Maria Vlachou is a Cultural Management and Communications consultant. Founding member and Executive Director of the association Acesso Cultura, working for the improvement of access – physical, social, intellectual – to cultural participation. Author of the bilingual (pt/en) blog Musing on Culture, where she writes about culture, the arts, museums, cultural management and communication, access. She is the manager of the Facebook group Museum texts / Textos em museus and co-manager of the blog Museums and Migration. In the past, she was Communications Director of São Luiz Municipal Theatre and Head of Communication of Pavilion of Knowledge – Ciência Viva (Lisbon). Board member of ICOM Portugal (2005-2014) and editor of its bulletin. She has collaborated with different programmes of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Fellow of ISPA – International Society for the Performing Arts (2018); Alumna of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center in Washington (2011-2013); she has a M.A. in Museum Studies (University College London, 1994) and a B.A. in History and Archaeology (University of Ioannina, Greece, 1992).
Case study: The urgency of difficult conversations
Maria Vlachou, Acesso Cultura, Portugal.
Presented by A+ Partner.
The urgency of difficult conversations
People working in the cultural field tend to see culture as a factor that helps create social cohesion, through knowledge and tolerance. All too often, though, this is nothing more than wishful thinking or a pleasant statement. We continue doing our work the way we have always done it, perpetuating dominant narratives, not the least aware of or touched by whatever is going on in the society. Recent issues that have dominated discussions in different countries and societies – such as the refugee crisis, populism, poverty, the climate emergency, racism, the colonial past and its influence in everyday thinking and practice – have also shown that these are difficult issues even among culture professionals. How can we expect to contribute to knowledge, tolerance and social cohesion when we ourselves are avoiding the difficult conversations?