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Museum Detox DIY series: Self Care during a time of lockdown

Updated: Jun 16, 2022

Museum Detox DIY series: Self Care during a time of lockdown

Like everyone else in lockdown I’ve been struggling to see the future and doing my best to stay productive. In need for some therapeutic telly, I got a ‘highly recommended’ from a friend.

It’s no surprise that the Guardian newspaper rated BBC drama series Years and Years as ‘riveting dystopian TV and the worst show to watch right now’.

During the midst of lockdown and a global pandemic, this series (first aired in 2019) is brilliantly acted: it’s the dramatised storyline of a future global societal collapse that’s the most alarming.

As a museum consultant and creative producer my practice is rooted in social justice and co production methodology. We’ve all had to adjust to making ends meet as contracts ground to a halt and work gets postponed. Freelancers specialising in digital expertise may well have completely different stories as the race for digital takes priority with online audience engagement. Big ups to Yorkshire Museums with their #curatorbattle which went global connecting fascinating museum collections from around the world.

But the reality for so many people struggling to work from home with childcare and or parental responsibilities, or just trying work with a clapped out laptop and dodgy broadband: working from home is like trying to focus in Piccadilly Circus. Lockdown frenzy means now more than ever, the need to stay visible online and join every zoom meet and seminar from decolonising to governance is all leading to hyper connectedness, sleepless nights and What’s Apps at 2am with the latest 5g conspiracy theory. Well, 6g if you watched Years and Years.

So what’s not to love about shamelessly bingeing on TV, conducting zoom meets in pyjama bottoms and polishing off ‘supplies’ as soon as they hit the cupboard? We’re all acutely aware of the reality with furloughs and countless arts organisations and museums facing insolvency. When we started Museum Detox six year’s ago, it was brilliant to connect and just share the love with fellow workers from the sector. But our worries are real: how many of us will still be able to survive in the museum sector let alone thrive?

As we enter into week 8 of lockdown we need to pay attention to ourselves, do the check in’s, pick up the phone, send a message and take care of one another. We can not afford to let go of the priorities of intersectionality we all strived for - particularly with the emerging ugly side of divisive nationalist rhetoric perpetuated largely by racist fools.

So what’s my lockdown self care? It’s DJ Spoony Sunday Bruch and Quarantine Date Nights Judi Love. It’s sound clashes with RnB legends Teddy Riley Vs BabyFace, and soul sisters Erykah Badu vs Jill Scott. It’s looking after my parents doing Mr Motivator in the front room with my mum and watching my dads face smile through advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease. It’s zooming mates and playing New Edition’s Candy Girl and doing the Candy dance to Cameo. In all of this I know I am blessed. We’ll get through this and truth be told; if all the museums in the world closed their doors, life will go on. We’ll survive.

Sandra Shakespeare

Museum Consultant|Creative Producer


Writers playlist Covid-19 Self care tunes selection:

Published on 16 Jun 2009

Music video by Cameo performing Candy. © 2004 The Island Def Jam Music Group

Published on 19 Mar 2009

Candy Girl official video 1984 New Edition, licensed to YouTube

Published 27 December 2016

Delroy Wilson ‘All in this Thing Together’ 1978

Gussie Roots Sounds 12’’

Published 9 February 2016

The Isley Brothers ‘Summer Breeze’ © 1973, Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Gil Scott Heron

‘B’ Movie (Live) Tales of Gil Scott Heron 1990

Video Edit: FreedysseusX (2012)

NHS Link for those needing additional support:

If you would like to submit a blog to be considered for the MD DIY Series please send proposal/s here with 'Blog proposal' as the heading (300 words max).


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