Culture Caleidoscoop is a collaborative, interdisciplinary project spearheaded by Danielle N. Carter and Lorna Cruickshanks.
We started with the idea that we wanted to bring together multiple actors in the cultural sector, including artists, archaeologists, museum and heritage professionals, practical researchers, academics, orchestra volunteers – you name it! – to discuss participation and engagement with people in the broader arts, cultural, and heritage sectors.
This idea sprung out of the Museums and Participation Reading Group, which Lorna has hosted both in London and Amsterdam. We are both interested in thinking about our work, reflecting on the how and why things are done a certain way; the Museums and Participation Group was an outlet for us and other professionals to discuss our work and how it relates to theories and research as well as to share and compare experiences.
It became clear how much benefit these peer-to-peer reflective reading group sessions deliver. Participants, just like professionals working around the world, are doing serious thinking about their work, and are doing research about their work – even if they don’t realise it – for example through trial and error. Attendees sometimes don’t have time to unpack these reflections during the workday, but could do that during our reading sessions.
During each reading group session, we discuss an article, podcast, or blog post about participatory practice in museums, but we are sometimes frustrated by the lack of access to articles relevant to our practice as professionals working in the museum sector. We also noted that the voices we read or listen to are primarily from academic backgrounds, and we missed more content about experiences and reflections from peers working on a more practical level, as well as research-based articles with more direct contact with the field.
Culture Caleidoscoop is an additional space for this research and reflection, with an emphasis on the experiences, experiments, and reflections of professionals and practitioners in the field.
We have worked hard to rethink what publications in the open-access space can be. As a publication, we straddle the line between academia and practice, aiming to bridge this gap and stimulate collaboration. We hope to move the needle in academic publishing by promoting the voices of a variety of actors; we don’t require academic affiliations, and we seek out a good mix of contributions. We hope to bridge boundaries between professions, organisations, and sectors (e.g. between historic houses and theatres) to foster interdisciplinary discussion, learning, and collaboration.
At its heart, Culture Caleidoscoop values the people working in, researching, and thinking about in the arts, cultural, and heritage fields. We believe that personal experiences, reflections, and experiments are essential to learning and growing – as individuals in the field but also for institutions, organisations, and the field more broadly.
We hope you’ll join us in learning, reflecting, and growing together! You can participate and support our vision by contributing to Culture Caleidoscoop, subscribing to our newsletter to stay up to date, sharing our content or following us on social media (we’re on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn), registering your interest in becoming a peer reviewer, or donating via a small monthly or one-off donation.
We look forward to hearing from you!