The rap on research for the arts, museums, and informal sciences
The Center for the Future of Museums hosts a talk by Los Angeles Times columnist Gregory Rodriguez on cultural transformation. It’s not just for museums.
The lecture was actually given by Rodriguez in Washington, DC in December and taped for this webcast. But he’ll be online Wednesday for a live Q&A, and there will also be a panel discussion.
Rodriguez is a big name in the world of demographic change, ethnicity, and policy, especially on Latino issues. He was asked by Elizabeth Merritt, who runs the new Center for the Future of Museums at the American Association of Museums (AAM), to turn his gaze on cultural institutions and speculate about how demographic shifts will affect them.
You can get a glimpse of his thinking in an op-ed column he wrote after giving the talk, “Big Tent Salvation for the Arts.”
In audience research and evaluation, we’re often asked to study Latino populations as a distinct group with its own special needs. But that can be a form of segregation, or at least compartmentalization. It might be smarter — and it will probably become necessary, anyway — to try to integrate our understanding of Latinos and other growing minorities in every “general” study we conduct.
I’m plugging the webcast not just because I’m on the advisory council of the Center for the Future of Museums, but also because we all need to be talking about the place of the arts in a soon-to-be majority-minority culture, and especially about what the dramatic growth of Latino populations means for how we program, communicate, and advocate for the arts.
There are also huge implications for the colleges and universities we work with. (Sorry to be so arts-centric here.)
So give a listen on Wednesday, and let me know what you think of Rodriguez’s talk and the discussion that follows.
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