Why I’m Coming: Susan Spero

SusanSperoOver years of conferencing I’ve discovered that the smaller gatherings gift me the most intense growing experiences because of focus and resulting conversations that occur within a group size I can handle. It’s fun to make new friends and have conversations that can go back and forth, in and out, for over two days.

I teach museum studies at the John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley where I guide students in our education and interpretation track.  My first class concentrates on learning theory followed by a course on interpretive strategy and methods.  After students complete their summer internships I lead a project-based class on Museums Interactive Technology and Electronic Access.   I have also created educational materials for a vast variety of museums: art, food, maritime, history and children’s museums. All of this experience has given me a bird’s eye view on the field.

Over my 25 years with museums I’ve witnessed increased attention to audience needs, community connections, and now meek attempts at permitting visitors’ voices.  On the one hand the shifts have been vast, on the other hand we are not moving fast enough given the pressures and needs of today’s world.  The vision of what is possible for museums needs more clarity. This conference may provide me some thoughtful new ways to push the still needed change.

My reasons for coming are varied:  to stay on the edge, to listen to the creative voices of those attending, to engage in new collaborative ventures, to renew my iterative impulses, to calibrate whether my sense of where the field is now is in line with what others see, as well as to imagine better where we are headed.  And lastly, I am coming to connect with the magic of the coast, a magical place where the seal sounds make me smile.

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