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The Museums of the Future: Ethics, Responsibilities and Practices


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Arts and Culture: Museum Studies / Art History, research master Arts and Culture, research master Arts, Literature and Media. Students of the MA Arts and Culture: Museum Studies take priority.
Students of the MA International Relations and the MA Archeologie: Heritage and Museum Studies who are interested and who are not enrolled in the Master Arts and Culture should contact the study adviser in order to enroll, only possible if there are places left.


This thematic elective is set in the context of changing definitions of the museum as a polyphonic space for preserving and keeping alive cultural heritage in all its forms (Museumvereninging, ICOFOM). Are museums meant to foster democratic and inclusive discourses about pasts and futures? How do museums relate to different audiences? What are their responsibilities and solidarities amidst of the growing demands of e.g. decolonization, the museum as a business model, the need for block busters, and all kinds of other ethical and dilemma driven discussions? Hence, this course will engage with the theories and practices in the museum, concerned with topical questions of representations, ethics and repatriations in relation to the charge of care and preservation of cultural property and heritage, in the collection and in the exhibition programme. How do museums (art museums, museums for other subjects) cope with dilemma’s related to attracting visitors (growing tourism and environmental effects), taking care of their continuity (financial dilemma’s), and being a hub for discussion and discourse?

This course will enhance the student’s skills of gaining theoretical competence, positioning oneself as a researcher knowledgeable of the recent literature, and learning to respond to topical debates in the field of museum and collections studies. Main topics will be introduced by the instructors and guest lecturers with case studies. The issues will be examined further by a group of students according to their research interests. This format will challenge the student to sharpen and deepen their understanding of the particularities of their selected theme within the cultural sector of museums in relation to relevant sociopolitical and cultural dilemmas.

Course objectives

the students will:

  • gain knowledge of museum theory and practice;

  • gain insight into current issues and controversies concerning museums in a global context;

  • practice their communicative and presentational skills in weekly debates;

  • develop their research skills in formulating a relevant research question and writing a research paper (in the form of a scholarly article) on a subject of their choice.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Attendance is compulsory. Students can miss a maximum of two seminars, provided they present a valid reason beforehand. Students who have missed more than two seminars will have to apply to the Examination Board in order to obtain permission to further follow and complete the course.

Assessment method


  • Oral presentation of a dilemma (research-based seminar session; groupwork; 40 %). Each student group will be responsible for a session in which they will present a topical case study and reflect on the literature.

  • The individual research paper (60%): A paper of ca. 5000 words will give the student an opportunity to deepen their understanding of their chosen topic.


The final grade is the average of the two grades (presentation 40% and paper 60%). A student passes the class if the weighted average is a 6.0 or higher (marks under 5.0 are not allowed) and the paper is a 6.0 or higher.


The resit assessment involves an alternative assignment (a paper on a subject provided by the teachers).

Inspection and feedback

Students will receive ample feedback on their presentation and paper. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

The reading list will be made available via Brightspace.



Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.
For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal