Permanent cross-disciplinary working groups

Subject: Museological Studies. Study level: Bachelor’s level. Size of class: 35-40 students. 

Motivation for the activity

The Bachelor’s supplementary subject in Museology consists of students from a number of different academic fields. The students are very rooted in their own academic area, but the study of museology demands a cross-disciplinary approach. And if they are left to their own devices, the students tend to form study groups consisting of people from the same academic field as themselves.

Description of the activity

The working groups are set up before the start of the semester and consist of one student from each subject area (as far as this is possible). Exercises conducted throughout the programme make it possible to focus on different academic areas and the part they play in the traditions of museological studies.

The students are paired with others from their own academic area occasionally. For instance, I have done this in connection with exercises regarding the acquisition of museum artefacts. This made it clear to the students that the criteria for acquiring such artefacts vary, depending on their main subjects. This is also reflected in museums, which often base their work on criteria which are connected to a specific academic field instead of a shared museological field.

At first the students object to this practice, and often criticise the fact that they cannot choose who they want to work with. But this is the whole point. They need to learn to work professionally with people from many different academic fields.

Outcome of the activity

  • This activity benefits the students’ understanding of the academic material because they can use each other to understand their different academic traditions.
  • They also learn how hard it can be to collaborate with other people who do not necessarily have the same approach to things.
  • This leads to greater tolerance and openness with regard to other ways of thinking and working.

Useful tips

It is a good idea to create the groups in advance and explain that this has been done to reflect the real world in which they will have to work one day.

Vinnie Nørskov

Associate professor