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MA / PGCert / PGDip

Museum and Heritage Development

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Year Of Entry

2022
  • Level(s) of study: Postgraduate taught
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Location: Clifton Campus
  • Starting: September 2022
  • Course duration: One year full-time / two years part-time


FIND US ON

Museum and Heritage Development is an innovative professional practice-based course exploring new approaches to the successful and sustainable development of museums and heritage sites and the development of the workforce.

The course combines professional and academic practice and the need to learn core skills with the opportunity to experiment with new creative practices; from collections management to filmmaking, from institutional planning and audience development to exhibitions and curating live public events. By developing a rich portfolio of professional practice and experience during the course, we help students to develop the confidence and courage to see themselves as the future of the field, to begin to establish themselves within the sector, and to prepare them for the workplace.

  • This course provides opportunities to work on live company projects, to volunteer, take work placements, go on field visits and be supported by professional industry mentors.
  • 94% of students would recommend studying this course at NTU (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019).
  • 94% student satisfaction rate for this course (PTES 2019).
The course equips students to join the workforce, be brave and take risks, and is grounded in the realities of working in the sector. This is very encouraging. The sector is much more competitive than it was and the course prepares students well for this. The best students recognised the realities of the sector as well as demonstrating creativity and fearlessness in their work.

Tony Butler, Executive Director, Derby Museums Trust and founder of The Happy Museum Project

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Elizabeth West
Elizabeth talks about the course and her experience working with businesses.

What you'll study

Special features

The course responds to how museum and heritage practice is changing and the demands and expectations this places on the workforce and its development. We are helping students to develop key personal qualities required of the museums and heritage workforce of today and tomorrow, combining core skills training with imaginative creative practice and risk-taking, all within a supportive environment. The course is therefore highly collaborative and delivered with museum and heritage organisations and professionals.

Modules

The taught course is comprised of six core modules that each build towards a major independent Research Project completed at the end of your studies on an academic subject and/or area of professional practice of your choosing, depending on your career aspirations.

  • Modules

    • Purpose, Planning and Development
    • This module explores the purpose of contemporary museums and related heritage organisations and the increasingly diverse and progressive roles they seek to perform. The module leads students both intellectually and practically through an innovative approach to museum planning and development whilst reflecting the diversity of museums and heritage as a cultural resource in the 21st century and the complexity of the sector in the UK and internationally.

    • Materiality and Memory
    • The material world lies at the heart of museum collections and cultural heritage. In the 21st century the primacy of tangible heritage is being supplemented by other ways of knowing and remembering and that recognise and embrace different philosophies and frameworks as the hybridisation of practice accelerates. This module explores this expanded field of materiality, memory and experience through an international and interdisciplinary engagement with official and unofficial heritage, tangible and intangible heritage, objects and collections, place, architecture and landscape, and digital heritage.

    • Interpretation 1: Fieldwork
    • Museums and related heritage organisations are centres of research; they are field-based cultural institutions that ask questions of material and immaterial worlds and create interpretations of them for, and increasingly with, diverse communities. This module explores interpretation as the defining outcome of museum and heritage development within an innovative interdisciplinary and multifunctional framework that is international in scope. The module encourages and supports students to engage confidently with different forms of creative practice.

    • Interpretation 2: Contemporary Narratives
    • As part of a wider effort to remain relevant cultural institutions, the museums and heritage sector is developing more active and activist roles in contemporary life. This module explores the possibility of museums and heritage organisations as agents of civil engagement. It does this by focusing on interpretation as their defining, and ever diversifying, research outcome that makes things happen and makes a difference for society and its development. It specifically looks at digital means to tell new stories and engage a broader audience. The module further develops the creative practice skills and competencies established during Interpretation 1: Fieldwork.

    • Working in Museums and Heritage
    • Central to this module is a four-week (or equivalent 20-day commitment) Work Placement, where students are placed by the course team at a range of museum and heritage organisations. The module also provides a practical introduction to core skills and competencies in audience development and collections management. Many students successfully extend their placement beyond the formal four-week commitment, often forming the subject of their final Research Projects.

    • Museum and Heritage Futures
    • This module explores the future of museums and heritage and their successful and sustainable development. Possible futures are examined through scenarios, case studies and the development of leading museums and related heritage and cultural organisations internationally. Scenarios consider political, social, technological and cultural trends both within the UK and globally. The module aims to provide a critical and creative platform from which students are able to imagine possible museum and heritage futures that may challenge convention and accepted ways of thinking and doing.

    • Research Project
    • The Research Project is the culmination of the MA and provides students with the opportunity to craft an in-depth project in an area of particular interest to them. The Research Project accommodates projects developed through a range of academic, professional, and geographical contexts depending on the motivation, interests and future ambitions of the student. Taught elements of the module introduce students to understandings of research practice relevant to the field and the potential of the Research Project to be used for academic and/or professional development goals.  Students can produce either an extended piece of writing or a shorter piece of written work supporting an example of professional practice, e.g. publication, film, exhibition, digital content, report etc.

    • International Field Visit (Not-for-Credit)
    • Reflecting the international perspectives the programme takes to the field of museums and heritage, each year in the Spring after the placement, we organise a week-long not-for-credit field trip to a European city (subject to future Covid restrictions)

“A number of key ‘personal qualities’ emerge from the literature review as priorities for the workforce such as conscientiousness, optimism, motivation, persistence, curiosity, creativity and the ability to learn and collaborate. These will all be important to a museum workforce that is experiencing significant organisational change and where it will be important to be more entrepreneurial, take more risks, and be more creative.”

BOP Consulting with The Museum Consultancy (2016) Character Matters: Attitudes, behaviours and skills in the UK Museum Workforce. Commissioned by Arts Council England, Museums Galleries Scotland, Museums Association, Association of Independent Museum, p1

How you’re taught

Industry Collaboration

The course is designed and delivered through a range of collaborations and partnerships with diverse museums and heritage organisations, elements of which ensure students are delivering real work within real-world professional contexts, including opportunities for public engagement.

In recent years we have worked with a number of organisations that reflect something of the diversity of the sector and its workforce: Nottingham City Museums & Galleries, National Justice Museum, Nottingham Castle Trust, Canal & River Trust, , Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, Canalside Heritage Centre, Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, Belton House (National Trust), Green’s Windmill and Science Centre, , William Booth Birthplace Museum, British Horological Society (Museum of Time), Barker Langham, and Museum Development East Midlands.

Active Learning and Professional Development

Our approach to learning and professional development throughout the course is active and hands-on. Students engage with real-world issues and approaches, producing assessed work that includes professional, academic and creative practices. Classroom-based sessions combine debate with workshop activity to put ideas into action, and further workshops support the development and delivery of assessed work.

Field Visits

Classroom-based sessions and visits to collaborating institutions are supplemented by visits to sites directly related to a specific module so we get the most out of the places we visit in support of students, their work and professional development. In addition to these more local/regional visits, we also organise an annual trip to London, one of the world’s major museum cities.

International Field Visit (Optional)

Reflecting the international perspectives the programme takes to the field of museums and heritage, each year in the Spring after the placement, we organise a week-long not-for-credit field trip to a European city (where Covid restrictions permit this). Previously, we have visited Berlin, developing an itinerary together with our students, to enjoy and critique the many cultural organisations it has to offer.

Assessment

Students are assessed through a range of projects appropriate to individual modules. The diversity of our approach to assessment is reflective of the increasing diversity of professional practice within the museums and heritage sector, and is undertaken within the spirit of creativity, risk-taking and core skills development. Student work ranges from reports and many other forms of publication, to creative writing, photography, film, exhibitions and live events. Academic essays provide an intellectual context for practice undertaken.

Research Opportunities

Every student taking the MA delivers a major Research Project at the end of their studies. The whole course and Research Project can act as a foundation for doctoral level research for those interested in developing their careers in a more academic direction. Our students are successfully pursuing PhDs after the MA.

Work Placements

Completion of a suitable work placement is a compulsory element of the Working in Museums and Heritage module. The placement at a museum, gallery, country house, historic site or other heritage organisation or consultancy is additional to any ongoing voluntary work and lasts approximately four weeks (or 20-day equivalent). The placement block is normally after the Easter break each year.

The University has a long track record in facilitating work placements across the heritage sector, which are successful both for students and placement hosts. Some students have gone on to gain employment with their hosts and many of those students, who are then employed, go on to offer placements to students in their workplace. Our academic staff will discuss your needs during the course and will help you to secure a placement of benefit to you.

You can also carry out voluntary work with a local heritage organisation one day per week throughout the course.


Roles and activities

There is no set pattern to placement work. Past roles (see below) have been as diverse as the host organisations themselves. Whether the placement has clearly defined objectives and tasks, or if there is an open remit to assist with many activities, emphasis is placed on flexibility, professionalism and good communication. There is the opportunity for hosts to comment on the placement via an evaluation form. A placement visit by a staff member is also planned, where possible.

The placement report is formally structured. It reflects the student's experiences during the placement and should contain information, evidence and evaluation relating to the assessment criteria:

  • demonstrated ability to work in the museum and heritage industry by successful completion of a work-based placement in a heritage organisation
  • presentation, assessment and evaluation of objectives set for the placement and for professional development
  • research and evaluation of the host institution
  • demonstrated ability to apply theoretical and underpinning knowledge to the placement experience
  • document and discuss activities undertaken and provide supporting evidence
  • core transferable and professional skills are identified and evaluated and supporting evidence provided
  • challenges specific to the individual are identified and evaluated and supporting evidence provided
  • assess impact on future strategy for career development
  • health and safety issues are discussed and evaluated.

Recent placement and voluntary work activities included

Projects and job titlesCompanies
Living history interpreterNottinghamshire County Cricket Club
Beeston to Beijing and Back, ResearcherCanalside Heritage Centre Trust
Exhibition ResearcherFramework Knitters Museum
Conservation AssistantCalke Abbey, National Trust
Midlands Maker Challenge, AdministratorDerby Museums Trust
Stories and Objects', Project ManagerNottingham Trent University
Discovering Southwell Project, Social Media ManagerSouthwell Heritage Trust
House and Collections AssistantSudbury Hall, Museum of Childhood, National Trust
Curatorial AssistantNewstead Abbey, Nottingham City Museums and Galleries
The Leaves of Southwell, Research AssistantSouthwell Minster
Media AssistantNottingham Castle Trust

Learn a new language

Alongside your study you also have the opportunity to learn a new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have.

Learning a new language can: enhance your communication skills, enrich your experience when travelling abroad and boost your career prospects. Find out more about the University Language Programme.

100% of students said that their confidence to be innovative or creative has developed during the course (PTES 2019).

Careers and employability

The course, your placements and live projects will give you experience and skills that are highly valued by museums and the wider heritage industry employers. As well as museum curators, educators, and visitor service managers in museums and the heritage field, this course also provides the opportunity to work with and join a heritage consultancy company.

Recent graduates (of our previous course, MA Museum and Heritage Management) have gone on to work for a wide range of museums and authorities including:

  • The National Trust;
  • English Heritage;
  • Museums, Libraries and Archives Council;
  • Museum database software suppliers;
  • Heritage Lottery Fund; and
  • local authorities and independent museums.

100% of students feel that the course has helped them to feel better prepared for their future career (PTES 2019).

Entry requirements

You will need:

  • a UK honours (minimum 2.2) degree or equivalent, in any subject area
  • Recent practical experience with a professionally run museum or heritage organisation is desirable, but not essential.

Applications from candidates with non-standard entry qualifications will be considered on an individual basis if they can demonstrate relevant professional experience.

Recognition of Prior Learning

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

You will need the equivalent to:

  • a UK honours (minimum 2.2) degree, in any subject area
  • Recent practical experience with a professionally run museum or heritage organisation is desirable, but not essential.

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our courses. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

Pre-masters and foundation courses

If you need to do a foundation course to meet our course requirements please visit Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). If you’re already studying in the UK at a school or college and would like to know if we can accept your qualification please visit our pre-masters and foundation courses page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

Recognition of Prior Learning

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

Help and support

There is lots of advice and guidance about how to apply, fees and scholarships, qualifications, and student life on our dedicated International students website.

How to apply

Ready to join us?

Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow our step-by-step guide. You can apply for this course throughout the year. Most of our postgraduate and professional courses are popular and fill up quickly though, so apply as soon as you can.

Writing your application

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. Make sure you include as much information as possible, including uploading evidence of results already achieved, as well as a personal statement.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU in our postgraduates’ guide. Here you’ll find advice about how to write a good personal statement and much more. Good luck with your application!

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please contact us at Ask NTU or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Apply directly to the University online using the NTU online application portal.

Apply as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here you need to plan this into your application.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Good luck with your application!

Help and support

There is lots of advice and guidance about how to apply, fees and scholarships, qualifications, and student life on our dedicated International students website.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Fees for entry in September 2022 have not been confirmed.

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. Please take a look at our postgraduates’ guide funding page for information about sourcing grants, bursaries and scholarships, and much more.

Please note that if you are considering a part-time route that runs over more than one year, the tuition fee stated is for Year One of study. The course fee for Year Two is subject to annual review.

Fees may be subject to change.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service on +44 (0)115 848 2494.

Fees for entry in September 2022 have not been confirmed.

Please see our international fees page for more information.

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University.

Help and support

There is lots of advice and guidance about how to apply, fees and scholarships, qualifications, and student life on our dedicated International students website.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418