Museums in Marketplace of Ideas
Connie Estrada, Communicating the Museum organiser. Source: News Corp Australia
Mathew Westwood, Positioning the museum in the marketplace of ideas, The Australian, 21 Oct 2014
THERE was a time when curators and marketers did not mix. It was like church and state in the gallery world: the spiritual side, the sacred art, preferred to keep a distance from temporal or merely commercial concerns.
As recently as 2000, when communications professional Corinne Estrada presented the first Communicating the Museum conference in Paris, the curatorial and marketing departments of art galleries were uneasy bedfellows.
“Curators were the heroes, guiding their museums,” Estrada says. “Then there was a time when organisations shifted: more and more curators were being asked to embrace communications, to work with sponsorship. So the organisations have changed, from being very hierarchical with curators at the top, to being very horizontal with every department working together.”
Gallery-goers cannot have failed to notice the changing business of museums and galleries in recent decades. The age of the blockbuster exhibition was but a prelude to a more or less continuous effort at site activation: public events, talks, concerts, activity rooms for children. Many galleries have reinvented themselves to be not only repositories of art, but fully caffeinated, wifi-enabled cultural hubs with gift shops attached.
The theme of the CTM conference in Sydney next month is optimism: a quality Estrada says she has found among Australian museums and galleries since she set up shop in the city last year.
The program of talks and workshops includes marketing and communications professionals from Australia and around the world, including representatives from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong, the Natural History Museum, London and the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (National Gallery of Denmark).
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