"Please visit our website, and help us respond."
"Given the urgent global discussions happening right now around migrants, refugees, travel bans and human rights, we have decided to make our Front Page Dialogue on the Refugee Crisis open to all. Front Page Dialogues are designed to serve as models to help our members generate conversations about relevant issues as they emerge. As rapid response tools, they are intended to help Sites of Conscience respond to community needs in a timely manner, providing a guide for engaging visitors in dialogue and action on pressing events in real time. We must all act on this issue now. #SitesOfConscience #FrontPageDialogues#TravelBan #ThisIsNotNew"
"Please visit our website, and help us respond."
ACM has released a Statement on the separation of children from their families at the border:
"On behalf of the leadership and membership of the Association of Children's Museums, we must express our outrage at the separation of children from their families."
Review the original Twitter post here.
BRING A SUITCASE / ARTISTS CALL
Artists in Support of Freedom of Movement!
Artists against Deportation, Incarceration and the Separation of Families!
When our friends and neighbors are deported from the United States, their loved ones are told to pack a suitcase and bring it to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The suitcase, thoroughly examined by law enforcement, can’t weigh more than 25 lbs. This is the suitcase people leave with; these are the belongings they start over with. Some of our friends and neighbors are returning to countries they left as children. Sometimes they return to a place with little opportunity, where sexual freedoms are criminalized, a place at war or in drought. Sometimes it is a place of grave danger.
What would you take? What would you leave?
What would you pack for your lover? your brother? your mother? your daughter? your neighbor? a stranger?
We invite you to create a suitcase, for a real or a fictional friend, for a real journey or a fantastic journey. We invite you to imagine and engage the political, utopian, desperate, cosmic, deadly, and transcendent realities of migration. Your suitcase can be as elaborate or minimal a work as you wish.
ACTION On Thursday July 26, at 5 pm hundreds of us will surround the Federal Building in NYC with suitcases packed for deportation. Will you pack a suitcase? Will you join us?
We need your participation. Please forward and share with your networks. In a time of epic and deadly migration we send a signal to border crossers worldwide. Bring your suitcase yourself on July 26, or deliver it to us in NYC before July 25th.
contact and info: firstname.lastname@example.org
New Sanctuary Coalition
Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir
Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics
JOIN THIS ACTION
We at the Empathetic Museum encourage all members of the museum community, and especially those in border communities, to think about ways in which they might show that US museums are concerned about the human rights violations at our southern border. We depend on museums as influential cultural institutions, as part of the social infrastructure, and as places that serve families and children, to reflect on how they might contribute to the current national conversation about human rights and the rights of children. Below is a post by one of our members reflecting on the current situation.
On July 22, 2014, almost four years ago, I raised this issue on AAM's Future of Museums blog: Unaccompanied Children at our Borders: Can Museums Help? It didn't attract much attention, but this was before #museumsrespondtoFerguson, #MuseumsAreNotNeutral, Museums and Race, MASSAction, and countless other discussions and initiatives regarding museums' engagement with and responsibility to the world outside their doors.
Today, when the issue of immigration along our southern border has become even more fraught with the seizure and separation of children from their parents, the question remains: Do museums have any role to play? In my 2014 post I wondered whether museums near holding centers might assist the middle school kids and teens detained for weeks with activities and bilingual staff. Today, it appears that many of the children are much younger, and their situation is far more traumatic and contentious. Direct involvement by museums might do more harm than good. But does that mean that we do nothing, say nothing?
It would be presumptuous of me to suggest specific actions for this situation. Museums near the detention centers must know their communities and the border situation better than someone blogging from D.C. Still, I am looking for some indication of awareness from the field about this egregious human rights violation by our country. In addition to awareness I'm looking for some sign that museums are trying to connect around this issue. I've checked the websites of our major national museum organizations, as well as those of children's museums and museums focusing on immigration. So far, total silence. But perhaps you know of museums or cultural organizations that are demonstrating awareness and commitment in this area. I'd love to know more about these. Please tweet me: @gretchjenn. Thanks.
En julio 22 de 2014, hace casi cuatro años, plantee este tema en el blog Future of Museums de AAM: Niños no acompañados en nuestras fronteras: ¿Pueden los museos ayudar? (Unacompanied Children at our Borders: Can Museums Help?). No atrajo mucha atención, pero esto fue antes de #museumsrespondtoFerguson, #MuseumsAreNotNeutral, Museums and Race, MASSAction y otras innumerables discusiones e iniciativas sobre el compromiso y responsabilidad del museo con el mundo fuera de sus puertas.
Hoy, cuando el tema de migración a lo largo de nuestra frontera sur se ha vuelto más tenso con la aprehensión y separación de niños de sus padres, la pregunta se mantiene: ¿Los museos tienen un rol en esto? En el post de 2014, me preguntaba si los museos cerca de centros de detención pueden auxiliar a niños y adolescentes de educación media detenidos por semanas con actividades y personal bilingüe. Hoy, parece que muchos de esos niños son más pequeños, y su situación es mucho más traumática y contenciosa. La implicación directa de los museos puede hacer más daño que bien. Pero ¿eso quiere decir que no hagamos nada, que no digamos nada?
Sería pretencioso de mi parte sugerir acciones específicas para esta situación. Los museos cerca de centros de detención deben conocer mejor a sus comunidades y la situación en la frontera que alguien que escribe desde DC. Aún estoy buscando algún indicio de conciencia del campo acerca de esta atroz violación de derechos humanos que está haciendo nuestro país. Además de conciencia, estoy buscando alguna evidencia de que los museos están tratando de conectar alrededor de este tema. He revisado los websites de las organizaciones de museos nacionales más importantes, así como los de museos de niños y museos centrados en migración. Hasta ahora, silencio total. Pero quizá ustedes conozcan museos u organizaciones culturales que están demostrando conciencia y compromiso en esta área. Me gustaría saber más de éstos. Por favor, escríbanme en Twitter @gretchjenn. Gracias.
By: Nayeli Zepeda.
Empathy is not just a museum’s means to generate an emotional response in our visitors, but an ethical basis on which we can build our institutions. If the mission of the museum is to represent, exhibit, and convey meaningful and relevant objects and narratives from and to the community, then it needs to develop its capability for empathy.
I have worked for private and public cultural institutions in Mexico for more than ten years. While developing educational material content for a couple of museums, I realized that even before planning and designing, we have to figure out: where we are standing, what we are aiming to do, and the fact that it is not only about visitor studies but about self-assessment. This realization has inspired me to study human centered design for museums, an approach that isn’t just about creating solutions but also entails the awareness of the visitors’/users’ desires, needs, and notions about the museum itself.
Empathetic practices require the understanding of how and why others are feeling and thinking what they do. There’s also another component which I think is crucial for museum advancement; Jamil Zaki and Kevin Ochsner, in the paper “The neuroscience of empathy: progress, pitfalls and promise” (2012), suggest that this human ability has a social component that moves the emotional and cognitive empathy towards action.
But before acting on our research findings or even getting to know our visitors, the first step to make empathy a habit in museum practice is to know ourselves, to define our mission, passion, and purpose as well as our institutions’. This is the standpoint from where The Empathetic Museum works, adding up to the ethics of the social and political role of the museum on issues such as inclusion, representation, privilege, discrimination, among others; coming from what most people consider a minority–a Latina in the US–they are all too familiar to me.
The Empathetic Museum Maturity Model can help us define what we are doing and what we need to embrace to connect more with our community while supporting our staff.
Museum practice is in strong need of a mindful transformation. For museums to continue being useful and valuable to their users–staff and visitors–and communities, they need to work from that civic and social stance that acts on it. Instead of doing isolated and temporary exercises, we have to proceed from a more systemic perspective in which the use of the museum means something lasting. To achieve this, empathy is key, and the Maturity Model is a straightforward tool to assess how far we are from that goal.
When I moved to Seattle a few years ago, I found so many useful resources from the United States, Canada and United Kingdom, amazing readings, papers and tools, but none of them were available in Spanish. I made one of my duties to track those materials and report them to my colleagues in Mexico and other Latin countries; then we started so many conversations about concerns about how we display our work: How to socialize our knowledge and experience? How to grow the network of people working towards the same goal? Is there someone who has been working on the same issues we’ve been working on?
It is essential to have a Spanish version of the Maturity Model, so we can reach out to our Spanish speaking colleagues who deal with issues regarding exclusion, racism, bureaucracy, in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Spain, the Latin community in US, and the museum professionals who are in the quest to build more responsive, timely and empathetic museums.
*To request a copy of The Empathetic Museum in English or Spanish please contact us using our webform or via email.