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Unlocking the research potential of collections Professor Michael Worton Vice-Provost, UCL.

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Presentation on theme: "Unlocking the research potential of collections Professor Michael Worton Vice-Provost, UCL."— Presentation transcript:

1 Unlocking the research potential of collections Professor Michael Worton Vice-Provost, UCL

2 Museums need to re-assert the development of knowledge and research as a key role. Collections for the Future (2005)

3 Identifying gaps Collections for the Future: possible pathways Many museums lack adequate information about their collections. This is one of the most significant barriers preventing them from achieving their potential. Without people with the skills and knowledge to bring their collections to life, museums are just repositories. The extent to which museums can or should share control over the meaning of objects remains a highly contentious issue. Museums need to engage more actively with this debate and work out its implications for the ways their collections are presented. … it is not desirable, let along practical, for a museum to have all the expertise it requires in house. [...] It will be important to build closer links with external sources of knowledge and expertise.

4 Bridging gaps Museums can work together to share expertise across the sector. But it will be equally, if not more, important for museums to build closer links with external sources of knowledge and expertise. …links between museums and higher education are far less well developed than they might be. There are reasons for this: the approach taken to particular subjects by museums and by universities may differ significantly. Brokers are often needed to build relationship and encourage joint working.

5 Why research? Benefits to the national economy Quality of life Citizenship Identity and belonging Integration

6 WHAT IS RESEARCH?

7 The research process Identification of research questions and problems Research context: why the questions or problems are important Research methods: how well you address your questions or problems

8 Dissemination of research outputs How to share and transfer knowledge? Exhibitions Catalogues Monographs Articles Electronic data Performances Films or broadcasts Identification of themes of particular intellectual and wider resonance

9 Key criteria for defining the research process Quality and importance of the research Management Outputs and dissemination Value for money and appropriateness of resources requested

10 Beyond Collections Visitor study / audience development Research into environmental damage Haptics Ethics of stewardship Changing demographic patterns Interdisciplinarity

11 What is a university? TEACHING RESEARCH KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

12 AHRC strategic initiatives Diasporas, Migration and Identities Landscape and Environment Religion and Society (with ESRC) Current Coming soon Beyond Text

13 Cross-Council initiatives Cultures of Consumption Designing for the 21 st century New dynamics of ageing Specific call likely for research underpinning permanent and temporary exhibitions and displays

14 Examples of brokering The UCL Petrie Museums Outreach Curator project: i.e. a university museum assisting four local authority museums AHRC-funded workshop series on Touch and the value of object-handling

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