The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gido Hakvoort & Andrew Lewis 'New Technology in Digital Heritage' - Brown Bag November 14th


New Technology in Digital Heritage: Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Ubiquity, and the History of the Future’

Andrew and Gido are both PhD researchers with the European Research Institute at the University of Birmingham. They are heavily involved in the latest technologies available to the heritage industry and were kind enough to come and give a wonderful presentation on their work and current projects undertaken by the Do.Collaboration centre and University of Birmingham (http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/facilities/hclh/index.aspx).

Do.Collaboration (formerly the Heritage and Cultural Learning Hub) is focused on a wide range of projects including multi-touch and sensory devices, augmented reality, virtual reality, software and hardware that works to improve visitor engagement in the museum environment. The team has a range of backgrounds from scientists to programmers to museum professionals and artists. It is a collaborative and helpful team working together and approachable for questions and advice!

They currently have a range of projects and funding on going at the centre and are working in partnership with a range of museums, including BMAG, IGMT, the HIVE and The New Library of Birmingham (http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/facilities/hclh/demonstrator/index.asp) . One of the most interesting aspects of the centre is the Prototyping Hall for testing digital outputs of projects on going. The large room is part of the centre’s space and includes large walled touch-screens, touch tables, projectors , mobile technology and a multi-user tracking system that will be able to track up to 40 users at once. There is also a one-way observation room. This Hall allows the researchers to test technology in a simulated environment of a museum, to see how users interact with the technology and each other. I found one of the most interesting aspects of the Hall is the large touch screen on the wall that allows multiple users to touch the screen at the same time; something that I find is sadly lacking in museum touch screens.

Some of the current projects include an EU-funded Regions of Knowledge: Smart Culture (http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/capacities/regions-knowledge_en.html), a £1.5m AHRC partnership with various universities and the Digital Heritage Demonstrator project. All of the projects at Do.Collaboration seek to explore the benefits of touch technology in a variety of ways and link touch screens with mobile technologies.

The presentation today focused around the PhD research of three students, Hafiz, Gido and Andrew. Hafiz could not be with us, but Gido was kind enough to detail his research. Hafiz is working on sensing people around a multi-touch table to see how users engage and approach interactive tables. He is using tracking sensors around the table that can track up to 6 users at once. Also part of the project is to use tracking to personalise the space of a user around the table, allowing them to be in control of their own area. The project also looks at how to attract users to the table and greet them, which is also a focus on personalisation. The idea is that instructions are given to the first users and then passed on to other users through visual observation of the first user. Also the ability to track people through their characteristics, such as height or gait, through the gallery to personalise the interactives to them as they move through the space.

Gido’s project is also dealing with touch screens, but also mobile devices in combination. He has been interested in the varied reasons why people visit a museum and determined that one of the aspects is for hands on experiences. He has questioned what behavioural patterns can be seen with visitors’ interactions around touch tables and mobiles – how can the touch screen increase the social interaction? He is interested in how technologies can be combined: touch, mobile, QR, display, etc. to all become context. Touch tables themselves are very social experiences and can be used by many people, but they are also unfamiliar and very public which means some people prefer not to use them because others can watch what they are doing. Mobile, on the other hands, is familiar and personal, but its output is limited and it creates less social experiences because it is more personal. Gido is interested in how to connect these two technologies together. He would like to be able to use these devices in combination in throughout the gallery space to allow visitors to find more information. Gido is currently creating prototypes to be used in the Prototype Hall to see how people move and interact and how they use the technology to make the experience more social and interactive.

Andrew, meanwhile, is researching on a subject that harkens back to my undergraduate days. He is focused on reconstructing cuneiform tablets. There are, literally, hundreds of thousands of fragments of cuneiform tablets scattered around the world, only some of which are catalogued in the CDLI database (over 200,000 there alone). It is like a giant jigsaw puzzle trying to fit the fragments together and many are badly damaged. Andrew embarked on a project to digitally map 8000 complete pieces to determine the average size of most tablets and found that this could be measured. Most are a 1:1 ratio, and many others are the same ratio that can be found on a Smartphone! Clearly, the Mesopotamians weren’t that different from us! Andrew used photogrammetry to measure the tablets correctly. Now they are able to predict the size of a complete tablet from only a fragment. This will increase the efficiency of the matching process for scholars matches amongst fragments around the world easier. Fragments can now to scanned in 3D and matched up electronically in an online database. Users can manipulate the online images and other users can see how the image has been moved and rotated. As part of the project, Andrew has also been able to print representations of the cuneiform tablets in 3D, which I personally find fascinating!

We have such wonderful technologies available to us today that do amazing things. It is even more wonderful to know that such cutting edge technology is being used in the heritage sector to create visitor interest, solve historical problems and make museums more interactive and interesting! We live in a fascinating time in the cultural sector where technology is increasing in leaps and bounds, museums are becoming much more inclusive and yet, at the same time, the cultural industry is suffering economically. Still, that such projects as Hafiz, Gido and Andrew’s exist is a testament to the people who work in this industry.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Elizabeth Weiser, 'New Rhetoric, National Museums' - Brown Bag, 21 November 2012

A tour around National Museums of the world; a chronological journey of rhetoric from Aristotle to Burke and beyond; and a fascinating insight into how these seemingly diverse concepts link together, through thinking of the museum as a rhetorical space in which communal identities are formed: so Liz presented her ideas in 'New Rhetoric, National Museums'.

This was a fascinating overview of 'New Rhetoric' propounded by Kenneth Burke, but one which was foregrounded in looking at what rhetoric is, where it came from, and what it may have to do with museums.  Museums approach their identities in different ways in different periods: examples were given of Buenos Aires National Museum and Te Papa - we can look at these through different lenses - psychological, sociological, linguistic, historical, professional - but actually Liz argued, the lens of new rhetoric provides a useful framework for exploring national museums and how they are identifiying themselves, their histories and their values.  Rhetoric after all is about asking what this language (in a museum) is trying to lead me to believe about the world, and what it reveals about its author (the museum).  In short, rhetoric is about persuasion.  In particular, epideictic rhetoric is about asking what it is that we value.

Liz discussed origins of rhetoric: from the Sicilians who trained the Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, from the Greeks to the Romans, from the Romans to Augustine and the Early Church.  Gradually, the system devolved from a flexible one, to one more based on presriptions and figures of speech, or rhetorical devices.  Whizz forward through time and space to the USA where I.A.Richards then reappropriated classical rhetoric, merging it with semiotics, and there we have the 'new rhetoric' of Burke.

What has all this got to do with (national) museums?  Well, above all, museums are not neutral spaces.  Neither is intention the same as effect.  Through their displays, their objects, their people, they communicate.  They don't just communicate though by what is present, but also by what is absent.  Certain stories and histories are told by what is there, but also by what is missing.  And no history can ever be fully represented because of this: museums are selective, even if not intentionally so.

For Burke, this moves a step beyond what Aristotle was saying about rhetoric as persuasion.  For Burke, it's all about identity: I cannot be persuaded by someone unless I can identify with them.  Only then is it worth having dialogue.  Rhetoric consists of logic, emotion and truted authority all working together.  Liz pointed out that Te Papa has done a good job of representing this consubstantial relationship between its communities, between logic, emotion and community authority/memory: Maoris can identify with non-Maoris because their histories are similar in two respects: both groups made difficult sea journeys to get to New Zealand, and both groups have substantially altered, yet care for the land.  A particular action has led to a mythic communal action to give a sense of nationhood.

In a similar way, a mythic object may take on a significant status, or an emotional identity for a nation.  Or it may take on more than one meaning in a hierarchy of dialetic.  Examples were given of the Arbroath Declaration of 1320, Ataturk's Mausoleum in Ankara, and the questionable European identity (or lack of it) exemplified through a wordless anthem, and now being concretised in Brussels' House of European History.  Perhaps above all, there's an openness here to ambiguity: if museums are epideictic rhetoric, they are open-ended.

Liz finished her talk by posing some questions, and the discussion once more took us around the world - to Mexico, Canada, Australia, Argentina and Peru, to questioning the distinctions between a novel or theatrical performance and a museum, and finally to consider whether museums have a responsibility to deal with conflict and how they might do this.  Perhaps readers might like to reflect and comment on these questions:
Do museums have an ethical role?
Does this answer to this depend on the type of museum?
Do national museums have a role in the C21st?
Are there communcal myths and mythic images in our own communities?



Elizabeth Weiser is an associate professor at The Ohio State University in the Department of English Studies.  She specializes in modern  rhetorical theory, historiography, and narrative, and her current book project applies these to the national identification engendered in national museums around the world.  Weiser’s first book, titled Burke, War, Words: Rhetoricizing Dramatism, analyzed the birth of modern rhetorical theory as a “third way” between war and totalitarianism, and she sees in museums the potential to instantiate the dialogue that is difficult to sustain outside of aesthetic spaces. In 2008 she was named the best new Burkean scholar in the nation. Her other publications include Engaging Audience: Writing in an Age of New Literacies, and the forthcoming Women and Rhetoric between the Wars.

With a grant from the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, she has spent this fall working with the European Union National Museums Project both here and at Linkoping  University in Sweden, which she says has been a wonderful experience of getting to know European colleagues and their work.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Canadian Update

The Canadian Museum of Civilization is embarking on a cross-Canada tour seeking input from members of the public on what they would like from their national history museum. Lord Cultural Resources has developed an innovative public engagement and consultation process – My History Museum – consisting of a dynamic and interactive website, a survey, hands-on activities set up at kiosks in malls, airports and markets around the country as well as a series of panel discussions and face-to-face roundtables with interesting and interested Canadians.

The public engagement project will help to inform the new positioning and the development of a new permanent exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Civilization – which will soon become the Canadian Museum of History. The new name and the new direction as a museum that will present the national history of Canada and its people was announced by Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable James Moore on October 16, 2012. The transition will take place gradually over the next several years to be completed in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

Over the coming weeks, the Museum will visit the following cities: St. John’s, Newfoundland; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Fredericton, New Brunswick; Montréal and Gatineau, Québec; Toronto, Ontario; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; and Edmonton, Alberta. The Museum has already conducted roundtables and hosted interactive kiosks in Vancouver, British Columbia. Members of the public will be invited to join us for roundtable sessions or to visit our interactive kiosks at public venues and events in these cities. The Museum of Civilization is also consulting with historians, researchers and museologists from across the country.

Contribute to the Canadian Museum of History by visiting www.civilization.ca/myhistorymuseum. You can also sign up for a roundtable session here.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization is the centre for research and public information on the social and human history of the country. Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Museum is Canada’s largest and most popular cultural institution, attracting over 1.2 million visitors each year. The Museum of Civilization’s principal role is to preserve and promote the heritage of Canada for present and future generations, thereby contributing to the promotion and enhancement of Canadian identity.

Lord Cultural Resources, founded in 1981, is the world’s largest global professional practice dedicated to creating cultural capital worldwide having conducted over 2,000 cultural projects in over 50 countries on 6 continents. We collaborate with people and organizations to plan and manage cultural places, programs and resources that deliver excellence in the service of society. The firm has led dozens of planning assignments for national museums around the world, including the Canadian Museums for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, and Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.

Friday, November 16, 2012

NJ Quotes our very own Richard Sandell!

You are invited to attend a panel discussion entitled "Museums, Ethics, and Social Justice" on Tuesday, November 27th at 7pm at Seton Hall University (New Jersey, USA). The event will take place in Seton Hall's University Center, Chancellor's Suite.

The panel will address an issue that is widely discussed among those interested in museums, namely what is the social responsibility of museums with regard to the communities they serve. Are museums just repositories of objects, places where one can spend a pleasant and perhaps even educational leisure afternoon, or do they have a larger  societal  role to play? Some leading authorities on museums, such as Richard Sandell (University of Leicester, UK), author of Museums, Equality and Social Justice (2012), is of the opinion that concerns for equality, diversity, social justice and human rights should be at the core of "museum thinking." Others feel that this is not a role museums should play.

The four participants in the discussion all have much to bring to the table. Anthony Gardner, Director of the State Museum in Trenton (BA, Communications and MA Museum Professions, both from SHU) has been deeply involved in the redevelopment of the 9/11 site as  a member of the Families Advisory Council for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Judith Dobrzynski is a well- known cultural journalist (see: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_H._Dobrzynski). Liz Sevcenko, heads up the Guantanamo Public Memory Project, jointly sponsored by Columbia University and the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, and Eric Ledbetter, is a museum consultant who, until recently served as Director of International Programs and Ethics at the American Association of Museums. Sally Yerkovitch, Director of the Institute of Museum Ethics at SHU as well as an adjunct faculty member in the Museum Professions Program, will moderate the discussion, which we expect to be lively.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Call for papers from MuseumsEtc

We invite international submissions to be included in this forthcoming book, to be published by MuseumsEtc [www.museumsetc.com] in 2013. The full Call for Papers may be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/ReflexivePhoto

SUBMISSIONS
Proposals are welcomed from writers, academics, photographers, curators, artists and other visual practitioners.

This book will bring together the varied ways in which reflexivity manifests itself within photography and the photograph. In this instance we are taking a broad approach to the term (as evidenced in the suggestions below), where “reflexivity” is used to describe:
* The methods and dialogues that practitioners use to interrogate their own work
* The manner in which these devices enable the photographer to engage in an exchange with the work of others and with the world around them

We are seeking chapters that deal with a wide range of issues in relation to the principle of the reflexive photographer. This could encompass - but is not limited to - conceptual, cultural, historical and visual concerns relating to:
* The historical perspectives of reflexivity
* The photographer making visual work that is reflexive
* The photographer writing about and reflecting on their own work
* The use or affect that the materials of photography (the lens, the camera, etc.) have on reflexivity
* The photographer using notebooks and sketchbooks (or equivalent) as a reflexive tool
* The use or affect that different types of editing have on reflexivity
* The photographer writing about the work of others as a reflexive tool
* The analysis of seminal texts from key photographers
* The interview as a means to reveal reflexivity
* The examination of reflexivity where more than one practitioner is at work
* The use of the photograph as a form of life writing
* The use of reflexivity in the context of photography in the digital sphere

Additionally, we are interested in examining different formats for reflexivity:
* The book
* Correspondence
* The manifesto
* The blog
* The diary
* The travelogue
* The exhibition
* Exhibition commentary, interpretation and/or the exhibition catalogue
* The photo collective or group

This list is not exhaustive and we welcome proposals on other themes.

THE EDITORS
Rosie Miller is a Lecturer and Critical & Contextual Studies Area Leader in the School of Art & Design, University of Salford, UK. Jonathan Carson is Associate Head (Academic) and Senior Lecturer in Critical & Contextual Studies in the School of Art & Design, University of Salford, UK. Theresa Wilkie is Director of Design & Culture and Senior Lecturer in Critical & Contextual Studies in the School of Art & Design, University of Salford, UK. All three previously edited Photography and the Artist’s Book (MuseumsEtc, 2012).

THE DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS 10 DECEMBER 2012.

The full Call for Papers, and details of how to submit your proposal, can be found here: http://bit.ly/ReflexivePhoto

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

ELECTRONIC VISUALISATION AND THE ARTS LONDON 2013

Monday 29th July - Wednesday 31st July 2013
Venue: British Computer Society, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7HA

www.eva-london.org

CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Deadline: 18th January 2013

*Visualising*
Ideas and concepts in culture, heritage the arts and sciences: digital arts, sound, music, film and animation, 2D and 3D imaging, European projects, archaeology, architecture, social media for museums, heritage and fine art photography, medical visualisation and more

OFFERS OF PAPERS, DEMONSTRATIONS AND WORKSHOPS by 18th January 2013

A feature of EVA London 2013 is its varied session types. We invite proposals of papers, demonstrations, short performances, workshops or panel discussions. Demonstrations and performances will be an important part of this year's conference. We especially invite papers or presentations on topical subjects, and the newest and cutting edge technologies and applications.

EVA London 2013 will include a digital art exhibition.

Only a summary of the proposal, on up to one page, is required for selection. This must be submitted electronically according to the instructions on the EVA London website. Proposals may be on any aspect of EVA London's focus on visualisation for arts and culture, heritage and medical science, broadly interpreted. Papers are peer reviewed and may be edited for publication as hard copy and online. Other presentations may be published as summaries or as papers.

If your proposal is a case study, we will be looking for discussions of wider principles or applications using the case study as an example. A few bursaries for EVA London registration fees will again be available if you don't have access to grants.

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As a guide for the subject areas EVA London 2013 welcomes, see
http://stuartdunn.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/wordle-keywords.jpg

Monday, November 05, 2012

EVA Call for Proposals

*EVA London 2013*
*Monday 29th July – **Wednesday 31st July 2013*
Venue: British Computer Society, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7HA
www.eva-london.org

*CALL FOR PROPOSALS*
*Deadline: 18th January 2013*

**Visualising**
Ideas and concepts in culture, heritage the arts and sciences: digital
arts, sound, music, film and animation, 2D and 3D imaging, European
projects, archaeology, architecture, social media for museums, heritage and
fine art photography, medical visualisation and more

OFFERS OF PAPERS, DEMONSTRATIONS AND WORKSHOPS by 18th January 2013

A feature of EVA London 2013 is its varied session types. We invite
proposals of papers, demonstrations, short performances, workshops or panel
discussions. Demonstrations and performances will be an important part of
this year’s conference.  We especially invite papers or presentations on
topical subjects, and the newest and cutting edge technologies and
applications.

EVA London 2013 will include a digital art exhibition.

Only a summary of the proposal, on up to one page, is required for
selection. This must be submitted electronically according to the
instructions on the EVA London <http://www.eva-london.org/> website.
Proposals may be on any aspect of EVA London's focus on visualisation for
arts and culture, heritage and medical science, broadly interpreted. Papers
are peer reviewed and may be edited for publication as hard copy and
online. Other presentations may be published as summaries or as papers.

If your proposal is a case study, we will be looking for discussions of
wider principles or applications using the case study as an example. A few
bursaries for EVA London registration fees will again be available if you
don't have access to grants.

***********************************************************
As a guide for the subject areas EVA London 2013 welcomes, see
http://stuartdunn.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/wordle-keywords.jpg

***********************************************************

Where Innovation Meets Rigor: Shaping the Next Decade of Visitor Studies

We are pleased to announce that the 2013 Visitor Studies Association calls for Session Proposals and Pre-Conference Workshop Proposals are now open! The deadline for submitting a proposal is December 21, 2012.

Where Innovation Meets Rigor: Shaping the Next Decade of Visitor Studies

VSA invites the informal learning community to join us in creating a conference program to help push the field of visitor studies forward by thinking about the future of our field. This year, VSA will reflect on innovation within visitor studies and the critical importance of bringing innovation and creativity to our work while balancing these efforts with rigor in research and evaluation practice.

Innovation can encompass a broad range of qualities and features in the fields of research, evaluation, and informal learning experiences – from defining indicators and reporting results to shaping policy and defining the value of cultural institutions. Innovation and creativity speak to the future and bring about new ways of knowing and understanding visitors. In contrast, rigor and best practices lead to established standards, efficiency, and tried and true ways of knowing and understanding visitors. Innovation and creativity relate to rigor in research and evaluation in both positive and negative ways. We are seeking proposals that explore different facets of innovation and rigor. What has worked before, what works now, what might work in the future, and how do we balance these questions in practice?

Please submit any questions to the Program Chairs Gayra Ostgaard and Robert Jakubowski at vsaconference@gmail.com

Please note: The 2013 conference will be held in Milwaukee, WI July 15-19. The conference hotel is the Pfister Hotel; more information coming soon.

Call for Papers

2013 Conference: Brave New Worlds - Transforming Museum Ethnography through Technology

CALL FOR PAPERS:
Deadline for Submissions: 7 December 2012

We invite papers from curators, conservators, artists, makers, anthropologists, art and design historians, digital media practitioners, researchers and others that explore the impact of technology upon the development and interpretation of museum ethnography, historically and today.
 
Digitalize – a digital artists’ residency with SDNA at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, July 2012. Photographs by Jim Holden.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Brown Bag Seminar Review - 23rd of October 2012


Dr. Rhiannon Mason

Reviewer: Cintia Velázquez Marroni


In this talk, Dr. Mason presented the project about the redevelopment of the permanent display of the Laing Art Gallery, the major gallery in the historical centre of New Castle UK. This gallery, known before as Art on Tyneside, was founded in 1901 and since then has been an important symbol of the region. Dr. Mason’s presentation included both explanation about the practicalities and operations of the creation process, and a theoretical reflection of the issues aroused from the “final product”.

The project was based on the redevelopment of the permanent display of Art on Tyneside, which was renamed “Northern Spirit: 300 years of art from the North East”. The project was particularly interested in how identity was related to a sense of place in the Northeast of England, as prompted by visual representations of the area. The project was funded by several sources and cost about 1.1 8 million.



The project was interested in involving as many different communities as possible. In the end, it involved working with 67 people who represented a wide range of community groups such as artists, visitors and non-visitors, new inhabitants of the region, filmmakers, photographers, youth workers, transport organizations and football associations. In order to include these communities, several activities were carried out to create different platforms to contain the images, sounds and atmospheres of the city in interactive types of digital media like touchscreens, maps, sound pieces, projections, talking head films and Flickr competitions.

In basic and general terms, the redevelopment was underpinned by an interest in the area of identity work and memory in galleries. The project had among its objectives to produce audience generated material that could be exhibited alongside other collections in an engaging and inclusive way. Therefore, this was a project that incorporated both research and production of content. It was designed to integrate communities in the exhibition process, in order to address issues of co-curation and polyvocality; this is, how to get different voices into a display in a dialogical process. Also, they focused on finding different digital technologies that could be used to facilitate the delivery of this process. Finally, Dr. Mason referred to how the ultimate goal of this project was to work towards the democratization of culture in the museum space.

Dr. Mason’s talk was particularly interesting because she presented an auto critical analysis of the different issues in which the project was effective but also those in which it wasn’t or which raised complex problems that were not contemplated in the original design. One of them was, for example, the different limits and negotiations that had to be carried out in order to implement in the design the theoretical perspectives that were desired; for example, polyvocality was considered a basic concept to include in the gallery but designers had several difficulties in organizing the information of the interactives in order to deliver it in a “polyvocal” way.

The auto-critical evaluation of the process was followed accordingly with the implementation of a first, preliminary visitor study to 34 persons in order to analyse the visit experience of the new gallery. Dr. Mason talked about how the data of the study had allowed understanding the process by which visitors do use place as a way of navigating memories around the city and of understanding change. But most importantly, she discussed how although polyvocality had been effectively introduced in the production side (different voices were included and contrasted in the display), it could not be “heard” (identified) by the visitors. This is, although the objective of exhibiting audience generated materials produced by varied communities was to present different perceptions of the city, visitors used them to focus on the issue of historical change: how the city, places, landscapes were different now in regards to the past, and they did so by using strategies of familiarity (analogous experiences, other domains of knowledge, knowledge of place and autobiographical memory).

Finally, Dr. Mason was sharp and very open in recognising that the topic of the democratization of the museum was much more complex than they originally identified. With the development of the project, the team became more aware of the debates around the concept of co-production and they began to have a deeper understanding of the implications of “democratizing curation”. She recognized, though, that the process did achieve to open a bit some areas of the creative process, but she recognized how there are always pre-set conditions, for example, those of the funding that hinder the total democratization of cultural institutions. Also, she referred to how digital media did allow for engaging ways to share and engage knowledge, but that their use was very much limited by age groups.



Also, as part of the assessment of the project, the team reflected on issues such as quality and production. Dr. Mason, for example, explained how the process might have been successful in terms of integrating communities but this might not have been the case of the outcome (the final display product as experienced by visitors). Is the museum interested in engaging people in the process or in the final outcome? In the end, this is not a minor problem since what is a stake is the representativity and sustainability of cultural projects: who and how much is benefited might not match public and political expectations of the assigned budgets.

Finally, based on data from the visitor study, Dr. Mason talked about the way in which, by drawing on Jay Rounds’ ideas about identity work and how people construct, maintain and adapt their sense of identity, museums are ideal settings for the identity and memory work. They provide the scene, the structure, the frames by which personal memories collide and mix with collective memories, and therefore, museums are very much about both the past and the present, the individual and the collective.