On Tuesday 9 March 2021 we broadcasted our very first Open Museum conference live from art house Zinnema in Anderlecht. The theme “Re-imagining Museums as Safe Spaces” dealt with the structural obstacles that museums have to overcome to become more inclusive and participatory places. We would like to thank all speakers and the almost 150 (!) participants who made this day particularly interactive (yes, even digitally) and instructive.
The big question we aimed to answer that day was the following:
Can museums become safe spaces where everyone feels welcome, regardless of gender, skin colour, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, level of education or age?
Anne Wetsi Mpoma (Wetsi Art Gallery), Jessica Gysel (Girls Like Us Magazine, Girls Heart Brussels), Grace Ndiritu (Healing the Museum), Pascale Obolo (Afrikadaa), Claire Mead (Museums are a Drag), Aminata Ndow & Olga Briard (Black History Month Belgium), Aspha Bijnaar (Musea Bekennen Kleuren) and Hester Dibbits (Emotion Networking) talked inclusion, participation and above all, deconstruction of norms and redistribution of power.
To investigate the dynamics at play in our cultural institutions, our speakers offered both hands-on and empathic insights, remembering that a museum does not only engage us intellectually but also emotionally and physically.
This conference was organised by Brussels Museums in collaboration with Anne Wetsi Mpoma, Jessica Gysel and the team of Zinnema.
We would also like to thank our subsidisers who make this ongoing awareness-raising trajectory on diversity and inclusion possible for our Brussels museums: VGC, FWB, equal.brussels, Brussels-City (both the culture and equal opportunities department), COCOF and Actiris.
Currently, Gladys (Open Museum coordinator) is writing the report of the study day. She transcribes and translates all interventions into Dutch, French and English. This might take some time, but in the meantime you can already rewatch the conference through the following link. Need a password? Send us an e-mail!