Shaping the Connected Museum

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: School of Computer Science


Museums and galleries are increasingly receptive to using information technology to enrich the museum visit and enhance the presentation of artefacts in order to remain relevant to increasingly demanding digitally savvy visitors and to deepen understanding of collections. Our proposal explores how to overcome the barriers of space, time, culture and regulation that arise when trying to connect museums across international boundaries. Through collocated and structured workshops with academic, cultural and industry experts in the UK and China, we will systematically explore how different approaches and digital technologies can new experiences for the visitors to, and using the artefacts within the 21st century connected museum.
We are interested in how we can support new kinds of movement; enabling visitors or artefacts to move between museums, potentially over time for future visitors, or by having an experience that physically continues at another location. We are also interested in projection; considering how augmented or virtual reality technology, or the Internet of Things, can enable visitors or artefacts to remotely project their presence to a different country.
To do this we need to understand how to speak to cultural differences between the UK and China, how to understand and compare audiences, and how to overcome barriers for sharing content. We will draw upon the expertise and works of our partners the Tate and the Shanghai Gallery to generate ideas for future experiences that we might build.


10 25 50
Description The award sought to bring together a diverse and international group of academics and cultural sector partners from the UK and China to a) build a consortium to undertake practical future work b) map out and enumerate the interactional, social and creative challenges for a 21st century connected museum.

The most significant achievement of the reward was to organise and facilitate a workshop in Shanghai, hosted at the British Council. Participating were prestigious cultural sector partners including the Shanghai Museum, Power Station of Art and Tate, alongside University of Nottingham and Shanghai Jiao Tong University amongst others. Using the AHRC funded Visitor Box ideation card tool that participants engaged in a mapping exercise to identify opportunities around expertise and collections, and to co-create a number of demonstrator ideas that could be put into practice with follow-on funding. These ideas focus on future museums operating both physically and digitally, and we discussed questions of hybridity and appropriation of museum collections. In this regard the key objectives of the award - to build a consortium for future collaborations - was met.

The consortium has successfully received follow-on funding which will take the findings forward, involving UK and China academic and cultural partners.
Exploitation Route The specific outcomes of this funding is the successful consortium and achievement of follow-on funding, which will allow the initial discussions and demonstrators to be taken forward. In that regard, the outcomes will be used by the non-academic partners - Tate, Factory 42, Shanghai Museum, Power Station of Art as part of future collaborative activities.
Sectors Creative Economy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

Description Shaping the Connected Museum II
Amount £505,333 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2020 
End 01/2022