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The Ambivalent Potentiality of Vulnerability : Museum Pedagogy in Exhibitions on Difficult Matters and its Ethical Implications

Tinning, Katrine LU (2017)
Abstract
The aim of this dissertation is to critically investigate and problematize how museum exhibitions on Difficult Matters, like war and sexual violence, can be designed in order to contribute to teaching-learning relations between museum and visitor, which may transform existing perceptions of self, others, and the world and evoke a deepened sense of responsibility in the viewers, i.e. an ethical transformation.

Based on a hermeneutic phenomenological approach the study takes three paths to shed light on the above. 1) Investigating literature on museum studies on New Museology and Difficult Matters on the basis of which the research maps out current problems of understanding the pedagogical and ethical potentials. 2) From conducting... (More)
The aim of this dissertation is to critically investigate and problematize how museum exhibitions on Difficult Matters, like war and sexual violence, can be designed in order to contribute to teaching-learning relations between museum and visitor, which may transform existing perceptions of self, others, and the world and evoke a deepened sense of responsibility in the viewers, i.e. an ethical transformation.

Based on a hermeneutic phenomenological approach the study takes three paths to shed light on the above. 1) Investigating literature on museum studies on New Museology and Difficult Matters on the basis of which the research maps out current problems of understanding the pedagogical and ethical potentials. 2) From conducting case studies of two specific exhibitions to make an in-depth examination of designing exhibitions on Difficult Matters and how these are related to contextual conditions. 3) Investigating pedagogical theoretical literature inspired by the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas and literature in feminist philosophy on ethics of vulnerability all closely linked to the case studies, the study develops a conceptual basis for understanding the practice of designing exhibitions on Difficult Matters. A main finding is that designing exhibitions on Difficult Matters is related to the condition of vulnerability and this demands a pedagogical perspective sensitive to the ethical implications of exhibition making. This is because evoking ethical transformation is conditioned by a teaching-learning relation, which inspires openness on the part of the visitor to an encounter with the other and her/his life-story as being different from existing perceptions - an openness which is defined by vulnerability. As a result, vulnerability is at the heart of exhibitions on Difficult Matters.

The overall conclusion to be drawn from the study is that vulnerability is a key concept in museum pedagogy and that vulnerability is an ambivalent potentiality which must be addressed from a double perspective on vulnerability as being inherent to the human condition and dependent on the particular situation. Consequently, vulnerability calls for pedagogical considerations and ethical attention from museum professionals, when designing exhibitions on Difficult Matters.
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • Docent Dahlbeck, Johan, Malmö högskola
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Museum pedagogy, Exhibitions on Difficult Matters, Vulnerability , Teaching-learning relation, Museum professionals, Ethical transformation, Dark Heritage, Difficult Knowledge, Memory Studies, Museum Education, Museum Management, Museum Exhibition, Museum Studies, Museum Ethics, Feminist Philosophy, Difficult Heritage, Museology
pages
200 pages
defense location
Auditorium, Stora Algatan, Lund
defense date
2017-12-01 13:15
ISBN
978-91-7753-441-9
978-91-7753-440-2
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
7226721c-546f-40c9-9841-4bd235cc1711
date added to LUP
2017-11-07 10:54:20
date last changed
2017-12-12 08:21:43
@phdthesis{7226721c-546f-40c9-9841-4bd235cc1711,
  abstract     = {The aim of this dissertation is to critically investigate and problematize how museum exhibitions on Difficult Matters, like war and sexual violence, can be designed in order to contribute to teaching-learning relations between museum and visitor, which may transform existing perceptions of self, others, and the world and evoke a deepened sense of responsibility in the viewers, i.e. an ethical transformation.<br/><br/>Based on a hermeneutic phenomenological approach the study takes three paths to shed light on the above. 1) Investigating literature on museum studies on New Museology and Difficult Matters on the basis of which the research maps out current problems of understanding the pedagogical and ethical potentials. 2) From conducting case studies of two specific exhibitions to make an in-depth examination of designing exhibitions on Difficult Matters and how these are related to contextual conditions. 3) Investigating pedagogical theoretical literature inspired by the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas and literature in feminist philosophy on ethics of vulnerability all closely linked to the case studies, the study develops a conceptual basis for understanding the practice of designing exhibitions on Difficult Matters. A main finding is that designing exhibitions on Difficult Matters is related to the condition of vulnerability and this demands a pedagogical perspective sensitive to the ethical implications of exhibition making. This is because evoking ethical transformation is conditioned by a teaching-learning relation, which inspires openness on the part of the visitor to an encounter with the other and her/his life-story as being different from existing perceptions - an openness which is defined by vulnerability. As a result, vulnerability is at the heart of exhibitions on Difficult Matters.<br/><br/>The overall conclusion to be drawn from the study is that vulnerability is a key concept in museum pedagogy and that vulnerability is an ambivalent potentiality which must be addressed from a double perspective on vulnerability as being inherent to the human condition and dependent on the particular situation. Consequently, vulnerability calls for pedagogical considerations and ethical attention from museum professionals, when designing exhibitions on Difficult Matters.<br/>},
  author       = {Tinning, Katrine},
  isbn         = {978-91-7753-441-9},
  keyword      = {Museum pedagogy,Exhibitions on Difficult Matters,Vulnerability ,Teaching-learning relation,Museum professionals,Ethical transformation,Dark Heritage,Difficult Knowledge,Memory Studies,Museum Education,Museum Management,Museum Exhibition,Museum Studies,Museum Ethics,Feminist Philosophy,Difficult Heritage,Museology},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  pages        = {200},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {The Ambivalent Potentiality of Vulnerability : Museum Pedagogy in Exhibitions on Difficult Matters and its Ethical Implications},
  year         = {2017},
}