Universeum Annual meeting Brno #2

By Sarah Gambell, Glasgow University

Day two of our annual meeting brought with it more deep dives into difficult, curious or contentious issues surrounding professional practice in museology. The day started with another round of 15’ talks: investigating the strategy of interpreting museums as a business model, participatory community-based projects and their successes, and interdisciplinary approaches to museum exhibits, design and programme development.


The day progressed with a longer series of lightning talks: discovering the collective memory through new media, how students can be effective and invaluable co creators in the museum setting (and they should be paid, too!), a peek into several wonderful student projects from the Philippines, how virtual reality can be successfully used in education in museums, and a look into new ways at looking at old stories.


Of particular interest to attendees who work with the digital or digitisation methods was the second round of 15’ talks. Statistical evaluations and investigation into the value of digitisation methods as an effective learning tool, and are these benefits outweighed by challenges associated with the process? Are university museums under attack?: how and in what ways can they address their difficult histories? From dubious funding in the past; benefiting from the darker parts of history. Ending with a fresh take from a linguist, admittedly not in the field, but with a hot take on how museums communicate their message.

Unique to this second day were the two poster sessions; each session following the sub themes of the conference: “Difference makes the difference: University museums, Museology and the value of interdisciplinary interpretation of museum collections” and “New media and their role in the participatory curation and interpretation of academic heritage”


Exploring questions of: what exactly is our identity as a museum? Are we approaching museum learning from new or old way of pedagogical thinking? When does artistic agency come into play when designing exhibits and programming? This second day left us feeling self-reflective and with fervour to continue developing ourselves as professionals.

The day culminated with a party in the garden with plenty of local fare and traditional Czech music, and as the rain and thunder started, we got to experience a video projection teaching us about the life and works of Museum namesake, Greor Mendel (with an added light show from the lightning).