A win-win partnership for museum training & research

Posted by pt91 at Sep 08, 2011 11:09 AM |
University of Leicester School of Museum Studies to launch new scholarship funded by Collections Trust

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 8 September 2011

The School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester is about to add another strand to its unique partnership with the Collections Trust, the UK’s leading organization for collections which campaigns for the public right to access and engage with museum, archive and library collections.

The Trust is funding a scholarship at the University to support doctoral study across the areas of digital heritage and collections management – a unique opportunity that blends access to the combined expertise within the School and the Trust with financial support.

The Collections Trust Scholarship was highly competitive, attracting interest from applicants worldwide, and was eventually secured by Amy Hetherington, a Canadian student, who will begin her PhD at Leicester in October 2011  and will be supervised by Dr. Ross Parry.

'I was lucky enough to do my summer placement with the Collections Trust in 2009 where I was introduced to the importance of technology in museums.  I am delighted to be returning to the University of Leicester to research the current impact of technology on the museum sector and its future outlook.  I am excited to be working in partnership with Collections Trust over the next few years on developing this topic to its full potential.'

The coming academic year marks the second year of this unique partnership. The School of Museum Studies is the only Higher Education provider currently to hold a formal partnership with the Collections Trust, part of which includes the provision of a tailored curriculum that is designed to provide learners with the most up-to-date and comprehensive understanding of both the theory and the application of Collections Management in museums.

In addition, the Collections Trust offers eight-week placements to two Masters students each year, providing invaluable practical experience with one of the world’s leading organizations in the field.

Katie Smith, 2011 placement student says: “An internship at the Collections Trust has allowed me to bridge the gap between my academic and professional career. Through networking within the sector, I have made many valuable contacts, expanded my knowledge of collections management and become an important member of a world renowned organisation.”

Jason Marceniuk, 2011 placement student added: “Working with the Collections Trust has been a truly amazing opportunity to work with such a dynamic and hard working team. It has given me the opportunity to learn about the museum industry from a range of perspectives while providing excellent opportunities for networking and developing sector contacts. Add to that this placement with an internationally recognized company will be extremely attractive on my resume back in Canada.”

Professor Richard Sandell, Head of the School of Museum Studies, commented:  “The first year of our partnership with the Collections Trust has been enormously valuable. As organizations we share a vision for the sector internationally and a set of values that has enabled us to work together in creative and productive ways, enhancing our student experience and enriching our relationships with museums worldwide”.

Dr Ross Parry, also from the School of Museum Studies, who is leading the programme with the Collections Trust said:  ‘This new scholarship follows a number of collaborative research projects and Knowledge Exchange ventures with the Collections Trust. The School and the Trust have pursued funded research together on the future of the Semantic Web and linked data for the museum sector, on digital signage and in-gallery connectivity, as well as on the research skills sets needed by twenty-first century practitioners and academics investigating digital heritage. These previous awards and successes, along now with this new scholarship, are all testimony to what can be achieved when organizations inside and outside of the Higher Education sector can work together in a trusting, mutually beneficial and creative relationship.”

Through the international students regularly attracted to the School of Museum Studies, the expertise and skills of the Collections Trust may ultimately transform the way in which collections are managed in museums and galleries around the world.

Nick Poole, CEO at the Collections Trust, added:  “Museums worldwide face significant challenges and new opportunities. It is vital that future generations of leaders are able to harness the power of Collections, technology and new models of service delivery to create exciting and compelling experiences for increasingly diverse audiences.  

We see our partnership with the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester as a key element of our mission to drive the professional discipline of strategic Collections Management. We benefit from the new insights and interdisciplinary knowledge of the Leicester team and their students. The School benefits from our current knowledge of the needs and priorities of cultural institutions. But most importantly of all, the sector benefits from having access to the skills and expertise it needs to deliver vibrant and sustainable services, now and in the future.”

Notes to Editors: Further details are available from Dr Ross Parry, Academic Director, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, tel 0116 252 3964, email rdp5@le.ac.uk.

Laura Whitton, Partnerships Officer, Collections Trust, laura@collectionstrust.org.uk

The University of Leicester's School of Museum Studies has the highest proportion of world-leading rated research in any subject in any UK university (RAE 2008). In its 40 year history, the School of Museum Studies – the only department in the country solely devoted to the study of museums and galleries – has played an influential role in the reinvention of museum theory and practice.

The Collections Trust is an acknowledged Centre of Excellence for collections management in European museums, archives and libraries. Advising international agencies, governments and the European Commission on policy for digital and cultural heritage, it provides networking and support services to 18,000 cultural institutions across Europe. Delivering programmes and projects in excess of EUR15 million, the Collections Trust develops practice in partnership with 14 commercial software vendors worldwide, and connects the professional community in more than 15 countries through the ‘Collections Link’ platform. Its online provision connects millions of digital assets from museums, archives and libraries for more use by more people in more ways.

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