< back to schedule

Museum Education: A Radical Practice

April 20, 2017
10:00am  -  7:30pm
The Art Institute of Chicago & The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Institutions are made, not given. We shape the worlds we live in. This day-long pre-conference examines whether and when art museum education is a radical practice capable of not only contributing to the transformation of individuals, but to the making of a just society.

We begin with the idea of just institutions and also examine the roles that educators can play as they define the nature of the programs museums offers; its modes of address, interpretation, and engagement; and who they involve in those processes. We also look at museum educators and artists as agents of change within long-established systems. Throughout the day, we treat museum education as site-bound, culturally-specific, and historically inflected, inviting practitioners to help us reflect on the values that guide our work and on how different kinds of museums, from university-based to the encyclopedic to the contemporary, define and pursue the quest for justice.

The pre-conference is free and open to all kinds of practitioners attending Open Engagement – registration is required for this event.


At Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

220 East Chicago Ave, Edlis Neeson Theater


10:00 – 10:20am Welcome and Introduction

Heidi Reitmaier, Dr. Robert Nathan Mayer Director of Education, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Jackie Terrassa, Woman’s Board Endowed Chair of Museum Education, the Art Institute of Chicago.

10:20am – 11:20am   Conversation: What makes a just institution?

Angelique Power, President at the Field Foundation of Illinois and founding co-chair of Enrich Chicago and Amina Dickerson, Dickerson Global Advisors

What strategies and policies make just institutions and position them to advance social justice? What do these look like? And how might a commitment to justice help transform organizations?

11:20am – 12:30pm   Panel Discussion: Boundary-Crossing

Terri Kapsalis, artist and Adjunct Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Jorge Rojas, Director of Education and Engagement at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Irina Zadov, artist, cultural organizer, and Senior Program Specialist for Culture, Arts, and Nature at the Chicago Park District, and artist Faheem Majeed.

How can artistic, museum education and cultural practices shift institutional paradigms, realign priorities, and contribute to the transformation of individuals, organizations, and communities within a context of justice?

At The Art Institute of Chicago

111 S. Michigan Ave

Chicago, 60603

12:45-2pm Lunch (self directed)  and travel to AIC

2:00 – 2:20 Reconvene, receive instructions for and travel to afternoon


Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room

2:20 – 3:15 In Practice: Gallery Break-Out Session 1

Participants work in small groups in the Art Institute’s galleries to model and reflect on approaches to teaching, programming, interpretation, and community collaboration.

Led by Chicago-based artists and museum educators from the Art Institute of Chicago, David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, The Floating Museum, Gallery 400, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, INTUIT, Mary & Leigh Block Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, National Museum of Mexican Art, National Public Housing Museum, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

3:15-3:30 Break and travel to second location

3:30 – 4:25 In Practice: Gallery Break-Out Session 2

4:25 – 4:35 Travel back to Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room

4:35 – 5:00 Round-up and Closing

Location: Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room

5:00 – 6:00pm      Reception

Location: Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room

6.00 – 7:30pm              Performance: Eiko and Koma

Location: Griffin Court

Renowned performance artists Eiko Otake and Koma Otake, known as the groundbreaking duo Eiko & Koma, present solo performances in response to the exhibition Provoke: Photography in Japan between Protest and Performance, 1960 – 1975. Eiko performs A Body in the Art Institute, an intimate meditation on how a frail, itinerant body can occupy a public space with surprising force. Following this performance, Koma presents his haunting solo work, The Ghost Festival.

2017  2017 — Chicago  JUSTICE  Pre-Conference