Saturday, March 12, 2011

NextGen: Canada (identity)

as part of my NextGen: Canada application, i was asked to write an essay:

Apply an abstract concept from an outside / alternative industry to the museum field. Describe its utility in a museum context. Connect your example to what you believe to be a tough issue facing museums today. In closing, address what motivates you to participate in NextGen: Canada. (Approximately 400 words)

only 400 words? and i have to trim down my resume to 2 pages? taking on the challenge to be succinct, thorough and passionate, here is the first essay i wrote:
A core idea or concept that informs everything I do is IDENTITY. Who are you? What do you represent or stand for? Establishing a sense of identity (you can also think of it as “branding”) is crucial in today's economic and cultural climate, as it informs how and what we do and why we do it. It is foundational and essential as everything we do will be an outflow of that identity. It is even more important for smaller institutions. The temptation to be something you’re not, or to do things that are foreign to you, constantly assails us.
It is crucial to understand who you are - skills, interests, passions, goals – both individually and corporately. That enables you to maintain focus and purpose without being swayed by emotions such as fear. It enables you to maintain direction without being seduced by “the latest x”. It will enable you to ensure that whatever changes, it is only of use if it enables you to maintain your vision – to be effective, and maintain integrity. It is crucial to operate from this position of strength. It will instill confidence in who one is, what one does, and how one does it. It will provide wisdom and guidance as we gain new skills and knowledge. It will help us better receive suggestions (i.e. critique), instruction and correction from others as our identity will not be affirmed by what we do, or are perceived; but by who we are and what we believe. And therefore, a greater sense of fulfillment.
In turn, this will create a stronger sense of community. If one knows who one is - their uniqueness - then it is much easier to share knowledge and skills, and share resources. Everyone does things in different ways, and towards different ends. We will choose to have the right things, and do the right things, in the right places with the right people. If one’s identity isn’t established, people and institutions attempt to be all things to all people, and will lose sight of the vision they were created to fulfill. We don’t exist to please others; we exist to serve others. It’s a crucial difference.
And this is why NextGen: Canada is such an exciting opportunity. It is an opportunity to grow. To become stronger. To be challenged. To be encouraged. To be inspired. And to meet others of the same spirit.