Shape of the Museum: Helen Chatterjee and Melissa Smith

Speakers Helen Chaterjee wearing dark-framed glasses and holding an animal skull, and Melissa Smith in a white shirt

Image courtesy Helen Chaterjee, Melissa Smith Image by the AGO


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Shape of the Museum: Helen Chatterjee and Melissa Smith

Thursday June 25, 2 pm

Museums and cultural institutions around the world are facing unique opportunities and challenges. This series of conversations invites professionals from around the world who are thinking about art and audiences, and learning in different ways. This week join Professor Helen Chatterjee and Melissa Smith, Assistant Curator of Community Programs, in conversation

Prof. Helen Chatterjee, MBE, is a Professor of Biology at University College London. Her research includes biodiversity conservation, object-based learning, and evidencing the impact of natural and cultural participation on health; she co-founded the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance and is an advisor to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts and Health.  For ten years Helen was Curator of the UCL Grant Museum of Zoology; she continues to undertake museum teaching, research and engagement. Helen has written three books 'Touch in Museums: Policy and Practice in Object Handling' (Berg, 2008), ‘Museums, Health and Well-being’ (Routledge, 2013) and ‘Engaging the Senses: Object-Based Learning in Higher Education’ (Routledge, 2015) and over 50 research articles.

Melissa Smith is the Assistant Curator of Community Programs at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her responsibilities include inclusive public programs for adults and accessibility advocacy. Motivated by a sustained commitment to exploring the unique relationship between art and audiences, Smith was awarded the Royal Ontario Museum Visitor Engagement Award in 2014 and one of Smith’s AGO programs was awarded the 2016 People’s Choice for Quality Improvement by the City of Toronto Long Term Care Homes and Services. She holds a Master of Arts in Art History from Western University and a Masters of Museum Studies from the University of Toronto. She is also a Sessional Instructor in the Inclusive Design Graduate Program at OCADU and sits on the Board of Directors at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre.


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Shape of the Museum: Helen Chatterjee and Melissa Smith


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