The Museum as Praxis

Giulia Colletti
Art Sciences and Art Education, Expanded Museum Studies
2024S, Vorlesung und Übungen (VU), 2.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S05152


The course The Museum as praxis seeks to engage with the museum as a site of pedagogical exchange. Originating as the private collection of affluent individuals, the early museum functioned as a tool for extraction. It was designed to selectively acquire objects, removing them from mundane use in the belief that this process would preserve them against the time. Following the turn into a public institution, the museum has faced the display challenges of inclusion and exclusion, presence and absence, that underlie the curation of collections for diverse audiences. This challenge has revealed that museological practice is not merely about accumulating objects but, more significantly, about the relationships maintained with them.

In a moment when the rising of the private museum as a new organisational form within art fields goes at the same pace of government funding cuts and massive structural refurbishment, what should the priorities of the public museum be? Is “the public programming turn” truly transformative for the museum sector? Can the public museum broaden its missions without striving to compete with private counterparts on the scale of exhibitions? Can the public museum be a place for active learning without resorting to and mimicking formats commonly adopted in academic settings, such as conferences, symposia, and lectures?

The course seeks to address these questions fostering the notion of museum as praxis. Being an institution dedicated to serving society, the public museum is nowadays a site for practicing restitution. This concept extends beyond the essential processes associated with researching provenance and addressing issues of looted art. It encompasses a deeper understanding that there is not a singular History of Art. Instead, it involves unearthing the erased and contentious narratives through exploration of the collections and the development of enduring projects. Such endeavours should be pursued in close collaboration with the communities connected to the institution.

Examination Modalities

Theoretical sessions led by Giulia Colletti and case studies presented by the invited guests Caroline Ferreira (Centre Pompidou), Tamar Hemmes (Tate Liverpool), John Kenneth Paranada (Sainsbury Centre), Matteo Lucchetti and Andrea Viliani (Museum delle Civiltà)lay the groundwork for a collaborative effort to reconceptualize the museum as a pedagogical site, through the collective ideation of a museum pedagogy toolkit. Conceived by the students of the course, this manual aims to capture and document innovative concepts and methodologies explored during the program, contributing to future educational resources. 

In this ambitious undertaking, students are encouraged to embrace collectivity and reciprocity, navigating complexities and forging alliances. This involves applying Critical Literacy as a curatorial thinking skill, deconstructing the notion of museum as a mere repository of artifacts and authority in favor of embracing a visitor-centered approach. The focus is on recognizing situated and minoritised knowledges and bodies while addressing physical, social, emotional, and intellectual barriers. Students are invited to view art education in cultural institutions as a practice of learning how to learn.



The course will be in English. 

The program is conceived and led by Giulia Colletti, Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary
Art at ABADIR Academy.


Key Words

museum, pedagogy, curating, art in public space, public space


30 May 2024, 10:00–15:00 FLUX 1
31 May 2024, 09:45–14:45 FLUX 1
01 June 2024, 10:00–15:00
02 June 2024, 10:00–15:00 FLUX 1
03 June 2024, 09:00–12:00 FLUX 1

Course Enrolment

From 01 January 2024, 11:30 to 30 May 2024, 12:00
Via online registration

Expanded Museum Studies (Master): Expanded Museum Studies: Expanded Museum Studies 537/002.01

Co-registration: possible

Attending individual courses: possible