Organizational Diversity in Art Museum CurationIntroduction

Published: 2019-09-17 07:00:00
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Organizational diversity is an important attribute in the contemporary business segments. In particular, organizational diversity has been has been manifested in different organizations through equality in the opportunities and employments devoid of any forms of biasness on the basis of tribal or racial traits. Organizational diversity is an important source of competitiveness for majority of organizations. In the modern business environments, diversity has become a fashionable area of interest for organizations. Diverse mix of workforce arising from diverse proclivities and classes has been credited with enhanced humanitarianism and correctness has been possibly realized in many organizations. Nevertheless, organizational diversity has not been largely a success in all organization since it has been perceived as a hindrance to social growth of organizational taskforce especially in areas that have integrated tribal, racial and ethnic values into their business relations and practices.

In particular, there are certain companies that have suffered gross reduction in production as a result of diverse workforce that has hampered employees mutual delivery to the organization. These instances have also been a product of inability to integrate diverse groups into an organizational culture. The societal mindsets coupled with individual psychological discomforts have been some of the main hindrances to organizational diversity in the contemporary scenarios. For instance, personal discomfort has largely hampered individual services in a diverse environment to the detriment of the host organization. This scenario has also faced the Art Museum Curation where people of color have been isolated in particular institutions, different from their white counterparts in the U.S. (Simpson, 2015). This paper focuses on reasons behind the scenario where non-white and white individuals have varying interests on art museum curations. Besides, the paper also focuses on the academic qualifications for eligibility of individuals to becoming art museum curators.

Diversity in the Art Museum Curator

Diversity has been a major challenge in most institutions of art museums in US. Individuals heading institutions of Art in the U.S. have no full face of the U.S. Recent studies showed that art museum is largely preoccupied with people from similar racial orientations in the U.S. Recent surveys on the composition of the Museum by gender and ethnicity in revealed gross difference in gender and ethnic balance. In particular, recent surveys showed that about 30 percent of the Art Museum staffs are drawn from minority groups. Majority of the workers in this case were noted to be placed in security, finance, facilities and human resource departments (McClellan, 2008). Among the art museum curators, educators and conservators, only four individuals in the art museum 4 percent comprised of the African American while only 3 percent comprised of Hispanic groups. The rest of the group of workers entails the White Americans. This observation is in line with the above observation that the non-white has no huge preference on the art museums curation.

While art museums in the U.S. have been credited with reasonable growth and advances towards realizing equality, research shows that gender equality, ethnic and racial profile of the staffs remains less diverse than it could be presumed (Dudley, 2013). The initial study on the art museum diversity of the U.S. art indicated that 60 percent of the total Museum workers had been positioned as curators, educational and conservation lead to leadership positions were occupied by women. Similarly, the survey also showed that such leadership pipeline was in existence for historical minorities. However research has shown that there have been inexistent pipelines in history resulting into the presumed leadership positions for underrepresented minorities. This demonstrates the acutely low position of the minorities in the museum operations ranging from history to present. Besides, various studies have also shown critical discrepancies in the leaderships of the Museums. In particular, majority of the minority groups have been positioned in inferior positions such as security, human resource and finance while the museum curators, educators and conservators and leaders comprise of 84 percent from whites while the Asians are just 6 percent leaving the least numbers to African American and the Latinos who have mixed backgrounds (Simpson, 2015).

Besides, studies in the Art Museum organizations also showed a scenario that younger staff members are more ethnically and racially diverse. For the museum to thrive in future, it is quite important for the managements to produce a demographic profile of their workers towards a standard alignment with community needs of their locality. As a result, the management demands to challenge a profound set of assumptions concerning the training procedures of the museums, recruitments and management of the entire organizational staffs who are charged with collections, interpretation and education of the institutions. This process is mainly based on the ability and willingness of the management to take a tough and uncomfortable perspective of both the conscious and unconscious impacts that shapes institutional culture that generates the contemporary imbalances.

Diversity among the art museum curators has been a major challenge in the U.S. particularly due to the isolation of art museum institution according to the racial orientations of the people. Research into the U.S. art museum has shown that the leadership in the museum including directors and chief curators has been approximated to be equally staffs by both genders (Candlin, 2009). The non-Hispanic staffs also accounts for 84 percent of the population of staffs associated with educational and intellectual museum population such as the curators and top leadership positions. With an exemption to the Asian category or curators who from the proportion of 5 percent of the American population, the identified proportion of Art Museum curators, the workers does not reflect the right proportion of American diverse population (Simpson, 2015).

The Museum curators and the overall staff appear in ratios of 100 percent minority and 100 percent whites. Although some of the museums constitutes of 100 percent minority staffs, such organizations are defined by distinct culture. On the other hand, the museums with 100 percent white workers could be located in regions with relatively low number of minorities. The concluded 2015 art museum demographic survey regarding the staff members, there has been an earmarked progress in enhancing diversity through bridging the gap between the minority and majority as far as the number of employees is concerned. In this regard, there have been various measures to enhance diversity in the curatorial positions of the art museum in recent times. For instance, in 2013, Mellon Foundation established fellowships for the color students in Los Angeles County Museum of Art among other centers to promote diversity in the institution in pursuit of art museum curator which had already been perceived to take a negative growth path (Simpson, 2015).

Mechanism to Diversify the U.S. Curatorial Positions

The growing significance of the art museum in the preservation of historical has ignited new measures to enhance curatorial positions of the art museum as well as other important positions that are responsible for upholding the performance capacity of the organizations. In particular, there has been consolidated mechanism to enhance diversity in art curator position which is among the most influential positions in the art museum. In particular, there has been a new bid through five of the U.S. art museums to diversify curatorial ranks in the main museum centers. In this regard, the initiative of Andrew Mellon Foundation promotes this initiative, a pioneer program in the American history (Trant & Wyman 2006). The programs set to connect college sophomores drawn from marginalized origins with curators within the five main participating museums.

The museums involved in this mission have been focused on two main areas of development based on workplace diversity concerns generated from American Alliance of Museums. It has been established that from the art museum curators employed in the U.S. and students enrolled within the institutions of learning, more than 80 percent are white while the rest represents a mixture of African American, Hispanic Groups and other minority groups. In this regard, it is clear conservation and curatorial staffs are simply less diverse. As a result, underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in the art museum sectors is very real. In particular, studies show that curators could be the least diverse professional taskforce within the art museums (Srinivasa & Becvar, 2009).

Another challenge is the reason behind art museum institution employing very few individuals as non-white curators. In this regard, museums often tend to isolate and promote their own curators within their internal culture die to the fact that the applicants pool of qualified personnel is relatively small for skilled positions like the curators. On the other hand, external applicants often come fully equipped with sound recommendations from renowned figures within the curatorial community (Watson, 2007). As a result, curators begin at lower levels of engagement such as interns to senior levels like directors. As a result of the closed system, it is hard to note curators from the minority or color groups within major museums that may capable of convincing students drawn from ethnically diverse backgrounds that the curatorial positions are viable positions. This is because; minority groups in the curatorial positions are hard to be promoted to senior positions in major museum centers (Karp, 2012). As a result, many people of color or the non-whites do not find it viable to pursue careers as curators due to the perceived inability to create promising future careers. The overall impact of this development is low diversity in curatorial position across majority of the art museums in the U.S. as curatorial is not perceived as a viable professions by majority of the non-whites. Despite high competitiveness of the curatorial profession, poor diversity of the profession has tended to derail the process of enhanced professional development (Yaneva, 2013).

The latter initiative based on Mellons initiative develops a paid fellowship for a group of twenty undergraduate students drawn in groups of four form all the five participating cities. In addition, there has been a face-to-face mentorship and academic advisory aimed at establishing curators in which case each students receive $10000 every summer for a period of four summers in order to work on the Art Museums. This demonstrates the prospects of individuals to pursue art museum curators despite the previous notions of low rewards from the professional advancements (Simpson, 2015). The four year program creates a progressive guide to students via their first year on graduate studies within the art history segments while preparing for PhD that is required in majority of institutions recruiting curatorial professionals.

The initiative to diversify art museum curation positions has been a major step towards correcting the imbalances that were in existence within the racial-equality pie-chart but through a complex process. Lack of high diversity in the curatorial position in Museum poses a major risk in the future relevance of the positions and the museums in general. Diversity offers a critical perception of a more inclusive and diverse workforce in the curatorial and other position which pr...

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