Postgraduate taught 

Art History: Dress & Textile Histories MLitt

Ethics for Artefacts: Modern Materials HISTART5131

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course addresses ethical issues for the interpretation, investigation and preservation of synthetic, ephemeral and other modern material artefacts in museum and archive collections from the perspectives of curation, heritage science, conservation and collection management. This aims to enable students to approach and consider influences on the significance and value of modern materials as cultural heritage and develop reflective practices and critical skills in written and oral communication.


1 x 1 hr lecture per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus

1 x 1hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus

1 x 1hr tutorial

Excluded Courses





Written essay, 2,000 words (40%)

Written report, 2,000 words (40%)

Oral presentation, 10 mins (20%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

This course aims to:

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

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

■ Advance skills in critical thinking for written and oral communication throughout the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Express 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.