SJAM is the Social Justice Alliance of Museums, led by National Museums Liverpool.
The aim of SJAM is to recruit museums and related bodies, and individuals, to sign up to the charter for social justice, and to campaign for and promote best practice.
While museums have made great strides in recent years in modernizing and opening up our institutions to a diverse public, there remain many people working in museums, and in the outside world, who do not believe that museums should be democratic bodies, open to and valued by the whole of society. Often the voices of these conservative thinkers can be loud and influential. Moreover, in times of real pressure on public funding, there is a threat that the progress many museums have made towards a more generous and democratic future will be stopped in its tracks as funding cuts bite and as traditional museum values of exclusivity and elitism are promoted as the only way forwards.
This is a good time for those of us who believe in the concept of social justice to find our voice, collectively. This is what SJAM is all about. Our hope is that the members of SJAM will find ways to work together in the pursuit of social justice, and to support each other’s efforts. This could include joint projects, conferences and publications, lobbying and recruiting supportive bodies from outside the museum sector.
David Fleming, National Museums Liverpool
Filmed at the launch of SJAM on 11 November 2013 at the Museum of Liverpool, here’s what our founder members had to say about SJAM.
Click on ‘CC’ to turn the subtitles on or off. Alternatively, read a transcript of this video (doc)