10 Minutes With Larissa Borck

Each week I spend 10 minutes with someone from the cultural-sector-meets-digital and ask them about their career, opinions, and what’s on their radar.

This week I spoke with Larissa Borck.

Larissa Borck, Digital Curator at Sörmlands museum

Network as early and as much as possible during your studies: often in this industry, who you know and which conversations you take part in is much more important than what your studies were.

☕ Tea or coffee?

I’m having a delicious Jasmine tea.

💼 About your career and where you are now: accidental or intentional?

A bit of both: I started studying Cultural Anthropology, and when I read the descriptions of the subjects taught in that programme, I realised I could maybe work in museums with that background.

During my Master’s degree, I focused on digitisation and digital transformation within museums. The biggest impact was having a network to get in touch with people to find jobs and internships. 

📚 Describe your current job

The main field that I am working in is supporting cultural institutions in becoming digitally open and advanced institutions, doing outreach to digital audiences, and catering the needs of their target groups. 

My last job was at the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz): I was building up a lab to on the one hand raise example case studies of what open access can do for cultural heritage institutions, and sharing their data openly; and on the other hand, getting external users, their feedback, and their work into the institutions.

My new job will be at the Sörmlands Museum in Nyköping, a regional museum south of Stockholm, as a digital curator: I will be working on their collections, but also collections data, and putting the digital development of their work and outreach to the forefront of their activity.

🤩 What are you working on right now that you’re particularly enjoying?

A very typical thing for this sector is that people are very enthusiastic about their work and then have a lot of activities related to their jobs that they do on the side (independently from their employer). I am in that situation: I love taking care of my newsletter Dig It with Medhavi Gandhi! I am also looking forward to the university seminar I will be teaching next semester on digitisation of and in museums. 

For my newsletter, I sit down once a month with Medhavi and we talk about the issues in the sector, things that are heavily discussed in the sector, or even trends outside of the sector (but that should be discussed more in the cultural industry). It’s an engaging conversation. 

📣 What’s happening in the industry that’s on your radar?

One thing is always on my radar: I hashtags on Twitter and LinkedIn such as #OpenGLAM, which is about openness in digital data and collections in Galleries, Libraries, Archives & Museums, and how openness can also act for these institutions to become more relevant and resilient in the future. That’s an overarching strand in my career and as such I do my best to be as updated on it as possible.

An important topic right now and will have to become much bigger in the future is how post-colonialism can actually influence and become an important question in digital culture. There is a very important question of digital ethics, and we have to become more aware of what we share in regards to collections that are hosted and preserved in European institutions, and we have to have that conversation with original communities. 

📖 Anything you’d recommend to read/watch/listen to?

I’ve been reading Dan Hicks’ The Brutish Museum, which has been all over the news and even trending on Twitter. Another great book at the moment is Data Feminism by Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren Klein

In terms of what to watch, I’ve seen and enjoyed the Restitution Dialogues by Open Restitution Africa.

💡 What advice would you give someone who would like to do what you do?

Network as early and as much as possible during your studies: often in this industry, who you know and which conversations you take part in is much more important than what your studies were.

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