MUŻA, Mużew Nazzjonali tal-Arti, is the national community art museum and legacy project for Valletta, 2018’s European Capital of Culture. The museum has radically transformed itself in the last four years with a new vision and a repositioning of its role as a community-focused institution.
Students from the course worked on a project that supported MUŻA’s ambitions as a cultural force and destination where audiences and communities actively participate and connect with culture and, through these experiences, connect more deeply with each other.
MUŻA identified environmental change and global warming as important topics for the museum to engage with. Students addressed issues of future environmental challenges and looked to the past to find answers. The project introduced forecasting tools and techniques that enabled students to explore future opportunities and anticipate needs in the design of branded spaces.
Students worked in teams, using design fiction and storytelling techniques to seek new narrative perspectives for MUŻA to address future opportunities and needs through design. The aim was to explore how MUŻA can draw on its collection to inspire audiences and the wider community to critically engage with social issues.
Students designed a concept for a site-specific intervention/installation in the context of their practice, spatial experience design. The designs considered how the space of the museum, objects from the collection and the museum’s learning outcomes can contribute to MUŻA’s strategy for future developments.
The project included a week-long trip to Malta to work within the site of the museum and explore the space and the collection. During their stay in Malta, students implemented participatory activities to test their designs with staff and visitors at the museum.
The study trip proved rewarding for students. One of the students, Qionzhi Zhu, found visiting the museum a highlight with its “mix of traditional culture and modern construction” and spoke of how the project showed “how serious climate change is.”
The museum is keen to develop some of the students’ proposals. In addition, students have been invited to showcase their work and participatory activities at the 2019 London Design Festival as part of the London College of Communication public programme.