Excitingly, a new journal appeared in the world of museum studies this summer. Museum Worlds: Advances in Research is a new annual journal, published by Berghahn, co-edited by the University of Leicester’s Sandra Dudley and the Australian National University’s (ANU) Kylie Message and with Jack Lohman (Director of the Royal British Columbia Museum) and Howard Morphy (Director of ANU’s Research School of Humanities and the Arts) as its advisory editors.
Museum Worlds: Advances in Research aims to analyse and engage critically, broadly, and dynamically, with trends in museum-related research and practice. The journal will thereby give an annual sense of various approaches to the expanding discipline of museum studies and to work in the growing number of museums throughout the world. It will trace major theoretical, methodological and topical themes and issues, and aims to encourage comparison of museum theories, practices and developments in different parts of the world. As well as high quality papers and book and exhibition reviews, the journal’s volumes will include topical debates and reports.
Museums engage with and are embedded within the societies and histories of which they are part, and in doing so they are not only influenced by, but also impact upon, wider social and cultural patterns. Studies of museums, in their ever increasing range of disciplinary influences and subject focus, reflect this embeddedness and dynamism. Museums, and the continuingly developing field of Museum Studies, are variously concerned, on different levels and in a diversity of ways, with, amongst other things, institutions, nations, people, communities, relationships with government, exhibitions, displays, public programmes, collections, material culture, audiences, public memory, and concepts and experiences of place, identity and belonging. Between them, the articles in the first, 2013 issue in some way touch upon all of these.
There are excellent and topical research papers by Anthony Shelton (on critical museology), Ross Parry (the postdigital museum), Rhiannon Mason (national museums, globalisation and postnationalism), Christina Riggs (contested histories in the Cairo Museum), Mary Bouquet (heritage and the repositioning of museums), Lisanne Gibson (museums in urban and cultural development), Anita Herle (exhibitions as research and the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Assembling Bodies exhibition), Laura Peers (originating community visits and healing in the museum) and Janet Marstine (socially engaged artistic practice in the museum and cultural collisions). There is also a roundtable conversation on museums, heritage, nation, and diversity in a global context, convened by Conal McCarthy. In addition, there are reports on a workshop at the Smithsonian and a conference in Ladakh, and book and exhibition reviews.