Shaping the Connected Museum II

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


Museums and galleries are increasingly receptive to using digital technology and participatory methods to grow and diversify their audiences. International partnership is a further attractive route to achieving these aims, bringing the additional benefits of cross-cultural understanding and so demonstrating global relevance. This project brings digital technologies, participatory methods and international partnership together through the vision of the 'connected museum' in which visitors, artefacts and also stories move and project themselves between museums - both physically and virtually.

Our aims are to cement our existing network of UK and Chinese partners into a long-term strategic partnership; refine our vision of the connected museum by identifying target audiences, opportunities and challenges; demonstrate this to others through production projects that showcase the value and feasibility of our approach; while also establishing the theoretical, methodological and technical research agendas that to underpin or vision.

The project will enable a partnership of Universities (Nottingham, including its Ningbo Campus in China, Exeter, Shanghai Jiao Tong, Hangzhou Normal and Zhejiang Science and Technology), cultural institutions (Tate, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Science and Technology Museum) and industry partners (Factory42, Alibaba) to explore technical, methodological and theoretical challenges, driven by the shared practice of making, deploying and studying our two 'production projects' that run across networked UK and Chinese museums. This will be supported by a series of workshops, including a design workshop using the Visitor Box method that has emerged from previous AHRC projects, and staff and PhD exchanges.

Planned Impact

As a project with extensive industry and international collaboration, we will have a wide ranging impact.

Creative industries will be enabled to deliver future interactive visiting experiences that connect museums across the UK and China. They will benefit from: conceptual and practical knowhow; early access to technologies emerging from research; and a shop window in China to showcase examples of their work. These will help open up a potentially vast market for their work overseas while strengthing their position in the home market. Our creative industry partner Factory 42 brings the following pathways to impact: business expansion and exporting; establishing a Shanghai office; preparing the company to raise Series A round of investment in late 2020; employment/staff development; and dissemination at industry conferences such as Beyond, Museum Next, Remix and many BAFTA events.

Cultural institutions will gain greater access to international audiences and new ways of engaging existing audiences. They will benefit from: growth of audiences; overcoming barriers to touring; enhanced international reputations; and experience of new participatory methods. Collectively our three cultural partners in the UK and China bring the following pathways to impact: public presentation of our production projects; international partnership development; international audience development; and Tate Exchange as a unique meeting ground between audiences and research.

Universities and IROs will grow their capability to carry out practice-led creative research in China and benefit from increased impact of their research with new stakeholders. Specific benefits will be: increased relevance of their research; revenue from consultancy, services rendered development, licensing of IP and KTPs; and career development for researchers and PhD students. Our university partners will deliver impact through the Visitor Box tookit of museum ideation cards; delivering industry training; policy impact through briefings and internships at DCMS; PhD internships through our doctoral training programmes; and the release of open source platforms.

Finally, audiences will be the ultimate beneficiaries of our research through novel engaging and interactive experiences; appreciation of other cultural perspectives; and being able to experience previously inaccessible artefacts.


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