Exhibition design is a topic that has not yet been thoroughly researched in Bulgaria. Leonora Boneva’s textbook “Museum Exhibition Theory” and Ivo Popov’s article “Contemporary Trends in Museum Exhibition Design” are among the few texts by Bulgarian authors which describe some general principles in the development of exhibition projects. My professional practice and interests in the field motivated me to continue those scientific efforts  and in 2020 I applied for a full-time doctoral program in museology at the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum at BAS.

My initial idea was to choose a research direction that would result in a text with practical guides to help museum teams in Bulgaria develop modern-looking exhibitions. However the more I looked into local case studies, the more I saw a repetitive problem – most exhibitions were relying on conservative approaches to their narratives without a clear connection between them and the physical environment. For this reason I decided to add a second research direction in my work that aims to reveal the importance of stories within the exhibitions and the ways they can influence the design decisions for the space layout.

After several discussions the following title was approved: “Exhibition design and its role in constructing the museum narrative (Good practices and working models from the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century)”. The topic is rather broad and implies an initial clarification of the essence of exhibition design in the context of contemporary museology, followed by a more specific research of its functions in illustrating exhibition narratives and supporting communication processes in museums. The topic offers an opportunity for a comparative analysis between exhibitions in Bulgaria and abroad that can outline repeatable work models for the benefit of the museum community. The results of the research would also have a potential practical application for an easier development of exhibition concepts as well as project briefs for external specialists.