Our Postgraduate Course in Museum Management under Exam: Assessments and Improvements

The first edition of the new Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Management, run jointly by the Museu Picasso and IDEC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra, has just come to an end and it’s time to take stock. We are doing an internal evaluation at the Museum, we have asked the students for their assessments, and we want to share them with you, the readers of our blog, and with potential future students of the course.

First of all, a figure: 76.2% of the students who took the Postgraduate course would recommend it. Of all the various indicators, this one is especially significant for us. This is not to say that we haven’t identified areas for improvement, which is of course to be expected of a project that has just started, and normal for a venture involving a large staff and a number of different partner institutions.

Postgraduate students in the IDEC classroom. On the right: In the classroom with Pepe Serra director of the Museu Picasso

There are a number of positive aspects that we feel deserve a special mention:

– The eminently practical orientation of the Postgraduate course: this was one of its ‘foundational’ features and has been highly rated by participants.

– The students’ high level of prior preparation and the ever-greater degree of active participation in discussions and presentations. The students have been very participatory, and have made meaningful and intelligent contributions informed by a balanced critical spirit.

Students making a presentation on communication in the Museu de la Xocolata. On the right: in the Library of the Museu Picasso, consulting materials on museology

– The high level of professionalism of so many of the course Professors. The guest lecturers included leading international specialists in their field.

– The visits to museums were real encounters with the professionals who work there, while the opportunity to get behind the scenes proved far more illuminating than any standard guided visit.

Being shown round the reserve collection of the Fundació Miró by the conservator, Teresa Montaner. On the right: A class at the MUHBA with the director, Joan Roca. Photos: Conxa Rodà

– The launch of the Postgraduate 2.0 platforms, which not only allowed students to familiarize themselves with the tools but generated a lot of good content. Why not read the articles on the blog,f ollow the Twitter account @dgesm or take a look at photos of the Postgraduate on Flickr?

Visiting the reserve collection of the MNAC with Mireia Mestre, head of Restoration. On the right: at the Museu de l’Empordà, talking with the director, Anna Capella

– The opportunity to do internships in museums, provided individual profiles and museum s’ needs aligned. Strictly, the Picasso’s commitment only extends to accepting students on our own premises, but we put a lot of work into making contacts between students and museums. Of a total of 26 students, 18 applied to do an internship and we found places for 13. Each of the museums that took an intern signed an agreement with IDEC-UPF.

-The excellence of some of the Postgraduate final projects and above all the amount of progressmade by all of the students during the process.

Presentations of Postgraduate final projects at IDEC-UPF

– Having helped people develop a critical perspective on museum visits. In the words of one student: It was a very enriching experience and I think it gave us the necessary tools to be critical in our analysis of a museum, when we look at its exhibitions or its programme of activities, visit the library and so on. We have learned to take a closer look at museums and see everything from a different perspective.

Things to improve? A few, no doubt. For example:

– To create tighter coordination within each of the modules, so that there is a stronger logic and closer continuity between the different classes and professors. Of course, closer continuity does not mean uniformity. The diversity of points of view and experiences is a value in its own right, but the goal here should be solid modules with no repetition or omission. Some have achieved this; others still have room for improvement.

– To adjust the length of some of the sessions: the students wanted more of certain subjects/professors, while some others can be shortened or even eliminated. We could include other subjects such as sponsorship, for example.

– To improve the functionality of the intranet or Global Campus, to make it more usable and try to upload class materials further in advance.

– To redefine some of the tasks the students carry out during the course, so that absolutely all of them are of real educational benefit, over and above fulfilling the course credits. I would like to mention here to the exemplary exercise proposed by Valentín Roma, who asked students to act as curators of an exhibition then on show in Barcelona that he himself had curated, inviting them to rethink the itinerary and the layout of the exhibits. The amount of effort this demanded was considerable, but the level of performance and the degree of satisfaction of both students and professor was just as great. You can read about it on the blog and see their comments.

There are a few other details and a surprise or two, but we ares aving those for the next course!

On behalf of the director of the Museum and the Postgraduate, Pepe Serra, and myself I want to thank all the professors, museums and partner institutions, the IDEC and the students themselves for all that they have put into this first course. It has been a real pleasure working with you. We look forward with renewed enthusiasm to the next course.

Conxa Rodà
Project Manager
Co-Director of the Postgraduate Course in Museum Management

Programme of the Postgraduate Course in Museum Management 2011-12


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