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SR in the Curriculum

(23 February 2017)

In support of the priority to encourage socially responsible graduates, Humanities provides funding to course leaders through the annual Social Responsibility in the Curriculum competition. The aim is for Humanities students to be encouraged to think how their enthusiasm for their subject can communicate, connect or be relevant beyond the immediate demands of their course. 

This week, we introduce you to a project by Dr Kostas Arvanitis, Senior Lecturer in Museology in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures. 

Students on Kostas’ Managing Collections and Exhibitions module researched and documented objects from the University’s Museum of Medicine and Health (MMH). They assessed their conservation and environmental needs and examined the long-term sustainability of the collection also considering future uses. 

The project was designed to increase students’ employability by developing practice-based learning activities around real-life settings. Students worked in partnership with cultural professionals, critically reflected on their own practice, gaining valuable career-oriented and transferable skills that will prepare them for the workforce. 

The project culminated in a very successful pop-up exhibition, ‘Healing Histories’, in Manchester’s Central Library. The exhibition attracted more than 150 people, many from the general public, and allowed MMH to make connections with the Central Library's collections, staff and audiences. 

Meredith Whitworth, a student who took part in this project, said: “Creating the Healing Histories exhibition condensed several elements of professional practice into an intense collaborative experience. Successfully planning the exhibition required not only museum- and object-related skills gleaned from our coursework, but also tested our teamwork, delegation, prioritisation, and communication abilities – all vital to our development as emerging museum and gallery professionals. 

“Ultimately, the experience proved tough, but exhilarating, and the exhibition's success was a wonderful validation of our hard work and professional growth as a group.”