Seeing people not numbers

The staff of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, from curators to bookstore cashiers are facing potential cuts to their healthcare as their union negotiates a new contract with MOMA. Concerned that the talks are focused on numbers rather than people the staff created an Instagram account humanize the impact that the new contract will have. To read more about MOMA employee’s situation read this article in art and culture forum Hyperallergic.


Each Instagram post features the person’s first name, their position at MOMA, and a short statement. The posts have a pretty powerful cumulative effect and really do humanize the conversation.

“It’s hard to make ends meet in NYC, I depend on health care benefits to lighten the load.” – MOMA employee

The efforts of the MOMA staff are a good example of how to can join a conversation even when you’re not at the table. If you take a moment to look at the hundred plus images there you see the many faces of the staff and get a glimpse of their personalities. For me, a strong part of this non-linear story is that the individual and collective set of images feel curated or designed. They work well together. Interspersed among the people shots are block text statements or images of protests to remind you what conversation each of these people are both speaking to about and will be impacted by.

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