Museums and Social Inclusion: Exploring the geography of school visits to museums

Anna Woodham (University of Leicester)
Download the full paper here (PDF).

Recent government funding for museums in the UK has identified museums
as vehicles for addressing socio-economic issues such as urban regeneration
and social inclusion. This paper examines the role that geography can play in
assessing whether museums are engaging with these issues. Between 2003-
2006 three major evaluations were funded by government agencies to
analyse the contribution that museum education events make to tackling
social agendas. This paper builds on conclusions made in these previous
studies by examining in closer detail the locations of the schools and
museums and re-examining the geography of visits by considering alternative
interpretations of it. The paper demonstrates that by considering the
geography of school visits a greater understanding of the socio-economic
contexts of museum audiences can be reached. The geography of school
visits raises many questions about how museums address social inclusion
and the specific contexts and impacts of each school visit, these issues are
subjects for further qualitative analysis.

Keywords: Social Inclusion, museums, geography, schools, deprivation

Anna Woodham is a PhD researcher based at the Department of Geography, University of Leicester. She is a cross discipline student working on an ESRC and DCMS funded PhD. Anna’s background is in museum practice and her research combines her interest in museum policy with issues of geography and society.


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