20 April, Thursday
From 6 to 7pm WEST (Lisbon | Belfast time) | From 1pm to 2pm EDT (New York time)
Online, on Zoom
Free participation. The conversation will be conducted in English, without translation.
Recording of the debate
Margaret Middleton, exhibition designer and consultant on inclusive museum practices, contributed one of the most inspiring articles to Adina Langer’s book Storytelling in Museums. Entitled “Queer narratives and the family audience”, the article defends, firstly, the need for queer stories to stop being “special” and become a natural part of the narratives that we find in museum exhibitions. In addition, it questions what we mean by “family” and addresses, one by one, all the arguments that try to prove that these themes are not appropriate for children and that they only confuse them.
It is necessary to think about the questions that Margaret poses to us, go a little deeper, deal with our lack of knowledge and possible discomfort. In our next debate in the series “The activist museum: going deeper”, Ben Garcia, executive director of the American LGBTQ+ Museum, joins Margaret Middleton for a conversation that will allow us to reflect on what all this means in practice.
Ben Garcia (he/him) has worked for 20 years to help museums become places of welcome and belonging for all people. He started as a gallery guide and educator, moved on to exhibition development, and then served in middle- and upper-management administrative roles, before joining the American LGBTQ+ Museum as Executive Director. He has presented and published regularly on creating structural equity in museums through transparency, accountability, fair labor practices, and by adding missing voices and perspectives. Ben graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Boston with a B.A. in Art and from Bank Street College of Education with an M.S. Ed. In Museum Leadership.
Margaret Middleton is an American independent exhibit designer and museum consultant currently based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. With a degree in industrial design from the Rhode Island School of Design and over 15 years of experience in the museum field, they work at the intersection of design and social justice. Middleton developed the popular Family Inclusive Language Chart and consults with museums on implementing inclusive practice with special focus on children, gender minorities, and queer people.