Curator, Writer, and Museum Administrator

Books for Curators

"Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations" by Clay Shirky

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizating without Organizations, by Clay Shirky

This isn't a book about curating per se, but it's an incredibly thorough look at how new technology, especially Web 2.0, is altering the professionalism of several industries (e.g. journalism) while also allowing for people to "gather" electronically and bring about change, from keeping a TV show from being cancelled to instigating a political revolution. I've had several people now recommend the chapter on the amateur-ization on journalism & publishing as it can be an analogy to the future of curators.

With new media tools, anyone can publish (e.g. blogs) and anyone can curate (e.g. Flickr). I'm not sure if Web 2.0 is going to bring about a major change to how museum curators work as much as it will alter the definition of the verb "curate". [I'm actually writing an article about this concept right now]. I still think that society will have a use for professional journalists with knowledge, access, and analytical skills honed through experience, although perhaps not as many as before. But certainly the means of delivering journalism is changing (bye-bye printed newspapers, alas.). Just as I think society still needs expert curators, who have studied, published, and garnered knowledge over the years in order to interpret and present art in a deep and meaningful context, in a manner that few can accomplish. But with new media, people are expanding the term "curate" to include any activities that reflect the selection of items (real or virtual) by someone who is an expert of that field. Thus one curates a blog, a list of recommended readings on Amazon, or maybe a group of photos on Flickr. I used to flinch at this casual usage, but I'm coming around....

Elizabeth Schlatter