Designing for Creative Lives

Module code: MU7018

This module looks at the museum differently. Its focus is on public engagement and the role of museums and similar institutions in enriching lives, actively engaging with contemporary social issues and stimulating participation and dialogue with diverse audiences.

This module argues that the museum can have real social effects. It encourages you to reconceptualise spaces of culture as a continuation of everyday life, and to understand the ways in which cultural experiences are active in the creation of opportunities and possibilities for action and meaning making. It will enable you to understand how the special conditions of spaces of culture, and the social exchanges that happen in them, open up possibilities for engagement with difficult, political and contentious topics and how the values and politics of cultural organisation can be manifested physically in the visitor experience.

Designing for Creative Lives argues for a vision-led and values-driven approach to the museum. It sees the museum as an instrument of change which possesses social responsibilities that lead to engagement with social justice and human rights. You'll consider the emergence of ‘activist practice’ (Sandell and Dodd 2010), and explore how museums can creatively and critically engage with contemporary social, political and environmental concerns. You'll also see how audiences can be engaged with through the design of diverse, stimulating, provocative and accessible museum experiences. A core element of this module is to consider the ways in which marketing can support this work in the museum.

Topics covered

  • Organisational vision, values and mission
  • Social justice and human rights
  • Space, content and experience
  • Structuring visitor experiences
  • Ethical interpretation
  • Access for all
  • Marketing
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