The Museum of the Future 03: Museum in a City
During our third meeting as part of the "Museum of the Future" series together with our guests: Monika Arczyńska, Dorota Jędruch, Urszula Niziołek-Janiak, Agnieszka Wojciechowska-Sej and Marta Żakowska we will be discussing the role and status of cultural institutions in a city.
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In our discussion, we want to raise the issues of designing cultural institutions and exhibition facilities. We will consider whether and how the location of museums and galleries in the city is taken into account in this process, as well as in what way by getting closer to the social tissue of the city the new institution affects the surrounding community. Is it possible to predict, at the stage of designing, how people-friendly an institution will be and whether it will respond to the needs of the inhabitants of a particular district, city or region?
We will also try to examine what kind of incentives are introduced by institutions for their neighbours so that they visit them more often and actively contribute to shaping these places. To what extent does the infrastructure of these spaces, like a café on the site, a garden, car and bicycle parking spaces, accessibility for people with mobility difficulties, etc. determine the attendance of the institution and make it a nice place to spend free time in?
In our discussion, we will also try to shed light on the impact of the pandemic and the accompanying it reorganization of social life, on changing our ways of spending free time in the city, and the quality of it. Such considerations unintentionally tend to trigger much broader topics, which will surely create a socio-political background for our discussion. Who are new institutions being built for? Is it happening to fulfil some political goals or stimulate tourism, or are they being built solely for the inhabitants?
What is the use of a museum in the city?
Monika Arczyńska, architect, PhD - a co-founder of A2P2 architecture & planning, a consulting and design company dealing with, among others master plans, investment programming and participatory activities. She is Assistant Professor at the Gdańsk University of Technology. In the years 2006-2017 she was associated with Heneghan Peng Architects, where she dealt with the design of public buildings, including the Aga Khan Award winning the new Palestinian Museum on the West Bank, the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the National Centre for Contemporary Arts in Moscow, the redevelopment of the National Gallery in Dublin and the Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre in Northern Ireland. She uses her international experience in Poland now, advising such institutions as: the Ossolineum, the National Museum in Gdańsk, the Archaeological Museum in Biskupin and the Nowa Praga Creativity Centre in Warsaw.
Dorota Jędruch - works at the Department of Modern Art of the Institute of Art History of the Jagiellonian University. Her doctoral dissertation was on Three Models of Social Architecture in 20th-century France. Le Corbusier, Emile Aillaud, Ricardo Bofill which was prepared under the supervision of prof. dr hab. Wojciech Bałus. She has been a co-curator of, among others, such exhibitions as: "IN-HABITATION 2012 – Garden city, gated city" (Institute of Architecture/National Museum in Krakow, 2012), "Reaction to Modernism: the architecture of Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz" (Institute of Architecture/National Museum in Krakow, 2013–2014), "Impossible Objects" (Institute of Architecture – the Polish Pavilion at the 14th International Biennale of Architecture in Venice, 2014), "Home at Last. The Polish House during the Transition" (as part of the 8th edition of the "Warsaw Under Construction” Festival 2016), "Museum Power" (National Museum in Krakow, 2021). She is a co-founder of the Institute of Architecture Foundation, associated with research and popularization of knowledge of the problems in contemporary architecture and urban planning. On a regular basis, Jędruch collaborates with the Autoportret (Self-portrait) quarterly.
Urszula Niziołek-Janiak - graduated from the Academy of Arts in Łódź at the Faculty of Industrial Design, and postgraduate studies in the field of Scientific Information at the University of Warsaw. Professionally, she designs utility graphics, utility forms and interiors. Additionally, for several years now she has been associated with the Library of the University of Lodz. Since 2008, she has been engaged in voluntary work for the city of Łódź, first with the Group of Certain People, then in the social movement Respect for Łódź. She is a co-founder of the Yes! Coalition Association (Stowarzyszenie Koalicja Tak!). From 2018, she has been a vice-president of the Poland on Foot Federation (in pending status). She is a co-creator of the first Łódź Regulations of Social Consultations, and co-author of the social Renovation Programme 100 Tenements for Łódź. In 2014, she was honoured with the golden badge "For the Care of Monuments" by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, and in 2016 awarded with the golden badge by the Society for the Preservation of Monuments, Łódź Branch.
Agnieszka Wojciechowska-Sej - an art historian and postgraduate pedagogue, educator, and lecturer at the University of Łódź. Since 2008, he has been working at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź in the Department of Education. She plans and implements educational activities addressed to all age groups. She co-creates training programmes for culture animators and museum educators at the request of NIMOZ. She is a co-author of "A Book to See" - a set of instructions on how to creatively look at reality, not only works of art, and "A Book to See” practically - films based on the book. She co-wrote scripts for the TV programme Kulturanek (Culture Morning), produced jointly with the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź and TVP Kultura channel. In 2016-2017, she co-created the Polish version of the international project Translocal: Museum as a Toolbox, the visual effect of which was the participatory FIND ART exhibition, curated by junior-high school and high school students of Łódź. From 2016 to 2018, she worked as a coordinator of the Łódź edition of the Very Young Culture - Coalitions of Culture programme. An expert of the City Academy as part of the Malta Festival (2018), Non-congress of Educators in Poznań (2018), and the Museum Think-tank project organized by the Silesian Museum and the Polin Museum (2019). She also ran a series of seminars and workshops as part of the Kaliningrad Museum Festival - Children's Programmes in Museums for Adults (2019). She has recently participated in the Poznań edition of "TEDx - Do we Really Have to?". She is currently working on the Digital Poland project.
Marta Żakowska - a city anthropologist, a co-founder and editor-in-chief of Magazyn Miasta (The City Journal), the first interdisciplinary and popular science magazine about the city in Poland; an initiator of the Community Architecture School (1st edition: 2020), an expert in the field of urban mobility culture. She conducts city seminars at the School of Ideas SWPS, at the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology and at the Institute for Public Space Research of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. She has run a number of independent seminars, including “the afternoons”, i.e. workshops such as Social Contexts of Building and the Automobile Laboratory during the Warsaw Under Construction festival. She is an author of articles dealing with the social contexts of architecture, published, among others, in Magazyn Miasta, Architektura Murator, Architektura & Biznes, Polityka weekly and Gazeta Wyborcza daily. She is also a co-author of the podcast Magazyn Miasta broadcast on tokfm.pl. She is an originator and author of the guide and the educational programme "Age-friendly Cities" implemented in cooperation with the WHO Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. Representative of Poland in the European group of CityMakers activists, she took part in the process of creating the new European Urban Agenda. In 2019, Żakowska was nominated in the Personalities category on the occasion of 25th Anniversary of the Architektura Murator monthly magazine. Currently associated with the Museum of Warsaw where she implements her own educational programme for adults.
The discussion will be translated to Polish Sign Language.
THE MUSEUM OF THE FUTURE
Jubilee celebrations are usually about reflecting on the past, however, we are looking into the future! The 90th anniversary of the donating of the International Collection of Modern Art by the "a.r." group to the Museum that we are celebrating this year will be the starting point for talks, discussions, and speculating about what our institution will become in 10 years, on its 100th anniversary.
These considerations centre around The Avant-Garde Museum, an exhibition planned for the autumn 2021 that is the outcome of many years of our studies. Although placed in a historic context, the exposition will take up surprisingly pertinent themes as it will show avant-garde thinking about institutions as spaces for experiment, art development or the production of knowledge. It will help us in seeing a museum as a social initiative whose aim is to design possible scenarios of the future. Or – at a more ad hoc level – an institutional form of self-assistance since, on the one hand, it seeks to ensure sources of financing for artists while, on the other hand, it ‘archives’ their work for future generations. Operations of institutions that lean so much into the future and can be envisaged as a result of The Avant-Garde Museum exhibition are to respond to our needs here and now.
The series of talks, discussions, and lectures on The Museum of the Future puts this year's program of ms in a discursive frame. It will also create a platform for interdisciplinary dialogues on some topics important to us today, so that we can try and start building a bridge between the museum as we have known it before and the vision of the museum of the future. In the group of theoreticians, philosophers, economists, artists and, finally, museologists, we will try to contemplate on what type of museum we will need in a decade or so.
The year-long discussion will focus on futurological visions, economy, the virtual world, care, mental health, accessibility, participation, and the attention economy as well as attention ecology. This way we will try to work out possible versions of the avant-garde museum of the future.