The Intersections of Social Media, Race, and Social Justice for Programming
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 2:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Session Leader: Lanae Spruce, Digital Engagement Specialist, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture
Co-Presenter: Deirdre Cross, Public Program Coordinator, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
As protests broke out across the nation in response to police brutality, hashtag activism campaigns spread across social media like wildfire. #BlackLivesMatter. #Ferguson. #ConcernedStudent1950. How do cultural organizations work with their social media departments to create timely and relevant programming that is centered around current race and social justice issues? Are museums missing out on attracting diverse audiences by not offering programs that interest them and their specific needs? The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has been tasked with leading a national discussion on race and reckoning. Through a partnership with public programming and social media, the museum has been able to amplify undervalued narratives in both a digital and physical space. This session will explore the ways in which social media and programming can serve as a context in which to learn about, challenge, and address issues of race and social justice. Participants will learn ways to design their own programming around social justice and race. Through our collaboration on programming we have found: participation expands prior, during and after the event, we have filled a void in the museum field, intersectionality should guide the framework, live-tweeting offers a virtual space to continue difficult discussions, and self-affirmation for underserved communities. In short, our digital programming can offer historical context for contemporary issues and help center museums as a forum for discussion of social justice issues for a range of communities and audiences new to museums.