Ethics for Artefacts: Modern Materials HISTART5131

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course addresses ethical issues for the interpretation, investigation and preservation of modern material artefacts in museum and archive collections from the perspectives of curation, heritage science, conservation and collection management.


Nine hours a week through lectures and seminars for a three-week period.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level

Excluded Courses





Written essay, 2,000 words (40%)

Written report, 1,500 words (30%)

Oral presentation, 15 mins (30%)

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Provide the student with current perspectives on the theory and practice of ethical decisions and actions for the interpretation, investigation and preservation of modern material artefacts in museum and archive collections.

■ Introduce the student to concepts, case studies and intellectual debates of ethics for synthetic modern materials as historical artefacts from the perspectives of professional heritage practitioners and academics.

■ Develop the student's critical evaluation skills for ethical issues about significance and sustainability for modern material artefacts by consolidating interdisciplinary and specialist perspectives acquired in the programme.

■ Advance the student's skills in critical thinking for written and oral communication.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Articulate and debate ethical issues for the curation, scientific research, conservation and collection management of modern material artefacts.

■ Evaluate different disciplinary perspectives of concepts and methodologies in ethical theory and practice for modern material artefacts in historical collections.

■ Debate viable theoretical and practical ethical solutions for the interpretation, investigation and preservation of modern material artefacts in collections.

■ Defend and sustain informed arguments in written and oral dissemination.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.