The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Research Seminar Review: Questions of Access, Anna Chrusciel (5th March 2007)


Questions of Access: the disadvantaged young in German museums
Anna Chrusciel
Visiting Scholar, Department of Museum Studies

Research Seminar Series, Department of Museum Studies

By Magnus Gestsson

Anna Chruschiel’s seminar “Questions of Access: the disadvantaged young in German museums” was very interesting. It was also clear from her talk that she is very enthusiastic about her topic of research. It is also apparent that she has the potential to increase the visibility of young people in German Museums. To do so she will need a solid theoretical backing that is already available in the department. To underline this Anna made a reference to Eilean Hooper-Greenhill in a handout saying that ‘one of the greatest challenges for museums at the beginning of the twenty-first century is the turn to the visitor.’ It was obvious from Anna’s presentation and further in a conversation at a later point that German museums lack in this area. Museum curators, schools and those responsible for the distribution of cultural knowledge appear to be indifferent when it comes to social responsibility and providing access to cultural resources for young people from disadvantaged background. However, as Anna said that there is an interest in the concept of museums as places of life-long-learning but the downside is that they only play a passive and marginalised role in this debate.

As an example of creativity Anna showed us a video of 250 German teenagers rehearsing dance movements to Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre Du Printemps” and perform in a public concert. It was clear from the video that the whole process was a great challenge but also a rewarding experience.

Anna aims at challenging the current relationship between the underprivileged and the privileged majority of museum visitors and the museums in order to re-think and re-define the role of German museums as regards access to knowledge. I wish Anna every success in contributing to taking German museums into the 21st Century. Well done.

2 comments:

Amy said...

Apologies for the rubbish photograph - once again my camera lets me down. :(

Thanks for the review Magnus!

Anna said...

No Probs Amy - and thanks a lot for your review and your enthusiasm Magnus! :)