Posted by: Marte Spangen | April 17, 2015

Museum as third space

Greetings from Paris! I have spent this week in the metropolis with the Nordic research school in archaeology, Dialogues with the past, to participate in the very interesting course “Museum as third space”. The course focused on a rethinking of the museum and how it can position itself as a cutting-edge research institution based on the specific advantages of housing a range of disciplines, collections, and material installations and of having a direct relation to an audience.

Museology is not my primary field of interest in the PhD, but the thematics is very relevant for the study I have done of the exhibition of Sami pasts in the Swedish National History Museum (see older blogpost), and the theories that we discussed during this week are ideas about the world, society, and research that can be applied to a range of archaeological practices and other subjects.

Holly, Chris and Sanne discussing the storyboard for our app

Holly, Chris and Sanne discussing the storyboard for our app

The week started with an interesting and fun app production workshop with Sara Perry, and continued with lectures by and discussions with the organizers Brita Brenna and Peter Bjerregaard, key speakers Rane Willerslev and Irit Rogoff, and not least all the participating PhD students from different parts of the Nordic countries and Germany. Both lecturers and students represented a variety of disciplines where museum studies are performed. This multidisciplinary input was very rewarding, in part because it showed how much we have in common across such borders and in part because it constituted what I understand as third space; the meeting between and negotiation of different agendas and views.

I have not yet had time to digest the massive amount of information and impressions, but the week has certainly given food for thought. New topics and theorists are now lining up on my reading list and the discussions have given insight into new research areas and possible tracks of exploration in my own research. Many thanks to the organizers and all the participants for making the course such a motivating experience!


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