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Publication Detail
Expanding the Vitrine: co-curation in digital space (artists, young people and researchers)
The digitisation of museum collections is often framed as an access solution: putting digital objects ‘online’ is supposed to make them more accessible to people beyond the museum’s walls (Stow, 2011; Terras, 2008). However, digital collections frequently replicate the conceptual and spatial organisation of the museum in ways that prohibit access, with structures relying on prior knowledge and assumed perspectives that risk disassociating digital objects from key stakeholders in their cultural production (Geismar, 2018). This paper discusses co-curatorial methods of digital production to question dominant cultures of display, including the physical and digital accessibility of museum collections, and the myriad relationships between digital objects. With the research team’s development of an interactive, web-based app in partnership with the V&A Museum of Childhood, artists and young people as our principal case study, we highlight the potential for using co-design methods and new web-based digital tools to collectively reimagine the museum visitor experience. Funded by UCL-Culture, the RE-Invent: Digital Pilot app was developed in response to the early closure of the Museum of Childhood during the pandemic for a two-year renovation project to reimagine the Victorian museum as an interactive, creative lab. Far from replicating structural biases and object positions, we suggest how critically engaging the specific form and logic of digital technologies has revealed key insights for co-curatorial practice to inform the reinvention of a museum.
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