Last week in Dublin, I took part in the kick-off of the follow-up of the Creative Museum Project, the Making Museum. One of the focus areas of the Creative Museum was the collaboration between creative communities and cultural institutions. How can museums create spaces and opportunities for the creativity of their audiences?
In the Creative Museum Project, we both collected case studies of successful collaborations, as well as tools and approaches to make this happen within your institution. We will build upon this experience in the Making Museum Project.
I believe the question of collaboration between different types of organisations and individuals, and how to approach and design this, is one of the big challenges for the next decade. Museums and all kinds of organisations are recognising that the only way to be successful in a hyper-connected world is to work together. As the related trend in Cards for Culture says, “The rationale for sharing resources, people and ideas is crystal clear,” but working together is not easy, and every creative collaboration requires partners to rethink both their practice and the merits of working together.
New creative collaborations are popping up everywhere, and the results of these experiments often result in dynamic new organisations that re-envision the way people and ideas come together. In Dublin, I visited three examples of such creative collaborations, each providing fresh ideas about what this may look like in the future:
- The Chocolate Factory is a creative community which brings together 32 different creative professionals and organisations in a low-key manner. It is a DIY co-working space, where members are selected based on their willingness to work together, instead of the industry they work in. This stimulates unexpected collaborations and creates a room for new innovations.
- The Library Project of PhotoIreland and their new Critical Academy take a different approach to collaboration. Both initiatives provide professionals with skills and experiences that complement their practice. For instance, artists are taught business and networking skills. Their building in Temple Bar does the same thing by combining functions (a library, gallery, book and gift shop, event space) to be a destination for more than one group of people, and be a bridge between different professions and disciplines.
- The Little Museum of Dublin is a collaboration between the people and the city of Dublin and the museum, as well as the visitors to the space, to tell a highly engaging and interactive history of the city. The collection of the museum is given to the museum by the people of Dublin, and their stories are told in a highly interactive tour. Collaboration in the Little Museum is probably driven by a shared pride in the city and a shared sense of joy in the result of the collaboration: when I visited this TripAdvisor favourite, at least half the audience was from Dublin.
In the Creative Museum Project, one of the conditions for collaboration is called ‘Spaces for Yes’. Although they are very different from each other, each of the three organisations in Dublin is a space for yes, and there is something to learn from all three of them. The Chocolate Factory shows how with a spirit of collaboration, many collaborations are possible. The Library Project shows how collaborations can enhance the individual practice of people. The Little Museum of Dublin is proof for the fact that collaboration can be fun, and this fun can drive the collaboration.
The Making Museum Project will run for 18 months, which gives us plenty more time to visit and document more organisations that are engaged in creative collaboration. Which one should we visit according to you?
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