The museums talk about their adolescent public

On the 21st January the Picasso hosted the second meeting of the Educational Research Group, a recently created group made up of the Educational departments of various museums of the country that work in diverse fields of contemporary creation: the Panera Art Centre of Lleida (promoter of the group); CDAN (Centre of Art and Nature) of Huesca; Es Baluard, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Palma; and Artium, the Basque Centre-Museum of Contemporary Art of Vitoria-Gasteiz.

Creating lines of research, both theoretical and practical for sharing and incorporating new references that help to improve their educational practices, are the main aims of the group.

Among other aspects, some key questions are posed with regard to youths in museums as a starting point: Why do we want them to come? Are the museums a valid leisure option for this age group?

Workshop with young. Photos: Jordi Mota

The concept “young” is very wide and we talked about the need to define age groups, given that a few years can mark major differences in needs and behaviours.  The reflection of different formats according to age also leads us to question these same formats of the proposals: perhaps from the museum they are being offered experiences that are framed within a “school” structure and hierarchical, at a time when they want to overcome these models.

One possible response to this question would be to think how to propose singular experiences, ones which are significant in  terms of their life experience: to a certain extent, it would be a question of identifying what is of intrinsic interest to them within the framework of the institution so that they feel the museum to be theirs.

In this sense, it is necessary to be aware of the importance and effect of the perception that the youths make of the people they relate to in the museum; as well as the age barriers, culture barriers can also be created.  The artist can be configured as a role model, someone who for cultural proximity and age can get closer to the adolescent public.

Workshop with young. Photo: Vanesa Rojas

The creation of resources and tools that allow them to use the museum without a predetermined structure was also valued, either by giving them autonomy within the institution, making them part of the organisation of the activity and/or putting forward proposals of self-management and negotiating with them the contents to be developed.

Another task that the museum needs to tackle is how to communicate effectively with this public, both in terms of the design of the activities as well as their diffusion, looking for communication strategies so that the message of the museum reaches them: but these strategies will only be effective if the message means something to them.  It is necessary to learn to adapt our communication, not only the language but also the contents.

We also looked at the question of cost of the activities, both the cost per se of organising them, as well as the institutional cost of putting them into practice, and the major resources of the staff required for results that are not always encouraging.  And of course, we discussed if the activities should be free of charge or if there should be a cost for the users.

There were many valid questions, in an ambience of reflection and the sharing of experiences that had been acquired after years of work: to sum up, it was a very fruitful and enriching day, in which we were very happy to have participated.

We are very grateful to all the participants for their generosity in sharing with us their proposals and experience, and we very much hope that our contributions were valid for the lines of research being developed.

Anna Guarro
Public Programmes

9 Comments
  • Elisenda Juanola
    February 15, 2011

    Hola,
    Buscant informació sobre educació i museus he trobat que el Stedelijk Museum d’Amsterdam va organitzar un simposi aquest octubre passat sobre gent jove i museus. S’hi van presentar iniciatives de diferents museus europeus i americans. Ho trobareu tot aquí, a Simposium Blikopeners, en la secció d’Educació:
    http://www.stedelijkmuseum.nl/

  • Anna Guarro
    February 15, 2011

    Hola Elisenda,
    Moltes gràcies per la referència, és una informació molt interessant!

  • Santos M. Mateos
    February 16, 2011

    Anna (i resta d’implicats), felicitats per la iniciativa.
    Sobre el paper del públic jove, no és que només sigui fonamental per als museus, es que és el seu futur! Aix, però segurament sigui el públic més difícil de “capturar”… (ja saps, ni captiu ni desarmat, decideix que vol fer, quan i amb qui).
    Em permeto l’atreviment de recomanar el magnífic llibre de Franky Devos “Jóvenes pero alcanzables. Técnicas de marketing para acercar la cultura a los jóvenes” (Fundación Autor, Madrid, 2006).
    Ànims i bona reflexió!

  • Yrene Bueno
    February 16, 2011

    Anna, quan als museus fem sessions d’aquesta mena, tenim la sensació de que ens retroalimentem amb idees, conceptes, plantejaments, etc. Però que allò que parlem en reunions i trobades amb col·legues d’altres institucions i les conclusions que en treiem, haurien d’arribar als nostres respectius directors, gerents, etc. No tens aquesta sensació? Una abraçada.

  • Museu Picasso
    February 16, 2011

    Santos, moltes gràcies pel teu apunt. Afegirem el llibre que ens recomanes a la bibliografia del Postgrau de Gestió de Museus.

  • Anna Guarro
    February 17, 2011

    Hola, aprofito per comentar aquests últims comentaris alhora! Estic molt contenta que aquest post estigui generant tants inputs, per nosaltres va ser una sessió molt productiva i veiem que hi ha un interès general. Pel que al simposi que indica l’Elisenda, m’ha interessat moltíssim, llàstima no haver-hi estat, vaja una oportunitat perduda 🙁 M’ha agradat particularment l’experiència que presenta André Plattel i el seu missatge de centrar-nos en les qualitats i no els defectes: vàlid per a tots els públics i situacions! Gràcies al Santos per la referència, ja l’hem demanat! I a la Yrene gràcies també per la reflexió, és imprescindible el compromís de Direcció i Gerència per tirar endavant propostes per joves (i educatives en general), són projectes amb èxit a llarg termini, amb situacions intermitges molt desanimants: per tant, si no hi ha la implicació dels directius de la institució, difícilment es podran desenvolupar. Perdoneu el comentari tant llarg!

  • Anna Guarro
    April 13, 2012

    Us recomanem aquest article del col·lectiu N8, d’Holanda, sobre joves i museus: http://www.culturegeek.com/insights/n8-connecting-museums-with-young-people/

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