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Museum Cultures - Approaches, Issues, Skills


Module description

The core module provides a broad introduction to the current debates and theoretical approaches within contemporary museum studies. Research-led and jointly taught by academics from the School of Arts, the School of Social Science, History and Philosophy, and the School of Law, this multidisciplinary module demonstrates how cultural history, art history, anthropology, queer and gender studies, archival research, discourse analysis and policy studies can all inform our understanding of museums. Classes examine numerous aspects of museums including their architecture, collections, display techniques, exhibitions, labelling, events, digital resources, legal resources and audiences. These diverse methods and topics are brought into focus by the question ‘What do museums do?’ and throughout the module we will ask: what narratives do museums construct, what practices do they engender and what are their political, social, economic, national and subjective effects?

Research skills module

Alongside the core module, you also take a collaborative, student-led and open-ended approach to developing your research skills. Students will work as a group to identify a theme for research, to pursue and collate the research, and to mark the ensuing research papers. As such, the module will introduce and refine skills in bibliographic and archival research, presentational skills, and writing. It also seeks to clarify the standards of assessment and, importantly, to develop a spirit of intellectual exchange among students.

You produce a 1500-word essay on the subject determined by the group and using sources that have been collected by the group. The essay will be peer marked. It can be very helpful to read, encourage and critique fellow students’ work, partly because it can improve your sense of what standards are expected, partly because it is often easier to see the strengths and weaknesses of other people’s work and therefore learn from them, and partly because all scholars develop through mutual exchange.