Posts Tagged ‘museums’

Someone has heard an anonymous would-be museum worker’s plea to colleagues to ‘stop pretending there are jobs when there aren’t’ and asked,

Can someone who has either worked or who is working in the Heritage sector give me some advice and a straight answer – I have just been accepted to start my MA in Sept for Heritage Management and secured a part time voluntary position with National Trust but despite this – I feel there isn’t enough or any at all full time positions available in this sector???


Ukrainian cultural workers have petitioned parliament for expert and democratic, clean and transparent management of the cultural sector.

Ignoring its legal advice and contradicting its own policy, Croydon Borough Council auctioned off the Riesco Collection of Chinese antiquities in order to raise the money to refurbish the Fairfield Halls arts centre. They’d already sold off two lots of the originally-650-piece collection (180 in 1970 and 112 in 1984), while 39 had been stolen and another 89 couldn’t be accounted for. However, having suffered 31% cuts to their budget and awaiting another 10%, they felt they had no choice.

The unsurprisingly incompetent ‘cultural vandal[s]’ and ‘asset-strip[pers]’ estimated that they would raise £13m+, but managed to raise £8.1m. The Museums Association was forced to expel Croydon Council for its unethical behaviour, which has left the Museum of Croydon professionally isolated and financially vulnerable.

Funding is only going to get cut, so labour problems are only going to grow. In parallel, due to geographical inequity in cultural funding and the economy, the cultural as well as economic north-south divide (or south-east-elsewhere chasm) is only going to grow. Here’s the first of four examples in a run-down (or perhaps grind-down) of the latest bad news for the cultural heritage industry in the UK.

ANSAmed’s reported that Italian ‘archaeology is becoming “social” with the archaeoblogger [archeologia diventa ‘social’ con gli archeoblogger]’. It explains that social media are improving communication between universities and the public and between teachers and students, and education at/by archaeological sites and museums.

The article was more a surprise than anything else, because I read it to find out about archaeology in social media in Italy, but found that the conclusion – punchline? 😉 – of the article was unfree archaeology… What can I say? Davvero, sono stanco di lavorare gratis.

It was even more surprising than that seems, because I’ve written tens of thousands of words on precarious labour in the UK (and tens of thousands more on the problem elsewhere) but Italy is the first (and only!) place it has been (even incidentally) mentioned in “the” media.

Indeed, Alessandro d’Amore’s interview on free archaeology (on his blog), which led to the mention in the mainstream media, has already been read more times than most (if not all) of my posts on free archaeology.

As we (students and workers) have discussed, the cultural heritage profession’s labour problem is an international one. One of our Italian compagni, Alessandro d’Amore (@Alex_OLove), thought up some questions about free archaeology, to introduce the British situation to our Italian colleagues. He’s managed to translate my angry rambling into a chiacchierata [chat].

Le parole in Archeologia

Ciao Sam e grazie mille per aver accettato di fare questa chiacchierata. Sono molto contento di questa opportunità.

Ciao Alessandro, grazie a te per quest’intervista. Noi attivisti (anti)#freearchaeology siamo d’accordo con voi attivisti di #no18maggio sulla necessità di costruire una consapevolezza ed una solidarietà internazionale per portare avanti le nostre battaglie, perciò quest’occasione è ottima per tutti noi.

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The Imperial War Museums (@I_W_M) are preparing to make ‘brave decisions’ to ‘achieve’ a ‘significant reduction’ in ‘fixed costs’. So, good luck to anyone and everyone currently employed by those decision-makers…

There are going to be further redundancies at the Museum of London (MoL). In order to balance its slashed budget, the museum’s getting rid of its entire oral history and community workforce (via @lornarichardson).

Radical Education Collective worker and (Slovenian) Moderna Galerija curator Bojana Piškur and Škart Collective worker Djordje Balmazović have conducted a Workers’ Inquiry (which Vanja Savić translated), which has found ‘deteriorating economic circumstances and working conditions’, ‘declining control over the reproduction and distribution of their ideas, knowledge and commodities’, and sometimes violent political pressure (via Art Leaks (@Art_Leaks)).