After a broad overview of the history and philosophy of museums, this presentation will reflect on the city of Glasgow’s attempts to change the internal culture of its museums to make them more inclusive. Through these examples he will explore the cultural contradictions of museums and the difficulties and opportunities they have in addressing the crises faced by 21st century society.

About the Presenter

Mark O’Neill FMA PhD, Associate Professor, College of Arts, University of Glasgow

From 2009 to 2016 Mark was Director of Policy & Research for Glasgow Life, the charity which delivers arts, museums, libraries and sports services for the City of Glasgow. Prior to this he worked in various positions in museums in Glasgow after he moved there in 1985, serving as Head of Glasgow Museums from 1998-2009. During this period he led the teams who set up the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, one of only five multi-faith museums in the world and refurbished Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. He also wrote the masterplan for the Zaha Hadid-designed Riverside Museum (European Museum of the Year 2012). He is particularly interested in the social purposes of cultural institutions, in people’s motivations to take part in cultural activities and in the health benefits of cultural participation.

About Critical Approaches to Museums and Heritage

Critical Approaches to Museums & Heritage is a series of seminars where researchers and practitioners introduce recent work to a critical thinking audience. All are welcome to attend.


Level 1, Michie Building (#09), St Lucia Campus
Anthropology Museum