I’m thrilled to be working with final year students of the Department of History at St. Xavier’s College on an exhibition making project this semester. Follow along as I detail our progress!
Conceptualised in consultation with faculty of the Department of History, this project aims to provide final year students with the opportunity to get hands-on with the theories and practice of exhibition making – more on what they will be showing later!:) The project plan builds upon and augments the syllabus of the final year paper on Museum Studies, which is an essential requirement for a History Major.
We begin with a series of class visits to diverse exhibition styles and spaces in the city. As in all my student focused work, participants will be encouraged to look closely and critically at museum collections, their role and function, display, interpretive media, publicity, audiences (both actual and potential, on site and online); they will consider both success stories and ways in which museums can and should increase their value and relevance in today’s digital, busy society, market themselves more effectively and build larger, participatory communities. The aim is to equip the students with the ideas, frameworks and skills to build an exhibition that is rigorous in research, engaging, inclusive, welcoming in interpretive plan and design, well publicized and attended.
Our first visit took us close to home, to the museum of the Heras Institute of Indian History and Culture, which the students are lucky to have access to right on the St. Xavier’s campus. The choice of first visit was deliberate – aimed to ease the class into critically considering the art and science of display. They were asked to consider not only what was on display, but how it was displayed. The good, the bad, the ugly, the missing. Post visit, we made our way to the college ‘woods’ for an open-air discussion where the students shared their preliminary responses. They went away to further reflect on and write about their visit.
Our next session will encourage a deeper critique moving beyond visual display to consider interpretation, media, audiences and more. In fact, the students’ visit to the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum begins virtually, and continues on site on Saturday.