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Learning at the interface: Museum and University Collaborations

Sackler Centre for Arts Education, V&A
1 July 2010 00:00 - 2 July 2010 00:00

Recent thinking by the UK government on the delivery of cultural policy and strategy has acknowledged the vital role that museums occupy in supporting and enhancing cultural and educational provision both regionally and nationally (DCMS 2008). In this context, work with schools and community groups has received particular attention (Anderson 2004, Berry 1998, Hooper-Greenhill 1994) yet the enormous potential of museums working with HE remains under-explored, under-researched  and the needs of higher education students and citizen scholars are often overlooked by museums.

Research conducted by the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning through Design (CETLD) has highlighted the significant potential and importance of museum-university collaborations and the need to identify successful practices and also barriers that prevent institutions from working together more effectively. With limited public funding available for interdisciplinary educational research, CETLD has made the case for a national review of the opportunities that museum-university partnerships offer and how the needs of higher education students and adult learners can better be supported in museums. 

The conference aims to provide a forum for debate surrounding the policy implications of this work and a platform for discussion of issues and ideas that are relevant to the museum and higher education sectors. It will bring together policy makers, curators, educators, academics, students and leading professionals from the educational, creative and cultural sectors. Please see the conference programme at the following link:
A show of work by students from the University of Brighton and Royal College of Art, created in response to the V&A and its collections will be exhibited at the conference.

Call for Papers

Proposals for contributions are invited from delegates wishing to present a 25-minute paper. This can be an academic paper with a theory or research focus, or presentation describing how an initiative has been put into practice and its subsequent value. Papers should respond to the themes below, and offer a critical perspective of museum and HE policy and practice and make recommendations for future practice. For details of how to submit abstracts and contributions, please see the conference website.


  • Museums and university partnerships - opportunities and barriers
  • The role of museums in supporting HE student learning
  •  The educational philosophies and theories that underpin learning and research in museums and HE

Museums and university partnerships - opportunities and barriers

For museums and universities to work together effectively, a series of perceived and actual barriers that inhibit partnership working must be addressed - for example differing approaches to learning, scholarship and research. What opportunities do such partnerships provide? How can successful approaches be identified? Who benefits and how can wider support for collaboration be facilitated?

The role of museums in supporting HE student learning 

Museums are increasingly recognised as educational providers and are required to divide and spread their efforts between the needs and demands of different audiences. Can we or should we expect museums to be all things to all people? Should they provide a specialist service for the needs of HE audiences?  What form might this take? How can museums better engage with Higher Education and draw on their knowledge and expertise?

The educational philosophies and theories that underpin learning and research in museums and HE

What educational philosophies and learning theories underpin the learning experience of HE students in museums?

Contact Name:
Sol Sneltvedt
Contact Telephone:
+44 (0)1273 644716
Contact Email:

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