Archive for May, 2009

Authenticity and what it means to our audiences

Lydia Johnson recently posted a thought-provoking piece at http://westmuse.wordpress.com/ entitled ‘The A word’. It discusses the rise of authenticity in discussions at AAM this year. While I didn’t get a chance to be there, I wonder whether anyone was talking about Pine and Gilmore’s recent book: Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want

One of the points Pine and Gilmore make is that while audiences crave authentic experiences, in our contemporary times, we cannot assume they will equate them to the cultural sector. They suggest that we need to re-imagine our audiences and ask ourselves ‘why’ they would want to connect with us and indeed, what it is that we offer that is valuable in this age of instant access. As contentious as some of their ideas may be, I think it is incredibly valuable to genuinely ask ourselves what someone who isn’t in the cultural sector might get from connecting with us. Pine and Gilmore suggest that in re-imagining our audiences, we need to explore new partnerships and relationships with and through them.

I would add that it is broader than social media. While this gives us the tools to connect, the value of participation and the expectations of new associations are deeper and more serious concerns. I consider this to be an exciting time to be in the sector – a time when transformations in governance and guardianship have the potential to establish notions of authenticity for future, not just past or existing audiences.

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Cultural Learning

I’m preparing a presentation for the Online education collaborations fro national cultural institutions meeting in Canberra tomorrow and I came across this report: Get It: The Power of Cultural Learning. The report was released this week and Bridget Mackenzie wrote a very interesting post on it. The crux of the report revolves around the recognition of culture within informal learning as a crucial and often neglected component of both the education and cultural agendas. Both the report and Bridget’s commentary are well worth a read!


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This blog examines social media, cultural institutions and digital participation. It's based on the research projects Engaging with Social Media in Museums and New Literacy, New Audiences. Regular contributors are Angelina Russo, Lynda Kelly and Seb Chan

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