Over the last twenty years the educational role of the museum has come to be central to its mission. There are now far more educational opportunities, new spaces, new interfaces - both digital and physical, and a growing number of education and interpretation departments, educational curators and public engagement programmes. Despite these developments, however, higher education has remained a marginal collaborator compared to primary and secondary schools and to other forms of adult learning. This has meant that the possibilities for partnerships between universities, colleges, museums and galleries has remained relatively unexplored, especially in relation to their potential for generating innovative patterns of research and learning. This book addresses the key issues which are preventing such partnerships and examines how to enable more effective and creative connections between museums and higher education. The authors identify conceptual and practical barriers and explore whether current academic models are fit for purpose. They argue that as pressures mount on public educational resources around the world, there needs to be an urgent increase in the exchange of knowledge across these sectors and the forging of world-class scholarly partnerships. Examples of research undertaken internationally offer best practice models for collaboration and integration. This book will be compulsory reading for museum and educational specialists and those interested in engaging in museum/higher education partnerships. It will also be of interest to those involved in policy and decision-making in education, the museum sector and national and local government.
Anne Boddington is Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Brighton, Jos Boys is currently Head of Learning and Student Experience at the London Campus of Northumbria University and Catherine Speight is a Research Fellow and an AHRC-funded PhD candidate at the University of Brighton and V&A.