Call for Participation
Themes of the Workshop
The workshop will focus on discussing novel approaches for understanding people’s experiences in museums and art galleries and for designing interactive technologies to support these experiences.
Existing research discussing the role and impact of interactive technologies within this domain is mainly focused on the design of computerized systems that would provide museum visitors with large amounts of information regarding certain museum artefacts and exhibits. The technologies that have been employed for this purpose range from touch-screen kiosks, to portable digital assistants and “ambient” technologies.
However, this approach to designing interactive installations for museums presents certain limits: these installations can undermine people’s appreciation of the exhibits, as they are sometimes intrusive and distracting. Also, visitors’ social interaction with others is not supported adequately as most of these installations support single user interaction and might isolate people (for example in the case of audioguides). Finally, these installations tend to replace existing informational resources such as human guides, museum docents, guidebooks and paper labels, although these “traditional” forms of visitor support are informative, engaging and unobtrusive.
An increasing number of research projects dealing with the design and evaluation of interactive museum installations is being conducted with an experiential approach in mind: how to engage visitors into a meaningful and rewarding experience, rather than submerging them with information and distracting them from the existing museum holdings.
Such a design approach is focused on understanding experiential qualities of the museum –rather than simply visitors’ activities or behaviours- such as the visitors’ relationships with others, with the place and the artefacts they are exploring, and the museum staff’s attitudes towards the exhibition policies, the museum holdings and so on.
Existing museum education literature is also focusing on the experiential nature of the museum visit in order to provide recommendations for exhibit and workshop design.
In this workshop we are aiming to discuss in further detail how the design of interactive, non-desktop technologies can be aided by studying in depth a variety of issues related to visitors and staff’s experience of the museum. Installations of this sort would augment specific features of the museum in order to provide engaging and educational activities for visitors.
Submissions and Workshop structure
We encourage the submission of position papers discussing:
- Conceptual approaches to studying the experiential qualities of museum visits (such as social interaction, development of a sense of place, learning and critical reflection);
- Descriptions of methodological approaches for understanding visitors’ experience;
- Case studies describing museum’s staff experiences in understanding and supporting visitors;
- Case studies describing the design of interactive (low-tech and high-tech) museum exhibitions;
- Case studies describing the development of educational workshops and/or installations in museums.
We encourage social scientists, museum education experts, curators, interaction designers and computer scientists to submit a paper to the workshop.
We welcome submissions from museum experts, describing their current practices in supporting visitors’ experiences and concerns in supporting visitors’ engagement, interest and informal learning.
Participants will present their work, discussing the most important issues they encountered in conducting this type of research within museums, the methodologies they used and the significant outcomes arising from their work.
Following the presentations, the group will engage in discussion and collaborative exercises focused on 3 main questions:
- What are the different dimensions characterizing the museum experience?
- How their study can be beneficial for the design of interactive installations that would be engaging and present a strong educational value?
- What are the existing methodologies that can be used to conduct such a study and how could they be extended?
The debate will focus particularly on how the design of educational installations could benefit from an experience-oriented approach.
Participants will be invited to submit extended versions of their papers for possible inclusion in a journal special issue and, potentially, an edited book (we are currently negotiating with publishers).
The topic of this workshop presents strong links to the CONVIVIO themes and concerns: the workshop will focus on a specific application domain from a people and activity-centred perspective. The participants will discuss novel ways of conceptually approaching the problem of designing interactive installations within this domain, as well as examining current methodologies adopted for the study of people’s experience of museums within several disciplines.
Participation in the workshop is free of charge thanks to the support of CONVIVIO, the Netwrok for People-Centred Interactive Design..
***List of accepted papers***
Luigina Ciolfi, Michael Cooke, Liam Bannon, Tony Hall
Interaction Design Centre, University of Limerick, Ireland
Last update: May 17th 2005