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Thinking about Co-Production

Written by Chris Whitehead,
Professor of Museology, Newcastle University

A common impulse in engaging with migration is to work with stakeholder communities to ‘co-produce’ displays. This ensures that non-official voices can be heard and can give a number of benefits to the communities involved, such as providing new skills and fostering a sense of participation and official representation. Co-production is also a way of avoiding the liabilities of the museum speaking for others, through a process of speaking with communities.

Co-Production is used in the museum for a number of purposes, including to:

challenge the conventional balance of power

broaden bases of representation or expertise

introduce new voices and new knowledge;

develop relevance to stakeholders

provide new forms of engagement for different communities

provide new forms of interpretation and resources for visitors

democratise heritage and enable greater inclusivity.

View the full text and thinking exercise for Thinking about Co-Production here.