90707 - LAB - Museum Practices in Europe

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Margherita Sani

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-ART/04

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Visual Arts (cod. 9071)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


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

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

Academic Year 2021/2022

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

The course (Lab) offers an insight into the museum landscape and its functioning in Europe.

Starting with the different connotations the word “museum” has acquired in recent years, the course analyses the roles - cultural, educational, social and economic - museums play in contemporary societies and looks at how these are reflected in museological practices in different countries.

Special attention is paid to European cultural policies and programmes to provide students with the essential tools to understand the ongoing debate and participate in EU funded collaboration projects. This is also complemented by an overview of the most important players active in the European arena, in particular international networks.

The topic of emerging professional profiles in the museum field, of continuous professional development and key competences needed for the museum profession is also addressed and is complemented by encounters with protagonists working in or for museums nationally and internationally.


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)

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

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)

M. Michaelson, P. Samis, Creating the visitor-centred museum, Routledge, 2017 N.B. This book is not available in digital form

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


Gibbs, Sani, Thompson (eds.), Lifelong learning in museums. A European handbook, 2007 (Chapter 2 Learning in museums; Chapter 3 Visitor research) http://online.ibc.regione.emilia-romagna.it/I/libri/pdf/LifelongLearninginMuseums.pdf

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.

Students attending classes will present and discuss the topics explored individually and the project work undertaken in groups 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