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Exploring Space(s): Queer feminist approaches to understanding pedagogy in science museum galleries

Armstrong, Eleanor Sophie; (2020) Exploring Space(s): Queer feminist approaches to understanding pedagogy in science museum galleries. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Queer and feminist approaches to museum practice are increasingly evident across the literature on socio-historical, arts and historic house sites, making innovations in the forms, functions and working procedures of such institutions. Simultaneously, science and technology studies broadly, and Outer Space in particular, are seeing growing pluralisation in methodological approaches including use of queer and feminist techniques. However, there is a dearth of investigation on science and technology museums. My thesis addresses this gap by offering new critical approaches to narratives in galleries focused on Outer Space and demonstrating the innovation and limitations of tour guiding interventions into such institutions. My queer feminist methodology instrumentalises five questions that guide a critical approach to investigating the pedagogical power of narratives of science and scientists (both broadly constructed) in three science museum galleries focused on Outer Space in London (Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Observatory Greenwich). By being attentive to the knowledges, my thesis answers two research questions that tackle what narratives are present or absent around performed gender and sexuality identities, as well as other attendant concerns that emerge through my queer feminist methodology. The third research question explores the work that alternative approaches to narratives can do in a museum setting, following the example of a guided tour. Using the case study of ‘Queering the Science Museum’, a tour that I developed and ran in 2018, I explore the benefits and limitations to such interventions. I conclude by curatorial dreaming – imagining alternatives in the gallery spaces – to reflect on the knowledge brought together through my thesis. By engaging with a queer feminist approach of situating knowledge, my thesis both highlights a gap in research about science museums and Outer Space and provides documentation and theorisation of the evidence of existing exhibits. It therefore directs future work that moves towards mechanisms for changing the narrative power in public discourses of science.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Exploring Space(s): Queer feminist approaches to understanding pedagogy in science museum galleries
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Science and Technology Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10107417
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