How can museum professionals, educators, artists and civil society leaders work together to support young audiences in their reflection on major societal issues? How can we make museums a more inclusive place where youth can debate and propose solutions to urgent social and climate questions?
This series on inclusivity, diversity and sustainability is offered by the Embassy of the United States of America in France in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution throughout 2021. This project takes place in two phases: with a cycle of webinars for museum professionals and teachers in the spring, and a series of workshops with high school students in the fall.
On this page you will find recordings of the webinars (with simultaneous interpretation or subtitling) and educational resources shared by the various discussants.
Inclusive cultural practices
These Franco-American conversations connect museum professionals, teachers, artists, and civil society leaders who use museums to engage with youth on questions of social justice and the future of the planet. Participants interact directly with professionals in the United States on the future of equitable cultural practices inside and outside of our museums.
February 4 – Inaugural panel discussion: Telling Stories That Matter For Our Shared Future
Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
Juliette Guépratte, Director of Strategy, Louvre-Lens Museum
Malcom Ferdinand, researcher in political environmental studies, Fondation pour l’écologie politique Book Prize 2019
Discussion moderated by Maxime Tellier, journalist at France Culture
Video February 4
March 24 – The Fierce Urgency of Now: A Conversation on Race, Cultural Practice, and Our Shared Future
Join a group of cultural workers and thought leaders for a timely conversation about the future of sound cultural practice both in and outside museum walls:
What does an equitable and inclusive museum look like?
What constitutes equitable and honorable collection practice?
What is the role of educators and artists in ensuring that cultural institutions create truly safe spaces for difficult encounters?
What is needed to collaborate with communities as they call for decolonization, reciprocal learning, the repatriation of objects, shared authority, and so much more?
Greg Adams, Interim Director, Smithsonian Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
Ping-Ann Addo, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Boston
Junious Brickhouse, Urban Dance Educator, Choreographer, Cultural Preservationist
Julia Loíza Gutiérrez-Rivera, Dancer-Choreographer, Arts Educator, Activist
Lisa Sasaki, Director, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center at the Smithsonian
Discussion moderated by Sabrina Lynn Motley, Director, Shttps://datebook.sfchronicle.com/art-exhibits/sonoma-art-professor-tackles-racemithsonian Folklife Festival
Food for the Journey: Links to Resources that Nurture, Challenge, and Provoke Us
-“Museums and Race: Are Museums Accidental Racists?” by James Heaton, Professor of Art History, Sonoma State University
-Americans with Disability Act (ADA: loi pour le handicap de 1990) ADA Past, Present, and Future through the Lens of the Coronavirus by Rebecca Cokley, director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress
–Chronicling Culture in Crisis, a Smithsonian Folklife Magazine series featuring individuals and their communities as they use their traditions and creativity to respond not only to the public health crisis but also economic uncertainty, structural racism, and climate change.
–The Bitter Southerner, a dynamic digital magazine that aims uncover the American South in all its truth and complexity — and in the process to break stereotypes about the region and its people by pushing out important, difficult, uncomfortable, irreverent, witty, addictive, and always enjoyable stories that turn myths about the South inside out.
–We are not a Stereotype: Breaking Down Asian Pacifica American Bias, A Video Series for Classroom Teachers and Caregivers Who Teach
–Heritage IRL, A web series engaging Asian American heritage “in real life,” in progress, across a range of media and communities.
April 7 – Earth Optimism: Beyond Gloom and Doom on Climate and Conservation
Our experts discussed about the future of sound cultural and environmental practice both in and outside museum walls. During this session, educators and museum professionals will learn what inspired the featured Earth Optimism storytellers to moving away from a narrative of doomsday to one of grounded, pragmatic optimism. Find out what an Earth Optimism framing includes and hear from colleagues and experts on how you can integrate this approach into your work.
Nancy Knowlton (moderator), Coral Reef Biologist, Sant Chair in Marine Science Emerita, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and Co-Founder of Earth Optimism
Ange Ansour, Founder and Director of Programs, Les Savanturiers
Rhett Butler , Founder, Mongabay Inspirations & News from
Andrea Lipps, Associate Curator, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
Isabel Nottaris, Deputy Director, Toulouse Museum of Natural History
Video Link: April 7
– Want to get involved in Les Savanturiers ? Projects for teachers, from kindergarten to high school can be downloaded here.
– Extinction exhibit, Toulouse Museum
May 12 – Do Something! How museums and educators can engage the public to take environmental action
In this session, we are convening museum curators, scientists, and education experts to discuss examples of interdisciplinary programs and public engagement strategies and reflect on opportunities to further advance actions for a sustainable future, and to exchange views on the following questions:
What role and responsibility can / should museums and educators have to address our global environmental challenges?
How can museums and educators leverage their resources to create an innovative sustainability culture?
Can art and science collaborations build better relationships between humans and our natural world to drive conservation solutions?
Finally, what opportunities are there to engage with global conservation events in 2021?
Annabelle Aish, Project Lead Bioinspire-Muséum,Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris
Ian Brunswick, Curator of Futures Exhibition, Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building
Olivia Cosby, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute et Working Land and Seascapes
Alexandre Mounier, President, NGO 1 déchet par jour/1 piece of rubbish
Sarah Sutton, Principal, Sustainable Museums
Video and resources (in french)
– COP26 United Nations Climate Change side events and exhibits eligibility
– Abbe Museum, Maine: Inspiring new learning about the Wabanaki Nations
– Early Spring: Henry Thoreau and Climate Change, Concord Museum, Massachusetts
– Grand Rapids Art Museum
– Wild Center Youth Summits, upstate New York
– Video Bioinspiration 360°, French National Museum of Natural History (MNHN)
– Museum Manifesto, French National Museum of Natural History (MNHN)
– Exhibition “Vies d’ordures”, MuCEM, Marseille
June 5-13 1 World Oceans Day challenge 1 Action for the Ocean
Partner organizations in France :
- 1 Déchet Par Jour
- Aquarium tropical de Paris-Palais de la Porte dorée, Paris, France
- Free Spirit – O’Dyssey La Journée des océans
- Hermione-Lafayette, Rochefort, France
- No Plastic in my sea
- Project Rescue Ocean
- Surfrider Europe
- The Sean Cleaners
- Zéro Déchet Sauvage
Partner organizations in the U.S. :
From theory to practice
The second phase will coincide with Oceans Day on June 8 and the opening of the IUCN World Conservation Congress, which France will host in Marseille from September 3 to 11. We will be offering a series of practical workshops from September to December for high school students (precise schedule to be specified soon). This will be an opportunity to implement some of the good practices discussed during the spring cycle of conversations on how to help youths understand global issues and take local action (topics will include: food, culture and sustainable development; health and sustainability; national stories and social inclusion).
The Smithsonian Institution
Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution is celebrating its 175th anniversary in 2021 and remains true to the wish of its founder James Smithson (1765-1829) to increase and diffuse knowledge. Today the institution includes 19 museums, 21 libraries, a national zoo and numerous scientific research centers across the United States, making it one of the most influential cultural institutions in the world. The Smithsonian has a global mission, and is actively involved in the conservation of biodiversity, the arts and culture. www.si.edu