Discover Museum and Gallery Studies MA

Discover Museum and Gallery Studies MA

My background is that I came into the field
as an archaeologist. And I have worked for more than 20 years in the cultural sector,
in a whole range of cultural organisations. From little local museums to national governments.
I have worked all around the world in the Czech Republic, and Turkey, in France, in
Sudan, and in the UK. So, I am part of a wider team. Many of them
are Art Historians, Art Theorists, and people who work in Popular Culture. We also have
Contemporary Art Curators who teach into the course. So, we really do bring a complete
world of expertise to the students. The interesting thing about our course is
that we are one of very few such courses that are actually based in an Art School. Our students
have access to the workshops and are able to produce creative work as part of their
assessment. We run four modules in partnership with museums
and galleries in London. Those have ranged a great deal in the past. At the moment, we
have got some really fascinating projects, with people like for instance Brooklands Museum,
where our students are connecting a brand-new aircraft factory gallery with school children.
Or, we have a project with the V&A, where students are thinking about their rapid response
collection, through which the V&A collect objects that represent now. We are also working
with the Museum of London, who are moving location, and our students are working with
the Museum of London on how to redisplay objects from the collection in the brand-new gallery
space. One of the great things about working in partnership
is that our students get to hear about posts that are coming up in the sector. And often
they are the first people to hear about those employment opportunities. They also gain a
real knowledge of the partner, so they have something to offer in the job market that
many other students don’t have. In addition, because we are working on live projects with
museums and galleries, that means that we get access to the sort of training that people
often get on the job. Museums and galleries are some of the most
important organisations in the world for setting the cultural agenda. Not just nationally but
internationally. And in London we have access to world leading museums and we are able to
be open to what is happening right now at the cutting edge of the sector. We also face
challenges in the museum sector. Challenges around funding, but also challenges about
the kinds of audiences that we need to reach these days. So, museums and galleries need
to be aware, not only institutionally of how they meet the challenge of change in the sector
at the moment, but also, how they compete for the attention of audiences in a fast-moving
world. So, when you have applied for the course,
if you are successfully accepted, I will be setting you a summer challenge. So here is
an example of the kind of challenge that I might set you as a prospective student on
our course. This relates to my own research, which involves looking at how it is that museums
configure the way in which we understand the world and the objects within it. So, the object
that I want to show you is a replica object that I have got from Lynn Museum in Norfolk.
So, it could be a challenge for some of our audiences, because perhaps it is a challenging
object. And it is not necessarily an object we would understand now. Because the way in
which we tend to interpret these kind of artefacts is very often sexual. That is certainly the
history of the way museums have treated these objects historically. They very often haven’t
been on display and they have been in secret parts of the museums. So, my own research
has been looking at the history of those secret museums in relation to these objects. So, this is an object that most probably would
have been worn by a child in Roman Britain. And that is not necessarily something that
today’s audiences could perhaps relate to immediately. And one of the skills that you
develop as a museum professional is perhaps how to challenge and provoke audiences in
ways that will encourage them to think differently about the world we live in today. So, in order to present this object, the museum
professional needs to know something about the Roman World and why is it that this object,
in particular, came to be the sort of thing that one might put round the neck of a child.
What other objects in Roman material culture might this object relate to? And then the
museum would also want to think about the rest of its collection. Once this object has
been collected, from a metal detectorist in 2011, how does that change the way in which
they might interpret or think about all the other objects that they have in collection
that relate to the Romans in Britain? Students very often ask me what to put in
their personal statement. I would encourage you to not just think about your academic
qualifications and background, but also to think about experience you might have developed
in the sector, and also the skills that you might bring to the course and also to our
partner institutions.

Dereck Turner

1 thought on “Discover Museum and Gallery Studies MA

  1. Karin 7.London says:

    Helen is a legend!

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