Doing emotion work in museums: reconceptualising the role of community engagement practitioners

Ealasaid Munro


In this paper I investigate the practice of community engagement, and suggest that ideas around emotion work and emotional labour might offer new ways of thinking about the role of museum staff in community engagement settings. Through material gathered as part of an ethnographic research project conducted with Glasgow Museums - the city of Glasgow’s municipal museums service - I show that community engagement practitioners routinely utilize emotional performances as part of their work. I argue that, often, the emotion work that is done in these settings is under-valued, and suggest that both scholars of museums and museum professionals need to pay more attention to the interpersonal relationships that might be forged within community engagement settings.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Ealasaid Munro

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360