Inclusive Museums in Eastern Europe: Social Networks and Institutional Transformation in the Field of Art

By Szilvia Nagy.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Museums and art institutes are ever changing, adapting to the needs of society. After the attempts in the last decades to proximate the museum practice to community involvement (new museology, institutional criticism) we see a recent revival of this approach in the form of participatory museums.
This social orientation and commitment of contemporary art institutes is the main focus of my interest: what can be the role and responsibility of art institutes in the times of social and political changes? How does the given political, economical and social background determine these institutes? Can they act as initiatives or agents of changes?
My research looks at the ways if and how inclusive/ participatory models and practices have been transferred and adapted in Eastern Europe, in an economical-political background that is radically different from those countries where these theories and models developed. This adaptation largely depends on the existing social, political and institutional conditions, which enable, instrumentalise or block the implementation of earlier inclusive models.
My hypothesis is that these new, inclusive institutional forms based on the models of "organized networks" are able to liberate themselves from the structures of local economical-political systems by the support of international collaborations. Networks by establishing a more transparent and inclusive practice enable them to focus on local issues through critical discourse. They can also ensure access to the international art scene, funding, and open framework for critical tendencies.
Therefore my research investigates if these new, web-type inclusive institutes could be the means and patterns of museum transformation in Eastern European societies. The social web as an institutional structure could lead to a new model, where events/projects substitute exhibitions, where participants replace attendants by creative content creation, collaborative knowledge production, sharing and discussions. According to Ned Rossiter's theory these “organized networks” - based on the guidelines of social-technical forms and using virtual network models - can serve as an information pool, a hub for various transdisciplinary forms of collaboration. Through local participation and international exchange this new institutional model would be able to maintain and expand its participation in (semi-) public space, and at the same time creating free unbranded spaces.

Keywords: institutional transformations, network theory, inclusive museums, field, institutional criticism

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 6, Issue 4, December 2014, pp.13-23. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 446.929KB).

Szilvia Nagy

PhD Candidate, Doctoral Program in Film, Media and Contemporary Culture, Eötvös Lóránd University, Budapest, Hungary

Szilvia Nagy is a researcher, writer and curator from Budapest, Hungary. She holds an MA in Cultural and Visual Anthropology. She is a PhD Candidate in the Doctoral Program of Film, Media and Contemporary Culture Studies at the Department of Philosophy at the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. The provisional title for her research thesis is 'Inclusive Museums in Eastern Europe: Social Networks and Institutional Transformation in the Field of Art' and her research focuses on the transforming institutional background of the art field, especially the structural changes and their analysis by the means of network theories. Her interest in the institutional transformations are closely related with her curatorial approach to present and organise reflexive exhibitions, actions, symposiums and workshops on the new developments of institutional critique and to estimate her curatorial projects with her academic interests. Her curatorial experience includes her work as a project manager and curator at the Miskolc Institute of Contemporary Art (M.ICA) between 2008-2012.


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