Every year, our campus-based Museum Studies and Art Museum and Gallery Studies students take part in a Design Exercise as part of their Module 3 studies, the last taught component of their masters’ degrees. This culminates in the launch of their group exhibitions, this year ably opened by Jim Roberts, Honorary Fellow of the School of Museum Studies, voluntary compiler and editor of the Jobs Desk – a vitally important resource for museum job seekers worldwide – former Chairman of Leicestershire County Council and a past Institutional Vice President of the Museums Association Council.
The five weeks leading up to this point were sometimes fraught, often busy, but always exciting, as the students, divided into eleven groups and each allocated a display case within the Museum Studies Building, set about designing their exhibitions.
This year the brief was to design an exhibition that would meet the needs of the users of the building (staff, students, doctoral researchers, and visitors), on the over-arching theme of ‘Fragile Earth’. To achieve these aims, each group was provided with a modest budget and a selection of objects generously loaned to the School by the University’s own Department of Geology and Leicester Arts and Museum Service.
Each group met regularly to discuss design ideas and their progress with members of the Module 3 teaching team, and had opportunities to handle, measure and try out design ideas with their objects.
The Design Exercise gives students a valuable opportunity to put into practice what they have learnt and the skills they have developed during the taught part of the course. Close attention is given to design, interpretation and communication, and they are encouraged to make use of professional techniques and new technologies as their budgets allow. The Art Department provided specialist printing and graphics support, and members of staff from the Chemistry and Geology departments loaned items and provided much appreciated expert advice respectively.
The outcome of all this hard work is a series of excellently thought-through and executed displays that successfully achieve the tricky balancing act of being both thought-provoking and beautiful. Well done all!
Visitors are more than welcome to drop by and view the exhibition between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.