So this semester I took a fantastic English course, Business/Technical Writing (which I would totally recommend!), and one of our last writing projects involved researching the kinds of writing that are found in our chosen fields. So, being an Arts Administration major I looked into the types of writing someone would do if they were part of a Programs and Education department in a museum. Upon my research, personal writing experiences, and some fantastic help from a friend who works in a museum, I learned a lot about both the kinds of writings as well as some really important considerations you need to make before you begin. I wanted to just share some of my research and findings with you and hopefully it will help if you find yourself writing and communicating information about art or art history to others.
So first, what are some kinds of writing you can expect to do if you work in a museum? You can write outlines and plans for events and projects, guides for creating video content, research for a variety of uses, blogging, and writing up posters, just to name a few.
One of the most important parts of our assignment was making some larger considerations to our writings beyond just what we are communicating, but also to whom. We looked at both ethical accessibility concerns surrounding forms of communication. Applying this when we are talking about art or art history, we are constantly talking about different people, cultures, societies, art styles/movements, expectations, etc. We have to take all of these differences into consideration when trying to accurately explain an artwork, artist, or art history in general to someone else. Ethical content means including all of this information, not excluding details or influencing the meaning of something. Being honest, transparent, and clear so that others can easily understand you is so important. And when thinking about accessibility, ask yourself who can actually read your content. Is anyone left out? Or, in the context of your writing specifically, have you excluded any groups of people?
Making any form of written communication ethical and accessible will only help you in the long run. And if you’re an art major looking to work in a field that is surrounded by all this information about different people, history, and what it all means, you’ll want to make sure that everyone can access and understand what you’re communicating. Try it out next time you find yourself writing something. Rather than just diving into a topic, ask yourself if you’re telling the whole story and think about who’s going to hear it.
Hope this helps! Have a great week!