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Course

The need to found an international post graduate university degree on museum standards in educational contexts arises from several considerations:

  • the museum is more and more considered as an educational instrument, of particular interest not only for the élite audience who visit it on a regular basis, but also for the categories of visitors that are still excluded from it. In France, for instance, the museum is regularly used to develop a sense of belonging for those rehabilitation activities addressed to young offenders, to fight illiteracy, to systematically integrate the school education offering in the ZEPs (zones d’éducation prioritaires). However, to achieve those objectives, it is necessary to train mediators to be able to understand the social problems upon which the museum can intervene, and design innovative activities, which arise interest in the various categories of non-visitors. Furthermore, there is a strong feeling that the traditional didactic offering of the museums ought to be renewed, to be made more dynamic and interactive even employing, whereas it is deemed necessary, ad hoc electronic platforms. To obtain a real innovation, exchange and comparison with different realities at an international level is necessary;
  • the museum is expected to perform four fundamental functions: exhibition, conservation, research, and mediation. In the first three instances, international cooperation is a reality which is already established and regulated by international standards, albeit often implicitly. The exhibition function is ever more often ensured by international studies and competitions; experts in the conservation function are professionals who carry out their work at an international level, normally; as the catalogues of contemporary exhibitions clearly show, research ends in continuous exchanges amongst experts from different countries. With regards to this naturally dynamical framework, the cultural mediation function remains still mainly anchored to national if not regional models. The more and more complex needs of the audience instead would require more intense and regular exchange amongst professionals from different nationalities;
  • if the classic study on museum audiences carried out by Bourdieu Darbel was the outcome of an international collaboration, the investigations organized today in the various countries tend to present a quite fragmented reality. It would then be important to develop tools and devices for field research that, appropriately calibrated, can be employed in different countries, in order to promote international comparison of data, and produce an effectively international discussion. Referring to the entity of cultural tourism and therefore to the necessity, for museums, to welcome international guests, it is easy to recognize the importance – even a financial one – of international studies on publics, carried out to improve the offering of cultural mediation, making it more effective;
  • to broaden the reference framework in the sector of cultural mediation in museums, it is necessary to create a common international culture, both through the institution of a shared language, and through the definition of standards, thanks to which activities organized in different structures and countries can be compared.