The policy column

Katy Swift, 117.04, p19, 01.04.2017
Bridge-building is the way ahead
For years, I had a quote, reportedly by Isaac Newton, pinned to my noticeboard. “We build too many walls and not enough bridges” was a mantra I turned to in times of frustration, and when I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone. I later discovered that Newton was consumed by petty jealousies. Hardly the collaborator and bridge builder.

As well as learning never to trust an inspirational quote, it taught me it is hard to live up to ideals. Life and work are more nuanced and complex. We all have walls, some of our own making and some institutional. But how can we act as a catalyst for our own momentum?

First, find your fire – your catalyst. Mine comes from the people around me; those who’ve applied to this year’s Museums Association’s Transformers workforce programme.

Transformers is built on the belief that anyone in any role can be an agent for change. The journey of making change can be invigorating, scary, frustrating and fulfilling, and it is vital for the sector that we each take on some responsibility and try.

I believe in starting small, keeping it achievable. I also believe in the power of people – so find your allies within your organisations and build your networks in the wider sector to help you keep momentum.

I’m excited to see what this year’s Transformers can build. My challenge to the rest of the sector is to find their own way of breaking down walls and rebuilding them into bridges.

Katy Swift is the project coordinator of the Museums Association’s Transformers programme

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