I read this article in the Observer over the weekend. It's good to see museums being provocative and feeding into wider political and social debate. The great potential of museums, as far as I see it, is their fairly unique role in the creation of shared knowledge and identity. I have always imagined that they really can make a difference by challenging and confronting difficult issues. But am I just being a little naive? I completely realise that the reality at most institutions is a tad more conservative (with a small 'c'), necessarily, because of financial and, perhaps more pertinently, funding considerations.
I've always been aware of the perception that Leicester grads are a little radical in their approach to museums (just an impression formed by comments made to me by interviewers, etc!). Personally I feel that's something to cling to and be intensely proud of, but it begs the question, how are we museologists perceived by the museum profession? Are we imagined to be idealistic creatures firmly ensconced in our ivory towers, detached from the realities of the everyday grind? Or, does the research we produce (eventually?) filter down and effect changes? You may be able to tell that I'm struggling with the future 'usefulness' of my current research, i.e. exactly what is the point of putting myself through this hell?!! ;) Any comments/observations gratefully received.
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.