Information, Interaction & Interpretation in Museums & Galleries

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: School of Management and Business


In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of a
burgeoning corpus of video-based field studies within various
disciplines concerned with 'multimodal' interaction, in
particular with the ways in which objects, tools and
technologies feature in conduct and communication. As yet
however, there is little academic or applied research that
examines how various forms of text and related resources
feature in how people interact with each other and engage
their immediate environment. Museums and galleries
provide a unique opportunity to examine how information
provided through labels, gallery cards and electronic devices
and the like, is used by people as they explore, discover and
discuss exhibits such as works of art and applied art.
Museums and galleries invest substantial time and resources
in providing information to visitors and it is widely believed
that this information is critical to the ways in which visitors
engage and participate in exhibitions. This studentship
provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with teams at a
leading art institution, namely the Royal Academy of Arts,
London, to address how various sources of information
feature in the exploration of exploration and interpretation of
art and applied art.
Drawing on analytic developments within the social sciences,
namely ethnomethodology and conversation analysis,
coupled with the burgeoning corpus of research concerned
with 'multimodal' communication, the project will examine
how people access and use information provided through
labels, electronic devices and the like in approaching,
inspecting and discussing works of art and applied art. Data
will include audio-visual recordings of visitors' behaviour and
interaction in gallery spaces, interviews with visitors,
curators, educationalists and exhibition designers, and field
observation of exhibition design meetings. It will also involve
a series of 'naturalistic' experiments in which we 'rewrite' and
reorganise the information provided to visitors and examine
whether, and how, it changes the ways in which people
interact, engage and examine exhibits and exhibitions.
The research will contribute contemporary developments
within studies of organisational interaction and multimodality,
studies that have arisen within various disciplines including
management science, sociology, applied linguistics and
social psychology. It will also generate findings that bear
upon research within museum and cultural studies. Working
closely with Royal Academy will also provide the opportunity
to develop and disseminate the practical implications of the
research, key considerations and issues that can be
demonstrated to have a significant impact on the behaviour
and engagement of visitors.
12 Project description: please
copy/paste/write a full description of the
proposed project here, outlining its aims,
Social science contributions and challenges: The propos


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000703/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2316989 Studentship ES/P000703/1 30/09/2019 10/03/2023 Lucy Meechan