Learning at the Interface: Opportunities and Barriers to University-Museum Collaborations
AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with University of Brighton and V&A Museum, London
Speight’s PhD, entitled Learning at the Interface: Opportunities and Barriers to University-Museum Collaborations, aims to examine how the V&A, a national museum of art and design, develops creative and innovative learning opportunities for practice-based Design students through its network of university-museum partnerships. Funded by the Arts Humanities Research Council (AHRC), this Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) builds on her research and experience of working for the Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning through Design (CETLD, 2005-2010), a partnership between the University of Brighton, V&A, Royal College of Art (RCA) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). As one of the 74 government funded centres of excellence, the CETLD’s remit was to research the relationship between museums and higher education (HE) and to examine the opportunities that collections-based learning offered HE practice-based design students. Through a series of research initiatives and resource-based projects, this work informed the V&A’s learning strategy and how it could best support the needs of HE audiences in the museum. Although theories of learning were fully examined in this research, the different forms and types of learning that take place at the interface of the museum and university relationship were limited. By undertaking a critical examination of the V&A and its role in supporting HE, her study aims to address the conceptual and physical barriers that impede effective integration between the two sectors and how new and effective connections can be made.
The AHRC Collaborative Doctoral programme has provided Speight with an opportunity to continue her exciting research in this area and to enhance and strengthen the relationship between the V&A and the University of Brighton and their mutual interest and dedication to this topic. It is envisaged that the outcomes of her PhD will contribute to the broad research agenda examining the interface of the museum-university relationship and will provide the foundations in which museum and HE policy in this area can be refreshed and reviewed.