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Using mobilities-informed
methods to support new
approaches to arts
evaluation
Jen Ross, Claire Sowton, Jeremy Knox, Chris Speed.
University of Edinburgh
ARTIST ROOMS
• a collection of more than 725 works of
international contemporary art acquired in 2008
by National Galleries of Scotland and Tate.
• shared throughout the UK in a programme of
exhibitions organised in collaboration with local
associate galleries.
• aims to ensure the collection engages new, young
audiences.
woodman, untitled
“The ‘spatial turn’ in educational research has
led to an increasing focus on the ways in
which social space is constructed in all
learning contexts, whether formal or
informal, face-to-face or online. It is worth
asking, then: what is a ‘room’ (classroom,
ARTIST ROOM, gallery), and what happens
when we leave it? …When the room is seen
not as a fixed and bounded space but rather
as a shifting and temporary assemblage (as it
is with each ARTIST ROOM), how can we
create new doors, windows and portals into,
out of, and between rooms?” (Bayne, Clari
and Ross, ARTIST ROOMS Research
Partnership 'Education and Learning' strand
outline,August 2012)
woodman, untitled
“a radically different image of the house is
made possible by stripping off the walls and
observing flows of energy of every kind, seeing
the house as a “complex of mobilities” or an
“active body.” ... failing to see [walls] as screens
emphasizes their stability and capacity for
creating boundaries. In this container-like
perspective, space is perceived of as a location
in which activity occurs... [rather than]
produced through ongoing
movements.” (Leander, Philips and Taylor 2010,
p.332)
“when you have to go and queue
up in the bank and fill in a form
to get something. And you think
you should be able to do this via
an ATM or with some banking
app on your phone. Something
like that. But there is a real
element of bureaucracy to
it” (artcasting project
interviewee’s metaphor for
evaluation)
Interviewee: they do ask questions which are about experience,
those questionnaires, but that doesn’t ever come to very much, I
don’t think. It’s very difficult to kind of dissect that information and
kind of get to the heart of what it means.
Researcher: Because what you end up with is a lot of anecdotal
quotes?
Interviewee: Well I actually found some of the anecdotal quotes
more useful than some of the…[but] someone has to go through all
this data and kind of crunch it down and make an understanding of
it. ...And then there is a whole question about how you determine
what a successful engagement is.
woodman, untitled
“a fruitful arts impact research agenda… is not
confined to the demands of an instrumental
rationality: [it takes] a critical approach that aims at
an open enquiry of the problems, both theoretical
and methodological, which are inherent in the
project of understanding the response of individuals
to the arts and trying to investigate empirically the
extent and nature of the effects of the aesthetic
experience.” (Belfiore & Bennett, 2010)
celmins, web #1
The research problem:
Engagement, inspiration and active
learning are high priorities for
museums and galleries, but methods
for evaluating them are often
constrained, lacking a sense of the
richness of participants' experience.
New approaches for evaluation of
engagement are needed. In
particular, more can be done to
leverage the profound rethinking of
place and space that has come along
with digital incursions into our day-
to-day lives.
project objectives
• understand how mobilities approaches can enrich arts
evaluation;
• design, develop and pilot an artcasting platform;
• generate a robust artcasting approach;
• influence ARTIST ROOMS evaluation practice.
research questions
• How does offering visitors a way to align their
impressions of the ROOM with specific places help
them articulate their engagement with the work?
• How can a mobilities approach which asks visitors
to make connections between art and place
constitute meaningful evaluation practice?
Robert Mapplethorpe: Patti Smith, 1978
Roy Lichtenstein: Explosion, 1965-6
“To get to the stage of being able to make
artcasting, a large number of people have had to be
‘sold’ on a highly speculative vision of what
evaluation could be”
‘not-yetness’
“Before the project had even begun, a public had
sprung up around it – ARTIST ROOMS research
group members, associate gallery educators,
colleagues in the research offices of the University,
and the anonymous reviewers who supported and
championed the project. Engaging with such publics
and persuading them to help and support the
development of a speculative digital education
project is a form of engagement and performance
which may sometimes be overlooked.” (Ross 2015,
in progress)
‘not-yetness’
http://www.artcastingproject.net
References
• Belfiore, E. & Bennett, O., 2010. Beyond the “Toolkit Approach”: arts impact
evaluation research and the realities of cultural policy-making. Journal for
cultural research, 14(2), pp.121–142.
• Leander, K.M., Phillips, N.C. & Taylor, K.H., 2010.The Changing Social Spaces
of Learning: Mapping New Mobilities. Review of Research in Education,
34(1), pp.329–394.
• Ross, J., in progress. Researching the “not-yetness” of emerging technologies
in education: speculative method, intelligent problem solving and inventive
problem-making. University of Edinburgh.

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Using mobilities-informed methods to support new approaches to arts evaluation

  • 1. Using mobilities-informed methods to support new approaches to arts evaluation Jen Ross, Claire Sowton, Jeremy Knox, Chris Speed. University of Edinburgh
  • 2. ARTIST ROOMS • a collection of more than 725 works of international contemporary art acquired in 2008 by National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. • shared throughout the UK in a programme of exhibitions organised in collaboration with local associate galleries. • aims to ensure the collection engages new, young audiences.
  • 3. woodman, untitled “The ‘spatial turn’ in educational research has led to an increasing focus on the ways in which social space is constructed in all learning contexts, whether formal or informal, face-to-face or online. It is worth asking, then: what is a ‘room’ (classroom, ARTIST ROOM, gallery), and what happens when we leave it? …When the room is seen not as a fixed and bounded space but rather as a shifting and temporary assemblage (as it is with each ARTIST ROOM), how can we create new doors, windows and portals into, out of, and between rooms?” (Bayne, Clari and Ross, ARTIST ROOMS Research Partnership 'Education and Learning' strand outline,August 2012)
  • 4. woodman, untitled “a radically different image of the house is made possible by stripping off the walls and observing flows of energy of every kind, seeing the house as a “complex of mobilities” or an “active body.” ... failing to see [walls] as screens emphasizes their stability and capacity for creating boundaries. In this container-like perspective, space is perceived of as a location in which activity occurs... [rather than] produced through ongoing movements.” (Leander, Philips and Taylor 2010, p.332)
  • 5. “when you have to go and queue up in the bank and fill in a form to get something. And you think you should be able to do this via an ATM or with some banking app on your phone. Something like that. But there is a real element of bureaucracy to it” (artcasting project interviewee’s metaphor for evaluation)
  • 6. Interviewee: they do ask questions which are about experience, those questionnaires, but that doesn’t ever come to very much, I don’t think. It’s very difficult to kind of dissect that information and kind of get to the heart of what it means. Researcher: Because what you end up with is a lot of anecdotal quotes? Interviewee: Well I actually found some of the anecdotal quotes more useful than some of the…[but] someone has to go through all this data and kind of crunch it down and make an understanding of it. ...And then there is a whole question about how you determine what a successful engagement is.
  • 7. woodman, untitled “a fruitful arts impact research agenda… is not confined to the demands of an instrumental rationality: [it takes] a critical approach that aims at an open enquiry of the problems, both theoretical and methodological, which are inherent in the project of understanding the response of individuals to the arts and trying to investigate empirically the extent and nature of the effects of the aesthetic experience.” (Belfiore & Bennett, 2010)
  • 8. celmins, web #1 The research problem: Engagement, inspiration and active learning are high priorities for museums and galleries, but methods for evaluating them are often constrained, lacking a sense of the richness of participants' experience. New approaches for evaluation of engagement are needed. In particular, more can be done to leverage the profound rethinking of place and space that has come along with digital incursions into our day- to-day lives.
  • 9. project objectives • understand how mobilities approaches can enrich arts evaluation; • design, develop and pilot an artcasting platform; • generate a robust artcasting approach; • influence ARTIST ROOMS evaluation practice.
  • 10. research questions • How does offering visitors a way to align their impressions of the ROOM with specific places help them articulate their engagement with the work? • How can a mobilities approach which asks visitors to make connections between art and place constitute meaningful evaluation practice?
  • 11.
  • 13.
  • 15.
  • 16. “To get to the stage of being able to make artcasting, a large number of people have had to be ‘sold’ on a highly speculative vision of what evaluation could be” ‘not-yetness’
  • 17.
  • 18. “Before the project had even begun, a public had sprung up around it – ARTIST ROOMS research group members, associate gallery educators, colleagues in the research offices of the University, and the anonymous reviewers who supported and championed the project. Engaging with such publics and persuading them to help and support the development of a speculative digital education project is a form of engagement and performance which may sometimes be overlooked.” (Ross 2015, in progress) ‘not-yetness’
  • 20. References • Belfiore, E. & Bennett, O., 2010. Beyond the “Toolkit Approach”: arts impact evaluation research and the realities of cultural policy-making. Journal for cultural research, 14(2), pp.121–142. • Leander, K.M., Phillips, N.C. & Taylor, K.H., 2010.The Changing Social Spaces of Learning: Mapping New Mobilities. Review of Research in Education, 34(1), pp.329–394. • Ross, J., in progress. Researching the “not-yetness” of emerging technologies in education: speculative method, intelligent problem solving and inventive problem-making. University of Edinburgh.