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The 21st Century Museum (EAS3245)

StaffProfessor Gabriella Giannachi - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to introduce you to the 21st century museum to foster a theoretical and practical understanding of a range of emergent museological practices. Through a combination of in-class discussion, readings, and lectures, as well as first-hand engagement with digital materials and social media, you will develop an understanding of this important and burgeoning field. Viewings and associated readings will exercise your ability to engage in sophisticated analyses and enable you to think about how ideas and concepts relate to and are framed by material practices.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Interpret recent developments in museum practice in relation to theory drawn from relevant texts.
  • 2. Critically evaluate the dominant concepts, methods and debates informing recent developments in museum practice.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Demonstrate an ability to interrelate texts, artworks, heritage, and discourses specific to a range of disciplines with issues in the wider context of museum practice
  • 4. Demonstrate an ability to understand and analyse theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to contexts where they may be encountered in practice.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Through essay writing, demonstrate a basic capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose.
  • 6. Through research for the essay, demonstrate basic proficiency in research and bibliographical skills, information retrieval, analysis and sharing.

Syllabus plan

The module will consist of a series of lectures and seminars, including first-hand engagement with works of art, heritage and museological practices.

Syllabus (indicative):

  • Introduction to the course: the pre-history of the 21 the century museum
  • Section 1: The interactive, participatory and augmented museum
  • Section 2: The museum on the web and the distributed museum
  • Section 3: The turn to performance, the gameful and personalized museum
  • Conclusion to the course: learning, preservation and curation in the future museum

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching11Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Seminars - these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare to participate in the seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2Tutorial guidance for reading, research and essay preparation
Guided Independent Study33Self-directed seminar participation preparation with tutorial guidance
Guided Independent Study232Reading, research and assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Critical analysis500 words1-6Feedback sheet

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay901 x 2500 word essay, 1 x 3000 word1-6Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Module participation10Continuous1-4Final mark

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssays1-6Referral/Deferral period
Module participationRepeat Study/Mitigation1-4N/a

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Bishop, C. (2006) Participation, London: Whitechapel and MIT Press.
  • Frieling, R. et al (2009) The Art of Participation, London and New York, and San Francisco: Thames and Hudson and SFMOMA.
  • Giannachi, G. (2016) Archive Everything: Mapping the Everyday, Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.
  • Graham, B. and Cook, S. (2010) Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media, Cambridge, MA:
  • MIT Press.
  • Parry, R. (2007) Re-coding the Museum: Digital Heritage and the Technologies of Change, London and New York: Routledge.
  • Parry, R. (2010) Museums in a Digital Age, London: Taylor & Francis Ltd.
  • Simon, N. (2010) The Participatory Museum, Santa Cruz: Museum 2.0.



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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

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Key words search

Interactive Museum; Digital Humanities; Art History; Visual Culture; Participatory Museum; Gameful design; Virtual and Mixed Reality; Environmental museum; Digital Curation; Performance; Globalisation; Community