You are invited to attend a panel discussion entitled "Museums, Ethics, and Social Justice" on Tuesday, November 27th at 7pm at Seton Hall University (New Jersey, USA). The event will take place in Seton Hall's University Center, Chancellor's Suite.
The panel will address an issue that is widely discussed among those interested in museums, namely what is the social responsibility of museums with regard to the communities they serve. Are museums just repositories of objects, places where one can spend a pleasant and perhaps even educational leisure afternoon, or do they have a larger societal role to play? Some leading authorities on museums, such as Richard Sandell (University of Leicester, UK), author of Museums, Equality and Social Justice (2012), is of the opinion that concerns for equality, diversity, social justice and human rights should be at the core of "museum thinking." Others feel that this is not a role museums should play.
The four participants in the discussion all have much to bring to the table. Anthony Gardner, Director of the State Museum in Trenton (BA, Communications and MA Museum Professions, both from SHU) has been deeply involved in the redevelopment of the 9/11 site as a member of the Families Advisory Council for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Judith Dobrzynski is a well- known cultural journalist (see: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_H._Dobrzynski). Liz Sevcenko, heads up the Guantanamo Public Memory Project, jointly sponsored by Columbia University and the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, and Eric Ledbetter, is a museum consultant who, until recently served as Director of International Programs and Ethics at the American Association of Museums. Sally Yerkovitch, Director of the Institute of Museum Ethics at SHU as well as an adjunct faculty member in the Museum Professions Program, will moderate the discussion, which we expect to be lively.
The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.