Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Our president's reflections on the AMaGA 2019 national conference

Last month I was in Alice Springs for the AMaGA National Conference, and its centrepiece, the launch of the key document First Peoples: A Roadmap for enhancing indigenous engagement in Museums and Galleries.

In many ways the whole conference was an opportunity to learn about and reflect on efforts to enhance indigenous engagement - what speakers from Auckland Museum called ‘indigenising the museum from the inside out’.   And the conference gave an opportunity for many emerging professionals who identified as First Peoples to challenge the leaders in the room to make change rather than just talk about it, and to make cultural safety for indigenous staff and community a priority.

Of course it is easy to think about reasons why, when you get back to your organisation, the change does not happen. Emails mount up, budgets have to be stretched, and there is always the next exhibition to get open. But inertia favours the status quo and with the launch of the Roadmap we now all have a map to guide us. The plan is not a criticism of achievements made so far, but an opportunity to make this work a priority and a guiding framework to help us take the steps along the way.

In Tasmania the AMaGA Committee have had many requests for workshops in enhancing indigenous engagement and cultural competency for museum staff. With the launch of the Roadmap we are making a start, with an event in Burnie on 22 July, and plan to repeat the workshop in other parts of the State over the next few months. So, we’ll be in your area soon.

We can all make a plan, and pick a starting place. I would invite all AMaGA members to download the Roadmap and read it. Then talk to your colleagues, particularly indigenous staff members and volunteers, and listen. Decide on the priorities for you and/or your organisation and attend a workshop near you. I look forward to seeing you there.

Janet Carding
AMaGA Tasmanian Branch

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