‘Lacking’ subjects: challenging the construction of the ‘empowered’ graduate in museum, gallery and heritage studies

Coffield, Emma, Markham, Katie, Crosby, Jessica, Stenbom, Cecilia and Antoniou, Maria (2023) ‘Lacking’ subjects: challenging the construction of the ‘empowered’ graduate in museum, gallery and heritage studies. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 22 (2). pp. 112-127. ISSN 1474-0222

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/14740222221132953


This article challenges what is now a common assumption in Higher Education; that teaching for employability will result in enabled and empowered graduates. Drawing upon empirical data, and Foucault’s concept of subjectification, we argue that discourses of employability instead encouraged museum, gallery and heritage postgraduate students at one UK-based institution to perceive themselves as subjects ‘lacking’ the resources needed for work – an understanding of self that formed prior to study, which then permeated the entire learning and teaching experience. Moreover, we note that the trajectory from ‘lacking student’ to ‘employable graduate’ is often reliant upon an accrual of assets (e.g. work experience, skills) not openly available to all. As such, the article sounds a note of caution with regards the rhetoric of employability within Higher Education, while giving voice to students’ perspectives and anxieties around employability.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The authors acknowledge the support of the School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University, in funding this project.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Employability, subjectification, higher education, museums studies, gallery studies, heritage studies
Subjects: W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
X900 Others in Education
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2022 08:04
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2023 13:45
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/50199

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