MCN 2021: Call for Program Co-Chairs + members

We’re calling on volunteers to join and/or co-chair the MCN 2021 annual conference Program Committee! If you’ve always wanted to contribute to the planning of the conference, here’s your chance, and we’d love to hear from you!

We’re looking for about 25-30 digital museum professionals – from diverse backgrounds, perspectives and skill sets – to play a significant role in shaping this year’s virtual conference. 

Why will MCN 2021 be virtual again this year?

For those of you who attended our first virtual annual conference last year, thank you again for your support and the vote of confidence you overwhelmingly expressed in your post-event feedback. We took note of every suggestion in helping us decide the direction of this year’s annual conference. In light of the former and of where we believe the situation currently stands with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, we concluded that going virtual again this year, even in late fall, would be the safest option still. 

Yet, a year into the pandemic, most of us are “zoomed out”, and MCN understands that digital fatigue today might easily translate into digital exhaustion come November. We also recognize that we need to offer a virtual program that’s easier for you to understand and clearer in its professional development outcomes. By doing so, we want to make it easier for you to block the time you need on your schedule to attend the sessions you want to attend and by the same token make it easier to get your manager to agree to the time off for your own professional development. These concerns will be front of mind as the Program Committee starts planning this year’s virtual event. We’ll do our best to design a program that is more optimized to accommodate our virtual work schedules. While the exact dates for the conference are not fully firmed up yet, you can already save November 8 and 9, 2021. 

What does the Program Committee do?

The Conference Program Committee helps MCN’s management and staff plan, design, develop and deliver the program for the  annual conference. Through online discussions, the Program Committee acts as a think tank that determines the most important themes and trends in the field, identifies new programming opportunities, and brainstorms possible speakers. Most significantly, members are the backbone of the conference proposal evaluation process. 

Why serve?

For many past and current Program Co-Chairs and Conference Program Committee members, serving in these capacities is a way to give back to an organization and a community that have helped them throughout their museum careers, but it also provides an enriching and valuable professional development experience. Serving as a Program Co-Chair or Conference Program Committee member gives you the opportunity to be part of a team of talented museum professionals who plan, shape, design and help deliver the program for the MCN 2021 conference.

What’s the commitment?

From late April through May, the Program Committee will discuss and choose a theme for this year’s conference, help identify interesting keynote speakers, develop session types, and help ready the Call for Proposals for a June launch. In July, Program Committee members will review and evaluate proposals while the Co-Chairs will create the program schedule. 

In these challenging times, the demands that most institutions and organizations have put on everyone’s time as we adapted to working remotely, have increased the blur between our professional and personal lives, which often results in enhanced emotional labor and can easily lead to exhaustion and burnout. We therefore need to be attentive to what we can reasonably expect from the many volunteers who support MCN in various capacities. While we’d love to be able to offer some kind of remuneration, MCN remains very much a volunteer-led organization and is not currently in a position that allows us to compensate volunteers beyond actual professional development experience, formal recognition, a free membership and registration.

While the actual schedule and deliverables change according to the conference planning cycle, here are some parameters we propose to put in place around expected volunteer work for 2021: no work on weekends, more clearly defined roles and responsibilities, simpler workflows and a more direct decision-making process, and even the possibility of recruiting several volunteer Co-Chairs to lead the Program Committee together with a Board member and the Executive Director. 

To learn more about the responsibilities and benefits of serving on the Conference Program Committee, review our Program Committee Governance Guidelines

Who we’re looking for?

MCN encourages people from diverse backgrounds, institutions, and experiences to apply. MCN does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression and identity, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.

In addition, professionals from diverse organizations – both size and focus – are encouraged to apply, including, but not limited to: art & history museums, remembrance & historic sites, science & natural history museums, living collections, libraries & archives, academic museums, galleries and residency programs, of all sizes, and globally. 

If you have expertise in any of the following areas, or beyond, we’re interested in hearing from you: 

  • Content design & management
  • Curatorial, publishing & conservation
  • Data, including research, evaluation, insights & privacy
  • Digital imaging practice, including DAM, IIIF & IP rights
  • Digital learning, education, storytelling & interpretation
  • Diversity, accessibility and inclusion
  • Experience design
  • IT, including database, CRM, ticketing, network & cloud infrastructure, and security
  • Leadership & strategy
  • Marketing, branding, communications & social media
  • Media production
  • Registrar & collections management
  • Web development & management

What’s the process like? 

To be considered for the 2021 Conference Program Committee, please submit your application below. Applications will be reviewed by the Board and the Executive Director. Expect to be notified of selection on or after April 23, 2021.

Applications are now closed.

For questions, email: [email protected].