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Source: https://www.decitre.fr/livres/musees-et-recherche-9782111620339.html

Le souci du public (Taking care of audiences)

Joëlle Le Marec and Ewa Maczek


Keywords: museum, audiences, care, reflexivity
Threads: Cooperating with(in) arts and culture, Inquiring, Remembering

Short description

This book is the result of a symposium organized in 2018 about practices and knowledges concerning audiences and the care for the audiences in the cultural field, and more specifically in museums.
It is therefore structured with an inaugural chapter and eleven contributions from academic authors and professionals from the museum and library fields. They present and analyse initiatives that consist of working with audiences, reconsidering their points of view, taking care of them but also, and above all, questioning the reasons for working with audiences and questioning what we share with them, in particular as an audience ourselves. The notion of care (developed by Carole Gilligan 1982) is mobilized throughout the book. It refers to another consideration of politics as being exercised where the care of others is felt and where responsibility is taken for what one does for and with others. The audience is therefore the political condition that continually makes the ethics of care vivid at the heart of public service institutions.

Personal appreciation

I chose this book for several reasons. On the one hand, it has just been published in French and is not translated into English. On the other hand, it is a fine example of situated intellectual production, that is to say attached to a specific context. This book is indeed the result of a symposium that is repeated every year, where researchers, professionals and artists meet, debate and share their points of view in a benevolent and open context. This context in which people take care of each other opens up the possibility of a shared reflexivity.

Contribution to the "Who knows?" handbook

Taking care of the audiences seems obvious for museum fields, and in general for cultural sector. But on closer inspection, we realize that it covers a diversity of practices underpinned by definitions of "audiences" that can diverge sharply (is the audience a target, a state, a regime of discourse, a condition?). The development, since the 1990s, of a market for cultural mediation services (including digital tools and services) supported by the continuous injunction to modernization and innovation, and by the injunction to pay attention to the "demands" of the audiences and consequently to personalize the offer had a consequence: building and consolidating the audience as a category, a segment, much more than defining it by its real practices and expectations; In SHAKIN we also promote a critical approach which refuses to consider the public as an audience that reacts to an offer and which questions the way we consider people and ourselves as public.


Additional Information

Location France
Original language(s) French
Existing translations
Length 193 pages
Project runtime -
Institution of affiliation Museum of natural history, Paris
Office de cooperation et d’information museal, OCIM, Dijon
Name of contributor: Camille Jutant

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Creative Commons

This text is licensed under the Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International. The link to the original material is situated at the top right of the text.

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