Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

MA (UK) publishes manifesto

Geraldine Kendall Adams, MA publishes Manifesto for Tolerance and Inclusion, Museums Association, 6 February 2017

Statement on ethical values and actions for museums

In light of the changing political landscape in the US, including the recent travel ban, and an increase in racism and intolerance in the UK since the EU referendum, the Museums Association (MA) has issued a Manifesto for Tolerance and Inclusion.

The manifesto reiterates the ethical values that museums should seek to uphold regarding inclusion, equality, diversity and tolerance.

It states: “The first principle of the MA’s Code of Ethics is public engagement and public benefit. The Code of Ethics says that museums and everyone who works in and with them should: treat everyone equally, with honesty and respect; support freedom of speech and debate; work actively in partnership with existing audiences and reach out to new and diverse audiences.

“The MA has recently discussed the additional values that it will use to guide its work as a campaigning membership body and these include: being passionate about diversity and equality; having the courage to say what we believe and working collaboratively, inclusively and ethically.

“We believe strongly that our ethics and values can help guide our work as individuals and institutions in the challenging times in which we live.”

The manifesto also outlines some of the practical actions museums can take in the course of their work to support and promote these values.

The manifesto urges museums to ensure they are welcoming to all, and says the sector should use its “diverse collections to tell the rich stories of immigration from and to the UK, and the role it has played in shaping place, community and culture”.

It calls on museums to “use our trusted spaces for debate and discussion and to challenge ignorance, intolerance, prejudice and bigotry; engage proactively with refugee and immigrant communities and the groups and organisations that represent them; [and] engage in contemporary collecting with our diverse communities to ensure that we tell the widest range of stories”.

It urges museums to take part in Refugee Week on 19-25 June, an event organised by the Refugee Council.

Finally, the manifesto calls on museum professionals to demonstrate “support and solidarity for colleagues who are living and working in the United States or those who want to travel there, who might be subject to discrimination”, as well as demonstrating “support for staff and colleagues in the UK who might be affected by the travel ban, either professionally or personally”.

Manifesto for Tolerance and Inclusion (pdf)

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