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Last year, the Placemaking method was used in a new interdisciplinary elective for master students: Placemaking for Conservation. This course aims to actively contribute to developing a sustainable approach to the care for works of art and cultural heritage in the public domain. One of those first students was Astrid Ourø Andersen.

Skeletons at Science Park

Astrid’s student team worked on a case provided by The Allard Pierson Museum, which is in charge of all the museum objects displayed around the UvA campuses. “They were concerned about two skeletons displayed in Science Park and requested that we come up with a new display to ensure that the skeletons remain part of daily student life, and at the same time be well protected and preserved.” Based on user interviews in the common area where the skeletons are placed, the students came up with a plan consisting of a new display design, an informative website, and a Christmas decoration activity. “This activity aimed to encourage informal conversations and feedback from students and personnel, but also to create more attention for the skeletons.”

The outcomes

Both the community and the Allard Pierson curators were very happy with their plan. “We recently provided the Allard Pierson Museum with our final report of the project which includes a full condition report of the skeletons and suggestions on how to best preserve them in the future. We successfully created attention for the skeletons in the area where they are placed, which hopefully will ensure that users treat them with care until a new display design can be realised.” Astrid is curious about the future of the skeletal display. “I am very interested to see if the new design will be realised in the future. That would be the ideal outcome, but it would take a lot of work and collaboration between the different stakeholders.“


Astrid explained that she learned a lot during the course. “I think project management was a big part of it: how to move from idea to action really quickly. This was needed because of the restrictive amount of time since the course lasted only half the semester.” She is very positive about the advantage of working in groups where people have different backgrounds and specialities.

To me, that is the core of placemaking: looking at a place or situation from many different perspectives to get as full of a picture as possible and to then create solutions that enrich the community that uses the space. Astrid Ourø Andersen