Museums and galleries take the initiative

April 12, 2001

The Petrie Museum of Egyptology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, is creating an online database of its 80,000-object collection for use in higher education.

The collection, "Digital Egypt for universities", includes pictures and descriptions of artefacts, plans and reconstructions of sites as well as study materials, bibliographies and essay questions. Manchester Museum, which also has artefacts excavated by William Flinders Petrie from Kahun, will link its online collection with UCL's through a web portal, bringing the two collections together in virtual space and allowing researchers to search both sites simultaneously.

The £300,000 project is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee and the government's designated museum programme and is part of the Digital National Electronic Resource.

Since the Tate Liverpool reopened in 1998, it has run courses jointly with seven local universities. The gallery runs two masters modules in-house, each taking up to 20 students from a mixture of disciplines. Each institution accredits the course for its own students, which makes assessment somewhat tricky. Most of the participants come from studio-based art courses, art history and museum studies. The gallery hopes to extend the programme to include theatre studies, performing arts and literature students. The courses ("the politics of location" and "curating the contemporary") are taught by freelance teachers, artists and Tate staff from around the country. The network gives students access to what other disciplines and other institutions are doing. The modules are charged per head and are taught in six-week blocks with day schools at either end and evening classes in between.

Other initiatives include workshops of three two-hour sessions, taught by invitation from the tutor, and a pilot project in which students work as research assistants.

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