Open Engagement Preconference

Free

Registration Closed

Online registration is now closed. Attendees may register in person at the MCA.

A guide sitting in front of a large photograph talks to a small group of seated adults.
A volunteer docent discusses Andreas Gursky’s Chicago Board of Trade (1999) with a tour group, © MCA Chicago.

About

Museum Education: A Radical Practice

Institutions are made, not given. We shape the worlds we live in.

This daylong preconference examines whether art museum education is a radical practice capable of not only contributing to the transformation of individuals, but to the making of a just society and where it can be found.

We begin with the idea of just institutions and examine the roles that educators can play as they define the nature of the programs museums offer; modes of address, interpretation, and engagement; and who they involve in those processes. We also look at museum educators and artists as agents of change within long-established systems. Throughout the day, we treat museum education as site-bound, culturally specific, and historically inflected, inviting practitioners to help us reflect on the values that guide our work and on how different kinds of museums—from university-based to the encyclopedic to the contemporary,—define and pursue the quest for justice.

The preconference is free and open to all types of practitioners attending Open Engagement.

Schedule

At the MCA

10–10:20 AM, WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION

– Heidi Reitmaier, Dr. Robert Nathan Mayer Director of Education, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
– Jackie Terrassa, Woman’s Board Endowed Chair of Museum Education, the Art Institute of Chicago

10:20–11:20 AM, CONVERSATION: WHAT MAKES A JUST INSTITUTION?

– Angelique Power, President, Field Foundation of Illinois, and founding cochair, Enrich Chicago
– Amina Dickerson, Dickerson Global Advisors

What strategies and policies make just institutions and position them to advance social justice? What do these look like? And how might a commitment to justice help transform organizations?

11:20 AM–12:30 PM, PANEL DISCUSSION: BOUNDARY-CROSSING

– Terri Kapsalis, artist and Adjunct Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
– Jorge Rojas, Director of Education and Engagement, Utah Museum of Fine Arts
– Irina Zadov, artist, cultural organizer, and Senior Program Specialist for Culture, Arts, and Nature, Chicago Park District
– Faheem Majeed, artist

How can artistic, museum education and cultural practices shift institutional paradigms, realign priorities, and contribute to the transformation of individuals, organizations, and communities within a context of justice?

At the Art Institute of Chicago

12:45–2 PM, LUNCH
Lunch is not provided. The afternoon session occurs at the Art Institute of Chicago; please enter through the Modern Wing.

2–2:20 PM, RECONVENE Please meet at the Art Institute of Chicago in the Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room.

2:20–3:15 PM, IN PRACTICE: GALLERY BREAK-OUT SESSION 1
In the Art Institute's galleries

Participants work in small groups in the Art Institute’s galleries to model and reflect on approaches to teaching, programming, interpretation, and community collaboration.

Led by Chicago-based artists and museum educators from the Art Institute of Chicago, David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, The Floating Museum, Gallery 400, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, INTUIT, Mary & Leigh Block Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, National Museum of Mexican Art, National Public Housing Museum, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

3:15–3:30 PM, BREAK

3:30–4:25 PM, IN PRACTICE: GALLERY BREAK-OUT SESSION 2
In the Art Institute's galleries

4:35–5 PM, ROUND-UP AND CLOSING
In the Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room

5–6 PM, RECEPTION
In the Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room

6–7:30 PM, PERFORMANCE: EIKO AND KOMA
In the Griffin Court

Renowned performance artists Eiko Otake and Koma Otake, known as the groundbreaking duo Eiko & Koma, present solo performances in response to the exhibition Provoke: Photography in Japan between Protest and Performance, 1960–1975. Eiko performs A Body in the Art Institute, an intimate meditation on how a frail, itinerant body can occupy a public space with surprising force. Following this performance, Koma presents his haunting solo work, The Ghost Festival.