Role of technology in participation and engagement

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.


Filed under conferences and events

3 responses to “Role of technology in participation and engagement

  1. If you haven’t come across it already, the following work of Kiyoka Fushimi (et al) from Hiroshima might be of interest? ‘Design of an Appreciation Support System for Public Art Using Mobile Phones’, Museums and the Web conference, 6-9 April 2011, Philadelphia PA [ URL: ].

    The slide presentation that accompanies that paper is here:

    I believe this project comes out of earlier work by Fushimi focused on art museum education (eg Kiyoka Fushimi and Kiyofumi Motoyama, ‘User-Centered Design: Improving Viewers’ Learning Opportunities in Art Museums in Japan’, The Journal of Museum Education , Vol. 32, No. 1, Digital Technology in Japanese Museums (Spring, 2007), pp. 73-85 [ URL: ]

    Enjoying your blog, regards, Ruth

  2. This looks like it was an interesting event- do you know if any of the discussions were written up anywhere? I’m very interested in the role that technology has to play in art museum participation and the idea of ‘museum 2.0’.

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