Expanding Student Participation in University Museums (International Roundtable)

Keio Museum Commons (KeMCo) is a new university museum opened in 2021 at Keio University. One of the primary missions of KeMCo is to act as both a physical and virtual hub for collections and people, aiming to invite a wide range of participants and broaden engagement with collections.


From the start of the institution, KeMCo has placed a strong emphasis on student participation and has explored various ways of engaging with students. We try to extend our approach beyond classroom-based activities, such as courses in museum curatorship, to include co-planning exhibitions, public programmes, and so on. The active involvement of student-led projects, which are joined by students from various disciplines, has become indispensable to KeMCo.



Based on this background, KeMCo is organising an international roundtable on Student Participation in University Museums. It will focus on placing students at the centre of museum activities and broadening the modalities of their participation, hoping to provide an opportunity to share recent innovative practices, insights, and challenges in this area.


# Download flyer

# Updated the titles of the presentations and biographies of the speakers! (6/27)



Elena del Mercato and Lee Casey (Director, Engagement, Museums and Collections at the University of Melbourne)


Ye Thu (Executive, Campus Community & Public Engagement at NUS Museum of National University of Singapore)


Misako Mishima (Professor, The Kyushu University Museum)


Goki Miyakita (Senior Assistant Professor, Keio Museum Commons)


Yu Homma (Senior Assistant Professor, Keio Museum Commons)



Programme (Provisional)

Short lectures by the speakers, followed by a discussion.


○ Short lectures

Goki Miyakita and Yu Homma (Keio Museum Commons)
The Students’ Voices: Amplifying Student Perspectives in University Museums


Ye Thu (National University of Singapore)
Signs and responses: curatorial gestures from the periphery


Misako Mishima(Kyushu University
Museum objects and atmosphere: Enhancing students’ cross-disciplinary experience


Elena del Mercato and Lee Casey  (University of Melbourne
Students at the heart: Rethinking the place of students in museum audience development


○ Discussion




The symposium is delivered in English



Open to everyone. Please register from the URL below.






Elena del Mercato, Director Engagement, Museums and Collections, University of Melbourne

Elena has worked in the cultural sector for over twenty years, holding a variety of roles in marketing, communications and partnerships and development for Museums Victoria (Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, Melbourne Museum), the National Gallery of Australia and the University of Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, before joining the University’s Museums and Collections team. She shares her current role with Lee Casey, co-author of this paper.


Lee Casey, Director Engagement, Museums and Collections, University of Melbourne

With a background in the cultural sector, Lee has held various roles across marketing, communications, sponsorship and general management. Prior to joining the Museums and Collections department, she has worked in organisations such as Melbourne Festival, Southbank Centre London, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Arena Theatre Company over the past fifteen years.


Ye Thu, Programme Executive at NUS Museum

Ye Thu is a Programme Executive at NUS Museum. He is responsible for leading the conceptualisation, planning, and execution of curatorial and public programmes. Ye Thu actively collaborates with curators, artists, students and faculty from the NUS community to apply their depth of knowledge and extend the cultural conversation in multiple directions, enriching the University’s learning environment. With a Master of Architecture and experience in Singapore’s film landscape, Ye Thu’s work at NUS Museum is grounded in the interdisciplinary nature of knowledge production and the development of curatorial responses from the periphery of museum practice.


Goki Miyakita, Senior Assistant Professor, Keio Museum Commons

He received his Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Media Design from Keio University. His research interests lie in the intersection of user-experience design and digital public humanities, ranging from theory, design methods, and implementation—with a particular focus on cultural heritage. At the Keio Museum Commons, he is co-responsible for the organization and operation of the digital collections platform (Keio Object Hub), fabrication studio (KeMCo StudI/O), and educational activities. In addition, he is a researcher at the Research Institute for Digital Media and Content, Keio University, and has been involved in MOOC development at Keio University since 2016. As a user-experience designer and researcher, he explores the boundaries between tangible and intangible heritage in the post-internet society through digital platforms that bridge traditional museum experiences with modern audience engagement.


Yu Homma, Senior Assistant Professor, Keio Museum Commons

Yu Homma is archivist and curator at Keio University Art Center, senior assistant professor at Keio Museum Commons. She graduated in Art History (BA, MA) at Keio. In 2006 she joined Keio University Art Center and has been involved with several projects concerning archives, university museums and digital humanities. As a launching member, takes part in the planning of the Keio Museum Commons, including concept design, activity planning, building planning and so on.