The Difficult Second Date

In 2016, SMK received funding for SMK Open, a multiannual project to radically open up the museum’s digitized collections at scale for free use and play, effectively turning the collections into a human-centered resource: Open for all, reusable for all purposes as defined and imagined by the public. This marked the beginning of a new chapter in SMK’s relationship with Nordeafonden, one of the major Danish foundations to support the cultural sector. Their mission is to create preconditions for ‘the good life’ for everyone in society. Our relationship goes back to 2008, when Nordeafonden supported SMK’s digital developments for five years. Being well aligned with their mission, it felt obvious to seek their support for a new project. This turned out to be a difficult second date. While first time around, the foundation primarily saw promise in our application, second time around they also saw all the potential bumps ahead. It took more than three years of negotiation before Nordeafonden was persuaded to go out with SMK again. I will analyze the hows and whys of maintaining a close, multiannual collaboration with a private foundation. A key learning going on this second date together is the need to develop a strong mutual trust and understanding of the constantly changing nature of digital technologies and how this affects the progress of a digital project. In a time where public funding is on the decline, it is gratifying that a private foundation is willing to support our endeavour to be a museum for the people, reaching out to all layers of the population and making our collections openly accessible and reusable for all. Their critical standpoint is to make sure that their investment gives maximum benefit to the public. This makes them a partner that gives agency to our mission. Speaker(s) Session Leader : Merete Sanderhoff, Curator and Senior Advisor, Statens Museum for Kunst MCN 2016 Presenting Sponsor: Piction New Orleans, LA