In the 21st century, leading museums, galleries and heritage practice began to make use of socially engaged approaches. This course will examine the role of museums and practitioners in shaping society's understandings of contemporary issues, upholding antiracist and anti-oppression values of inclusivity and accessibility, and ensuring that museums benefit their communities. Choosing to study Socially Engaged Practice in Museums and Galleries will give you access to leading research and practice on the impact that museums and galleries can have on advocating for social justice and human rights, and how they might better explore and address the contemporary issues that face our societies.
This course brings together cutting-edge examples of socially driven professional practice in dialogue with research undertaken by academics within the School of Museum Studies. It draws on broader global shifts in practice and will challenge you to think deeply about the role of culture in society and the characteristics of socially purposeful museums and galleries.
Over the course, you will engage critically and creatively with areas such as:
- partnership working
- participatory practices
- anti-racism and anti-oppression work
- ethical frameworks for practice
- liberation and accessibility
- visitor studies and audience research
- leadership at all levels of an organisation
- how socially engaged practice can be embedded into the work of museums and galleries
You will gain a deeper understanding of the historical, current and emerging debates, theories, issues, techniques and practice in order to effectively develop and advocate for socially engaged practice in museums, galleries, and similar organisations. The course offers a platform to explore and experiment with ways of maximising the impact that museums and galleries can have on the wellbeing of communities, on civil debates around controversial topics, and on the building of fairer and more equal societies.
The course is delivered in a variety of ways, including online lectures, seminars, and tutorials, and discussion activities. The programme is designed to fit around your existing commitments and is sympathetically structured to allow you to break up the work into manageable chunks and focus on one assignment at a time.
You will receive high quality support from your module tutors and a personal tutor throughout your studies.
What's the difference?
If you are taking the MA or MSc, you will take four core modules, followed by four option modules, as well as completing a research project on the topic of your choice. For many, it is the most exciting part of the course, as a self-directed opportunity to contribute new ideas, new knowledge, or critique existing scholarship or practice at an advanced academic level. You might choose to write this up as a dissertation, but you could also consider writing a paper, a professional report, or perhaps even producing a film. We look forward to working with you on the possibilities. A Master of Science (MSc) can be awarded in preference to a Master of Arts (MA) where the dissertation concerns a science collection or museum, or where the nature of the investigation can be termed 'scientific'.
To complete the Postgraduate Diploma, you will take four core modules, followed by four option modules, giving you the opportunity to delve into your particular interests and to further explore and contextualise socially engaged practice through specific lenses.
You can attain a Postgraduate Certificate by undertaking just the four core modules. It is also possible to take one module, Exploring Socially Engaged Practice in Museums and Galleries, as a short course.