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  • Informazioni generali sul corso

    Paolo Coen (Bienne, Switzerland, 1967) is currently Associate professor in History of modern art, i.e. from Renaissance to Neoclassicism. As PhD on Museum Studies, he has wide research experience on the history and theory of the art market, art collecting and Museum. Total number of academic publications: 151 (Jul, 2020).



    • Knowledge and understanding: The student acquires a first knowledge of the cultural elements - historical and theoretical - of the modern discipline of the Museum. The student also acquires a critical understanding of some key legislative elements, the decision-making and strategic-managerial processes related to the museum discipline, indispensable to interpret the process of constituting and modifying their strategies in a clear and modern way. At the same time, the student gains confidence, through ad hoc surveys, with the tools of analysis, management and communication that are the basis of the operation of any modern museum, from the visits to temporary exhibitions, to external financing techniques, additional services' (ticket office, bookshop, bar, catering, etc.). On this basis, through practical exercises, it also learns to develop a proper pricing and pricing policy.
    • Applying knowledge and understanding: The student must prove to be capable of using in concrete terms what he/she learned through the lessons. The student has to master independently the concepts, schemes and methods of analysis of museum discipline, from reporting and internal communication tools to search of data and information about the reference scenario, including indicators - both quantitative and qualitative - expressed from various public streams. The aim is to identify the constant and variable factors affecting the quality and success of a museum institute, as well as the associated intervention levers. Regular exercises, to be held at groups or individually, widen the student's ability to conceive and process fixed exhibitions, temporary exhibitions, appropriate dining venues, crowd funding campaigns or other kinds of funding; the ability to analyze and subsequently propose an appropriate pricing policy; as well as appropriate communication strategies, including through the use of video and social networks.
    • Making judgements: Students must be able to orient themselves in the complex dynamics of the modern discipline of the Museum. He/she must be able to identify the benchmarks in order to express a judgment on the museum's quality of a particular institute. The student must acquire adequate analysis and criticism of the various components of the modern museum, with particular reference to corporate, management and communication. The student must also be able to identify and locate a single institute - whether private or public - within the museum and cultural offer of the various strategic frameworks, from the common to the national and international level, so as to know the specific positioning, even in comparative terms, compared to any other parallel or competing institutes.
    • Communication: Students must acquire a specific ability to effectively communicate the concepts learned and the results of their application, demonstrating adequate language properties to be commensurate with the knowledge of the terminology used in the museum field. To this end, communicative skills can be stimulated through activities such as reviewing written and oral reports, sample case analysis and designing intervention plans in various areas of museum discipline: such projects, either individually or in groups, are presented publicly in the classroom and are an integral part of teaching.
    • Learning skills: The student must acquire the ability to master the discipline of the museum, especially in the areas indicated. He must understand and subsequently know how to rework the facts and processes that preside over the museum's management and communication; to know how to properly evaluate and interpret the key factors of the Museum, if possible, from the cultural and management point of view; know how to make strategically effective decisions according to the objectives set for each institution and external constraints; able to present a competitive strategy analysis; able to analyze and identify, according to an effective approximation method, the best strategy and pricing policy.

    Premise. The course is twofold: 50% is run by professor Coen, 50% by prof. Paola Besutti. So, also the final examination is twofold. The final grade is an average of the two different grades given by prof. Coen and prof. Besutti. What follows provides information of prof. Coen's section. For the rest, please make reference to prof. Besutti's communication.

    The course, open to students of the first year, provides the guidelines to a correct and successful application of the principles and techniques of business communication in the world of museums. For this reason, the course starts with the general principles, focussing in the second and third part on a limited number of key concepts.

    The course is based on two educational principles, interlinked and interdependent. The first principle is based on class attendance and study of the assigned texts, under the form of books and essays. The second didactic principle relies on the individual student's ability to develop  autonomously what he/she'd learned in class.

    The first part of the course focuses on the idea of ​​the Museum in the western civilization, especially from the eighteenth century onwards. The second and third parts of the lessons do gravitate around the modernity, i.e. museums of today. The analysis of data, on the quality and quantity; the policies of pricing; the aims, the organization and the selection of temporary exhibitions; communication strategies, in particular the use of the video: here are some of the topics covered in class.

    The course is totally run in English. As such, lessons, communications to and from the instructors (e-mails included), and final examinations must be made in English. Please note: English is intended as an instrumental, or transfer language. So, students will not be evaluated from their English knowledge, but from their acquaintance of concepts, datas and abilities transmitted and/or elaborated during the course.
    Students must: 
    a) study in depth the texts that form the monographic part; books and essays are assigned as fundamental part of the examination; their list may be found at the bottom of this text; many of them may be dowloaded directly from this post;

    b) follow all the lessons. What is said or debated in the class -which is going to be partly epitomized in this same blog - is part of the course  just like books and essays in point a); 

    c) prepare a project work, i.e. a written report on one of the focus topics covered in the lectures. Possible topics may cover analysis of museums data both on quality and quantity; the politics of pricing followed by single museums or groups; communication strategies of single museums; commenting/inventing/writing a museum video.
    The topic of the project work must first be agreed with the teacher - so as to avoid, among other things, that two or several students may choose the same one. Some project works will be exposed by their authors to the class during the last lessons of the course, under the form of a power point presentation. or presented before the second test, so to let it become part of the examination documentation. 

    Final examination. Prof. Coen's examinanes each student's abilities in the field of Museum studies. The examination is run in English. Each student must bring a printout of the texts of the program and bring it to the professor. Without the printout (i.e. books, parts of books, articles, etc.) the professor cannot examinate the student.

    Course Planning

    Part I - The Museum yesterday
    # 1 (28 Sept) Presentation of the course // The idea of Museum. Museums in the XVIIIth century
    # 2 (29 Sept) Museums and Museology of the XIXth century

    # 3 (4 Oct): The Museum today; presentation, here 
    # 4 (5 Oct): The Museum in the so-called art system

    Part II - The Museum today
    # 5 (6 Oct): Museums today: Horizon, Functions, Ethics, Publics, Challenges // Workshop: the role of the video
    # 6 (11 Oct): Museums today (follows
    # 7 (12 Oct): Project Works: selection/refinement
    # 8 (13 Oct, Sala delle Lauree): conference held by Rita Borioni (in Italian), check the program here
    # 9 (20 Oct,  Presentation and Analysis of Project worsks (Peer review)
    # 10 (25 Oct): Presentation and Analysis of Project worsks (Peer review)
    # 11 (26 Oct): Presentation of Project works (Peer review) 

    Part III - Shaping the museum communication and transmission
    Lesson 10 (8 nov): Running a museum: an ethical case (i.e. case study no. 3, page 10)
    # 12 (8 Nov) Presentation of Project works (Peer review) 
    # 13 (9 nov): Shaping an integrated museum-communication 
    # 14 (10 nov): Presentation and Analysis of project works  (Peer review: end)
    # 15 (15 Nov) - Art of the Holocaust
    # 16 (16 Nov) - Museums of the Holocaust
    # 17 (17 Nov) - Project Works
    # 18 (22 Nov) - Closing session


    Key concepts of Museology, ed. by André Desvallées and François Mairesse, Armand Colin, 2010, with a special focus on the concepts underlined during the lessons; get and download the book in English here.

    Geoffrey Lewis, The Role of Museums and the Professional Code of Ethics, in Running a Museum. A practical Handbook, ed. by Patrick J. Boylan, Paris, ICOM, 2004, pp. 1-17; get to and download the whole book  here  

    Vicky Woollard, Caring for the Visitor, in Running a Museum, cit. above, pp. 105-118;

    Paal Mork, Marketing, in Running a Museum, cit. above, pp. 161-175;

    Nina Simon, The partecipatory museum, read online here

    The four essays below are published in Il Museo relazionale, ed. by Simona Bodo and Marco Demarie, II ed., Turin, Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, 2003, read it and download it, here 
    Eilean Hooper-Greenhill, Nuovi valori, nuove voci, nuove narrative: l’evoluzione dei modelli comunicativi nei musei d’arte, pp. 1-41;

    Eric Moody, Ripensare il museo d’arte come risorsa educativa:marketing e curatela rivisitati in risposta a pubblici complessi, pp. 41-59;

    Fiona McLean, Costruzione e veicolazione dell’immagine nei musei d’arte:
    verso nuovi concetti di marketing museale, pp. 61-80;

    Anne Fahy, Leggibilità e accesso: le tecnologie dell’informazione
    e della comunicazione al servizio del museo d’arte, pp. 81-100.

    Paolo Coen, Musei della Shoah ieri, oggi e anche domani, tra politiche d'identità e istanze di riparazione, in Musei Torino 2011: da crisi a opportunità. Verso la nuova Galleria Sabauda, atti del convegno internazionale di studi, Firenze, Leo S. Olschki, 2012, pp. 67 ss., here
    Galleria Sabauda, Turin, 

    Rodin, by Paolo Coen, 

    Monet, by Paolo Coen, here

    Capitoline Museums  and 

    Video Channel 'Musei in Comune', i.e. City Museums of Rome, here.

    Symposium on Museum Communication, 

    Lesson presentations
     # 1 - Museums of the past: the XVIIIth century, here

    Other presentations
    History of the British Museum; here

    Sites - Blogs 
    History of Louvre, in French; here

    Challenging videos
    Nina Simon, 
    Nick Gray, Hating/Not Hating museums

    • Prerequisite: Per ogni informazioni sui libri di testo cfr. e in particolare la pagina
    • Preparatory: Non sono previte propedeuticità.




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