The handbook aims to empower museum professionals to write and publish their work in academic journals by outlining the journey of writing an academic paper from start to finish and providing advice on how to set up an academic writing group.
The aim of QUEST is to define, measure and support quality in science communication by developing tools, recommendations and guidelines that will improve the effectiveness of the dialogue between researchers and the wider public. The QUEST Academic Writing Handbook for Museum Communicators is one such tool. While professional development is integral to the museum field, academic writing is not typically counted among the skills promoted to museum staff, and when external experts undertake museum-based research, they also tend to lead the writing of the resulting outputs. If more museum communicators were given the opportunity to develop their own academic writing skills, they would be ideally placed to close the gap between research and practice in the field, while also contributing to the professionalisation of their work.
The handbook is the result of an exploration into the process of setting up a writing group in a science museum or science centre. It was co-designed by a team of professional science communicators based in Science Gallery Dublin with the goal of empowering museum professionals to write and publish their work in academic journals, and outlines (and demystifies) the journey of writing an academic paper from start to finish. The handbook also provides advice on how to set up an academic writing group, as this experience was invaluable in fostering engagement and confidence in the team. It is hoped that this resource will serve as a source of support and encouragement for museum staff to become more involved in how the research in their field is shaped and shared.
The QUEST Academic Writing Handbook for Museum Communicators can be viewed below.
UPDATE: The paper “Academic writing in museums”, which draws from the Handbook, has been published in Museum Management and Curatorship.