Goldilocks is all grown up

The House Is Shifting: Ravenna


A Parable for Academic Art Historians, Museums, and Higher-Ed

Goldilocks is all grown up. She’s moved past the traumatic events that occurred in the house of the Three Bears. She’s not interested in the possessions of others anymore; she is interested in taking possession of life. Today Goldilocks is intelligent, conscientious, committed to the field and has a fine sense of humor. She isn’t a DIVA and she isn’t a floor mat. She worked hard an earned an M.A. in Art History. She has some great real-world experience working in the curatorial department of a major art museum. And the time came when Goldilocks needed to make some decisions about the next phase in her career as an emerging professional.

Goldilocks made the decision to apply to Ph.D. programs and as a Plan B (and Goldilocks is smart enough to know that you should always have a Plan B) she was open to continuing to gain museum experience. And so with much positive energy and a great heart she entered the house of the Three Options For Art Historians….

Goldilocks stood on smallish chair and looked up high up at the interviewers who stood on an ivory balcony. She made her pitch. The interviewers listened as Goldilocks discussed her studies, her work experience, and her hopes and dreams for the future. When she had finished they turned and whispered among themselves and then the foremost among them stepped forward and announced. “You work is too curatorial and you will not fit on our balcony.” Goldilocks stepped off the chair, disheartened but not discouraged.

She moved to stand in front a group of interviewers playing a variant of musical chairs each struggling to ensure that no other individual’s chair was larger than their own and hoping secretly to discover that their own chair was just a little bit bigger. Goldilocks was not offered a chair. She made her pitch. The interviewers listened as Goldilocks discussed her studies, her work experience, and her hopes and dreams for the future. When she had finished the group got up off their chairs and whispered among them before pushing a representative forward and standing slightly behind that person in a line “Your work is too academic to be of use to us,” and then they all rushed back to begin their chair game anew.

Goldilocks turned away, disheartened but not discouraged. She walked into an adjacent room. Inside the room there was noise, and laughter, and music. Individuals were draped across sofas reading books and others were engaged in conversation. Several sat at tables furiously writing, while others stood and looked over the shoulder of an artist at an easel. There was a smell of coffee in the air and a row of wine bottles on a shelf at the rear of the room, some empty, and some full testified to past-present-and-future opportunities of conviviality. She walked into the room and several people looked up. One was reading poetry and stopped. A woman sitting with a group of others on a big sofa scrunched over making room and beckoned Goldilocks to join her. “Join us. We are working together to change the world and we need young, enthusiastic, practical scholars like yourself if we are going to succeed.”

She did.

I’m wishing Goldilocks the happily ever after she has earned and deserves.

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