energy are high, creativity and collaboration are in the air, and everyone is excited about the ways in which we can make an impact on museum practices and knowledge. I’m coming to C2 to be inspired, to connect with colleagues old and new, and to bring back new and different ways of thinking about what we do and how we might do it.
Monthly Archives: May 2009
In response to “Why are you coming to the C2 retreat?”:
1) Its description suggested that this gathering could be useful, meaningful, thought-provoking, and fun.
2) This museum has a recent history of experimentation in developing, presenting, and assessing exhibitions [e.g. the “Question” project of 2004] and, as we’re continually challenged to push the envelope, this seemed like a good opportunity to explore fresh ideas.
3) The opportunity for a retreat at Asilomar was too good to pass up. This is an impossible and therefore a perfect time to be away from work for two days. I’m coming early to walk the beach.
Because I’ve spent too much time, in the last few years, too far from home. Let the easterners come here, to my beautiful coast. The hills are still green, the lupine and poppies are blooming, and the brown pelicans are back, gliding in formation over the waves.
Because I want to play with creativity, and creative people, stakes-free. Creative endeavors at museums get wrapped—and rapped—with deadlines and politics and rules and procedures. I want to create some things that get to stand up free and whole, un-nibbled, just to remind myself that I can. And I want to create some things with other people, working together instead of at cross-purposes, just to remember what that feels like.
Because the world is changing, and I think it’s better to shake myself up a bit, give myself a whack upside the head, than to sit still and wait for a changing world to do it to me. You can’t move forward without first upsetting your existing balance.
Because it’s good to play. All young mammals play, but humans are unique: we continue to play into adulthood. Play makes us human, makes us smart, allows us to create—but museums tend to forget this in the intensity of their mission focus. How could I not participate in something that takes 100 museum professionals and, for two whole days, tells them to play?
After keeping my nose to the grindstone for the past couple of years I’m looking to recharge my creative batteries, reconnect with colleagues, meet new thinkers and pick up a few new tricks.
I’ve always heard wonderful things about these sessions from others and am now finally a participant. I’m the one on the right.
I’m coming because I want to have fun. At big professional conferences I have sporadic, short bursts of fun (dynamic conversations, shared stories, sea shanties) usually late at night after hours spent sitting and listening in dark hotel ballrooms. I’m looking forward to higher fun to sitting-still-and-listening ratio. Plus, as an independent contractor I spend a lot of time working alone. I’m looking forward to face to face collaboration with people whose work, ideas, enthusiasm, and stories inspire me.
I am coming to learn how to apply principles of creativity and collaboration
to successfully direct teams of artists and designers. The more inspiring
visuals, games, stories, vocabularies, and processes I bring back to my own
work – the better! In essence, I am coming to sponge…
Working in Interpretive Programs at the California Academy of Sciences, I’m
always on the look-out for new ways to reach visitors that are engaging,
accurate and accessible. I’m expecting the Creativity and Collaboration
Retreat to help re-boot my imagination and innovation!