University Museums and Collections (UMACs) sit within the confluence of the Higher Education Sector and; the Creative and Cultural Industry which places UMACs in an exciting space for revolutionary and interdisciplinary practices; allowing for the blossoming of new ideas and interesting conversations around many pertinent contemporary topics. But occupying this position also open UMACs to unique issues and challenges that not often faced by other cultural institutions.
So how do UMACs adapt to an ever-changing higher education landscape, ride the shifting tides of pedagogy and endure structural changes to funding and management in their parent universities? How do we instill qualities such as resilience and adaptiveness into future and emerging professionals, to allow their careers to grow and cultivate their passion and sense of being to benefit UMACs into the future?
The UMAC Futures group was created by the UMAC Board in September 2018 and will combine two streams: Emerging Professionals and Future of UMACs. Emerging Professional groups are a growing segment of cultural and creative professionals; up and coming pratitioners that are driven by their passion for what they do and the need to connect and share with other like-minded people. The emerging professionals of now are the professionals of the future, cultural leaders that will take the helm in the care and preservation of our heritage and culture.
The second stream will investigate the future of UMACs, how UMACs will be in the future, what shape will they take and what roles will they play. It will explore futureproofing and foresight for the sector in areas of policy and practice in uncertain futures. To achieve this would require the input of the emerging professionals of today.
The frameworks underpinning UMAC Futures is one draw upon interdisciplinary and cross-cultural sources. One of these frameworks is the concept of Ikigai, A Japanese concept loosely translated to “the reason for being” or “thing that you live for”. This could scaffold the conversations within the group around the passions that UMAC professionals possess and how it translates into their work in the diverse world of UMACs. How professionals begin their careers in UMACs and how it had made their career meaningful or how UMACs have ignited the fire in an emerging professional’s soul. How to cultivate this passion or make one’s life meaningful and fulfilled through working with collections and museums is important to the survival of the profession and sector.
The second framework would be that of Future Heritage, a body of work that is gaining traction with heritage circles. Future Heritage begins with premise that heritage is fundamentally concerned with assembling futures. it explores notions of, among others, how the future will affect or create future heritage practices, how heritage values transform over the future and how it affects heritage landscapes or material culture and managing the diversity within non-traditional heritage disciplines or areas such as biology, nuclear physics and space. Some key writers in this field are Rodney Harrison, Cornelius Holtorf, John Schofield, Elizabeth Merritt and Sharon Macdonald among others.
The cross interaction between emerging professionals and the future of UMACs will produce interesting outcomes and be more beneficial to emerging professionals than just purely a networking group with the goals of networking and mentoring amongst emerging and established professionals but also to generate new ideas on the future of UMACs.
Heritage Futures https://heritage-futures.org/about/
Center for the Future of Museums https://www.aam-us.org/programs/center-for-the-future-of-museums/
To be announced
To be announced