Accepted paper:

Deconstructing wellbeing

Authors:

Tytti Steel (University of Helsinki)
Suzie Thomas (University of Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

In this presentation, we will deconstruct the concept of wellbeing in relation to museums and heritage. How is wellbeing understood in connection with museums? Could the concept be redefined for the benefit of museums and their visitors?

Paper long abstract:

In this presentation, we will explore the concept of wellbeing as a growing area of interest for both researchers and practitioners particularly in relation to museums and heritage. How is wellbeing understood in connection with museums? Could the concept be redefined for the benefit of museums and their visitors? We will discuss a number of theoretical approaches and key case studies from museum and heritage studies. In particular, we will concentrate on the emotional wellbeing, the visitors' emotional engagement and potential connections to cultural identity. One important aspect in the area is the connection of learning and wellbeing. Both experimental and scientific knowledge show that learning new things can be a pleasure. On the other hand, some authors have suggested that learning should not be framed as the most important aspect of museum experience. If this is the case, are there implications for the ways in which wellbeing initiatives are developed within museums? This presentation is intended as the opening of the session in order to introduce the key themes and stimulate debate.

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