Friday, 20 December 2013

Accelerating Impact

This October, the Alberta Museums Association’s (AMA) long-time collaborator Tamarack: An Institute for Community Engagement held their week-long learning event, Communities Collaborating Institute: Accelerating Impact, in Edmonton. This event is designed to provide participants with the tools, resources, and relationships to strengthen their capacity to create large-scale, community-wide impact. It also provided the opportunity to bring together thought leaders, government representatives, social service agencies, non-profit leaders, and other issue-related groups to build and maintain partnerships for collaborative impact.

During the institute, participants were asked to take part in a session based on a speed dating-like process. This activity included participants sharing a tool that might help others with the work they do. When participants were asked what museums can do to help them address their complex issues they said that museums can help by:

  • Making old stories accessible for use in addressing modern issues.
  • Providing meeting places for doing physical activities, hosting social groups, and partnering with camp groups.
  • Providing social resources to the communities they support. Capturing oral histories around issues in partnership with social service or issue-related groups.
  • Addressing what community is through user-related exhibitions and programs. Sharing histories of success, failure, and muddling through.
  • Looking at current challenges through the lens of history.
  • Providing open access.
  • Addressing issues of multiculturalism.

Opportunities like Tamarack’s learning events are ideal for connecting with leaders and organizations who want to partner to address issues in your community. As the AMA moves forward with the Community Engagement Initiative, we will look at how we can encourage and support this kind of cross sector engagement. We would love to hear how you work with partners across the non-profit sector to address complex issues that matter to your community. Contact to share your story.

This article was originally published in the Alberta Museums Association's Winter 2013 issue of INFOrm.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Transformative Power of Community Engagement Lecture

Community engagement is now a major transformative force in the museum field. The power of this movement comes from its ability to focus on the heart of what our organizations are all about — meaningful public service. Museums today are challenged to become more active citizens, involved in addressing the social issues faced by our communities. No longer are museums measured and judged by their internal resources — collections, endowments, facilities, and staff — but rather by the external benefits and value they create for the individuals and communities they serve.

On August 8, 2013 Candace Tangorra Matelic delivered a dynamic lecture at the Glenbow Museum's ConocoPhillips Theatre.The following excerpts from this lecture cover the changing paradigms in the field, what community engagement is and is not, and how it differs from audience development. You can follow along with the note-taking handout.

Part #1: Paradigm Shifts, New Thinking about Organizational Life, and Forces For Change

Part #2: What Community Engagement Is and Is Not

Part #3 The Transformative Power of Community Engagement