Friday, November 09, 2007

Lifelong Learning Conference Roundtable

Attended this session yesterday and found it really inspiring. There certainly is a lot of innovative work and thinking going on in Ireland about all audiences, not just older ones.
There was quite a focus on reminiscence, which is something that really interests me as it isn't dealt with in Australia at all I feel, although on reflection some of the digital stories we are doing with Indigenous communities and objects is getting there. The work of the Age Exchange in London was mentioned as a good resource, particularly for developing reminiscence kits.
Another thing that struck me was the work at the Ulster Museum and the Ireland Museum of Modern Art where they used older groups to actually produce product for them in terms of the reminiscence boxes at Ulster and various programming initiatives at IMMA. The poetry/writers group that uses the National Gallery of Ireland was also very inspiring, and often brought a tear to the eye (actually everything about the Gallery is incredibly impressive and has given me a lot to think about in terms of programming at my Museum).
Seems that collaboration is the key, while also considering (and planning for) sustainabilty after grant fudidng finishes. One of the challenges raised was that museums need to develop outreach programs for a variety of community groups, not just a traditional focus on schools. I think there is a lesson there for our Museum in a Box program - some of the potential audiences discussed at the roundtable were offenders; those with dementia; ethnic minorities; users of mental health services; those that are housebound (not just the elderly or with disabilities - think young mums) and intergenerational groups.
All in all a fine day, topped with a wonderful dinner in a beautiful part of the gallery.

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