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Heritage Podcast: Is contemporary collecting a risky business? Current practice and future questions at the National Museum of Ireland

22 October 2018

Lynn Scarff discusses...A crucial element of the museum is the human connection it offers. For both visitors and researchers, the museum has potentially a very different interaction with our history.

It is a place of conversations, of shared experience and knowledge, and of shared narrative. Contemporary collecting and the broader policy around thoughts for the future requires some different thinking. Particularly in relation to the kind of museum we want to be, one that is open, accessible and diverse - a place of excellent research and compelling visitor experiences. A place that tells the many stories of our country and its people in a global context.

About the speaker

Lynn Scarff is the Director of the National Museum of Ireland.

Initially, working in environmental education across a diversity of projects including the Ballymun Regeneration, Lynn’s work is embedded in collaborative practice. As part of the initial development team of Science Gallery Dublin at Trinity College Dublin, she developed a programme of compelling cultural experiences that explored the boundaries of art and science and connected with a target audience of 15 – 25 year olds. In 2012, she was part of the leadership team that established the Global Science Gallery Network bringing the vision of Science Gallery to eight cities globally by 2020. In 2014, she was appointed Director leading Science Gallery Dublin through a process of organisational change, strategic planning and development.

Lynn is an advocate for the participative museum. Her research work focuses on non formal learning settings and the opportunities presented by museums and cultural spaces to engage young people, with a particular focus on under represented audiences. She has presented and written on these themes both in education, museum practice and communication journals globally. Her research and practice work has been funded through competitive grants awarded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Wellcome Trust in the UK and the European Commission through Horizon 2020 and Creative Europe calls.

She studied Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin, specialising in zoology and natural history and holds an MSc in Science Communications. In 2016 she was awarded a National Arts Strategies Kresge Fellowship completed over one year at Harvard, Michigan Ross and Berkeley Business Schools in the USA, which focused on the critical elements of sustainable business development in the cultural sector. Lynn served on the board of the National Museum of Ireland for 18 months through 2016/2017 and is on expert panels for a number of public engagement trusts and awarding bodies including the Wellcome Trust. She additionally serves on the board of the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun.

About the Heritage Podcast series

The Heritage Podcast series is a collection of eight 20 minute podcasts by academic researchers and leaders of major Irish heritage institutions. The series addresses questions of critical importance in Irish heritage. Opportunities and challenges of preservation and protection of Irish cultural heritage are addressed. It also provides a valuable and educational resource recorded by experts in heritage and preservation, which is publicly accessible to prompt thought and discussion.

Developed and produced by the Historical Studies Committee of the Royal Irish Academy. Supported by The Heritage Council as part of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage. Recorded by Real Smart Media.

Podcasts released weekly - listen to the latest episodes here

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