Co-production: Visitors, Knowledge and Politics

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This presentation was given to a workshop in Copenhagen as part of the ‘Museums and Cultural Institutions as Spaces for Cultural Citizenship’ project. The project is comprised of 10 museums: ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Design Museum Denmark, KØS - Art in public spaces, Nikolaj - Center for Contemporary art, The Royal Theater, Copenhagen Museum, The National Museum, The National Gallery, jF Villumsens Museum and Thorvaldsens Museum.


For More details see: helengraham@wordpress.com

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  • Visitor research
  • Easy to see – gets most attention
  • BUT design perhaps didn’t help
  • Makes it personal, real, link between now and then – helps idea of different perspectives.Principle – anyone can…
  • Interpretative lack – clearer about the value and importance of the content
  • Heighten the personal element within the interpretation – as a way of explaining why it is there.
  • Co-production: Visitors, Knowledge and Politics

    1. 1. Co-production:Visitors, Knowledgeand PoliticsHelen GrahamPresented at a workshopat Statens Museum forKunst, Cophenhagen, 1stFebruary 2013The workshop was part ofthe Museums and CulturalInstitutions as spaces forCultural Citizenship project
    2. 2. WorkshopVisitor Experiences of Co-producedExhibits/Exhibitions:Sharing research and exploringapproaches18th December, St Mungo Museum of Art andReligious life
    3. 3. It is probably not excessive to suggest that the profound feeling of unworthiness (and of incompetence) which haunts the least cultivated visitors as if they were overcome with respect when confronted with the sacred universe of legitimate culture, contributes in no small way to keeping them away from museums. (p. 53)It’s not really news that art galleries might be exclusive!
    4. 4. Northern Spirit:300 Years of Art in the North East,Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle Images: Nicola Maxwell
    5. 5. http://vimeo.com/33648485
    6. 6. Artists have seen the North East inlots of different ways. How doesthe North East look to you today?
    7. 7. Level playing field?
    8. 8. Visitor research: Success in one way (…but did the co- produced content help?)• 50% split on whether the gallery was about ‘art’ or about the ‘north east’• Phase 1 visitor research: noticed was little use of the AV• Phase 2 visitor research: focus in on each AV element
    9. 9. • Space matters – wall space counts!
    10. 10. But…• Form matters – touchscreens = ‘information’
    11. 11. When asked to listen or look at the co-producedmedia then visitors gave positive comments – It’s interesting to see It’s quite cool to see the changes (e.g. the city from a Interesting mix.. (between Tyne, between then local’s point of known photograph and and now) view… unknown photography) ‘makes it a bit more *Listening to people’s personal to the people stories+ ‘makes it a little bit around here which is more real, how it used to good’ exist’ I think it adds to your experience and understanding. You look at the paintings and you have your own perspective and then if you add *support idea that’ someone else’s perspective, you ‘anyone can take pictures get a different idea of how it has and capture a nice developed… moment’
    12. 12. • Not strong enough connection between paintings and co-produced media (as a result felt ‘too much’)Introductory Panel: Northern Spirit is a major new permanentexhibition celebrating the achievements of artists,manufacturers and makers from the North East of England.Internationally acclaimed art from the Laing Art Gallery’scollection feature in this new display, including work by 19thcentury painter John Martin, engraver and naturalist ThomasBewick and the Beilby family of glass enamellers.
    13. 13. • Need for stronger explanation about why co- produced content was there – give authored and personal reasons (because this is what gives it it’s value) Maybe it would be nice if you used people’s comments to explain the significance of the place for them… Doesn’t really say how the content has been generated…
    14. 14. OurLondinium,Museum ofLondon
    15. 15. Q1. What makes co-production valuable? What are the theories of value behind the different contributions in your current projects?
    16. 16. Experiential knowing is through direct face-to-face encounterwith person, place or thing; it is knowing through the immediacy ofperceiving, through empathy and resonance.Presentational knowing emerges from experientialknowing, and provides the first form of expressing meaning andsignificance through drawing on expressive forms of imagery throughmovement, dance, sound, music, drawing, painting, sculpture, poetry,story, drama and so on.Propositional knowing ‘about’ something, is knowingthrough ideas and theories, expressed in informative statements.Practical knowing is knowing ‘how to’ do something and isexpressed in a skill, knack or competence(Heron, 1992, 1996a).
    17. 17. Museum/profes sional mediating role?Individual/com Visitors/Public munities v.?
    18. 18. Participant controlMuseum control D TELL SELL CONSULT JOIN DELEGATE Museum decidesMuseum decides Museum invites Museum invites Museum turns then sellsand then informs input before others to make decision over to positive aspects others deciding decisions with others. of the decision. them. Courtesy of Kinharvie Institute and Curious Conference, St Mungo Museum of Art and Religious Life. 5th and 6th December 2012.
    19. 19. Think about the projects you are working on – which aspects have been Tell, Sell, Consult, Join, Delegate? Participant controlMuseum control D TELL SELL CONSULT JOIN DELEGATE Museum decidesMuseum decides Museum invites Museum invites Museum turns then sellsand then informs input before others to make decision over to positive aspects others deciding decisions with others. of the decision. them. Courtesy of Kinharvie Institute and Curious Conference, St Mungo Museum of Art and Religious Life. 5th and 6th December 2012.
    20. 20. Sherry R. Arnstien’sLadder of Participation (1969)
    21. 21. Participant controlMuseum control D TELL SELL CONSULT JOIN DELEGATE Museum decidesMuseum decides Museum invites Museum invites Museum turns then sellsand then informs input before others to make decision over to positive aspects others deciding decisions with others. of the decision. them. Courtesy of Kinharvie Institute and Curious Conference, St Mungo Museum of Art and Religious Life. 5th and 6th December 2012.
    22. 22. Institutional approachMainstream participation Museum as core?
    23. 23. Can we justify smallscale indepthprojects?
    24. 24. Mark O’Neill (2010) Journal of Public Health 9(4)
    25. 25. Q3. How do you see co- production linking to renewing museums for the 21st century?
    26. 26. More on Northern Spirit and the co-produced content see:artontyneside.wordpress.comAlso publications:(in press) Rhiannon Mason, Chris Whitehead and Helen Graham,‘From One Voice to Many Voices: Creating Polyvocality in an Art Gallery Display’. In Viv Golding and Wayne Modest (eds) Collaborative Museums: Communities, Curators, Collections. Oxford: Blackwell.(2012) Rhiannon Mason, Chris Whitehead and Helen Graham. ‘Place shaped and place shaping: The role of a civic art gallery then and now’. In Ian Convery, Peter Davis or Gerard Corsane (eds) Making Sense of Place.Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer.Helen GrahamUniversity Research Fellow in Tangible and Intangible Heritage,University of Leedsh.graham@leeds.ac.uk

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