2 by 2: Structuring Museums to Deliver New Digital Experiences

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: Museum Studies

Abstract

Given that digital continues to disrupt and transform the parameters of visitor participation and experience, how should museums respond organisationally to deal with this change?

'2 by 2' is a nine-month, multi-partner, interdisciplinary, action research project (led by the University of Leicester and Southern University at New Orleans), aiming to develop a new, sector-wide transatlantic partnership around digital leadership and skills - helping museums to build the organisational conditions to support new forms of visitor experience and participation at a time of social change.

Taking a practice-based approach, the project uses a Design Thinking to inform the structure and logic of its fieldwork, with researchers delivering a series of action-research interventions in four different museum contexts - each intervention acting as a 'stage' to animate and understand different sets of issues (and possibilities) around new forms of organisational leadership, business process, institutional culture and professional practice.

To deliver this work, '2 by 2' brings together national professional bodies and established communities of practice, with leading digital heritage scholars and a core group of eight museum teams with an international reputation for digital leadership, as well as an group of outstanding advising institutions - Microsoft, Arts Council England, Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University.

Our 'Commissioning Partners' (the American Alliance of Museums, and Museums Association) with their extensive professional membership base, oversee the direction of the partnership and help us to identify strategic opportunities for the research. Our 'Community Partners' (the US Museum Computer Network and UK's Museums Computer Group), bring their nationwide communities of practice, working together to help share the activity and outcomes of the project to a wider 'muse-tech' community. Appropriately, however, it is our 'Museum Partners' who are at the centre of the research, providing both the environment and the expertise to explore these issues around organisational digital capability.

Ambitiously, '2 by 2' pairs teams across Smithsonian Institution (at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the cross-organisation American Women's History Initiative) with four 'critical friend' UK partners (Science Museum Group, Victoria and Albert Museum, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, and National Museums Scotland) all of whom, as IROs, serve as the project's Co-Investigators.

Throughout the project, four 'Community Days' provide a means for a set of wider constituencies to input into our research insights. Each event (a 'Study Day' for early career practitioners; a 'Demo Day' for technology companies delivered with the Balboa Park Online Collaborative; a 'Leaders' Day' for museum directors and executives delivered with Culture24; and a 'Practitioners' Day' for curators and professionals) helps to inform the project's findings, but also lays the foundations for a cohesive, trusting, on-going partnership in this subject area.

Planned Impact

[Who will benefit from this research?]

Our impact goals are designed to produce measurable changes (principally, but not exclusively, in the UK and US) in:

- the capability of museums to structure their leadership, processes, and practices in response to new forms of digitally enabled participation and new opportunities for understanding visitor experience.

- the awareness of policy makers and funders (in the UK and US) of how (and why) to support digital maturity, digital leadership and digital skills development within the museum sector.

- the opportunities for the technology sector to be both informed by, and to be able to contribute to, changes in museum digital capability around visitor experience and participation.

Beyond academia, we have identified three key beneficiary communities:

- The museum practitioners and leaders working with digital, specifically with respect to visitor experience and participation.

- Professional bodies, government agencies and funding bodies (public and private) who are developing or supporting strategic priorities, policy, training and partnership development around digital capability in museums

- Technology companies, with insights and key products, expertise and services related to supporting either the digital capability of museums, or digital experiences and participation of visitors.

[How will they benefit from this research?]

These communities will benefit from the research in a number of ways:

- For museum practitioners and leaders: our research will provide tested processes and practices for responding to changes in digital visitation and participation, as well as real-world insights into the tools and models for leading organisational digital transformation in responses to these changes.

- For funders and policy makers: our research will generate evidence of the organisational needs within the museum sector to which future funding Calls can respond, and around which sector leadership and strategy should be based.

- For technology companies: our project will create a lasting consortium of academics, practitioners, professional bodies and government agencies, to inform the digital sector's development of more strategically-attuned products and services, but also into which the technology sector's expertise can be more effectively leveraged.

As a result of this impact strategy, we will make a demonstrable and measurable difference to the ways in which museums are structured to provide relevant, equitable and participatory digital experiences and opportunities for society.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Sophie Frost, 'People. Change. Museums.' Episode 1: PRECARITY 
Description 'Precarity' refers to the condition of being precarious - of being flexible, insecure, dependent, vulnerable and exposed. In 2020, the word 'precarity' couldn't be more pertinent as we find ourselves and our museums in a variety of insecure, dependent, vulnerable and exposed states. At the same time, our world feels rife with precarity - we are in the middle of a global pandemic, of ongoing racial injustice, of spiralling inequality, of frustrations around access and inclusion, of anxieties over national borders - both real and imagined - and in a global climate emergency. In this episode, we will hear how 'precarity' is a complicated term when it comes to museums and technology. Sara Snyder, Smithsonian American Art Museum (US), Dr Oonagh Murphy, Goldsmiths' College (UK), Ed Rodley, freelance experience designer and museum professional (US) and Blaire Moskowitz, PhD candidate and museum professional (US/UK) join Sophie to discuss how they are each contemplating what 'precarity' means for our individual and collective futures. In 1976, that Welsh cultural theorist Raymond Williams wrote 'Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society,' a book examining over 100 'keywords', that explored the fierce political struggles that often underpinned their adoption in everyday conversation. Inspired by Williams, each episode of People. Change. Museums. takes a different 'keyword' as its focal point, with each one capturing an aspect of work in museums today. Through these 'keywords' we will explore how digital technology is changing the way we experience and understand our culture and heritage - thus paving the way for new forms of social justice. The 'People. Change. Museums.' podcast series explores the complex relationship between museums and technology in this time of intersecting crises. Presented by Dr Sophie Frost, researcher on the 'One by One' initiative in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester (UK), this podcast pulls together perspectives from the international museum world to take the temperature of the current moment. Part spoken essay, part interview and part call to arms, Sophie asks: what is the role of the museum in defining our human values in 2020? And how does technology help or hinder this project? 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact 'People. Change. Museums.' was launched at the UK Museum Association's annual conference in November 2020, attended by over 700 delegates. Dr Sophie Frost led three high-profile panel discussions across the conference week, related to the first episodes of the series. The podcast is part spoken essay, part 'call to arms', and sits strongly alongside the other research outputs of the '2by2' project - an alternative form of 'writing', one more appropriate for, and tuned to, the voices and subjects with which Dr Frost's research engages. A challenge to the shape of traditional academic outputs. 
 
Title Sophie Frost, 'People. Change. Museums.' Episode 2: COURAGE 
Description 'Courage' is the keyword of the second episode of People. Change. Museums. This year, many of us have needed to be more courageous than before in our use of digital applications and tools, both to stay connected personally and to continue to work professionally. Similarly, previous fears and trepidations about technology have had to be overcome in our museums and cultural institutions. In these spaces, 'digital' can no longer be siloed or avoided, but rather recognised as pivotal to the operations, activities and collections of these organisations if they want to stay relevant and responsive. In this episode, we hear how museum people across the globe have been practicing digital courage where they are. Sophie interviews Dr Steven Franklin, Digital Engagement Officer, Egham Museum (UK), Angie Judge, Chief Executive of Dexibit - a big data and analytics company working with museums and cultural institutions (NZ), and Seema Rao, Deputy Director and Chief Engagement Officer of Akron Art Museum in Ohio (US) about what they believe it takes to promote and inspire change. We'll also hear again from Sara Snyder, Chief of External Affairs and Digital Strategies, Smithsonian American Art Museum (US), about where the 'bright spots' are for digital technology in museums. The 'People. Change. Museums.' podcast series explores the complex relationship between museums and technology in this time of intersecting crises. Presented by Dr Sophie Frost, researcher on the 'One by One' initiative in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester (UK), this podcast pulls together perspectives from the international museum world to take the temperature of the current moment. Part spoken essay, part interview and part call to arms, Sophie asks: what is the role of the museum in defining our human values in 2020? And how does technology help or hinder this project? 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact 'People. Change. Museums.' was launched at the UK Museum Association's annual conference in November 2020, attended by over 700 delegates. Dr Sophie Frost led three high-profile panel discussions across the conference week, related to the first episodes of the series. The podcast is part spoken essay, part 'call to arms', and sits strongly alongside the other research outputs of the '2by2' project - an alternative form of 'writing', one more appropriate for, and tuned to, the voices and subjects with which Dr Frost's research engages. A challenge to the shape of traditional academic outputs. 
 
Title Sophie Frost, 'People. Change. Museums.' Episode 3: EMOTIONAL LABOUR 
Description The term 'emotional labour' is our keyword in this episode. 'Emotional Labour' is a concept that has gained more and more recognition since the start of the pandemic, and even before that it had become synonymous with a wide range of employment rights issues - from its close relationship to typically female experiences of juggling a career alongside caring responsibilities, through to experiences of exhaustion, burn-out, self-alienation and exploitation when having to continuously put so much of one's inner self into one's work. In 2020, 'emotional labour' has been experience by people working in museums in more broad and nuanced ways than ever before. Sophie is joined in this episode by Effie Kapsalis - Senior Digital Program Officer at the Smithsonian Institution (US), Jude Holland - Learning Manager at Barnsley Museums (UK), Andrea Ledesma - Digital Product Specialist for the Web & Digital Engagement Team at the Field Museum (US) and Dr Lauren Vargas - Research Associate on 'One by One' and Digital Placemaker-Community Strategist (EU). Hear Effie, Jude, Andrea and Lauren help Sophie delve deeper into what 'emotional labour' might mean in 2020, and how it might be a force for good rather than one that is merely burdensome. The 'People. Change. Museums.' podcast series explores the complex relationship between museums and technology in this time of intersecting crises. Presented by Dr Sophie Frost, researcher on the 'One by One' initiative in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester (UK), this podcast pulls together perspectives from the international museum world to take the temperature of the current moment. Part spoken essay, part interview and part call to arms, Sophie asks: what is the role of the museum in defining our human values in 2020? And how does technology help or hinder this project? 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact 'People. Change. Museums.' was launched at the UK Museum Association's annual conference in November 2020, attended by over 700 delegates. Dr Sophie Frost led three high-profile panel discussions across the conference week, related to the first episodes of the series. The podcast is part spoken essay, part 'call to arms', and sits strongly alongside the other research outputs of the '2by2' project - an alternative form of 'writing', one more appropriate for, and tuned to, the voices and subjects with which Dr Frost's research engages. A challenge to the shape of traditional academic outputs. 
 
Title Sophie Frost, 'People. Change. Museums.' Episode 4: AGENCY 
Description The term 'agency' has long been considered a term of empowerment, linked to the ability to transgress, to be insurrectionary, political and subversive. But how has the meaning of the term shifted in 2020? This episode takes 'agency' as its keyword and considers how, in museums and other cultural spaces at least, it has come to mean the ability to have a voice as much as to act; to be able to speak up and in speaking up to bring others to the table too. In order to further explore the meaning of 'agency' in 2020, Sophie is joined in this episode by Kelly Doyle, Open Knowledge Coordinator at The Smithsonian Institution (US), Jack Yates, Communications Officer at the Royal Armouries (UK) and Kathleen Lawther, freelance Curator based in Brighton (UK). We also hear from four individuals leading digital in national museums in the UK - Kati Price, Head of Digital Media at the V&A, Rob Cawston, Head of Digital Media at National Museums Scotland, John Stack, Digital Director at the Science Museum Group and Dafydd James, Head of Digital and Strategic Projects Lead, National Museum Wales. Kati, Rob, John and Dafydd discuss what this year has done for digital technology and the role it is continuing to play in keeping museums relevant. The 'People. Change. Museums.' podcast series explores the complex relationship between museums and technology in this time of intersecting crises. Presented by Dr Sophie Frost, researcher on the 'One by One' initiative in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester (UK), this podcast pulls together perspectives from the international museum world to take the temperature of the current moment. Part spoken essay, part interview and part call to arms, Sophie asks: what is the role of the museum in defining our human values in 2020? And how does technology help or hinder this project? 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact 'People. Change. Museums.' was launched at the UK Museum Association's annual conference in November 2020, attended by over 700 delegates. Dr Sophie Frost led three high-profile panel discussions across the conference week, related to the first episodes of the series. The podcast is part spoken essay, part 'call to arms', and sits strongly alongside the other research outputs of the '2by2' project - an alternative form of 'writing', one more appropriate for, and tuned to, the voices and subjects with which Dr Frost's research engages. A challenge to the shape of traditional academic outputs. 
 
Description The aim of this 'Partnership Development Grant' project has been to initiate investigations into: the forms of organisational business processes, institutional cultures and professional practices that need to be in place to support digital change in museums; how a new transatlantic partnership between communities of cultural organisations and digital scholars might help to develop new practices and processes around museum digital change; and what effective and scalable collaborative tools and methods can be used to support and sustain these new research partnerships. This foundation work, has successfully identified:

1) that 'leadership' is the key condition for developing digital maturity in the museum;

2) that, to be effective, the practice of 'digital leadership' in museums needs to be re-framed in terms that centre empathy and equity; and

3) that any new understanding and practice of museum digital leadership must now be re-cast within the new contexts of individual and institutional precarity.

Specifically this research has evidenced the following.

- That there is now a new set of scholarly imperatives (around 'empathy in museum digital leadership'; 'equity in the museum digital workspace'; and 'precarity within digital transformation'), to lead an 'emotional turn' in museum computing and digital heritage, characterised by a new sensibility to the emotional labour, affective practices and personal storytelling underpinning digital work in museums.

- That there is a need now for a retelling of what successful digital leadership in museums looks like, in human and not just business and technological terms; an opportunity to frame a new set of research questions and inspire new disciplinary intersections and theoretical informants for this subject area.

- That there is a need to respond to contemporary professional needs (around the ways digital maturity can be developed and transformation led inside the museum), and to conceptualise and deliver new professional frameworks for digital leadership in museums in the US and UK.

- That by encouraging an emergent and resurgent research collaboration (of academic organisations, cultural institutions, professional communities and policy bodies), the project has populated and inspired an online community of research leaders and participants. In doing so it has modelled for others how online, distributive research collaboration can succeed, and has demonstrated new potentials for practice-based and practice-led research methods within museums studies. In doing so, has helped to lay the foundations for a landscape in which scholarly research in this field can be initiated, how partnerships can be assembled, and how future projects might be delivered - at pace and at scale.
Exploitation Route The foundational research of the '2by2' project has identified a gap in our knowledge of museum digital maturity. There is now an opportunity for this consortium (or others) to ask in future research:

1) What are the new models of 'empathic leadership' needed in museums to enable the holistic institutional adoption of (and adaption to) digital?

2) Which inequalities (around characteristics such as gender, race and disability) exist in the professional landscape of digital change in museums, and how can these be confronted by institutions?

3) Why might an understanding of individual and institutional precarity now inform these new models of empathetic and equitable leadership?

4) How can knowledge sharing and distributed working between academics organisations, cultural institutions, professional bodies and policy makers help to define and support this new model of museum digital leadership?
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL https://one-by-one.uk/category/findings/
 
Description [1] Establishing an international community focused on museum digital skills. As a consortium, the '2by2' project has developed a network of national and international partners representing the diversity of digital practice in the museum sector, helping address the longstanding infrastructure needs of UK and US museums. Specifically, ObO has given institutions such as the Science Museum Group what they consider a 'forum for consideration' - the time and focus to consider the complex landscape of digital activity within the museum sector. The US-UK partnerships within the project have worked asynchronously within the 'Digital Commons' - an online collaborative space for all international partners. Stakeholders in the US from the American Alliance of Museums and the Museums Computer Network have endorsed this environment as "a ground-breaking virtual community" in which "discussions around new ideas and issues that [we] face as agents of change in their respective institutions or organizations" can take place. [2] Guiding the museum sector towards the significance of emotion and empathy in its digital work. Though its shareable resources, conceptual models, and research interventions, '2by2' has helped museums to centre emotion and empathy in their digital work. Effie Kapsalis, Senior Digital Program Officer at the Smithsonian Institution, has described how the project's framings have enabled her museum "to confront and understand the emotional labour digital leaders face in simultaneously advocating for, leading, and coordinating ambitious digital goals". At a sector level, partners such as the UK Museums Association have emphasised the import of the '2by2' project in realising the role of emotion and empathy in digital work. Through its podcasts, open workshops, and contributions to high-profile professional events (with the Museum Computer Network (US), Museums Association (UK) and British Council/International Council of Museums UK) the '2by2' project (and the 'One by One' initiative more widely) has, according to the Smithsonian Institution, "emerged as a leader [] to guide the museum sector towards a new focus on the role of emotion and empathy in digital work in museums."
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Policy & public services

 
Description 'Keywords: A Vocabulary of Empathy and Emotion' - Conference Strand - presented to Museums Association annual national conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Over three 30-minute episodes staged like live radio broadcasts, Dr Sophie Frost explored the new 'keywords' that have emerged in this collective moment of intersecting crises. Hearing from people working with digital technology in a range of museums and heritage settings, Sophie explored the terms 'Emotional Labour', 'Precarity' and 'Courage'.

The sessions related to the launch of a new podcast series supported by the Museums Association: 'People. Change. Museums'. The series takes a snapshot in time of current attitudes and practices in museum technology, acting as a platform for the lived experiences of museums and museum workers in this period of change and uncertainty. The podcast medium enables us to hear from a range of different voices and to construct a richer understanding of how we, as museum and heritage practitioners, are surviving and thriving in these challenging times.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://one-by-one.uk/events/
 
Description 'Think Digital!' Interactive Workshop With the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A half-day study session and international conference opportunity, bringing together students and early career professionals from four leading Museum Studies programmes in the US and UK, exploring ways of leading digital change with empathy in museums.

The workshop was organised and led by:
Katherine Burton Jones, Harvard Extension School
Haitham Eid, Southern University New Orleans
Phyllis Hecht, Johns Hopkins University
Ross Parry, University of Leicester

'Think Digital!' provided participants with an opportunity to:

engage with findings from the 'One by One' and '2by2' research initiatives, involving the American Alliance of Museums, UK Museums Association, Museum Computer Network and Smithsonian Institution;

work alongside staff from the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and its innovative new Interaction Lab;

develop their ability to work effectively and creatively in collaborative business settings around task-focused activities;

extend their professional network with students and recent graduates from other Museum Studies programmes, internationally.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://one-by-one.uk/events/
 
Description Conference Panel - American Alliance of Museums annual Conference - 'A Time for Digital Clarity' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact June 1, 2020 at 12:30-1:30pm CST

As we write our future histories of museum technology, this - now - will be remembered as the moment everything changed. At a time of crisis, museums are making decisive turns towards digital in their structure, workforce, and communications. But how well are we understanding these unprecedented challenges, and leading this accelerated decision-making?

Bringing together experts from different sectors, this panel explored how we can learn from our past, not just to inform this present, but shape our digital future. Panelists included Carolyn Royston (Cooper Hewitt), Catherine Devine (Microsoft Worldwide), Professor Ross Parry (Museum Studies, University of Leicester), and Moderator: Nik Honeysett (Balboa Park Online Collaborative).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://one-by-one.uk/events/
 
Description Digital Forum - Panel #1 - 'Digital Leadership: How might we strengthen the relationship between senior leaders and digital leaders in museums?' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact June 8, 2020 at 3:30-5pm UTC+1]

Since lockdown, the need for strategic thinking in museums was greater than ever. In this online live panel discussion, we considered the relationship between directorial and digital leadership in museums, and how a more integrated approach might be developed between the two in order to improve overarching strategic direction. We asked: how can digital leaders achieve greater agency and autonomy in museums? Panelists included Effie Kapsalis (Senior Digital Program Officer American Women's History Initiative, Smithsonian Institution, US), and John Stack (Digital Director, Science Museum Group, UK).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://one-by-one.uk/events/
 
Description Digital Forum - Panel #2 - 'Communication & Collaboration: How might we rethink our museum digital processes to become more empathetic and responsive?' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact June 15, 2020 at 3:30-5pm UTC+1

Practicing a 'CALM' approach to digital leadership in museums can help the entire organization feel more confident about how it adopts new ways of working as well as emerging technologies. This not only enables a more connected and engaged workforce but enhances consumer and visitor experiences. This panel considered how we can create more open and collaborative workplaces so that we may be aware of, acknowledge, and adapt workloads to ensure work is equally distributed and aligned to strategic goals and objectives. Our panel included Sara Synder (Chief, External Affairs and Digital Strategies, Smithsonian American Art Museum, US) and Kati Price (Head of Digital Media and Publishing, V&A, UK).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://one-by-one.uk/events/
 
Description Digital Forum - Workshop #1 - Museums of Tomorrow Scenario Planning 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact June 10, 2020 at 3:30-5pm UTC+1]

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many museums struggled to think and plan strategically. Since the crisis we have seen a disruption of pre-existing plans and increased attention paid to previously under-prioritized areas, most notably in the realm of digital engagement. This workshop helped museum professionals contemplate and create their own plausible, possible, and probable 'museum of the future' narratives and potential actions. Led by the 'One by One' research team, the workshop demonstrated how, in a time of crisis, museums might identify the drivers, uncertainties, trends, cycles, and the multiple choices for their potential future so as to plan the best next actions to aid their growth and development. By undertaking an exercise in scenario planning, we can begin to learn from the past in order to better inform the present and plan for a more resilient future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://one-by-one.uk/events/
 
Description Digital Forum - Workshop #2 - Take 'CARE' to be 'CALM' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact June 17, 2020 at 3:30-5pm UTC+1]

'CALM' is an acronym for the key attributes needed when practicing digital in museums: 'Collaborative', 'Anticipatory', the need to 'Let go' of command and control leadership and 'Mindful'. Devised by Dr Lauren Vargas, One by One Research Associate and independent consultant, 'CALM' accompanies 'CARE' in the digital museum space, which refers to the need to Communicate, Adapt, to be Resilient and Empathetic. In this workshop, the 'One by One' research team shared the conditions for leadership to thrive at all levels of an organization. The intended impact of this session was to inform practitioners about how digital collaboration and communication practices can scale decision-making across the organization and enable the necessary scaffolding for the development of relevant skills needed to support the 'museum of the future'.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://one-by-one.uk/events/
 
Description International Online Conference - Belvedere Research Centre (Austria) - 'The Art Museum in the Digital Age - 2021' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote Lecture

"The Role of the Digital Turn in Museums' Turn to Digital"
Ross Parry (University of Leicester)

The new business models and operational processes reconfigured for the museum to function. The alternative skills sets and modes of collaborative working required from their redistributed staff. The diversified channels of audience engagement needed for their reframed provision and content. Not to mention the shifted expectations reassembled by a wider society on the role a museum can (or cannot) play in their altered lives. In each case (in their structure, their workforce, their communication and their value) here, at a time of crisis, was the museums decisive turn towards digital.

Unexpectedly, the case for digital transformation (at times, hard to petition for internally organisationally) was suddenly essential. The adoption of digital tools and services for staff and for visitors (so long, a slow revolution for the institution) was all at once accelerated. Through this pragmatic practice, triggered by crisis, the museum appeared to gain clarity over the role digital can play - in its operation, identity and influence.

This keynote reflects upon this defining moment in the museum's relationship with digital. By taking a longer historical view, it will also suggest that the sector had, in fact, already developed an acuity around museum technology - an acuity that made these rapid transitions and re-positions possible. Specifically, by drawing on a series of recent large-scale research collaborations, it will show how frameworks to build digital confidence in the museum, and to structure museums to deliver new digital experiences, were ready for activation. Ultimately, the paper will attempt to demonstrate how it was the 'digital turn' (of museology and practice in recent years) that was crucial to this moment's 'turn to digital'.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.belvedere.at/en/art-museum-digital-age-2021
 
Description Online Conference Presentation - Culture Reimagined Virtual Summit - Musemio & Immerse UK - 24 November 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact "Museum Business Models Reimagined Panel"

Chair: Lauren Vargas (Independent Researcher / 'One by One')
Speakers: Anna Lowe (Smartify), Bernadine Bröcker Wieder (Vastari), Molly Jackson (London Transport Museum)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.immerseuk.org/resources/immerse-uk-and-musemio-present-culture-reimagined-virtual-summit...
 
Description Online Conference Presentation - Europeana 2020 - 'Crisis, Change, Culture' - November 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact "Taking a 'CALM' approach to digital skills development"
Dr Lauren Vargas

Practicing a 'CALM' approach to digital leadership in cultural organisations can help all staff feel more confident about how to adopt new ways of working as well as emerging technologies.'CALM' is an acronym for the key attributes needed when practicing digital in cultural organisations: 'Collaborative', 'Anticipatory', the need to 'Let go' of command and control leadership and 'Mindful'. This not only enables a more connected and engaged workforce but enhances consumer and visitor experiences. This session considered how and what skills we need to create more open and collaborative workplaces so that we may be aware of, acknowledge, and adapt workloads to ensure work is equally distributed and aligned to strategic goals and objectives.

Europeana 2020: Crisis, Change and Culture was held over three action packed days earlier this month, with over 70 speakers covering 50+ sessions and over 900 cultural heritage professionals joining from across the globe.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://pro.europeana.eu/event/taking-a-calm-approach-to-digital-skills-development
 
Description Online Conference Presentation - ExperienceUK - 'Connecting Culture 2020' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact "Why it's time to lead Digital Change in Museums - with Empathy and Equity'"
Presented by Professor Ross Parry (University of Leicester)

The very dimension that we now know is fundamental to digital change in museums, is that about which - in our scholarship and practice - we know the least. Drawing upon a landmark research initiative between the UK's Museums Association and the American Alliance of Museums (with 15 other industry and professional partners), this session shared and explored an emerging set of new insights into digital literacy and leadership for the museum sector.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSfBGEj-BkY
 
Description Online Conference Presentation - MCN 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact "Making 'The Digital Future of Museums'"

'The Digital Future of Museums: Conversations and Provocations' (March 2020, Routledge) explores the role of digital technology in contemporary museum practice within Europe, the U.S., Australasia and Asia through interviews with 24 museum practitioners, thinkers, and experts in related fields from a diverse range of backgrounds and geographies.

In this session, the book's authors will synthesized their learnings from the interviews, and offer provocations and reflections about effective practice that will help prepare today's museums for tomorrow. Topics covered in the book include post-digital/post-normal museum making; trust, truth, data, privacy and personalisation; digital collections and source communities; digital platforms and practices; institutional change and leadership; interactivity and immersion and many more.

This session focused on the necessity of deep dialogues, community ownership, local relevance and social impact for museum digital practice now and into the future. It is less about sustainability in the sense of "sustaining orgs as they are" and much more focused on how to sustain and be successful while undergoing the necessary changes that are demanded of us. It's a progressive and challenging project, fit for these complex times.

Beyond this synthesis, this session included a facilitated discussion with two additional experts to track the changes since the book was developed, including the impact of COVID-19, the museum labor movement and the push to anti-racism in shaping museum digital practice going forward.

Speakers

Lauren Vargas
Independent Researcher and Consultant, Your Digital Tattoo / 'One by One' Researcher
By day, Dr. Lauren 'L' Vargas is a digital dragon wrangler with 20 years experience assisting organizations with their community and communication strategies. Vargas is an independent researcher and consultant of Your Digital Tattoo, as well as, a 'One by One' Research Associate with... Read

Keir Winesmith
Digital Catalyst / Strategic Consultant / Prof., Winesmith Digital Studio / University of New South Wales
Dr. Keir Winesmith is a strategic consultant and academic working at the intersection of digital and culture. He advises museums, galleries, libraries, archives and universities on digital transformation initiatives and the development of new digital experiences, while undertaking... Read More ?

Suse Anderson
Assistant Professor, Museum Studiea, George Washington University

La Tanya Autry
Cultural organizer, #MuseumsAreNotNeutral
As a cultural organizer in the visual arts, LaTanya S. Autry centers collective care in her decolonial, abolitionist curatorial praxis. In addition to co-creating The Art of Black Dissent, she co-produced #MuseumsAreNotNeutral, and the Social Justice and Museums Resource List. LaTanya... Read

Eric Longo
Executive Director, MCN
Eric Longo is MCN's Executive Director. Trained as a lawyer, Eric held various roles in media, publishing, and advertising before joining the museum sector in 2001. He's taught at Johns Hopkins, Fordham and NYU. He lives in Catskill, NY.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://mcn.edu/conferences/mcn-2020-virtual/program-schedule/
 
Description Online Conference Presentation - Museums+Tech 2020 - Museums Computer Group annual national conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact "How might we acknowledge, respect and use emotion within the digital work of museums?"
Sophie Frost & Lauren Vargas, University of Leicester
Thursday December 10 2020

Dr Sophie Frost and Dr Lauren Vargas from the One by One project shared findings from their work with digital leaders at the Smithsonian Institution (US). Begun just prior to lockdown, this multi-partner transatlantic research project pivoted to online, requiring its collaborators to acclimatise themselves efficiently and at speed with a new set of tools, ways of working and approaches to doing research. As the magnitude of the global crisis emerged - joined by other intersecting crises, notably racial injustice and spiralling economic inequality - we were reminded that embracing complexity was the only way to understand the relationship between technology and museums. Frost and Vargas will describe how those individuals pioneering digital change are practicing a very emotive kind of work; the sort of work that involves a high degree of coaxing, coaching, convincing and corralling in order to 'get digital done.' They showed how empathetic and equitable methods - drawn through a combination of disciplines including Organisational Behavioural Management and Affect Theory - can futureproof museums for their employees and communities post-pandemic.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wotdZvABE2g
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.museumscomputergroup.org.uk/events/museumstech-2020/
 
Description Online Conference Presentation to SHARE Festival 2020 - 'All Shook Up' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The 'Emotional Turn' in Museum Technology
Prof Ross Parry, University of Leicester

This year something else happened with technology in museums

As well as the institutional 'pivoting', the enlivened online provision, and the new confidence to experiment with digital, another thing changed. We started to think about ourselves. We found space and time to acknowledge that actually it's people, not technology, that makes digital transformation happen in museums. We used that great capacity for empathy in our sector, that ability to centre people, to recognise that building digital confidence in museums requires us to think with emotional intelligence about leading change.

This was the affective side to our digital journey this year. This, is our 'emotional turn' in museum technology. And now it's happened, we won't (and we shouldn't) go back.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TPaDdJnPSg
 
Description Webinar - British Council, ICOM UK & the Museums Association (UK) 'Leading Digital at a Time of Uncertainty' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Held on Thursday 22 October, 10 am UK BST

"It's time to recognise that digital change in museums is about supporting people and not just mastering technology."

British Council in partnership with ICOM UK and the Museums Association kicked off our new conversation series called A Meeting Place: Global Online Discussions for Museum and Gallery Professionals with Leading Digital at a time of Uncertainty.

This event was hosted by Professor Ross Parry, Deputy Head of School & Professor of Museum Technology at the University of Leicester, in conversation with Nikita Yingqian Cai, Chief Curator, Times Museum in Guangzhou, Niall Kerr, Making the Future Programme Manager at the Nerve Centre, Northern Ireland and Irini Papadimitriou Creative Director of Future Everything.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://uk.icom.museum/events-2/webinars-online-events/
 
Description Webinar - The Association of Art Museum Curators (US) - Digital Engagement Series - Session #1- "Digital Collaboration: Context and Needs" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Session #1

Digital Collaboration: Context and Needs - Wednesday, December 9, 2021, 12:00 - 1:15pm ET

The session brought together leaders in the sector to discuss the context and need at this moment for digital engagement. Looking at current work in large and small organizations, as well as integrations from other areas of the arts and corporate sector, the conversation explored exacerbating pressures on digital teams and collaborators, the human and emotional dimension to advancing this work, and critically how this work can be equitable, inclusive, and accessible.

Speakers:

Lauren Vargas, Independent Researcher and Consultant, One by One,' University of Leicester / Your Digital Tattoo; Moderator
By day, Dr. Lauren 'L' Vargas is a digital dragon wrangler with 20 years experience assisting organizations with their community and communication strategies. Vargas is an independent researcher and consultant of Your Digital Tattoo, as well as, a 'One by One' Research Associate with the University of Leicester.

Catherine Devine, Global Business Strategy Leader - Libraries & Museums, Microsoft
Catherine leads global strategy for Libraries and Museums within Microsoft's Education division. In this role her goal is to leverage technology to further the missions of Libraries and Museums. Catherine is originally from Sydney, Australia and was most recently Chief Digital Officer at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Sandra Jackson Dumont, Director and CEO, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
Sandra joined the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art as director and CEO in January 2020. Tasked with leading the institution through its opening and beyond, Jackson-Dumont came to the Lucas Museum from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she served as the Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education. At the Lucas Museum, Sandra oversees wide-ranging programming and operational teams. She leads the curatorial, museum experience, education, and collections management teams in exploring the more than 100,000 works of art in the collections and developing exhibitions and programs for the museum's extensive gallery and classroom spaces.

nikhil trivedi, Director of Engineering, The Art Institute of Chicago
nikhil is the Director of Engineering at the Art Institute of Chicago as well as a facilitator, educator, and community builder. His experience planning and executing complex web projects has also brought him to work with institutions to create concrete plans around the healing and accountability from historic traumas like colonialism, slavery, genocide, and war. He's a regular contributor at The Incluseum and is a project advisor for MASS Action. His writing has been featured in the Journal for Museum Education, Fwd: Museums, and Model View Culture.

Marie Vickles, Director of Education, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)
Marie is the Director of Education at the Pérez Art Museum Miami administering programs that directly serve over 100,000 youth and adults annually. Marie has organized arts educational programs and exhibitions across the United States and the Caribbean for over 15 years and maintains an active practice as an independent curator.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.aam-us.org/event/digital-engagement-series-1-digital-collaboration-context-and-needs/
 
Description Webinar - The Association of Art Museum Curators (US) - Digital Engagement Series - Session #2 - "Ways Forward" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Session #2 - "One by One" - Tuesday, January 19, 2021
12:00 - 1:15pm ET

The second session focused on practical ways that museums can adopt and adapt to digital methods of working - particularly at this time of intersecting challenge and uncertainty. Specifically, the conversation shared resources and approaches developed by the 'One by One' partners (including those during its latest '2by2' project), key techniques for understanding the role of digital technology in a contextual and holistic way for each institution, and for leading digital change with empathy and purpose. The dialogue also considered the collaborative working and action research methods that continue to be so crucial to the development of these insights and tools for the museum community.

Speakers:

Ross Parry, Professor, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
A scholar of museum technology, Ross leads the international 'One by One' collaboration to develop digitally confident cultural institutions. He is Chair of Trustees for the Jodi Mattes Trust (for accessible digital heritage), Board member of Attenborough Arts Centre, and has published widely on digital cultural heritage for over twenty years.

Lauren Vargas, Independent Researcher and Consultant, One by One,' University of Leicester / Your Digital Tattoo; Moderator
By day, Dr. Lauren 'L' Vargas is a digital dragon wrangler with 20 years experience assisting organizations with their community and communication strategies. Vargas is an independent researcher and consultant of Your Digital Tattoo, as well as, a 'One by One' Research Associate with the University of Leicester.

Carolyn Royston, Chief Experience Officer, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
In a 20-year career in museums, Carolyn has worked with cultural organizations to transform how they use digital technologies to effect change. In 2018, she joined Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum as Chief Experience Officer, a new role that brings the digital and the physical experience together to create an integrated visitor experience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.aam-us.org/event/digital-engagement-series-2-one-by-one/
 
Description Webinar - The Association of Art Museum Curators (US) - Digital Engagement Series - Session #3 - "Ways Forward" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Session #3 Ways Forward - Wednesday, February 24 2021
12:00 - 1:15pm ET

While the global pandemic has accelerated the use of online solutions, tools, and services, it has also exposed that a digitally enabled world works for some, but not all equally. This third discussion gathers international perspectives to discuss meaningful and relevant digital strategies, to identify new partnerships and models of working, to consider what a hybrid world might look like, and how to move forward the sector together.

Speakers:

Ross Parry, Professor, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester ; Moderator
Lawrence Chiles, Head of Digital Services, The National Gallery
Sarah Eckhardt, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Nik Honeysett, Director and CEO, Balboa Park Online Collaborative
Mark Osterman, Director of Digital Experience, Lowe Art Museum
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.aam-us.org/event/digital-engagement-series-3-ways-forward/