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    Book Review: Adina Langer (ed), Storytelling in Museums

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    Understanding the Needs of Institutional Stakeholders in Participatory Cultural Heritage and Social Innovation Projects

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    This article investigates the current practices and needs of institutional actors operating at the intersection of cultural heritage and social innovation. Through a mixed-methods approach that includes a survey and in-depth interviews, responses have been collected from GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums), social enterprises, public administration, cultural and artistic associations, and educational institutes. A key focus is given to exploring cultural-based participatory practices aimed at engaging disadvantaged communities. The article explores problems and barriers hindering quality engagement, beneficial participation, and impactful outputs, as well as collecting instances of good practice, suggestions, and lessons learnt. The overall goal of this work is to outline the lessons learnt from fields of action to develop guidelines and recommendations for facilitating participatory, collaborative, and inclusive cultural heritage initiatives, including when planning for the use and adoption of digital tools and technologies

    From Crafts to Agency: The Legacy of Colonial Discourses in Exhibiting the Ainu in the Tokyo National Museum and National Museum of Ethnology at Osaka between 1977 and 2017

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    The Ainu are indigenous groups of people found in Hokkaido and northeast Honshu, Japan. During the nineteenth century, their land was integrated into the Japanese empire and the people redefined and assimilated. While intended to erase the Ainu as distinct groups, policies and discourses also showed that Ainu communities were not accepted as belonging to the category of ‘Japanese’, with the notions that they lacked Japanese ingenuity and civilization, were stuck in a prehistoric past, and lived in terra nullius. These discourses influenced the formation of museums’ collections in Japan, such as the Tokyo National Museum (TNM) and the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka (Minpaku). By offering a reading of exhibitions on the Ainu and their accompanying catalogues between 1977 and 2017, this research sheds light on how colonial legacies continue to be shaped and challenged in representing Ainu communities in museums. The TNM seems unable to challenge tropes of this colonial discourse due to their intricate connection with the government, their notion of political neutrality, and their focus on art that tends to exclude the Ainu from the museum. Minpaku, on the other hand, has tried to introduce notions of cultural relativism and centre cooperation with Ainu communities to facilitate best practices

    Children’s Wayfaring Experiences at an Olfaction-Enhanced Three Little Pigs Story Exhibition

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    This study draws on data from a public exhibition that was purposefully designed to engage children’s sense of smell in relation to an adapted version of The Three Little Pigs story at a children’s museum. Twenty-eight children attended the exhibition before official opening and their experiences were documented through researcher-led interviews, children’s drawings and researcher fieldnotes. Narrative hermeneutical analysis revealed that children’s olfactory engagement with the story was associated with the portrayal of good and evil and was fostered through the exhibition’s multisensory display. Children asserted themselves in the identity of wayfarers and engaged with the olfactory elements by criss-crossing personal, shared, literary and olfactory boundaries. The power of olfaction to stimulate idiosyncratic emotional responses came to the fore in children’s appropriation of the story narrative and the shared exhibition space

    Resilience Thinking in Museums: Industrial Heritage, Urban Regeneration and Civic Engagement

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    Resilience thinking refers to the need to be prepared for the unexpected and unknown. Museums have learned to adjust to societal changes, not least because of the recent global pandemic, which has necessitated the introduction of new ways of activating a diverse public. We discuss how resilience thinking can function as a promoter of the adaptive reuse of industrial heritage by including local heritage knowledge in the ongoing regeneration of former brownfield sites. The current sectoral barriers in the planning system prevent museums from being central participants, despite their well-established local anchoring. Intangible heritage can provide coherence and connection between old buildings, including technical structures and new buildings/infrastructure. This allows for options for museums to voice ongoing creative and critical input and appear as spokespersons for civic involvement. Museums’ ability to facilitate local involvement needs to be acknowledged in urban planning

    A literature review of online exams in HE in Physics and Maths

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    During the COVID pandemic, universities around the globe had to move not only their content delivery online, but also their assessments. Due to COVID causing significant upheaval in Higher Education (HE), this enforced experiment also afforded an opportunity to reflect on traditional, invigilated, closed book exams (ICBE) resulting in research and advice in this area. A systematic review of this academic and grey literature was performed concentrating on maths heavy physics examinations to investigate what guidance is given to examination writers, educators who prepare students for exams and HE examinees themselves. The literature review results were divided into: Advice for examiners who need to provide an uinvigilated open book exam (UOBE), discussions on cheating, advice for students and case studies. It was found that ICBEs were good at examining lower order cognitive skills, e.g. recall and understanding, but higher order skills, such as analysing and synthesising, are better examined with access to a larger range of resources. Guidance on making academic misconduct more difficult also suggested using higher order thinking skills in exam questions as responses to these type of tasks are more individual and getting outside help may be more difficult in a time constrained UOBE. Furthermore, literature encouraged reflection on the motivation for cheating and suggested that overly demanding assessment may encourage students to seek inappropriate help. The advice for students highlighted the need to prepare as thoroughly for a UOBE as they would for a traditional exam. Probably the thrust should change from pure memorization to students preparing their notes so that they can efficiently access their material to locate relevant parts for synthesis during a UOBE. Some of the case studies used statistical methods to investigate comparability of grades between UOBEs and ICBEs and some of the studies found them comparable, so a large shift of results may be due to other factors rather than the exam type. Other studies describe their approach and include stakeholder reflections. The main recommendation to exclude lower cognitive skills can pose a problem for maths heavy exams as they mainly assess how well an examinee has mastered these skills before building on them. However, it seems advisable to climb higher up Bloom’s taxonomy if possible. Also, it may be conceivable to break up exams into shorter sections that require individual uploading before access to the next part is granted to reduce the possibility of outside help. Furthermore, individualised maths type problems could be achievable by using different data sets for a question. Student advice should highlight the differences between UOBEs and ICBEs so that they can prepare appropriately

    The Museum as a Choir: Visitor Reactions to the Multivocality at the Humboldt Forum’s Berlin Global Exhibition

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    The contemporary museum has two contradictory agendas. It is supposed to be a place of dialogue, debate, and even conflict – and it is called upon not to shy away from positioning itself in relation to contemporary discussions, which implies engaging in an activist museum practice and advancing social justice. The current article contributes to the debates on this apparent paradox from an audience studies perspective. Adopting Berlin Global, an exhibition in the newly opened Humboldt Forum in Berlin, Germany, as a case study, it describes the exhibition’s embeddedness in the human rights framework as a choir-like, polyphonic multivocality, seen as a type of multiperspectivity in which a diversity of voices ‘sing’ in unison. Employing ethnography as the methodological approach, the authors analyse visitor reactions to the exhibition’s multiperspectivity and positioning. They demonstrate that some visitors perceive Berlin Global as highly political and even ideological. This leads the authors to join the arguments in favour of ‘agonistic interventions’ that not only potentiate a better balance of multivocality with positioning and thus offer a solution to the aforementioned paradox, but also, they contend, increase the chance of engaging those who would otherwise reject the exhibition

    A2 3 Rattle the Stars

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    In this paper we investigate the energy consumption of the engines powering the vehicles in the2002 Disney film Treasure Planet, and hence find the minimum power output of the solar sailsprominent in the designs of these vessels. We find that the engines aboard the frigate RLS Legacyrequire a minimum of 1.2GW of power, and the small engines on the Solar Surfer require 40MW,both of which are far outside the maximum possible output of a purely solar power system

    Learning from young people in Port Harcourt and Bayelsa, Nigeria, about their experiences of depression: a discussion space report

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    Recently, we reported a morning-long discussion (held 7th February 2023) that we held with a group of youth currently living in Johannesburg, South Africa, and self-identifying as Black African (Levine et al., 2023). Black African young people in South Africa typically have the least access to mental health supports, given South Africa’s Apartheid history and ongoing racialised inequity. We wanted to understand their lived experiences and observations of the risks and influences that make African young people vulnerable to elevated levels of depression (i.e., strong feelings of hopelessness, despondency, and sadness). While young people can experience other mental health challenges, our narrow interest in depression was prompted by the knowledge that youth depression is a global emergency, particularly in under-resourced contexts such as Africa (Sankoh et al., 2018), and that African youth are typically under-represented in mental health studies (Steel et al., 2022). Given our long-standing and enduring attention to human resilience since the early 2010s (Theron, 2016; Theron et al., 2013; Theron Ungar, 2023; Ungar, 2011, 2018, 2021; Ungar Theron, 2020), we were also interested in learning what young people believed might support youth resilience to mitigate or counter these risks. Finally, we were curious about young people’s thoughts on the value of an empirical study that would produce insight into how best to protect young people living in Africa against elevated levels of depression

    Ukrainian Museums' Exhibitions and Educational Programmes During the First Six Months of War

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    The extraordinary and brave work of Ukrainian museum workers to protect collections and to continue activities in the face of war exemplifies the possibilities for similar institutions in conflict situations. This paper illustrates some of the main activities of Ukrainian museums from the period of the outbreak of war on 24 February 2022 through to August of the same year, focusing especially on exhibitions, educational      programmes, and events, both online and on-site. This research is based on thematic and chronological approaches, using data from descriptions of educational projects on museum websites and social media. The article analyzes museum exhibitions on Russian aggression as well as museum programmes more broadly. The organization of online and offline museum events, projects, excursions, exhibitions, classes for children and refugees, museum workers’ meetings on Museum Day (May 2022), the opening of a new museum, actions in support of the armed forces of Ukraine, and volunteer activities of museum workers in Ukraine are briefly presented. While this article can touch on these broad and diverse topics only briefly, it underlines the value and necessity of further studies focused on the adaptation mechanisms of museums in the challenging conditions of war.


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