University museums without walls

Hugues Dreyssé, Marta Lourenço, Andrew Simpson, Sébastien Soubiran

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


a dynamic and collaborative higher education sector in 2030. The report also acknowledges that creating this positive future requires strategy and application. Two of the three broad ‘Priorities for Action’ in the report are of direct relevance to university museums and collections namely promoting interdisciplinarity and strengthening civic engagement.

Interdisciplinarity is important because, while disciplinarity deepens specific knowledge, seeking answers to the many confronting challenges facing humanity needs knowledge from many disciplines. In higher education, when put to work creatively, a museum is the right forum and collections the right technology for interdisciplinarity in teaching, research and engagement. For civic engagement university museums are boundary crossing organisations capable of being a template for civic / academic discourse. In recent years we have seen increasing development of new institutional structures specifically designed as ‘third mission incubators’ to serve as platforms of civic engagement. The Ghent University Museum, the Chau Chak Wing Museum and the Science Gallery franchise are examples.

This roundtable will use the 2030 European University vision to explore some of the following questions in a broader/global context. How can museums and collections in our universities contribute to meeting the challenges of the 2030 vision? How important is the university’s collective institutional vision for their museums and collections, or at least established professional levels of management of these assets? What are the advantages of having these? Are there universities without a dedicated museum service or centre of expertise or even public-facing policies on their museums and collections? Are there ways to measure and assess how well universities are doing in this area? For a collaborative future, can we truly invoke the power of the European network and do away with the university museum walls? What supports, collaborations, partnerships shall we foster? How can UMAC and Universeum contribute? What is our role?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81
Number of pages1
JournalUniversity Museums and Collections Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021
EventUMAC-UNIVERSEUM 2021: New Opportunities & New Challenges in Times of COVID-19 - On-line
Duration: 1 Sept 20213 Sept 2021


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