Everyday media for everyday meanings : interpreting archaeological monuments in the streets of a Greek cityArvanitis, Konstantinos January 2006 (has links)
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Hollins, Heather Jayne
At the centre of this piece of research is a case study that focused on a group of young disabled people who worked with The Holocaust Centre, Nottinghamshire, on a longitudinal ethnographic piece of action research. The aim behind this study was to support the young people to work with the Centre to challenge exclusionary practices. Opened in 1995, the Centre explores the history of the Holocaust and its implications for contemporary society. However, significant physical, sensory and intellectual barriers were built into the Centre that prevented disabled people from fully engaging with its site, facilities and programmes. For a place that discusses issues of prejudice and exclusion, its core values were clearly at odds with its daily operational practices. This study applied a research paradigm from the field of disability studies, which had been developed in response to the historic exclusion of disabled people from the research process, to the museum context. Emancipatory disability research principles focus on issues of reciprocity, empowerment and gain, and are intended to ensure that disabled people are in control of the research agenda. This study thus investigated whether by following these principles it was possible to support the young disabled people to empower themselves through research, and whether they directly benefited through their involvement in it. The study also explored whether this approach enabled them to gain access to decision-making by working in partnership with the Centre to challenge exclusionary practices. Addressing a significant gap in literature, this thesis speaks to the wider sector, as it explores how museums can work in more equitable ways with communities to address inequalities of power, whilst focusing on the issues that contribute to individuals’ and communities’ marginalisation. It therefore examines how issues of oppression and exclusion can be addressed through strategies that promote their empowerment.
Designing for meaning making in museums : visitor-constructed trails using mobile digital technologiesWalker, Kevin January 2010 (has links)
This thesis investigates how people make meaning in and from museums, through encounters with artefacts which are mediated by portable digital technologies. It provides evidence that technology can help to manage the amount of information visitors encounter, instead of increasing it, through activities which structure the use of technology. One such activity - visitor-constructed trails through museums - is studied in depth, with attention to how (and to what extent) the activity is structured, the contexts in which it takes place, and how various tools and resources mediate and support the activity. Three studies engage different types of visitors in trail construction, using mobile phones and portable digital audio player/recorders - technologies already commonly carried by visitors - in museums of art, science and history. Trails are shown to support meaning making by providing a curatorial scaffolding for visitors to recontextualise artefacts, through interpretations which are links between visitors' and artefacts' contexts, and are generally narrative in form. Technology is shown to help visitors make connections with artefacts through a two-way contextualisation, and by working in concert with other tools and resources. Meaning making is analysed using a conceptual model for the design and analysis of trails, which is grounded in a constructionist epistemology, a theoretical perspective on museum meaning making, and a methodology derived from activity theory.
Museums, technology and cultural policy : tensions and contradictions in the development and delivery of cultural learning onlineEarle, Wendy E. J. January 2012 (has links)
The two projects at the centre of this thesis are a New Labour Government initiative, Culture Online (2002-2007), and one of its commissioned projects, Every Object Tells a Story (2003- 2007), which was based at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Both developed during a period of transition in the publicly subsidised cultural sector in the context of increasingly intertwined discourses about education, the transformative power of museums, and new digital technologies. Both could be seen as exercises in the democratisation of culture and the demonstration of its public value, which were central strands in the development of New Labour's cultural policy between 1997 and 2007, thus providing useful case studies in relation to the implementation of this policy. Using a toolbox of methodologies, I have argued that the two projects were expressions, on one hand, of New Labour's cultural policy and, on the other of the museum sector's ambitions to achieve greater social relevance and perceived public value. Highlighting the tensions within and between the projects, the thesis identifies how the museum sector used ideas about learning and the new digital technologies to reformulate the value and work of museums both to attract higher levels of public engagement and to represent them as centres of social change. My research explores the problems of confusing and conflicting agendas both in the development of New Labour's cultural policy and in the attempts by museums to demonstrate their value in an ideological environment where new media are seen as determining the direction of change, and cultural learning or education is seen as offering people a means of adapting to change.
A substantial body of literature has examined supply side influences on museum visitors' consumption patterns, stressing the importance of the physical museum environment on visitors' willingness to engage and interact. Previous research in the physical context of museums is mainly focused on the labels, how many exhibits a visitor attends and for how long, but the level of actual engagement has not deservedly been studied. Also, the museum visitor experience has been argued to be influenced by not only the physical environment but also social and psychological factors and the agenda visitors bring with them . This study investigated the visitor agenda in greater detail, examining demand side influences on visitor engagement with museum exhibits, in an attempt to enhance understanding of consumer behaviour in museums from a cognitive perspective. A post-positivism perspective and a mixed-method approach were undertaken as core methodology. First, the main constructs were drawn from a review of the relevant literature on engagement, interaction with museum exhibits, consumer behaviour and further developed by means of 23 in-depth interviews, observations and photographic data with museum visitors to scrutinise how visitors behaved in practice. Second, a structural model (Partial Least Squares), including formative and reflective constructs, was subsequently tested and refined. Data was collected by means of a questionnaire survey among 535 visitors at Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, one of the UK's most visited attractions. Engagement was found to be predicted by prior knowledge of the museum, visitors' level of cultural capital and motivation to be entertained, casting into doubt the relationship between engagement and motivation to learn in museums. The research suggests the need for museums to construct exhibits around the familiar, build connections with visitors prior to their visit through information sharing, and realise more challenging ways to engage those visitors driven by desire to learn. This study makes a contribution to heritage marketing and consumer behaviour studies with regard to exploring the concept of engagement and visitors' interaction. Future research should differentiate types of engagement with regard to museum visitors (e.g. passive/interactive).
Although there is a growing practice of puppetry in education, there has been no academic research to date on the range of puppet theatre styles and techniques in the museum context. This interdisciplinary thesis seeks to investigate what I call ‘museum puppetry', e.g. puppetry used for pedagogical purposes in museum studies' with a focus on the exchanges, compromises and tensions among museum staff and puppet theatre practitioners. Although the research is conducted mainly from the puppeteers' perspective, the voice of museum experts is also present throughout. The thesis examines puppetry's theoretical and practical frames for creation and how these can be used to conceptualize the applied form of this marginalized medium in the contentious territory of museums today. It also investigates what benefits, challenges and limitations are faced by the two distinct communities of practice (puppeteers and museum staff) in the pre- and post-production of museum puppetry projects. This multiple case-study, qualitative research examines the current work of practitioners who present and perform in museums, mainly in the United Kingdom, United States, Greece and Israel. The data analysis, based on interviews and field work, also aims to investigate the projects' preproduction processes. Furthermore, it explores the negotiations between puppeteers and museum staff around the visual and performance aspects of museum puppetry projects from a technical and aesthetic point of view (construction, narrative, manipulation techniques). The research also suggests that although museum puppetry is currently a marginalized museum practice, its distinct sign system renders it rich in meaningful and soulfull associations, strongly visitor-oriented and remarkably flexible. Commissioning long term museum puppetry projects remains —with a few exceptions— a missed opportunity, due to prejudices and low expectations. Overall, the thesis reclaims the pedagogical, aesthetic value of puppets as ultimate metaphors. It advocates the holistic, eco-friendly aspect of the practice and favours the empathy and thought-provoking gaps it traces. Finally, it attempts to balance constructive, unpredictable learning with significance and fun.
Sustaining digital products in the museum sector : balancing value and resources through good decisionsOttevanger, Jeremy Matthew January 2013 (has links)
Digital products are an increasingly significant part of the output of museums in the UK, but the rationale behind them and the long term plans for them are not always clear. This thesis argues that to consider such a digital product to be sustainable, the value it creates must justify the resources it requires. The decisions involved in building and supporting these products affect both the value proposition and the resource requirements, but also reflect the way that museums and their stakeholders see the balance between the two. At the same time, this balance is under the influence of a constantly changing environment. The study proposes a model of sustainability as a cycle of value, resources and decision-making, and three case studies are used to examine how decisions are reached in the face of flux and uncertainty. Some ways in which decisions can be biased or distorted are identified, and finally some approaches are offered for museums seeking to improve the balance of value and resources, and increase the quality of the decisions that underlie them.
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