Exploring Socially Engaged Practice in Museums and Galleries

Module code: MU7561 

Socially engaged approaches and practices in museums and galleries of all kinds are rapidly evolving. A deep commitment to meeting the needs of audiences and society at large characterises increasing numbers of museums, galleries and similar cultural organisations across the world. This module equips you with the historical, theoretical, and practice-based knowledge to put values-driven museums and galleries into a context, and consider how such approaches can be progressed and defended in the face of political and philosophical challenges and a difficult funding climate.

This module draws on case studies from across the world which demonstrate key values and characteristics of socially engaged practice, such as an active approach to advancing inclusivity, equality, social justice, human rights, and lifelong learning. You'll develop your ability to recognise the barriers facing such work in a variety of contexts and be able to critically argue for approaches that overcome such barriers.

Throughout the module, you are asked to draw on your own experiences, both personal and professional, in order to articulate your own values and priorities in the context of socially engaged museum and gallery practice.

Topics covered

  • The histories and contexts of values-driven museum practice
  • Key debates within socially engaged practice
  • Theoretical frameworks and critical theories
  • Museums’ and galleries’ relationships with human rights and social justice movements
  • Activism, social movements, equality, diversity, and inclusion
  • International perspectives on socially engaged practice 
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