Across its work Bright Culture will be exploring the theme of Inside/Outside, through practice-led research exploring different forms of participatory practice, co-curation, and creating shared authority.

Our ambition is to develop practical projects that allow us to test, discuss and creatively explore the processes of co-curation, sharing ownership and the bringing to life different stories of people and places. Working with organisations, venues, communities, and artists from across the country, activity will respond to the changing landscape of our cultural institutions and the ways that people engage with these.

As we go, we will be reflecting on our ideas and experiences, writing them up and contributing to the growing debate about how cultural organisations become and/or remain relevant to and rooted in the lives of their communities in the 21st century.

We are kicking off Inside/Outside with the development of a project that focusses on museums: what is the difference between being inside and outside a museum? Does the workforce inside reflect the community outside? Who visits? Whose stories are being told? Which objects are selected to go in a ‘collection’ and which are not.   Indeed, what is a collection ‘inside’ a museum, as opposed to a collection of stuff ‘outside’ a museum?

The project will explore the idea of the ‘collection’, from the formal museum collection, to the personal, informal collections of memories, stories and artefacts that we all create to some extent. Working with small civic museums and groups of people outside the museum (both literally and figuratively) the project will: question the idea of ‘significance’ within formal and informal collections, consider what gets saved and what doesn’t, interrogate the role of the curator and enable people to ‘curate’ exhibitions of their own individual or community stories.

Alongside the project development, we will be trying to keep up to date with the growing body of work around moving from ‘engagement’ and ‘participation’ to ‘representation’ and ‘co-creation’ within the cultural sector and what this could mean in practice.

We are looking forward to the undoubtedly unexpected journeys that Inside/ Outside takes us on in the coming years and welcome opportunities to collaborate with others and develop joined up ideas and approaches. Watch this space for more information or do get in touch if you’d like to discuss any ideas with us.