Reading Group – Museum Methodologies
This reading group would be relevant to anyone who is studying the work of a museum department, the life and implications of a project (past and present) within a museum, the organisation of a museum as a whole, or is interested in developing methodology within museum studies.
The Museum Methodologies Reading Group explores ways of researching museums as organisations and institutions. The question of how to research the museum is increasingly becoming important to the sector, but is mostly ignored in museum studies.
Rather than developing a methodology within its own right, museum studies have relied on methodological principals from a range of disciplines including; history, sociology, geography, and ethnography. However, studying live institutions comes with the need for particular methods and research ethics, which are currently under theorised.
The group’s focus lies on sharing and discussing texts exploring methodologies for researching how past and present organisational and institutional features and their contexts impact on the different areas of activity of the museum, its various functions and its relationship with the world. The ultimate aim of the group is to develop some wider understanding of the methodological principals underlying the study of museums, not as collections (although this could be touched upon where relevant) but as organisational structures.
Current work in this new field again borrows from disciplines like organisational studies, business ethnography, human geography, systems thinking and Science and Technology Studies, to name but a few. However, by looking more specifically at these disciplines this reading group hopes to narrow the focus of museum studies to address issues such as organisational culture, world views, attitudes, rules, norms, processes and practice in museums.
Wednesday, 3 May 2017 – 17.00 (Thereafter, every other Wednesday)
Location: The Institute (bar), The institute for Education – http://uclu.org/venues/the-institute
Reading for 3 May:
Fine, G. A. and Shulman, D. (2009) Lies from the field: Ethical issues in organizational ethnography, In: Ybema et al. (eds.) Organizational ethnography: Studying the complexities of everyday life. London and Los Angeles: Sage, pp. 177-195.