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In getting ready for our conversation “Centering Communities in Museums, Libraries, and Archives” happening at Emory University on June 7th (register here), I was chatting with Clint Fluker (senior director of culture, community and partner engagement for the Michael C. Carlos Museum and Emory Libraries) about community-centered practices and the language we use. We both shared frustrations about commonly-used phrases such as “community engagement” or “outreach,” and it got me thinking both about the words I don’t like as well as the words I really love.
I have always felt that the language we choose to use has a powerful role to play in the work we do, and changing our language can lead to powerful changes in our practice. So I’m up for unpacking the words we use, questioning them, challenging them, rethinking them, and being courageous to make changes (when needed). The language we use should reflect our values and what we stand for, and we should constantly be open to evolving the words we choose to use.
So I offer up this lightning round of sorts with some words I really dislike and some of my favorites. And as with anything, this represents my thinking at this moment in time along the learning journey I am on – and I also am very much open to changing my mind, so please push back and convince me otherwise. I always love a good dialogue and back-and-forth.
Here is the list of words I discuss in this episode…
Words I Love to Hate:
Community Engagement and Community Outreach
Innovation and Excellence
Access or Accessible
Words I Love:
Accessibility and Disability Justice