Participation and the Museum

Final Reports


The working group "Glocalization"

The final presentation of the glocalization group consisted of a reflection of the critical discussions we had about the concept and discourses surrounding globalization as well as some (more) practical examples.

Our first presentation framed our reflections, and gave a critical perspective of the terms globalization and glocalization (1). Core of this reflection was formed by the article “The Northern Theory of Globalization”, in which the Australian sociologist and gender theorist Raewyn Connell gives an exposé of the history, the developments and the different interpretations of globalization and the concepts and terms circling it. Key reference was made to the fact that a lot of the globalist theories are from the Anglophone world and that globalization theory according to Connell is mainly a Northen performative theory or theories.

We concluded that we – as us reflecting and the museum producing - are still kind of stuck in the discourse of Northern Theory and that we had no clear cut answers to questions like how to apply alternative theories.

However, the fact that we have been discussing these theme had given our group a firmer grasp on the complex position Världskulturmuseet is currently in. At the same time, we also had to get practical and acknowledge the limits practice brings without losing sight of the benefit it might offer. The final presentation also included three topics which we filtered out from our ongoing critical discussions we have had on the concept and discourses surrounding globalization.

- The Networking Museum
- Sustainable Participation
- Education and the Museum

In the presentation “From a museum with a network to a network with a museum”, we argued that in order to become more locally embedded in the local society and optimize its function as the new (information) expert, the museum might want to become involved in local expert networks (2). 

The presentation about participation discussed the possible limitations with respect to (the process of setting up) participatory projects. Taking the Dutch project “Buurtwinkels” from the Amsterdam Museum in the Netherlands as example, some recommendations were made. Main conclusions: In order to make a participatory project sustainable, some leadership is necessary, the participatory project and vision has to be implemented throughout the whole museum organization, and working with local experts can be a key to the success of the project. (3)

The final part of the presentation dealt with the learning process within the globalization concept. In this presentation it was argued that it can be profitable for the museum, when making new projects, to integrate different learning styles (such as of Kolb, McCarthy and Dunn & Dunn) in the way they address the content as well as the hardware. A practical example was given in the form of a do-book in which connections are made between the museum collections and something the audience can easily relate to (eg. The two-way drum and the mobile phone). This connection can be used as a starting point for the discussion about (more complicated) contemporary global issues, like social media, human rights, democracy, gender etc. (4)


Acker, Joan: Gender, Capitalism and Globalization. University of Oregon, 2004.
Bauman, Zygmunt: On Glocalization: or Globalization for some, Localization for some Others. 1998.
Connell, Raewyn: The Northern Theory of Globalization. University of Sydney, 2007.
Govier, Louise: Leaders in co-creation. MLA Museums Clore Leadership Fellow, 2008-9.
Hedlin et. al (eds.): Feminisms Is Still Our Name – Seven Essays on Historiography and Curatorial Practices. 2010.
Hein, Hilde: Looking at Museums from a Feminist Perspective. 2010.
Maris, Machteld: In de aanbieding Amsterdam Museum. Het Monderiaan Fonds, 2012.
Mensch, Peter van en Léontine Meijer-van Mensch: New trends in museology. Muzej novejše zgodovine, Celje 2011.
Odding, Arnoud: Het disruptieve museum. Den Haag, 2011.
Simon, Nina: The Participatory Museum. California, 2010.


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