The Power of an Intervention
Dialogue for change
A highlight of my working year has to be the Museums Association’s ‘Festival of Change’, a discrete yet integral strand to this year’s MA Annual Conference in Manchester and for me, a thing of curiosity and wonder.
As someone who has been working closely this year with the MA’s mid career leadership programme, MATransformers, and as a long standing exponent of Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion training for organisations in its various guises, I’ve been convinced, thanks to working alongside Jess Turtle, Hilary Carty and the rest of the MATransformers team, by the power of radical action and intervention, especially when driven by those with a lived experience of discrimination, delivering how it really is, in creative, accessible and pertinent ways.
The side show interventions at the Festival of Change inadvertently became the pith and the punch of the main event. Developed through an application process and shaped and delivered by MATransformers to run at the conference, interventions ranged from Escape to the Museum of Woe to The White Privilege Clinic alongside the Nail Transphobia Salon — jointly winning won the Best Product accolade. Not to mention the brilliant #MuseumsFailure Confessional where delegates were able to fess their personal or institutional failures and the wonderful Iraqi Chai, tea and biscuits and conversations about the experiences of #Iraqiwomenartwar.
At the heart of these interventions was the importance of conversation and dialogue, taking time to talk about the serious issues we all need to grapple with and the uneasy truths that pervade. Evaluation will out the impact of these and the other brilliant challenges but it’s safe to say that Festival of Change as a discrete artistic activist movement is more than worthy of another little outing.