People. Change. Museums. (2020 – 21) is a six-part podcast series that explores the complex relationship between museums and technology in this time of intersecting crises. Presented by Dr Sophie Frost, researcher on the ‘One by One‘ initiative in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester (UK), the series pulls together perspectives from the international museum world to take the temperature of the current moment. Part spoken essay, part interview and part call to arms, Sophie asks: what is the role of the museum in defining our human values in 2020 and 2021? And how does technology help or hinder this project?
In 1976, Welsh cultural theorist Raymond Williams wrote Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, a book examining over 100 ‘keywords’ that explored the political struggles which underpinned their adoption in everyday conversation. Each episode of People. Change. Museums. takes a different ‘keyword’ as its focal point, each time capturing an aspect of work in museums today. Through ‘keywords’ including ‘Cultural Identity,’ ‘Precarity,’ ‘Courage’ and ‘Emotional Labour,’ the series explores how technology is changing the way we experience and understand museums, and how it is enabling new forms of social justice in the work that they do.
Using both long-form interviews and short audio narratives by a diverse and international range of academics, technologists and GLAM practitioners, People. Change. Museums. presents a new vocabulary for a changed field of digital culture. Ed Rodley, US-based Experience Designer and Museum Professional said of the series: “it’s efforts like this to actually normalize the conversation that it is OK to say: ‘things suck!’ That’s exactly what we should be doing…I think it could go a long way towards making the situation more equitable.”