Category Archives: Cultural and Heritage Management

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.

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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

Browse our catalogues online…

Online versions of our printed catalogues are available to browse. Please follow the links below to your subject(s) of interest.

Most of our catalogues are available in two formats, ‘eCatalogue’ which is a ‘page turning’ document, and standard PDF which loads in Acrobat Reader. Both versions include links to full book details on our website, for further information and for ease of ordering.

Don’t forget, ALL orders on our website receive 10% discount.

Tourism Books from Ashgate and Gower

Posted by Katy Crossan, Commissioning Editor

Our high quality Tourism list has gone from strength to strength in the last few years, with a strong focus on heritage tourism, tourism and culture and sustainable tourism. The study of tourism is inherently interdisciplinary and with this in mind we have brought together our key books on tourism research from across our social science, humanities and business publishing programmes in this new Tourism webpage to make it easier to navigate the titles and series we offer in this area.

Some recent book highlights include:

Tourism destination developmentTourism Destination Development (edited by Arvid Viken and Brynhild Granås, UiT – the Arctic University of Norway)

’If tourism’s formative power in the making of societies is acknowledged, few contributions take this point as comprehensively into social science as this impressive volume edited by Viken and Granås. Through critical thinking and theoretically informative case studies, readers are taken aboard reflexive and situated investigations of the plural and multiple ways in which tourist destinations develop.’   Jørgen Ole Bærenholdt, Roskilde University, Denmark

Volunteer tourismVolunteer Tourism (Mary Mostafanezhad, University of Hawai’i, Mānoa)

‘While excoriating volunteer tourism’s neoliberal underpinnings, this marvellous study also documents its transformative cosmopolitan hope for tourists, humanitarian organizations, and host communities that engage. A must read for anyone wanting to understand tourism’s potential for social justice, and why this is so difficult to achieve.’   Margaret Byrne Swain, University of California, Davis, USA

Travel tourism and artTravel, Tourism and Art (Edited by Tijana Rakić, Edinburgh Napier University and Jo-Anne Lester, University of Brighton)

‘Rakic and Lester have brought together a timely compendium of resources. In fifteen disciplinarily-diverse essays, the reader will learn about the historical, theoretical, and aesthetic dimensions of travel and culture. The anthology demonstrates that tourism and the arts are inextricably linked. A must-have for anyone interested in understanding how leisure is both meaningful and meaning making.’    Laurie Beth Clark, University of Wisconsin, USA

Ashgate at the Museums Association Conference in Cardiff – we hope to see you there!

Posted by Helen Moore, Marketing Manager

Dymphna Evans and Helen Moore are attending the Museums Association conference at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff this week 9-10th October.

As ever there’s a jam-packed programme of sessions, workshops and keynotes, alongside the exhibition. If you’re attending, visit us on stand 27, see our latest books, meet our authors and chat about any ideas you might have for book proposals. There will be an Ashgate picture quiz with a £100 prize, mint humbugs and huge 50% discounts on display copies, so please come and say ‘hello’.

Even if you can’t attend in person, you can get a sneaky preview of our book display and a 30% discount on a range of Museums Studies, Cultural and Heritage Management books, for a limited period. Take advantage of the 30% discount at http://www.ashgate.com/MACardiff.

New books which will be on display include:

Crowdsourcing our cultural heritageCrowdsourcing our Cultural Heritage, Edited by Mia Ridge, Open University, UK

Museums in the New Mediascape, Transmedia, Participation, Ethics by Jenny Kidd, Cardiff University, UKNew Collecting_Graham PPC_new collecting

New Collecting: Exhibiting and Audiences after New Media Art by Edited by Beryl Graham, University of Sunderland, UK

Look forward to seeing you in Cardiff.

What makes a good museum? The Art Fund knows – a guest post by Amy Jane Barnes

Amy Jane BarnesBy Amy Jane Barnes, University of Leicester

This article was originally published on The Conversation.  Read the original article here.

On July 9, the annual Museum of the Year Prize, run by the Museum Prize Trust and sponsored since 2008 by the Art Fund, awarded £100,000 to the winner: the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which shone in a shortlist of six museums and galleries.

The prize’s stated aim is to highlight the role of museums in society, to encourage more people to visit and to recognise the very best exhibiting institutions in the UK – but pinning down the characteristics of what the Art Fund calls “truly outstanding” museums is harder than it sounds.

As someone who studies museums, I have strong opinions about what makes a good one. To get my vote, a museum has to be prepared to take some risks, to remain intellectually (and physically) accessible while challenging its audiences. It should present different views and ideas and avoid neutrality, or rather, refrain from perpetuating the myth that the museum (and knowledge) is objective – we know it is not.

Museums with these characteristics are inspiring. They will also probably play a role in society that encompasses, as the UK Museums Association puts it, not simply just the collection, preservation and sharing of collections (although these of course remain core roles).

They will also act as catalysts for community cohesion and regeneration, and be places where social issues can be publicly explored.

What matters?

That said, everyone has a different opinion, as do many of my colleagues. When I asked them what makes a good museum, they all had different answers. It should have a clear identity; it should have an environmental conscience and a commitment to sustainability; it should be innovative and involved with its local community.

This was hardly a scientific poll, of course, but the range of answers I got highlights the considerable impact individual preferences and priorities have on perceptions of what a good museum does.

Pinpointing excellence in the museum sector is a tricky business, and is partly (if not entirely) shaped by the concerns and policies of the day. The Art Fund’s five-person judging panel will select the winner for the Museum of Year Prize, from six shortlisted institutions, each judged to have had a “transformative” effect on their users and audiences.

The big six

The Ditching Museum of Art + Craft in East Sussex presents examples of work by artists and craftspeople who formed a community in the village during the 20th century. In recent years, the museum has undergone major renovation and reopened last year. It has been praised by the judges for its “dedicated learning space” and fully accessible site.

The Hayward Gallery, on London’s Southbank, has been dedicated to displaying contemporary art since its creation in 1968. Its touring programme and exhibitions, which focus on “important issues in contemporary artistic practice”, attracted “record-breaking audiences” in 2013.

Opened to the public in May 2013, the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, houses the remains of Henry VIII’s flagship, sunk in 1545 and recovered in 1982. Its selection recognises the engaging and “intensely personal nature” of the museum’s narrative, which provides visitors with “an inimitable insight into Tudor life”.

The Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, Norwich, designed by Norman Foster to house the Sainsbury collection of art and artefacts and opened in 1978, relaunched last year after major renovation. The new SCVA features a redisplay of the permanent collection, and new exhibition and retail spaces.

Similarly, the oldest part of Tate Britain was restructured to bring nine galleries up to contemporary standards, and to allow for the creation of new spaces for schools and learning activities. On reopening, visitors were also able to experience a new chronological display of British art.

And finally, the winner: the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield, which features works by major sculptors from around the world. Among other things, it was highlighted by the judges for “engaging new audiences and providing a unique art experience for hard-to-reach groups” via its learning programmes.

More than money

In addition to the cash prize, Yorkshire Sculpture Park will benefit from an enhanced profile and wider public recognition – and in turn, a more secure future, something the Prize has done for winners before.

Last year’s victor, the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, had been been under threat of closure just six years earlier. But after winning the prize, the gallery experienced a massive increase in visitor numbers, which the local head of cultural services hoped would bring increased funding and stave off the threat of future cuts.

Just as we all came up with different definitions of what makes a “good” museum, I expect me and my colleagues would each have a strong opinion about which of the shortlisted museums most deserves to win the prize. We may not all fully agree with the final decision, but ultimately, anything that gives “immediate national attention” to museums, promotes excellence in the sector, and demonstrates their immense social and cultural value deserves our wholehearted support.

Museum representations of Maoist ChinaThe ConversationAmy Jane Barnes is author of Museum Representations of Maoist China: From Cultural Revolution to Commie Kitsch

Beryl Graham talks at Tate Modern, at the ‘Cultural Value and the Digital’ conference

Posted by Helen Moore, Marketing Manager

Beryl Graham, author of New Collecting: Exhibiting and Audiences after New Media Art gave a talk at the Tate Modern earlier this week, taking part in the conference Cultural value and the digital: practice, policy and theory, the culmination of a research project and series of eight public workshops, to explore how conceptions of cultural value are currently operating and could be examined in relationship to digital media and museums.

This research project focused on Tate’s digital practices and policies as well as the practices of other UK and European Museums that shape contemporary production of culture; a context which is transformed or challenged by current digital technologies and network culture.

New Collecting_Graham PPC_new collectingBeryl Graham’s book New Collecting: Exhibiting and Audiences after New Media Art sets out to explore the many new challenges faced by curators and collectors of new media art

‘This is essential reading for artists, curators, art historians, students and anyone else interested in creating, commissioning, collecting, exhibiting and documenting new media art. The authors provide an excellent overview of the challenges involved in dealing with 21stcentury artworks that are “not easy to collect”.’   Douglas Dodds, Victoria and Albert Museum, UK

‘New forms of art production necessitate new ways of thinking about exhibiting and collecting. This book fills a gap in the field by directly addressing the challenge for curators and audiences alike in exploring ways that do not simply replicate old models but redefine possibilities of what is collected, how, and for whom.’   Joasia Krysa, Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark

Beryl Graham is Professor of New Media Art, at the University of Sunderland, UK and co-founder and editor of CRUMB, the resource for curators of new media art. She curated the international exhibition Serious Games for the Laing and Barbican art galleries, and has also worked with The Exploratorium, San Francisco, and San Francisco Camerawork.  Beryl Graham has presented papers at conferences including Decoding the Digital (Victoria and Albert Museum).