Yesterday I attended a seminar hosted by Culture Lab on the role of technology in participation and engagement in the arts, organised by the Participation and Engagement in the Arts Knowledge Exchange Network, coordinated by Leila Jancovich and Franco Bianchini from Leeds Metropolitan University. The event featured informative presentations from Sarah Cook (Crumb), Rachel Clarke (Culture Lab), Georgina Chatfield (RSA Arts and Society) and Newcastle based community design company Roots and Wings, followed by two discussion groups on artists’ digital practice and on digital engagement strategies (the one I joined).
While these may not necessarily be particularly new ideas (in the digital media or museum/gallery worlds) here are some brief notes, questions and points of interest that I took away from the event:
- how do digital and especially social media problematise / rethink the role of the ‘curator’?
- what does it mean to ‘like’ or ‘share’ content – is this a basic act of curation? does this make everyone a curator in the Web 2.0 world?
- curator as one who ‘edits, filters, aggregates’ (Sarah Cook)
- defining and describing (online) audiences, as ‘Lurkers’, ‘Judges’, ‘Contributors’, etc? (ref: Nina Simon, curator and author of the Museum 0.2 blog and The Participatory Museum)
- the role of digital media in mediating and extending the audience / viewer ‘experience’ – the increasingly ‘long tail’ of the artwork, from the ‘live’ encounter, through to ‘image’ and ‘information’ distribution – does this expand or dilute the ‘impact’ of an artwork (issue raised in discussion group by Chris Bailey)
- relationship (?) between participation and engagement in the arts and participation in civic life (in discussion of RSA Citizen Power Peterborough project)
- growing use Twitter as a promotional/participatory activity (and possiblities as a research tool?)
- popularity of mobile phone photography as a participatory or engagement medium
- opportunities offered by ‘hyper-local’ activity e.g. home tourists, staycations (post-tourism), participatory mapping and social-locational apps like Foursquare (all mentioned by Bianchini in his summing up of the Knowledge Exchange discussion programme)
Thinking from this and from previous KEN seminars are to drawn together in the Engagement in the Arts conference at Yorkshire Sculpture Park on 26 June 2012, which I am planning to attend.