This short case study discusses how museums can draw on hospitality practices to create an atmosphere of inclusivity and mutual support. In-depth research into a women's museum, archive, library, and community space has highlighted how food and drink has been used as part of feminist organisational practice to foster a sense of openness and welcome. Our case study organisation sought to empower a diverse community of women, and the symbolism of food and drink was integral to helping museum staff and volunteers to form strong connections with visitors and service users. Building a sense of community in this way is an invaluable way for cultural organisations such as museums, which can sometimes be seen as intimidating by those experiencing vulnerability, to connect with a broader range of people.
Holly Porteous is based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. Her research focuses on how inequalities are produced and reproduced, particularly from a gender/feminist perspective. After finishing her PhD on gender in Russia (University of Glasgow, 2014), she worked on projects studying how migrants from former state socialist countries made themselves secure in Scotland. Her most recent project, Transformative Servicescapes and Consumer Vulnerability, looks at how service spaces have the potential to ameliorate vulnerability.
Holly Porteous, “Case Study: Food, Drink, and Community Building in a Women’s Museum”, insightOut. Journal on Gender and Sexuality in STEM Collections and Cultures, 1(2023), 53–57, DOI: 10.60531/insightout.2023.1.9