Nurturing a Diversity-oriented Mind through Curatorial Courses

Mariko Murata

Kansai University

We often talk of how museums should be multicultural and how their exhibits or programs should be accessible. However, the degree of awareness towards diversity greatly depends on their human resource and the mindset of the staff. This especially holds true for museums in Japan, where diversity had never been an issue until recently. Even today, many museums do not assume diversity as a crucial part of their activities. It is thus important to cultivate a diversity-oriented mind from the earlier stages of the staffs’ career. To obtain a curator’s certificate in Japan, prospective students take curatorial courses at their universities. While the course teaches practical methods for dealing with objects or doing exhibitions, it lacks in the sociological perspective. The course does not outline museums as a social and/or political institution; naturally, issues on diversity of a society remain unquestioned. I have been working with the curator of the Okayama Art Museum to try and give students the opportunity to think about diversity and accessibility through their classes. By looking into this program as a case study, my presentation will further analyze how and why issues on diversity are neglected, and will seek ways to challenge the situation.


Mariko Murata PhD, is Professor at the Department of Sociology, Kansai University, Japan. She received her doctorate from the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, the University of Tokyo. Her publication includes ‘Media Literacy for University Students’ (2015), and ‘Museums as Ideology: Media Studies on Objects and Spaces’ (2014).


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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