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Centre for Research in STEM (CRISTEME) Seminar: Can museums learn? Conceptualisations of itinerancy as crossing borders between science and society.

Regular centre meeting for staff and students (all welcome)

Event details

We have two guests tomorrow - Dr Susana Afonso from Modern Languages and Cultures (Exeter) and Ana Carolina de Souza Gonzalez (Museu da Vida at Fiocruz, Brazil), who is in the final stages of her PhD. Ana is currently at Exeter working with Susana on her "sandwich" PhD programme. Here's a summary of their talk:

Can museums learn? Conceptualisations of itinerancy as crossing borders between science and society.

In addition to the well-known functions of preserving and exhibiting, museums have also incorporated the perspective of education into their cultural mission, being at the service of a constantly changing society. This mission makes the museum a space in which the reconstruction of knowledge is achieved through human relations.

In the context of science museums, the articulation with society is established by the interplay between education and science communication, and its commitment to the public understanding of science. In this sense, the scientific and technological practice, the demands of our changing society and the concern with educational issues force museums to reposition themselves, turning the visitor into one of the protagonists. In this new perspective, a question emerges: to what extent can the museum learn from its audience? 

This exploratory study focuses on the experience of the mobile museum Mobile Science - Art and Science on Wheels, Museum of Life, Fiocruz (Brazil), in particular on the experience of the front-line museum educators. Drawing on Cognitive Linguistics theoretical principles that language is embodied and, as such, allows access to our conceptual, we conducted a preliminary linguistic analysis of the educators’ discourse. The results show that the language used by the educators trigger different conceptualisations of their role, the audience, science and the museum, which, considered together, shed light on the concept of itinerancy itself.