As an Academic Programs Coordinator my job involves connecting members of our local academic community with the resources that the Brooklyn Museum has to offer. This often takes the form of a conversation, because what I really need to know is how professors would like to use the Museum with their classes. To facilitate this and to get to know representatives from the local academic community a little bit better, Deirdre Lawrence and I worked together to plan and host the first ever open house for professors and academic representatives in mid-October. We put together a Friday afternoon program focused on Infinite Island that included a curator talk by Tumelo Mosaka and a short presentation and discussion about academic resources including tours and internships for university students.
I felt the open house was a way to make the concept of “academic resources at the Brooklyn Museum” more personal. I was very pleased that many of the professors who attended hailed mostly from institutions in the Museum’s immediate community such as Pratt Institute, Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn College, Long Island University and Kingsborough Community College. They represented a range of disciplines from art history and studio art to English and Social Sciences. Their questions for Tumelo during his talk ran the gamut of questions about the formal qualities of K. Khalfani Ra’s work to wondering about the difficulty of finding art and artists from the Caribbean who were not producing work for the tourist market. From my perspective as an educator, I really enjoyed seeing how this diverse group of academics interacted with the works of art in Infinite Island and the questions and ideas they were able to draw out of it. This event was only the start of a larger conversation between the Museum and the higher education institutions in our community. Deirdre and I plan to host these open houses for professors and academic representatives once a semester, so if you are interested in attending the next one, please email email@example.com.