Interpreting Exhibitions

Subject 107-546 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2009.

Time Commitment: Total Time Commitment: 2 contact hours/week, 8 additional hours/week. Total of 10 hours per week.
Prerequisites: Admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth year honours in art history, or the Master of Art Curatorship.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:

Subject Overview: This subject will examine the various strategies employed by museums and galleries to frame the objects and ideas in their care and in order to communicate to the public about them. It will consider how these display strategies have changed over time, but its principal focus will nonetheless be on current exhibition and display settings, from contemporary art spaces to science and natural history museums. What is the best way - if any - to frame a particular exhibition? What sorts of communications messages should curators and exhibition designers seek to convey to museum and gallery visitors? How effectively do galleries and museums communicate their ideas? What role does the public have in engaging with the objects and ideas in museum and gallery display settings? These and other questions will be asked in order to critically interrogate the idea of the exhibition as a meeting point between the institution and the public and as a site of a charged dialogue of meaning between all the players in the exhibition circuit: from the institution, to the objects and/or ideas in the institution, and on to the public who comes to engage with them. On completion of the subject students should be able to apply a range of critical theoretical, art historical and museological approaches to the study of exhibitions and displays in historical and contemporary settings.
  • Have an understanding of how objects and ideas are communicated to the public in museum and gallery displays;
  • Be able to engage critically with a range of display strategies in varying display settings;
  • Have developed an appreciation for a range of museological, critical theory, and art historical approaches to studying exhibitions in museums and galleries.
Assessment: A 2000 word exhibition analysis based on in-class presentation 40% (due during the semester ) and a 3000 word research essay 60% (due during the examination period).
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Be able to conduct independent research using catalogued sources and bibliographical indexes;
  • Have developed their ability to think creatively and express their ideas clearly in written communication;
  • Have developed their skills in verbal communication and oral presentation.
Related Course(s): Master of Art Curatorship (Coursework and Minor Thesis)
Master of Arts Management
Master of Arts in Art History (Advancd Seminars and Shorter Thesis)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Art History
Art History

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