Category Archives: Cultural and Heritage Management

From Museum Critique to the Critical Museum – a round table discussion

Posted by Helen Moore, Marketing Manager

Ashgate author Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius will be chairing a Round table discussion on 9th September 2015 at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw on the subject of her new book From Museum Critique to the Critical Museum.

From museum critique to the critical museumSince the late nineteenth century museums have been seen as agents of imperialism and colonialism, strongholds of patriarchalism, masculinism, homophobia and xenophobia, and accused both of elitism and commercialism. What can we therefore do to transform museums into places of open, critical discussion, actively supporting social change?

These are the issues tackled in the book From Museum Critique to the Critical Museum, edited by Piotr Piotrowski and Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius (Ashgate, 2015). The Round Table with contributors to the book and art critics at POLIN Museum will be an opportunity to reflect on how museums can get involved in public debates on the most important and controversial topics relevant to today’s society.

The meeting will be dedicated to the memory of Prof. Piotr Piotrowski, one of the editors of From Museum Critique to the Critical Museum and creator of the concept of the Critical Museum. Piotr Piotrowski was a professor at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, visiting professor at many foreign universities, and Director of the National Museum in Warsaw.

Participants of the Round Table include:

  • Jacob Birken – writer and curator, research assistant at the Visual Arts Department, Kunsthochschule Kassel
  • Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett – Chief Curator of POLIN Museum’s core exhibition, University Professor Emerita and Professor Emerita of Performance Studies at New York University
  • John Onians – Professor Emeritus in the School of Art History and World Art Studies, University of East Anglia
  • Alpesh Patel – art critic and curator, Assistant Professor of contemporary art and theory at Florida International University in Miami
  • Jarosław Suchan – art historian and critic, curator, Director of Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi
  • Ewa Toniak – curator, historian, and art critic, pioneer of feminist critique in Poland
  • Krzysztof Żwirblis – artist and curator, initiator of artistic projects carried out in cooperation with local communities

Admission is free and the discussion will be held in Polish and English (simultaneous translation).

More information about the round table discussion

Museums and Public Value – Carol Scott on tour

Posted by Helen Moore, Marketing Manager

‘“Public value speaks to our time…” writes Carol Scott in the preface to this collection of essays by eminent museum commentators. This important contribution to the debate about museum impact and function deals not only with the philosophy of modern museums, but with the management disciplines that will help museum leaders develop effective strategies to deliver and demonstrate true public value. In a world of economic uncertainty and changing socio-political dimensions, a museum’s ability to do this is critical to its purpose, its mission and its future.’ Alec Coles, CEO, Western Australian Museum

Museums and Public ValueAuthor Carol Scott has a busy conference schedule ahead. In the coming months she will be speaking at the following events on her favorite subject of Museums and Public Value.

Starting in September she will be speaking in Swansea at the Group for Education in Museums annual conference from 8th-10th September.

Carol will be one of the keynote speakers at the Maritime Heritage Forum in Newcastle, from 4th-5th October, speaking on ‘User value, public value and the future of museums’.

In Edinburgh on 22nd October, the Museums and Galleries Scotland Conference theme will be resilience, and Carol’s paper will be ‘Adventures In Measuring Social Value: Can We Prove that Museums Make a Difference?’

Last stop will be the ICOM MPR conference in Yerevan, Armenia 24th-28th October

Carol’s book Museums and Public Value was reviewed recently in Museums World

‘Museums and Public Value makes a significant contribution to the field by bringing together the latest thinking on public value and its application, helping thereby to move the debate forward in terms of its wide-ranging implications for both theory and practice. Readers may well feel empowered to use it to inform their particular area of museum work, as there is ample encouragement and numerous positive examples to be found in the pages of this book.’

If you would like to know more, order the book online or contact Carol online.

About the author

Carol A. Scott lives in London and works with museum leaders in the UK, Europe, North America and Australasia, using value as a core concept in planning, branding, audience engagement, measurement and funding. She is recognised internationally for her expertise in this area and is in demand as a conference presenter and thought leader. Her writing on museums and value has been published in Curator: The Museum Journal, Museum Management and Curatorship, Cultural Trends and the International Journal of Arts Management.

Helen Chatterjee to speak at GEM London Twilight: Museums and wellbeing

Posted by Helen Moore, Marketing Manager

Ashgate author Helen Chatterjee will be taking part in the GEM London autumn twilight series of events. On Wednesday 23rd September she will be talking about her research project Museums on Prescription which seeks to research the processes, practices, value and impact of social prescription schemes in the arts and cultural sector with specific reference to museums.

The event takes place at on Wednesday, 23 September 2015 from 18:30 to 20:00 at UCL Art Museum, London, WC1E 6BT. For more information, and to book tickets, visit the event page.

Museums Health and WelleingHelen’s book Museums Health and Well-Being, co-authored with Guy Noble, published in 2013 set the scene for this research, described at the time as ‘A ground-breaking manifesto for a new movement linking museums and health’ by Constance Classen, Author of The Deepest Sense: A Cultural History of Touch

Helen’s next book from Ashgate Engaging the Senses: Object-Based learning in Higher Education, co-authored with Leonie Hannan, explores the use of museum collections as a path to learning for university students. Despite a strong tradition of using lectures as a way of delivering the curriculum, the positive benefits of ‘active’ and ‘experiential learning’ are being recognised in universities at both a strategic level and in daily teaching practice. As museum artefacts, specimens and art works are used to evoke, provoke, and challenge students’ engagement with their subject, so transformational learning can take place. This unique book presents the first comprehensive exploration of ‘object-based learning’ as a pedagogy for higher education in a broad context. An international group of authors offer a spectrum of approaches at work in higher education today.

About the authors: Helen Chatterjee is a Senior Lecturer in Biology in the School of Life and Medical Sciences and Head of Research and Teaching in UCL Public and Cultural Engagement at University College London, UK. Guy Noble is the first appointed Arts Curator of the University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. He is also a trustee of the London Arts in Health Forum. Leonie Hannan is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities at Queen’s University, Belfast. For four years, between 2011 and 2015, she was a Teaching Fellow in Object-Based Learning at University College London, UK.

European Museums in an age of Migrations

Posted by Helen Moore, Marketing Manager

Ashgate recently published the fourth book in an informal series of books made possible by the European Commission-funded ‘MeLa – European Museums in an age of Migrations’ project.

The MeLa Project looks at the effects of the migration of people, objects, knowledge and information on the form and role of the contemporary museum, and aims to identify innovative practices that will drive its evolution.

The MeLa general objectives include:

  • Rethinking the role of museums in building a democratic inclusive European citizenship;
  • Envisioning strategies and exhibition practices to support the new role of museums in an age of migrations;
  • Improving knowledge on cultural heritage diversity and identity representation.

For more information visit

museums migration and identity in europeRelated books from Ashgate:

Museums, Migration and Identity in Europe, Edited by Christopher Whitehead, Katherine Lloyd, Susannah Eckersley and Rhiannon Mason

Cultural networks in migrating heritageCultural Networks in Migrating Heritage, Perla Innocenti

Migrating Heritage, Edited by Perla Innocenti

Postcolonial MuseumThe Postcolonial Museum, Edited by Iain Chambers, Alessandra De Angelis, Celeste Ianniciello, Mariangela Orabona and Michaela Quadraro

Museum and Heritage publishing in 2015 – a few highlights

Managing cultural heritageIn the areas of museum policy we are pleased to publish two new titles this year, Managing Cultural Heritage by Luca Zan and colleagues and Copyrighting Creativity edited by Helle Porsdam, which explores the relationship between intellectual property, creativity and cultural heritage institutions.  In Kali Tzortzi’s excellent Museum Space she highlights the importance of museum architecture and display in shaping visitors’ experiences.

museums migration and identity in europeWe’re also publishing two more titles resulting from the MeLA project, Museums, Migration and Identity in Europe edited by Chris Whitehead and colleagues, and Cultural Networks in Migrating Heritage by Perla Innocenti. 9781472448132.PPC_PPCIn the area of education we’re delighted that Helen Chatterjee has returned to publish her next book with us, a collection with Leonie Hannan on Engaging the Senses: Object-Based Learning in Higher Education and in another collection From Museum Critique to the Critical Museum the authors discuss the ways in which the museum could use its collections, cultural authority and resources to give voice to the underprivileged, and take an active part in contemporary and controversial issues.

From museum critique to the critical museumOur 2015 museum and heritage studies catalogue is available to view on our website.   The catalogue showcases the breadth and depth of the Ashgate lists in museum theory and practice, collecting and museum history, art business and cultural management, and heritage studies more broadly.

There are many more titles to explore on the website with our history of material culture list growing in size and stature along with a clutch of new key titles in our Heritage, Culture and Identity series.

Whatever your professional job or academic discipline we hope that there will be many recent and new books to interest you.  If you are thinking of writing a book and have a proposal you’d like to discuss with us, even if at an early stage, please feel free to contact us.

Evidencing change: how do we measure social value?

This post is written by Carol Scott, author of Museums and Public Value. It originally appeared on her personal website. Carol Scott is speaking at this year’s American Alliance of Museums annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia.


Evidencing change: how do we measure social value?

This is the title of the session that I am curating with Randi Korn (Founding Director, Randi Korn Associates) and Deborah Schwartz (President, Brooklyn Historical Society) at this year’s American Alliance of Museums annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

The conference theme is the social value of museums. Creating positive social change is forging new directions for 21st century museums. But evidence to prove that change occurs remains elusive and approaches to measuring it are a work in progress.

At the heart of the issue is the question: ‘do museums make a positive difference to society as a whole?’ If we want the answer to be a resounding ‘yes’, how do we translate museum activity into measurable evidence of social value- and- what are the implications for planning and evaluation?

Our session is going to look at these questions through three lenses. Passion is needed to effect social change. Our museums need to resonate with and be relevant to our communities. Deborah Schwartz heads one such museum- where passion and commitment to the community are paramount. But passion needs to be directed. It needs to work in tandem with results-based planning and evaluation measures to achieve its social goals, a subject which is at the heart of Randi Korn’s work.

At a national level, the sector as a whole is challenged to find a narrative to demonstrates that museums create value that makes a difference in the public domain. Do museums contribute to the well-being of populations, their connectedness to one another and to communities, to an active, engaged citizenship? Where is the evidence to prove this and how do we capture it? This is the subject of my presentation.

Our session is on Monday afternoon, the 27th April from 1:45-3:00 p.m. in Room B405 at the Georgia World Congress Center. We look forward to meeting you in Atlanta.

Carol Scott

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