On September 17, during the graduation ceremony of the master Museology and the master Applied Museum and Heritage Studies, the PJA van Mensch award for the best final master's research work was awarded to Andrea Lagrutta.
For her thesis titled The Democratization of Knowledge, Lagrutta did research on the exchange of knowledge within and by an Amsterdam heritage organization during a period of rapid growth. Not only did she systematically map the development of the organization, but also critically analyzed the methods that the organization uses to contribute to the development of knowledge throughout the wider society. She combined her own observations, case studies and interviews with insights from different disciplines. The result is a new model for knowledge management, which was firmly substantiated and presented convincingly.
The jury was impressed by the manner in which Lagrutta came to this model, linking theory and practice, keeping her focus on the bigger picture, but also keeping an eye for detail. The clear structured dissertation takes the reader gradually through her plea, without avoiding complicated ontological and phenomenological issues. The jury agrees that her model deserves to be further evaluated and developed; not only within the field of heritage but also beyond.
As the winner of the PJA van Mensch award, Andrea will be guided to further develop her proposition into a publication that suits her career as a museologist. Special attention will be paid on the feedback to the institution where Lagrutta did her research.
The prize is named after Peter van Mensch, who was a professor at the Academy for many years and until 2011 the director of the Reinwardt Academy Master in Museology. Graduation work that qualifies for this award of the Reinwardt Academy offers innovative and critical reflections on museology and heritage theory. Moreover, the winning research project contributes to the heritage debate and the author has a passionate and forward-oriented view on their subject.
Theses with a grade higher than an eight are eligible for the prize.
This year's jury consisted of Hester Dibbits, professor in Cultural Heritage at the Reinwardt Academy and Melissa Bremmer, professor in Art Education at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam.