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Title: In and against the museum : the contested spaces of museum education for adults
Author: Grek, Sotiria
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis focuses on museum and gallery education for adults in Dundee, Scotland. Through the comparative examination of four museums and galleries in the city, I set out to explore the educational offers of these museums for the adult population of Dundee and the take-up and impact of this offer in an effort to contribute to a re-theorisation of museum education for adults. The theoretical framework for this study was developed from a synthesis of selected aspects of relevant writings of Antonio Gramsci, Pierre Bourdieu, Jürgen Habermas and Raymond Williams. Dundee was selected due to both its history (an industrial centre, still experiencing the shift to post-industrial economy) and the nature of its museums which range from the typical, traditional local authority McManus Galleries and Museum, through the visitor attractions Discovery Point and Verdant Works, to the highly popular Dundee Contemporary Arts. An initial questionnaire survey produced descriptive statistics which offered an overall picture of visitor demographics of each of the four organisations, in order to acquire an overview of participation trends in the museums and galleries in the city. The quantitative data informed the conduct of the qualitative research strand of the study, which pushed the boundaries of the fieldwork out of the museum and into the community and examined in depth the views of visitors, but also some of those who do not choose to visit museums. It was in their contributions that I found material particularly relevant to my interest in attempting to explore alternative pedagogies for museum education. The use of critical ethnographic tools, in order to analyse interviews with visitors and non-visitors in the museums under investigation, together with critical discourse analysis applied to the examination of museum displays, gave rise to findings that, at least in Dundee, activity-based and individual learning has been over-valued, at the expense of a more social and dialogic and arguable more meaningful educational experience.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available