Why being a historian is about so much more than producing displays for museums?

Nice piece by Prof Tim Cole who teaches Social History at University of Bristol.

He talks why interdisciplinary research is so important to realising true potential in humanities and social sciences:

Being both a specialist and generalist is something that academics are well used to as they combine research and teaching within their day-to-day life and persona. And it is something that we discovered more arts and humanities researchers are embracing, in particular in their interactions with the creative industries.

Here we were struck by the way that the most successful collaborations were ones where the distinct identities of arts and humanities researchers and businesses in the creative industries blurred. One inspiring example was Olion/Traces, an app offering visitors to St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff an innovative way of experiencing the museum grounds as it melds fact and fiction, the archives and the site itself. This innovative interpretative tool was co-developed by an academic, Jenny Kidd from Cardiff University, a creative producer, Allie John at yellobrick, and a heritage professional, and Sara Huws from the digital media department at Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum of Wales.

What the team found was that Kidd wasn’t simply involved at the “ideas” stage, inputting her specialist knowledge and then stepping back. But rather, all three were involved at each and every stage of development and feedback. Olion/Traces is one example of new and fruitful ways of working, where arts and humanities researchers become active participants in the creative economy.

This sense of new ways of working in the arts and humanities is something that I’ve thought a lot about personally. In some ways I am still a traditional researcher whose specialist knowledge of the Holocaust is, for example, drawn upon by museums who want content to create a new display. But, alongside that, I’ve also discovered the opportunities, and challenges, of working alongside others in the creative economy, in my case working with artists Stand+Stare to develop a sound journal called Mayfly. In our research, we discovered plenty of other academics from the arts and humanities who are using their knowledge and skills in unexpected – as well as expected – ways.

One big problem with all research has been the silo approach in humanities: This is history and this is how we do it, this is geography and this is how we do it and so on. This has not just proliferated research but made us miss the key components which makes the overall research more meaningful.

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One Response to “Why being a historian is about so much more than producing displays for museums?”

  1. Why being a historian is about so much more than producing displays for museums? – Courtier en Bourse Says:

    […] Économie – macro, micro etc. . Vous pouvez suivre les réponses à cette entrée via le flux RSS 2.0 . Vous pouvez laisser une réponse ou trackback depuis votre propre […]

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