On November 1, Deirdre Harkins joined Ithaka S+R’s Libraries, Scholarly Communication, and Museums team through a collaboration with the Black Trustees Alliance for Art Museums (BTA). In this interview, she reflects on what brought her to BTA and what she hopes to accomplish during her fellowship. 

What attracted you to the BTA fellowship?

I found BTA’s mission statement of increasing the inclusion of Black perspectives in museums especially compelling. It directly coincides with the research approach I have had throughout undergrad and grad school, to work to repair history and include lost voices. Through BTA, I feel I will be able to learn more about how to approach these areas of inequality, through a lens other than one of a student with anthropological or historical perspectives. I am so grateful for the opportunity to elaborate on this idea, and learn more through BTA and Ithaka S+R.

What projects are you currently working on? 

Currently I am staffed on three projects at Ithaka S+R. One is the Art Museum Trustee Survey in collaboration with BTA, and the survey has actually just been launched! The other two projects are the third cycle of the Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey, and the second cycle of the Art Museum Directors Survey. All three projects center around the concept of ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion across the art museum world. While the projects are not all connected, they definitely tend to overlap. I am interested to see what other projects come my way! 

What are your larger goals for the fellowship?

I want to do my part in elevating and spotlighting  the voices of historically underrepresented people both in academia and the museum sector. Through this fellowship I hope to gain more hands-on experience in gathering and analyzing data on topics with a team of people with similar passions. I am excited to learn as many things as I can during the fellowship, and I hope to make long-lasting connections.