Episode 90

How to Create Intellectual Comfort

Published on: 16th March, 2023

Today I’m exploring the concept of creating intellectual comfort in your museum and gallery programmes. 

In my (forthcoming) book Slow Looking at Art: The Visible Thinking in the Museum Approach I have a chapter dedicated to creating a collaborative culture in your museum and gallery programmes. As part of this chapter, I talk about how important it is to make participants feel not only psychologically safe, but also intellectually safe. 

Museums can be intimidating spaces. And this is particularly prevalent in art museums and around art in general. So many people feel that museums are not places for them, that there is a prerequisite amount of information required before you can enjoy being in a museum.

Your job as a facilitator is to ensure that everyone feels confident and able to participate fully in your programme, whatever their motivation or knowledge level upon arriving. This is what it means to create intellectual comfort on a museum or gallery programme. 

In today's episode, I'm exploring what intellectual comfort is, why it's important and 8 ways you can foster it in your programmes.



Episode 74 - How to Enjoy Art (without knowing anything about it)

Episode 44 - The 4 elements of a great introduction

Episode 48 - 10 types of questions you should never ask

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Articles quoted on Intellectual Safety:

Critical Communities: Intellectual Safety and the Power of Disagreement - Ashby Butnor


The Importance of Intellectually Safe Classrooms for Our Keiki - Trevor Baba https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1237572.pdf

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The Art Engager
Engage your audience with art and ideas
The Art Engager podcast is here to help educators, guides and creatives engage their audiences with art, objects and ideas. Each week I’ll be sharing a variety of easy-to-learn flexible techniques and tools to help you create participant-centred experiences that bring art and ideas to life.
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