Rewarding Citizen Participation in Exhibitions: A Questionnaire Surveying Museum Practices

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Julia Ferloni
Alina Maggiore
Florent Molle


The paper presents the results of a quantitative and qualitative study undertaken by a team of museum professionals and researchers based at the Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean (Mucem) in Marseilles, France, in 2020. The survey aimed to investigate the contemporary curation practices of European museums by asking in what ways collaboration enters into their scientific projects, curation and remuneration practices. The analysis draws on the survey responses of 118 French and international participants in their capacities as independent curators, representatives and professionals from European museums and patrimonial associations. In addition, two semi-structured interviews gave further insights into specific examples of collaborative or co-creative exhibitions, designed with vulnerable communities, that break with the norm of habitual power structures and dominant heritage production. The results indicate that, while the notion of ‘participation’ entails ambiguous categorizations ranging from academic to institutional to community actors, remuneration remains a desideratum, thus highlighting issues of acknowledgment, durability and, ultimately, the social legitimacy and justice of museal practices.

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