Unit of competency details

CULMS005B - Research and generate ideas for exhibition concepts (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 05/Apr/2004

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to CULEVP504A - Develop exhibition conceptsCULMS005B Research and generate ideas for exhibition concepts. Changes to title, application of unit, competency field, performance criteria, required skills and range statement. Addition to required knowledge and method of assessment. Minor word change to critical aspects for assessment. 19/Dec/2011

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 091303 Curatorial Studies  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 091303 Curatorial Studies  05/Apr/2004 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to research and generate ideas for exhibition concepts. The unit focuses on exploring different themes and potential storylines to inform the overall concept development process.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit applies to individuals who explore and develop concepts and ideas for any type of cultural exhibition. It therefore requires well developed creative thinking and research skills, supported by a good knowledge of the collection and interpretive techniques. In larger organisations this role may be undertaken by professional specialists but the unit is relevant to generalists in small museums and galleries, and to individual creative practitioners who may develop exhibition concepts for their own work.

Work is carried out autonomously but in consultation and collaboration with others.

The unit does not encompass the overall design and development of an exhibition. Those skills are covered in CULMS008A Conceive, develop and realise exhibition designs.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Prerequisite units 


Employability Skills Information

Employability Skills 

The required outcomes described in this unit of competency contain applicable facets of Employability Skills. The Employability Skills Summary for the qualification in which this unit of competency is packaged, will assist in identifying Employability Skills requirements.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



Generate initial ideas 


Explore ideas in the context of the collection


Evaluate the nature , needs and expectations of the audience 


Identify and confirm the purpose , scope and  objectives of the exhibition  in consultation with relevant stakeholders 


Develop broad parameters for content, based on overall objectives, audience needs and collection /organisational parameters 

Conduct research 


Undertake relevant research to identify the historical, cultural and other influences that impact on concept development


Undertake critical analysis of sources and references  to inform concept development


Identify and source appropriate specialists who may be able to contribute to the concept


Explore and adapt relevant ideas from other practitioners or exhibitions with consideration of intellectual property, moral rights and copyright requirements

Develop /expand ideas and concepts 


Develop and expand ideas in response to research findings in the context of the collection


Identify, select and develop appropriate storylines and interpretive messages based on outcomes of research, audience needs and organisational priorities


Challenge and test own ideas and approaches taken to ensure responsiveness to project and audience needs


Prepare concept proposals in an appropriate format  and consult with relevant stakeholders to gain required approvals

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • creative thinking skills to develop, explore, test and challenge ideas
  • research skills to investigate and interrogate a wide range of information sources
  • communication skills to liaise and consult with others on complex ideas and concepts
  • literacy skills to analyse a broad range of information and to communicate complex ideas in innovative ways.

Required knowledge 

  • sources of information and research data relevant to the collection
  • processes for drawing links between the collection, research data and audience needs
  • roles of different people involved in the exhibition development process and how these interrelate
  • current trends in exhibition development
  • concepts of themes, sub-themes, storylines and interpretation within exhibition development
  • copyright, moral rights and intellectual property legislation and issues that impact on exhibition concept development
  • cultural protocols relevant to exhibition concept development, including those for the exhibition of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander material.

Evidence Guide


The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • application of sound research and analytical skills to inform concept development
  • generation of creative ideas, storylines, messages and concepts for a particular concept and target audience.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure:

  • access to a collection around which an exhibition ideas and concepts can be developed
  • access to relevant research materials and information sources.

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • direct questioning combined with review of portfolios of evidence and third party workplace reports of on-the-job performance by the candidate
  • evaluation of exhibition ideas and concepts (with rationale) generated by the candidate to develop storylines and concepts for particular collections or audiences.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended.

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Nature , needs and expectations of the audience  may relate to:

  • age
  • gender
  • educational level
  • existing knowledge of subject
  • familiarity with collection
  • cultural preferences/cultural diversity
  • special interest
  • disability access

Purpose , scope and objectives  of the exhibition may relate to:

  • education
  • entertainment
  • financial targets
  • co-operative approaches
  • representation
  • audience development
  • community involvement
  • debate

An exhibition  may be held in many different contexts /environments and these may include:

  • museums
  • galleries
  • libraries
  • other visitor attractions
  • theme parks
  • corporate events
  • festivals

An exhibition  may be:

  • temporary
  • permanent
  • virtual
  • travelling

Stakeholders  may include:

  • boards of management
  • organising committees
  • other management
  • local community
  • local authorities
  • customers/visitors
  • colleagues
  • performers/artists
  • technical/subject specialists
  • exhibition construction specialists
  • designers
  • curators
  • conservators
  • education officers
  • cultural groups
  • those to be represented in the exhibition

Collection /organisational parameters  may relate to:

  • established themes/sub-themes
  • current exhibition policies
  • potential for accessing additional items
  • budgetary or other resource limitations

Critical analysis  may involve:

  • making judgements about relevance of information and ideas
  • considering how ideas may be adapted
  • considering how ideas may be challenged
  • drawing links between references and potential concepts
  • evaluating work of others

Sources and references  may include:

  • reference books/journals/texts
  • writings of the period
  • paintings and illustrations
  • photographs
  • film, video
  • the Internet
  • digital images
  • technical drawings
  • models
  • collages
  • sketches
  • objects and object files
  • other exhibitions/collections
  • oral histories/oral traditions
  • private collectors
  • archives
  • letters/diaries/newspapers

Appropriate format  for presentation of ideas may be:

  • drawings
  • paintings
  • models
  • graphic formats
  • video
  • photographs
  • plans
  • verbal description
  • electronic presentations
  • storyboards
  • performance/installation
  • display of exhibits
  • printed format - signs, labels, report

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.

Competency field

Competency field 

Exhibition Development and Management

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