School of Museum Studies celebrates 50th anniversary with initiatives to diversify the sector

Our School of Museum Studies is showing its commitment to improving student recruitment diversity in a number of ways including the introduction of scholarships for applicants from underrepresented groups, a new course exploring equality and diversity in the museum sector and participation in a nationwide project designed to enhance student diversity led by the Equality Challenge Unit.

Founded in 1966, the School remains the only UK university department dedicated to the study of museums and galleries.

As part of the School’s 50th anniversary celebrations, a range of scholarships aimed specifically at UK students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the UK museum workforce have been awarded. These include applicants with disabilities, people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities and people from lower income households and areas.

Each successful scholarship winner will receive a fee discount of £3,000 on Master’s or Postgraduate diploma programmes starting in autumn 2016. Further scholarships that are open to all UK applicants have also been awarded.

The department has also been selected, as part of a competitive process, to work with eleven other universities and with support from the national charity, the  Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), that seeks to diversify student recruitment, particularly in terms of encouraging more people from UK BAME communities to study at the University. This is one of a small number of pilot projects happening across the UK.

Leicester has also launched a new course, Socially Engaged Practice in Museums and Galleries, which will explore how museums can become socially purposeful organisations that have a positive impact on their communities and society.

One key strand of this course is exploring how museums adequately and appropriately represent people from a range of backgrounds and communities and also thinks about how museums can be active in the fight for equality and diversity.