In Conversation with Museum Workers Speak
Interviewed by Joaquin Ortiz (Director of Innovation, Museum of Photographic Arts)
Thursday, October 15, 2020 12:00PM – 1:00PM
Recover. Reimagine. Revive. What does ReMuseum mean to you? Join this virtual conversation to delve deeply into the challenges that the museum field is currently facing and how our field can move forward. Come ready to dialogue!
Museum Workers Speak is asking us to ask ourselves tough questions about our labor practices. Through these dialogues, they want to amplify and support the internal transformation of museums to take steps towards enacting social change that leads to action.
Donate to the Museum Workers Relief Fund
If you are a museum worker impacted by COVID-19, you may be eligible to apply for funding through the Museum Workers Relief lottery system. Learn more and apply.
Museum Workers Speak is a collective of activist museum workers interrogating the relationship between museums’ stated commitments to social value and their internal labor practices. Born out of a “rogue session” about labor issues at the American Alliance of Museums 2015 meeting, Museum Workers Speak grew into a collective of museum activists pushing for social change at the intersection of labor, access, and inclusion. Since then, we have continued to advocate and organize from outside the walls of museums to build solidarity and exert pressure on museum leadership to protect workers. Speakers for this program include:
Gwendolyn Fernandez (she/her) is a recovering museum educator with 15 years experience leading teams and working across the practices of interpretation, public programming, accessibility, and visitor services. She believes deeply in the transformative potential of museums when we center people and community care in our work. Gwendolyn has held positions at the Supreme Court of the United States, the National Gallery of Art, and Phoenix Art Museum. She earned a Masters in Museum Studies from The George Washington University and currently serves as the Representative elect for the Pacific Region of NAEA’s Museum Education Division. Follow her on Twitter @gwenlfern.
Photo credit: Photo by Airi Katusta for Phoenix Art Museum
Hannah Heller (she/her) is an NYC based museum educator, and has taught and worked on research and evaluation projects in several cultural institutions including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., Whitney Museum of American Art, El Museo del Barrio, the American Folk Art Museum, and the Museum of Arts and Design. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Art & Art Education program at Teachers College, and has a MA in Museum Education from Tufts University. Her current research focuses on blending object-based and anti-racist pedagogies, and exposing impacts of Whiteness in gallery teaching practices. Follow her on Twitter @museum_matters!
Kate Swisher (she/her) has spent over 10 years working with collections at a variety of institutions, including the DuSable Museum of African American History, Old Sturbridge Village, and the Newberry Library. A Chicagoan who has survived many a long winter, she currently works in exhibition registration at the Field Museum. Kate holds an M.A. from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at the University of Delaware, where she completed her master's thesis on the performance of immigrant identity through textile crafts at Hull-House. She is passionate about making museums into equitable and anti-racist spaces for both staff and visitors. She can be found on Twitter at @kate_swisher.
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