Instrumental Values: Professional ethics in collaborative cultural work

Lead Research Organisation: Liverpool John Moores University
Department Name: Institute of Cultural Capital

Abstract

The ethical and moral values of cultural organisations have been in the spotlight recently, including for example public debates over the ethics of museums accepting commercial sponsorship from international oil companies whose own business practices have been morally scrutinised, and on the ethical responsibility of arts and cultural organisations to respond and contribute to political issues including Brexit. Museum and library sectors in England both have codes of ethics prescribed by their respective professional bodies the Museums Association and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. Both codes describe a set of principles that are particular to each sector, including responsibilities to information and its users; stewardship of collections; and individual and institutional integrity. The Museums Association's revised code of ethics published in 2015 was described as its "social contract" with the public.

At the same time, there has been growing momentum across the cultural sector behind a more integrated, active role in fulfilling public policy and cross-government agendas by working in collaboration with different organisations and public services. This has been embraced by museum and library sectors, with many examples of collaborative projects making a real difference in terms of outcomes relating to health, wellbeing and other social indicators.

What happens to the ethical values and codes of practice of one sector when they collaborate with other professional groups? How does this impact upon their shared collaborative objectives and achievements? These are the type of questions that will be addressed by the 'Instrumental Values' project. Focusing on museums working in health care settings and prison library services, the research will create two case studies on cross-sector communities of practice and their shared values, knowledge, practices and skills. A series of in-depth interviews will be undertaken with museum, library and collaborating professionals to explore the impact of public policy agendas on collaborative professional learning and the outcomes and implications for relevant sectors. Research findings will be shared throughout with participating professional and research communities via various knowledge exchange activities and events, culminating in a published book on professional ethics in collaborative cultural work.

Planned Impact

The Instrumental Values project has been designed to directly benefit and impact upon museum and library sectors. This includes generating learning outcomes on working in collaboration in different professional environments, and the process of generating shared knowledge, practices, ethics and values. The research looks specifically at ethical standards and codes of practice when working collaboratively in health and social justice settings. As such, a number of other policy and practice communities could potentially benefit from the research, particularly those likely to collaborate in delivering public services and meeting public policy objectives.

This includes other arts and cultural organisations working in health and wellbeing and/or criminal justice settings, and organisations supporting this work (for example the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance and the Koestler Trust). Other services and agencies working in these fields including health and social care providers will also benefit from the research, especially those who may commission arts and cultural organisations to deliver health and wellbeing outcomes, including NHS trusts, regional health and wellbeing boards and clinical commissioning groups. Training and development providers in public services may also be interested in learning outcomes from the research, including for example Health Education England, the workforce development body for the NHS.

In relation to professional ethics and codes of practice, those sectors expected to uphold such principles will be interested in how cross-sector collaborations could potentially impact upon their own standards. This includes public office holders expected to observe the 7 principles of public life, such as civil servants, local government officers, police, courts and probation services, non-departmental public bodies, health, education, social and care services.

Central and local Government departments responsible for these public policy areas will also learn from the research in terms of the professional implications of policy recommendations. These include the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; the Department of Health; and Ministry of Justice. Arms length national bodies and funding agencies such as Arts Council England will also benefit from the research with regards to managing expectations of projects funded under public policy remits. At a regional level, devolution agendas are focused upon integrated health and social care systems and public infrastructures, with some designated city regions explicitly referencing arts and culture in devolution agreements as having a pivotal role to play in social and economic development. The research will inform such developments in creating learning outcomes for enhanced cross-sector collaboration.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The Instrumental Values empirical study explored ethical dimensions of collaborative practice between museum and library sectors and partner agencies working in two priority public policy areas, including public health and wellbeing and prison reform. The project explored the transitional efficacy of museum and library sectors' ethical codes of practice when working in collaborative public policy contexts. Using a qualitative, ethnographic approach and communities of practice conceptual framework, sector-specific case studies were developed focusing on museums working in health care settings and prison library services. Key research findings include:
? the extent of collaborative complexity in the field;
? degrees of work assimilation across professional boundaries;
? limitations of prescribed, sectoral codes of (ethical) practice;
? the subsequent emergence of virtue ethics as a serendipitous 'shared code';
? and most significantly, the extent and impact of emotional labour and the duty of care in situated communities of practice and 'virtuous' cultural work.
The research has been disseminated via two specially convened research seminars with research partners at the Institute of Applied Ethics, University of Hull and Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies (CHMS), Australian National University (ANU). It has been commended by academic peers for advancing theoretical understanding of cross-sector collaborative practice and for advancing debates on the ethical implications of appropriating cultural work as a form of social justice and 'public good'.
Exploitation Route Next steps for the project (via an application to the AHRC's Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement scheme) include the development of an accredited, international training programme for professional ethics in multidisciplinary cultural work, after being identified as a crucial professional development need by research participants and extended networks. Research partners include the CHMS at ANU, Australian Museums and Galleries Association, Australian Library and Information Association, and the Museums Association and Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in the UK.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Healthcare,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://iccliverpool.ac.uk/?research=instrumental-values-professional-ethics-in-collaborative-cultural-work
 
Description Collaborative research seminar with Institute of Applied Ethics November 2018 
Organisation University of Hull
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I designed and led a research seminar - Cultural Policy, Professional Ethics and the Public Good - in collaboration with the Institute of Applied Ethics (IAE), which took place on Tuesday 13th November 2018. My contribution included preparation of a brief for the IAE and invited speakers/panellists; inviting panellists to attend; and delivering a keynote paper on the Instrumental Values research.
Collaborator Contribution IAE colleagues provided a venue for the event at the University of Hull, including room bookings and catering. The IAE also promoted the event to its network members and attracted 50+ participants. The event was also live promoted via social media.
Impact 'Cultural Policy, Professional Ethics and the Public Good' research seminar 13th November 2018 (including full seminar paper available on research institute website)
Start Year 2018
 
Description A question of ethics: building careful communities of practice in museum and heritage sectors training workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Working in collaboration with the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies, Australian National University (ANU), I delivered this half-day training workshop for the centre's galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) professional network in Canberra in March 2019. The workshop stimulated critical thinking and supported developing practice in contemporary professional ethics, with a particular emphasis on collaborative museum and heritage work with clear social objectives. Drawing upon my AHRC-funded research in the UK on ethical dimensions of collaborative practice between museum and library sectors and partner agencies working in two priority public policy areas, including public health and wellbeing and prison education reform, the workshop covered the following key topics:

A discussion of ethical challenges experienced in socially-responsive cultural work;
Reflections on the relevance and usefulness of professional body Codes of Ethics;
Case study work from the UK on ethical practice in the collaborative field;
Discussion of emerging research findings including emotional labour and care strategies in socially-responsive cultural work;
Ideas for developing and sustaining supportive networks and careful communities of practice in Australian museum and heritage sectors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Cultural Policy, Professional Ethics and the Public Good research seminar 13 November 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Special event as part of Institute of Applied Ethics, University of Hull seminar series. Full description:

Hosted by the Institute of Applied Ethics (IAE), University of Hull in collaboration with the Institute of Cultural Capital (ICC), Liverpool John Moores University and University of Liverpool, this research seminar will explore the ethical implications of appropriating arts and culture as a form of 'public good'. As UK City of Culture 2017, Hull engaged in its own strategic process of aligning cultural and creative assets with broader urban policy agendas including economic and social regeneration. Drawing upon research funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council on professional ethics in socially engaged cultural work, the event will invite reflections and spirited debate from members of Hull's cultural policy and research community.

AGENDA
12.30: Registration and lunch
13.00: Welcome from the IAE
13.10: Instrumental Values: Professional ethics in collaborative cultural work
Presentation on current research funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) by Dr Kerry Wilson, Head of Research at the ICC and AHRC Leadership Fellow.
14.10: Response by invited panellists from Hull's cultural policy and practice community
Chaired by Professor Colin Tyler, Director of the Institute of Applied Ethics. Guest panellists include Professor Franco Bianchini, Director of the Culture, Place and Policy Institute, University of Hull; Sean McAllister, BAFTA-nominated documentary filmmaker and Creative Director of the Hull 2017 opening ceremony; and Julia Weldon, Director of Public Health, Hull City Council.
15.30: Open floor Q&A and discussion
16:00: Thanks and close
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.facebook.com/pg/IAEHull/events/
 
Description Presentation at CARE IN THE MEDIA AND CULTURAL INDUSTRIES: CAMEO CONFERENCE 12-14 September 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation at parallel session on 'exhibition, public engagement and care' designed to stimulate debate on ethical practice in cultural industries. Full abstract:

Drawing upon data collected as part of a two-year study - Instrumental Values: Professional ethics in collaborative cultural work - funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (2017-19), the paper discusses ethical dimensions of collaborative practice between museum and library sectors and partner agencies working in two priority public policy areas. Using a communities of practice (CoP) conceptual framework, the research is investigating the transitional efficacy of museum and library sectors' ethical codes of practice when working in collaborative contexts. Focusing on museums working in health care settings and prison library services, the research is furthermore examining the extent to which shared values and ethical standards are serendipitously developed between collaborating professionals and organisations as cross-sector CoPs mature. The research posits sites of multidisciplinary affective cultural work as a model of understanding for other sectors on the 'third order' of professional ethics, relating to enhanced moral responsibility and public accountability.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www2.le.ac.uk/institutes/cameo/cameo-events/cameo-past-events/cameo-annual-conference-2018
 
Description Presentation at Crime and Control Ethnography Symposium 5-6 September 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Participation in symposium and workshop discussions dedicated to ethnographic research in the criminal justice system. Full abstract:

I am currently conducting ethnographic research on professional ethics in sites of multidisciplinary cultural work, including prison library services and museums working in health care settings. In terms of cultural workers' ethical practice, there are several layers of complexity including different disciplinary 'codes' of practice; personal values and 'virtuous intuition'; and challenges presented by institutional structures and frameworks. I would be interested therefore in discussing complexity in institutional settings and how this can be (ethically) represented in ethnographic research.

Drawing on the same research project (professional ethics in multidisciplinary cultural work), I would also welcome a workshop discussion on managing emotions on the ethnographic 'frontline', with particular reference to working in emotive occupational contexts including health care and prison services. These include managing ideological assumptions; research objectivity versus values-based subjectivity; and the temptation to 'fight the cause' on research participants' behalf.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://crimeandcontrolethnography.wordpress.com/
 
Description Presentation at Twelfth International Conference on the Inclusive Museum, Buenos Aires 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In November 2019, I visited Buenos Aires to present my research at the Twelfth International Conference on the Inclusive Museum, held at Muntref, Museum of Immigration. Founded in 2008 as part of the international Common Ground research family, the Inclusive Museum Research Network is brought together by a shared concern for the future role of the museum and how it can become more inclusive.
I presented my research on professional ethics and museums working in health care settings, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of my AHRC Leadership Fellowship (2017-19). Emerging discussion points were shared on the lived experience of 'integrated' cultural work in public policy contexts, including the realities of emotional labour in the sector and responsive self-care strategies, and the 'moral burden' experienced by cultural professionals and volunteers, working in challenging social contexts borne of 'unethical political intervention' as a result of austerity measures.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://onmuseums.com/about/history/2019-conference
 
Description Presentation at online symposium: Emotional labour and the culture of care in prison libraries 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation at annual symposium (Emotions Across Time and Space - moved online subject to Covid restrictions) on 27 April 2020, organised by the Emotions Study Group of the British Sociological Association. My presentation focused on the practice of emotional labour and self-care in prison libraries, enabling the sharing and discussion of research findings in a multidisciplinary environment under the theme of emotions. This has led to ongoing membership of and engagement with the study group, focused on emotional labour as a practice-based outcome of the Instrumental Values study and an ongoing research interest.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://bsaemotions.wordpress.com/2020symposium/
 
Description Professional Ethics and the Caring Museum research seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The full-day Professional Ethics and the Caring Museum research seminar was held in collaboration with the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra on Monday 25th March 2019. The seminar explored the ethical implications of appropriating museum and heritage work as a form of social justice and 'public good'. As cultural policy narratives in the UK and Australia continue to associate and align cultural and creative assets with broader urban public policy agendas, with an increasing emphasis on health, wellbeing and social value, critical questions were raised regarding political impartiality, moral responsibility and associated professional values in cultural institutions.

Drawing upon my research on professional ethics in such boundary-spanning cultural work (2017-19), the event invited reflections and spirited debate from Australian cultural leaders with experience of socially engaged museum and heritage work alongside members of Canberra's cultural policy and research community. Panellists included Alexandra Marsden, National Director of Australian Museums and Galleries Association, renowned museum curator Joanna Besley, who specialises in recovery from traumatic events and Uncle Eric Law AM and Mark Newman from the Cherbourg Historical Precinct Group in Queensland.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019