Museums and Social Justice – New Campaign by National Museums Liverpool

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(l-r) Dr David Fleming from National Museums Liverpool, Maggie Appleton, Head of Luton Culture and Paora Tibble, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa..

Museums and organisations that believe in social justice have formed a new alliance which will launch at the Museums Association conference in Liverpool.

The Social Justice Alliance of Museums (SJAM) is the creation of National Museums Liverpool, working with like-minded museums services in the UK and abroad.

Dr David Fleming, Director of National Museums Liverpool, has called on organisations to join the alliance and urged an end to exclusivity and elitism.

SJAM will launch during the Museums Association Conference and Exhibition which takes place in Liverpool on 11 and 12 November. It is designed to give a collective voice to bodies and individuals who are passionate about the social impact that museums have. The Museums Association is a founder member of SJAM.

Members will find ways of working together in the pursuit of social justice and support each other’s efforts. Dozens of organisations from across the UK and around the globe have already signed-up.

Dr Fleming said: “The aim of SJAM is to recruit museums, related bodies and individuals to sign up for a charter for social justice. Museums have made great strides in recent years in modernizing and opening up to diverse audiences, and delivering real public value.

“It is essential that we continue to reject notions of exclusivity and elitism, and deliver museums that are accessible to everyone, and that make a real difference to people’s lives. We believe that by joining more closely together with organizations that choose to work with museums because of our power to do good, we can find our collective voice and can help ensure that the good work continues, even in a difficult funding climate.”

Mark Taylor, Director, Museums Association, said: “The MA has joined with likeminded organisations and museums in SJAM because its ethos chimes so much with the work the MA has been doing over the last 10 years and, in particular, Museums Change Lives.

“It is clear that many museum professionals see museums in a new way and want to see them doing more to be to make a contribution to people’s lives and communities.  Not only does this make museums more sustainable and resilient but enables them to reach out to more of the people for whom they work and to whom they are accountable.”

SJAM founder members include: National Museums Liverpool, The Museums Association, Glasgow Museums, National Museum Wales, Luton Culture, University College London Museums and Barnsley Museums Service.

International founder members include the Museum of Democracy in Argentina, the Museum of Amsterdam, and Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand. SJAM is not just about museums. Founder supporters from Liverpool include Claire House Hospice, Liverpool Hope University, Homotopia, Dadafest, FACT and Hurricane Films.

Roy Boulter, Director of Hurricane Films said: “Hurricane Films is proud to be involved with SJAM and we fully support their efforts to not only highlight the value museums provide to all, but more specifically the importance of social justice and the roles that museums and companies like ours can play in striving for a better and fairer society.”

Ruth Gould, Artistic Director, Dadafest said: ”Our work is based in creating art that challenges social exclusion we as disabled people face on a daily basis and constantly inform people of our social justice remit. We are delighted that you have included us into this great opportunity.”

Mike Stubbs, Director FACT, said: “Cultural experiences are what bring us together and enrich our lives. As a public building with free gallery spaces and a long-running community engagement programme, FACT has seen the huge value of making great art available to everybody, and we are delighted to be part of this important initiative.”

A new website has been launched: www.SJAM.org Twitter @DrDavidFleming #SJAM

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