90707 - LAB - Museum Practices in Europe

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Visual Arts (cod. 9071)

Learning outcomes

Students acquire a fundamental knowledge of the different key players in the museum field at European level; that is, institutions, private organisations, networks, etc. In particular, they develop methodological tools and interpretative skills useful to recognise, analyse and comment on museum policies in some European countries, thanks to the presentation of some case studies of “good practice”.

Course contents

Learning outcomes 2023-2024

Students will gain an understanding of the current trends and of the most relevant issues which characterize the museum sector in Europe and of how these translate into actual museum practices.

Through reading and browsing, they will be able to find their way among the different documents which reflect European policies in the cultural sector, familiarize with the EU jargon and with the calls for proposals which finance projects in the museum field. They will also acquire an understanding of how projects should be designed, in order to receive EU funding.

In doing that, they will develop a forward planning-oriented mindset and become familiar with the basics of project management.


Course contents

The course (Lab) consists in three strands which will unfold in parallel:

The first one will look at the museum landscape in Europe and its functioning, at current museological trends and at the practices carried out by museums. Starting from this overview, it will identify themes suitable to design projects to be submitted to the EU for funding.

The second one will focus on European cultural policies and programmes, to provide students with the essential tools to understand the ongoing debate and the rules of EU funding.

The third one will consist in choosing and analysing one of the museums located in the city of Bologna in order to include it – as partner or coordinator - in an application that could possibly receive EU funding.

The core of the Lab, indeed, will focus on how to design a project which could be financed by European programmes. This will mean familiarizing with the EU structure, with policies and priorities, calls for proposals and application forms.

The project work will consist in writing a project application focused on the chosen Bologna museum. This will be simulated in groups, taking into account all the necessary steps: from developing the project idea to identifying the partners, from establishing aims and objectives to defining activities and outputs, timeframes and performance indicators.


For students attending classes/the Lab:

P. van Mensch, L. Meijer-van Mensch, New Trends in Museology II, Muzej novejše zgodovine Celje, 2015 (available in pdf from the teacher)

M. Sani, Cross-border cooperation for museums. From a project idea to a successful proposal. A toolkit, NEMO, 2021 https://www.ne-mo.org/news/article/nemo/eu-funding-and-cooperation-explained-in-new-nemo-toolkit.html

European Commission, The CulturEU funding guide, EU Funding Opportunities for the Cultural and Creative Sectors 2021-2027, 2021 https://culture.ec.europa.eu/funding/cultureu-funding-guide/booklet

Further reading materials will be provided by the teacher during classes.

For students not attending classes/the Lab:

P. van Mensch, L. Meijer-van Mensch, New Trends in Museology II, Muzej novejše zgodovine Celje, 2015 (available in pdf from the teacher)

Council of Europe, Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro Convention, 2005), https://rm.coe.int/1680083746

AA.VV., Audience research as an essential part of building a permanent exhibition, 2013


NEMO, Network of European Museum Organisations, Museums in the climate crisis, 2022, https://www.ne-mo.org/fileadmin/Dateien/public/Publications/NEMO_Report_Museums_in_the_climate_crisis_11.2022.pdf

Museum Association UK, Supporting decolonization in museums, 2021 https://www.museumsassociation.org/app/uploads/2021/11/Supporting-decolonisation-in-museums-final-version.pdf

Desmarais, S., Bedford, L. and Chatterjee, H.J., 2018. Museums as Spaces for Wellbeing: A Second Report from the National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing, 2018


Teaching methods

The course relies on an interactive, dialogical and collaborative methodology. Lectures, discussions and students’ presentations will be equally distributed during class hours. Students attending classes will be assigned topics to explore individually and report upon in class.

The course will also require students to apply and transfer the acquired knowledge to develop ideas and content for a project work which will be undertaken in groups.

Restricted places for incoming exchange students:

Places for incoming exchange students in this teaching activity are limited and are primarily reserved to students enrolled in art related programmes at their home university. To check availability, please write to amac@unibo.it.

Assessment methods

There will be a final oral exam for this course.

For students attending classes the exam will consist in:

  • One question on the compulsory reading P. van Mensch, L. Meijer-van Mensch, New Trends in Museology II
  • The presentation and discussion of the project work undertaken in group during the course.

Students not attending classes will be asked to answer questions related to the readings indicated in the bibliography.

Successful candidates shall demonstrate an adequate knowledge of the contents presented in the readings and a critical ability to examine and discuss the key issues contained therein.

1. It will be graded as excellent the performance of those students demonstrating to be able to clearly present the topics addressed by the course. The proper use of the specific language during the examination will be also essential.

2. It will be graded as discrete the performance of those students with mostly mnemonic knowledge, no in-depth analysis capabilities and a correct, but not always appropriate, language.

3. It will be graded as barely sufficient the performance of those students with approximate knowledge, superficial understanding, poor analytical capabilities and a not always appropriate language.

4. It will be graded as insufficient the performance of those students with learning gaps, inappropriate language, no orientation within the recommended bibliography.

Teaching tools

Lectures, Powerpoint slides, online resources (webinars, videos)

Office hours

See the website of Margherita Sani


Good health and well-being Reduced inequalities Sustainable cities Peace, justice and strong institutions

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.