20 Comments
Nov 15, 2023Liked by Mike Murawski

I’d say a pop up exhibition that we hosted at The Australian National Maritime Museum as part of Festival of Sydney. It was from the Museum of Empathy in London and was called “A mile in my Shoes”. Visitors borrowed a pair of shoes belonging to a person and listened to their recorded story about being a migrant or refugee to Australia. Many visitors came back and back to hear more stories - all quite moving really. It made you think through someone else’s eyes (or shoes).

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Nov 15, 2023Liked by Mike Murawski

In terms of actual bridging work, I am not sure how much people are doing. In terms of working in that direction, there are quite a few people working towards it. I've been learning a lot about bridging work from orgs that are doing this full time, so my standards may be higher. One of the things that I have been advocating for is that museums can see doing bridging work as another way to approach civic engagement that (or in addition to) advocacy and direct action. The idea of doing bridging work - and the term of bridging - seems to be new to most museums. Groups like the Bridge Alliance are the kinds of things I'm trying to introduce to museum folks. So. There is lots to discuss, but I'm not sure how far most museums are down this path.

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I work with you on a variety of projects that cross over between cultural, place based, and ecological (through our artnatureplace.com work) - and two kinds of projects came to mind when I saw this post.

The first is the work we have done over the years with Monument Lab -

The Museum Field Trip Guide: https://artnatureplace.com/projects/monument-lab-museum-guide

And the Monument Field Trip Guide: https://artnatureplace.com/projects/monument-lab-field-trip-guide

In both cases one of the biggest goals we had was to create the kinds of questions and prompts that provided space for folks who entering these issues from all kinds of different perspectives to have ways to reflect in meaningful ways. I especially remember having conversations in connection to the Museum Guide about providing entry points for those who have either never been to a museum or are uncomfortable in one. We've since used these (especially the Monument themed one) with younger students in class workshops to explore public monuments and work towards the co-created murals/monuments for their own schools.

The other projects I think of in terms of bridging is the educational work we've done in partnership with Confluence on the series of public monuments to the land and Indigenous cultures, ecologies, and histories along the Columbia River. These works (mostly by Maya Linn) are themselves bridging works, providing reflection spaces for these significant sites (for local tribes, but also within the context of Lewis and Clark). These educational guides were a lot about creating accessible entry points for reflecting on these spaces, including simply slowing down and observing more closely. Here are some examples:

- https://artnatureplace.com/projects/confluence-vancouver-land-bridge

- https://artnatureplace.com/projects/confluence-story-circles

- https://artnatureplace.com/projects/confluence-sandy-river-field-guide

( There has been some amazing bridging work within our school partnerships too! Incredible teachers who have been working with elementary students to center marginalized stories, better understand their place and community, and continue to grow with curiosity).

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Nov 12, 2023Liked by Mike Murawski

Hi Mike, I'm all for exploring complex and multilayered issues within (art) museum contexts. I think this work is really important. BUT... When there are conflicting perspectives that visitors to community engagement programs want to express and emotions become heightened, how do other museums maintain safe physical, emotional and psychological spaces for artists, staff and visitors? I'm really interested to hear some strategies that museum workers have used to resolve this.

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Nov 12, 2023Liked by Mike Murawski

https://www.exploratorium.edu/middleground

The partnership with Urban Alchemy brings it all together.

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Nov 10, 2023Liked by Mike Murawski

Hi Mike - I am not working with specific organizations that are doing this work at the moment, but I am deeply hooked into "bridging organizations" in the civic space, and I just facilitated a session about bridging, activism, and determining your authentic civic lane as an organization, for the AAM Future of Museums summit with colleagues from NMAH, Chicago History Museum, Made By Us, and the Aspen Institute Citizenship and Identity Program. Happy to find a time to talk more. I'd love to know more about what you are learning. (Made By Us is also leaning into these conversations.)

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Nov 10, 2023Liked by Mike Murawski

Flips, quite a bit. Here's just a couple of projects I'm involved in at the moment, and a couple more I am watching with interest happening in Northern Ireland alone.

https://www.quartocollective.com/projects/agreement

https://www.quartocollective.com/projects/our-places-our-pasts-our-perspectives

https://www.nationalmuseumsni.org/inclusive-global-histories

https://www.linenhall.com/borders-and-boundaries-project/

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