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Engaging cultural audiences


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A presentation at Bard Graduate Center 2/22/2012

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Engaging cultural audiences

  1. 1. CONVERSATION& COLLABORATIONSTRATEGIES TO CULTIVATE MEANINGFUL ENGAGEMENTWITH CULTURAL AUDIENCESRobert SteinDeputy Director for Research,Technology, and EngagementIndianapolis Museum of Art@rjstein - Flickr Credit ~adforce1
  2. 2. CAN MUSEUMS DENT THE UNIVERSE? Why is your community better off because it has a museum? The answer must necessarily be something more than, because otherwise it wouldn‘t. Museums matter only to the extent that they are perceived to provide the communities they serve something of value beyond their own mere existence. Stephen Weil, Making Museums MatterFlickr Credit ~Sweetie187
  4. 4. GATHER Art museums have for decades described their roleSTEWARD as interpreter of cultural inheritance. In our new socially networked world, interpretation is no longer a one- or two-way street. Transparency changes the museum dynamic from registrarial fortress to publicCONVERSE square. Interactivity allows for questioning, augmentation, and dispute of official interpretations by scholars and informed observers. Art museums host conversations among experts and enthusiasts, rather than privileged glimpses into the working methods of curators. Works of art themselves ‗converse‘ through loans and exhibitions. Teachers, students, and museum staff and volunteers exchange ideas about the objects in our care and the experiences to be had in our facilities and on our websites. Visitor comments and market research initiate conversations that permeate the former comfort zone of institutional remove. Blogging by museum staff and by others about museums opens up new engagement, exchange, and conversation. Maxwell Anderson, The Art Newspaper, June 2010.
  5. 5. GIVING THEPUBLIC A VOICEIf museums had just one purpose, our jobswould be much easier. But museumsaddress multiple needs, regardless of theera in which we find ourselves. For artmuseums, those needs include collectingand caring for examples of cultural heritageand providing the public with avenues tounderstanding the intentions of artists intheir time and the relevance of works to thepresent. But the Web has altered this last-mentioned obligation, from dispensinginformation alone to soliciting new forms ofparticipation. And while museumprofessionals will always offer the ―official‖interpretation of objects in our care, wealso should welcome the opportunity toattract the notice and to encourage theengagement of people anywhere.Maxwell Anderson, Dallas Museum of Art
  6. 6. AGGREGATORS,CURATORS, MENTORS,AND MOREIn a world shaped by immediate access to a vast sea of digital data, museums will serve as:sources, sharing information emerging from their collecting and research; aggregators, findingand integrating information from the many sources touched by their work; curators, selectingand annotating content to help people find reliable information; and educators, providingcontext and commentary. Technology will enable museums to scale up these corefunctions, which are already embedded in their work.In the future, museums also will become mentors, recruiting and training people to contributeand interpret content; and moderators, encouraging people to engage with content, sharingviews, opinions, and their own expertise. And museums will continue to be welcome havens ofrespite and retreat, where people can unplug, disconnect, and immerse themselves insilence, beauty, and wonder.Elizabeth Merritt, Center for the Future of Museums
  7. 7. PARTICIPATORYCULTUREA participatory culture is a culture withrelatively low barriers to artistic expressionand civic engagement, strong support forcreating and sharing one‘s creations, andsome type of informal mentorship wherebywhat is known by the most experienced ispassed along to novices. A participatoryculture is also one in which membersbelieve their contributions matter, and feelsome degree of social connection with oneanother…Participatory culture is emerging as theculture absorbs and responds to theexplosion of new media technologies thatmake it possible for average consumers toarchive, annotate, appropriate, andrecirculate media content in powerful newways. Jenkins, Henry. 2006. ―Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century.‖
  8. 8. CULTURE HAS ANEED FORDIALOG The mass media, by and large, do a bad job of it, and the proliferation and success of demagogues at hijacking the public debate have made it almost impossible for people to disagree respectfully… Making museums places that you go to in order to be an active citizen is something I‘d love to see more of us attempt. That means making space available, making time available, and making our ears available to hear what matters to our constituents. Ed Rodley Museum of Science Boston
  10. 10. Empirical data supports the view that visitors spend little time at individual exhibitcomponents (often a matter of a few seconds and seldom as much as one minute);seldom read labels; usually stop at less than half the components at an exhibit; aremore likely to use trial-and-error methods at interactive exhibits than to readinstructions; that children are more likely to engage with interactive exhibits thanadults, and that attention to exhibits declines sharply after about half an hour. From Learning in the Museum by George E. Hein, Routledge, 1998, p. 138.
  11. 11. Studies of 150 visitors at the Metropolitan Museum of Art found a mean time of less than 30 seconds viewing an object to be typical, with most spending significantly less time. Douglas Worts, former interpretive planner and audience researcher at the Art Gallery of Ontario and museologist, summarizes this behavior as ―grazing‖ and theorizes that the pattern may arise from a mismatch in the goals of curators and visitors. It is relatively rare to watch a visitor spend more than a minute with any individual artwork. Spending Time on Art‖ by Jeffrey K. Smith and Lisa F. Smith in Empirical Studies of the Arts, Vol 19, Number 2, 2001. On the Brink of Irrelevance? Art Museums in Contemporary Society‖ by Douglas Worts, 2003. GRAZINGFlickr Credit ~Petereck
  12. 12. Enrich Permanent CollectionSTUDIES ATTHE IMA Time spent looking typically averages between 12 and 35 seconds
  14. 14. A NURSERYOF LIVINGTHOUGHTSThe work of organizing museums hasnot kept pace with the times. TheUnited States is far behind the spirit ofits own people…This can not long continue. Themuseum of the past must be set aside,reconstructed, transformed from acemetery of bric-a-brac into a nurseryof living thoughts.Goode, G. Brown. 1891. The Museumsof the Future. Washington, DC:Government Printing Office. Goode, G. Brown. 1891. The Museums of the Future. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
  15. 15. A mans work is nothing but thisslow trek to rediscover, throughthe detours of art, those two orthree great and simple images inwhose presence his heart firstopened. Albert Camus
  16. 16. ON THE LOOKOUTFOR ENGAGEMENT Flickr Credit ~gerlos
  18. 18. The Museum of Modern Art, 2010
  19. 19. The presence of the originalis the prerequisite to theconcept of authenticity.PRESENCEWalter Benjamin, 1936
  20. 20. Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art islacking in one element: its presence in time and space, itsunique existence at the place where it happens to beOne might subsume the eliminatedelement in the term aura and goon to say: that which withers inthe age of mechanicalreproduction is the aura of thework of art.AURA Walter Benjamin, 1936
  21. 21. I LOVE THIS ROCK
  22. 22. I LOVE THIS ROCK
  23. 23. I LOVE THIS ROCK
  24. 24. I LOVE THIS ROCK
  26. 26. OPTIMIZING FOREPIPHANY Flickr Credit ~paulwatson
  27. 27. EPIPHANYIt probably has a milliondefinitions. Its the occurrencewhen the mind, the body, theheart, and the soul focustogether and see an old thingin a new way. Maya Angelou
  28. 28. EPIPHANIES“… moments that leave a markon people’s lives” Jean-Paul Sartre
  29. 29. ENGAGEMENT WHAT’S THE RIGHT MODEL?Flickr Credit ~measter2
  30. 30. A REVIEW OFTHE LITERATURE 1. Pekarick and Doering 2. Samis 3. Csikszentmihalyi 4. Falk Flickr Credit ~shutterhacks
  31. 31. IDEASOBJECTSPEOPLE Flickr Credit ~ellenlove
  32. 32. IDEAS OBJECTS PEOPLEDeveloped by Andrew Pekarickand Zahava Doering at theSmithsonian Office for Policyand Analysis Results from a series of surveys of exhibitions at the national museums Flickr Credit ~ellenlove
  33. 33. IDEAS OBJECTS PEOPLEVisitors tend to favorinterpretive materials that focuson one of eitherideas, objects, or people Flickr Credit ~ellenlove
  34. 34. IDEASIdeas Gaining information or insight OBJECTS Enriching my understanding PEOPLEObjects Seeing rare, valuable, or uncommon thingsPeople Finding out what its like to live in a different time or place Getting a sense of the everyday lives of othersReflection Reflecting on the meaning of what I see Being moved by beauty Flickr Credit ~ellenlove
  35. 35. IDEAS OBJECTS PEOPLEThese predispositions tend todrive the experiences theyseek out – and are highlycorrelated to exit-satisfactionresults for those types ofexperiences. Flickr Credit ~ellenlove
  36. 36. IDEAS OBJECTS PEOPLE“Visitors are happiest whenthey encounter experiencesthat are unexpectedlysatisfying” “Experientially richer visits seem to be rated higher” Flickr Credit ~ellenlove
  37. 37. Flickr Credit ~da100fotos ATTRACT, ENGAGE, FLIP ―Most of the visitors we observed and interviewed revealed a primary orientation, but—if given the right contents or presentation—could flip to unexpected discoveries of a different type.‖
  38. 38. VISUAL VELCROFlickr Credit ~quinnanya
  39. 39. VISUAL VELCRO To illustrate, let us imagine the humble Velcro patch. It consists of a strip of tiny loops, originally inspired by a burr caught in dog fur or velvet‘s fuzzy surface. Now imagine a sensory impression, in this case an artwork, arriving in your perceptual field. Unless the visual impression has a hook that can fit into one of the loops on your specific LTM ―patch,‖ it will glide right by and be forever forgotten. If there is something in the artwork, however, that strikes you—a figure, a vivid color, a bodily sensation resulting from the artwork‘s massive or minuscule scale, a memory trigger or implied narrative connection—then we can say that artwork has ―Visual Velcro.‖It has hooked into your cognitive structure and stands a chance of remaining in your memory. Peter Samis, New Technologies as Part of a Comprehensive Interpretive Plan, 2007.quinnanya/
  40. 40. The work of interpretation, then, is to give cognitive hooks to the hookless, and assure that these hooks are sufficiently varied so that they can successfully land in the mental fabric of a broad array of visitors. Once visitors have a framework, all kinds of sensory impressions, emotions and reflections can weave themselves into the fabric of perception. Peter Samis, New Technologies as Part of aPhoto Credit Alan Levine Comprehensive Interpretive Plan, 2007.
  41. 41. Flow Flickr Credit ~samhames
  42. 42. Flow The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego- self, etc.) are typically ignored. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Flickr Credit ~samhames
  43. 43. Flow If a museum visit can produce this experience, it is likely that the initial curiosity and interest will grow into a more extensive learning interaction. Intrinsic Motivation in Museums: Why Does One Want To Learn, Csikszentmihalyi and Hermanson Flickr Credit ~samhames
  44. 44. IN THE GROOVE Flickr Credit ~photograham
  45. 45. To achieve a flow state, a balance mustbe struck between the challenge of thetask and the skill of the performer. If thetask is too easy or too difficult, flowcannot occur. Both skill level andchallenge level must be matched andhigh; if skill and challenge are low andmatched, then apathy results.Finding Flow, Csikszentmihalyi, 1997.IN THE GROOVE Flickr Credit ~photograham
  46. 46. OPTIMIZING FOREPIPHANY Flickr Credit ~paulwatson
  47. 47. THE MUSEUM VISITCAN HAVE MANYFACETS Flickr Credit ~phineasx
  48. 48. JOHN FALKFounder of Institute for LearningInnovationProfessor Learning and ScienceEducation at Oregon State UniversityResearch conducted primarily at zoos,aquaria, and science centers. But also with art museums including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Denver Art Museum
  50. 50. FREE-CHOICE According to tourism researcher JanLEARNING Packer, most people visit museums, parks, and other similar venues in order to ―experience learning‖ or what she calls ―learning for fun‖Falk suggests that learning and leisure arebecoming one and the same experience
  51. 51. LEARNING ANDIDENTITY Academic Learning Learning is about the mastery of facts and concepts in order to orally, or in writing describe or defend an idea or proposition Free-Choice learning Primarily driven by intrinsic motivations. Typically for personal rather than public reasons and often strongly motivated by the needs of identity formation and reinforcement John Falk, 2006
  52. 52. Explorers: motivated by a need to satisfy personal curiosity and interest in an intellectually challenging environment. Experience seekers: aspire to be exposed to the things and ideas that exemplify what is best and intellectually most important within a culture or community. Professional/Hobbyists: possess the desire to further specific intellectual needs in a setting with a specific subject matter focus. Rechargers: motivated by the yearning to physically, emotionally, and intellectually recharge in a beautiful and refreshing environment. Facilitators: motivated by the wish to engage in a meaningful social experience with someone whom they care about in an educationally supportive environment (parental facilitator and social facilitator).IDENTITY-RELATEDVISIT MOTIVATIONS
  53. 53. ENTRANCENARRATIVE Flickr Credit ~aunto
  54. 54. WHY FALK? • It is simple and easy to understand. • It is fairly well documented in the literature. • It has been tested and used in many museums. • It can be used by more than one department in the museum. • Falk has developed and tested a simple method to identify visitors motivations. Flickr Credit ~aunto
  56. 56. Results (371 participants)25.00%20.00%15.00%10.00%5.00%0.00%The most common visitor types were explorers (22.6%), experience seekers (22.4%), and rechargers (21.8%). Affinity seekers were the least common visitor type (2.7%).
  57. 57. Parental vs. Social Facilitators40 54% Of the 63 respondents35 who identified 46% themselves as30 facilitators, 54% were parental facilitators25 (visiting with children20 under the age of 18) and 46% were social15 facilitators (not visiting with children under the10 age of 18). These correspond to 9.10%5 and 7.8% respectively of the total participants.0 parental facilitators social facilitators
  58. 58. ACTIVITY INVENTORY Flickr Credit ~zomerstorm
  59. 59. WHAT ABOUTONLINE VISITORS? Flickr Credit ~quinnanya
  60. 60. 2011 Web Stats1M Visits (3.6M Hits) +7%56% (566K) not in Visit 6%58% (580K) not in IN +5%2011 Museum Attendance 381,026 (-11%) Mobile 8.8% (2x 2010)
  61. 61. WHAT ABOUTONLINE VISITORS? A Web site that promotes flow is like a gourmet meal. You start off with the appetizers, move on to the salads and entrées, and build toward dessert. Unfortunately, most sites are built like a cafeteria. You pick whatever you want. That sounds good at first, but soon it doesnt matter what you choose to do. Everything is bland and the same. Web site designers assume that the visitor already knows what to choose. Thats not true. People enter Web sites hoping to be led somewhere, hoping for a payoff. Csikszentmihalyi, WIRED, 1996. Flickr Credit ~quinnanya
  62. 62. WHAT’S THE ONLINEENTRANCE NARRATIVE? Flickr Credit ~aunto
  63. 63. WHAT’S THE RIGHT MODEL? Prior Work: 1. Haley-Goldman & Schaller, 2004 2. Peacock & Brownbill, 2007 3. Ellenbogen, Haley-Goldman & Falk, 2008Flickr Credit ~measter2
  64. 64. WHAT’S THE RIGHT MODEL? In Summary: •Using the site to plan or follow up a visit to the physical site •Using the website to locate subject-based information •Accessing the website as part of browsing activities on the Web •Using the website to interact or transact with the museumFlickr Credit ~measter2
  65. 65. WHAT’S THE RIGHT MODEL? It seems (at least on the surface) that motivations for visits to physical museums are different than for museum websites: Experiences, identity-building vs. communication/information seeking Investment in visiting the physical and virtual museum is not the same Ellenbogen, Haley-Goldman & Falk, 2008Flickr Credit ~measter2
  67. 67. Google Analytics Is Not Enough
  68. 68. Initial Open-Ended Survey
  69. 69. Coded Results from Open Ended Online Motivations n=11340%35%30%25%20%15%10% 5% 0% Plan a Visit Find Specific Find Specific Casual Make a Content for Content for Browsing Transaction Professional Personal Reasons Reasons
  70. 70. Follow Up Categorical Survey
  71. 71. A Much Better Response
  72. 72. Online Motivation by Type and Time n=407660.00% 12:0050.00%40.00% 7:0930.00% 6:19 5:56 5:4020.00%10.00%0.00% Plan a Visit Find Specific Find Specific Casually Browse Make a Information for Information for Transaction Professional Personal Reasons Reasons Percent Visits Average time
  73. 73. Average Time per Page by Motivation Type6050403020100 Plan a Visit Find Specific Find Specific Casual Browsing Make a Information for Information for Transaction Professional Personal Reasons Reasons time/page (sec)
  74. 74. Visitor Flow
  75. 75. Visitor Flow
  76. 76. Visitor Flow
  77. 77. IN THE MEANTIMEFlickr Credit ~nicholasjon
  78. 78. LOOKINGAND SEEING Flickr Credit ~rocketjim54
  79. 79. Utagawa Hirōshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) - Nihonbashi in the Snow
  80. 80. Utagawa Hirōshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) - Nihonbashi in the Snow
  82. 82. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Silvia Filippini-Fantoni, Audience Engagement Tiffany Leason, Audience Engagement Charlie Moad, IMA Lab Ed Bachta, IMA Lab
  83. 83. MUSEUMS CAN DENT THE UNIVERSE. Thank YouFlickr Credit ~Sweetie187