Making meaning in museums: (How) Is community participation research?

  • Date:

The Hugh and Catherine Stephenson Lecture Theatre & West Clore Foyer
The British Museum
Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3DG

Finding out, understanding, interpreting, sharing and building relationships are processes that happen in many different areas of museum and heritage work. In some museums and heritage institutions these processes are named and claimed as research. In other places the same processes are described as learning, participation or community/public engagement.

This seminar will explore how and why we might locate museum participation and co-creative practice within the more established methodologies of action/participatory research (for example anthropology, health and development studies). The aim is to question this divide and explore the impact of framing all the multiple ways of knowing, finding and creating information as variations of research.

The day will consist of a mix of speakers and round table discussions. Confirmed speakers include:

Jean McNiff, an independent action researcher and writer, Professor of Educational Research at York St John University.

Peter Reason, formerly Director of the Centre for Action Research in Professional Practice at the University of Bath. Peter was an international leader in the development of participative approaches to action research.

This seminar is aimed at practitioners, researchers and professionals.

It is free to attend but booking is essential. Please register here using Eventbrite.

For those who need it, there are a limited number of travel bursaries to offer. For more information contact:

The seminar is the first event of a new research project, initiated at the British Museum. The project is a collaboration between researchers from the British Museum, Helen Graham and PhD candidate Julia Ankenbrand from the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage (University of Leeds) and Brighton & Hove Museums.

The project originated in a shared interest in the conceptualisations and effects of different ways of producing knowledge in museums and how to better frame participatory practice as research. The results of the September event will feed into and shape forthcoming workshops held in Leeds, Brighton and London, with the aim to produce a collaborative publication.