Phillips, M., Woodham, A., Hooper-Greenhill, E.
Foucault and museum geographies: a case study of the English ‘Renaissance in the Regions’
(2015) Social and Cultural Geography, 34 p. Article in Press.
This paper explores the subject of museum geographies, focusing particularly on the development of museum policies in a changing political context. The empirical focus is the emergence and transformation of the museum programme Renaissance in the Region, which is linked to the concepts of primary, secondary and tertiary spatialisations presented by Michel Foucault. The paper discusses the development of the programme and how it transformed aspects of the primary, secondary and tertiary spatialisations of museums in England, before focusing attention on the geography of school visits to museums. The results of two extensive studies of school visits to museums in the programme suggest that large numbers of visits come from schools located in areas with high indices of multiple deprivation and income deprivation affecting children. It is argued that this social geography reflects the tertiary spatialisation of museums linked to their emergence in areas of past industrial development, although practices linked to reconfigurations of the primary and secondary spatialisation as part of the Renaissance in the Regions programme may also have played some role. The paper concludes by discussing recent changes in government policy and the degree to which the ‘New Renaissance’ policy may signify reductions in the social reach of museums into areas of social deprivation and exclusion.
deprivation; Foucault; museum geographies; Renaissance in the Regions; social inclusion; spatialisations