The draft programme can be accessed below – although a few changes will follow as we try to accommodate contributor’s schedules, we anticipate that any changes will now be small scale. We hope you like the programme!
Session Abstracts and Descriptions
13th November 11.30-1.00 Space 1
What is the role of the designer in museums that acknowledge their social roles and responsibilities? How do the needs and priorities of these museums challenge established design processes and demand that designers engage with new tools and approaches? The papers in this session explore these questions utilising diverse case studies from the UK, Taiwan and Brazil.
The Designer’s Role in Museums that Act as Agents of Change, Tricia Austin, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
This paper will review the findings of ‘The Future of the Museum 2040’, a knowledge exchange project undertaken in 2013 by Central Saint Martins (CSM) and Arup Foresight and Innovation, and examine one particular trend: the expanding role of museums as agents of change in the social fabric of their cities. The paper will address questions that arise about the contribution of design in this context and the growing scope of narrative environments that result from proactive outward-facing museum initiatives. Specific examples of design practice will be drawn from recent collaborations between CSM and the Francis Crick Institute, the Wellcome Collection and Origin Housing in London. The paper will demonstrate how designers are playing firstly, a strategic role in researching and providing creative direction for public engagement strategies; secondly, how the process of translation in design, that is the visual and material manifestation of verbal ideas, is crucial to successful co-curation workshops; and thirdly, how designers conceive of flexible and adaptable formats to show and disseminate user-generated content. These case studies also demonstrate how the design of narrative environments can be applied beyond the walls of the museum in different urban contexts how design here is underpinned by a conscious political and ethical stance. It envisages the design of narrative environments for museums and galleries of the future as content driven, user-focused, socially responsive, creative practice.
Displaying and Engaging visitors in Difficult Issues: A Study of Visitor Comments on ‘When the South Wind Blows’, Chia-Li Chen, Taipei National University of the Arts and Hsu Huang, National Museum of Natural Science
How severely has pollution impacted the daily life of the residents of one coastal village? How may a museum of natural science contribute to protect the environment? These questions were raised by the curators of the exhibition “When the South Wind Blows: the Documentary Photographs of Taixi Village” held at the National Museum of Natural Science in Taiwan. The museum collaborated with two photographers to document in photographs the lives and sufferings of the residents of Taixi Village, a small and remote village on the northern bank of the Zhuoshui River in southwestern Taiwan. Southern winds during the summertime carry the pollution that is regularly broadcast into the air by the 398 smokestacks of the Sixth Naphtha Cracking Plant over this village, and research shows that residents have high risk of getting cancers because of the pollution. This paper asks: How does the exhibition engage visitors in this difficult contemporary issue and what are visitors’ responses? A systematic analysis of the more than 1,000 comments left by visitors revealed that many felt sorry and shocked by what they saw and that some became very critical of the roles of the government and the Formosa Plastics Corporation in creating and exacerbating the pollution problem. Although not linked directly to activism, the exhibition successfully raised visitor sympathy and encouraged visitors to reflect on the long-term costs of economic development and on the importance of protecting the environment. This paper explores in depth the comments of visitors and seeks to unpick the potential role of museum design in promoting human rights by challenging social issues.
Brazilian XXI Century Museum Design: developing new tools for social transformation, Magui Kampf, M+E Design, Brazil
M+E Design is a company specialised in museum and exhibition design. In our country context we deal with root society problems concerning access to culture, education and information. Museums, as institutions, are still structured on a 19th century model, specially based on hierarchy, and linear information transmission. The institutions struggle against lack of public, financial resources and social interest in general, but they’re not able to produce a real transformation on the way they communicate with their 21st century public. Trying to change this reality, M+E Design is developing a methodology based on the concepts of Experience Design, applied for museums and exhibitions. Experience design is a popular way for brands to connect personally with their consumers. But when we talk about culture and education in museums and institutions, how can we produce a substantial, solid and transformative relationship with our community? We developed a method and take use of some basics tools, regarding space, time, senses, emotions, identification, engagement, inclusion, communication, immersion, narrative spaces, storytelling and public co-creation. This paper intends to show how these tools arranged together may increase the relationship with the public and generate a real social transformation through reflection and critical thinking.
13th November 11.30-1.00 Space 2
The papers in this session present three contemporary approaches to museum making. Key to each is the use of digital media and the potential for new forms of collaboration and experience they enable.
Gallipoli: the scale of our war, Ben Barraud, The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Gallipoli: the scale of our war opened at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa on April 17th 2015 to mark this year’s WWI centenary. The result of a creative collaboration between a national museum and an academy award-winning special effects company, the exhibition integrates the disciplines of film-making with exhibition design and immersive story-telling. Carefully researched histories of seven men and one woman who served at Gallipoli have become the central characters in the narrative. Each figure, built 2.4 times the scale of a human, has been meticulously sculptured and stitched to capture facial expression, posture and attire. Towering over the visitor with striking realism, they demand attention and closer inspection. They heighten our emotion and evoke sympathy. Each ‘giant’ occupies their own dark, circular room surrounded by an ethereal landscape that is activated through a range of interpretive media; audio, digital projections, graphics, collection items, memoirs and extracts from personal diaries. The soundscape merges voices with gunfire and explosions while the musical score performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra sets a tone of sadness and discomfort. Gallipoli: the scale of our war has captured the imagination of a nation. The exhibition has attracted wide acclaim and higher visitation than any other exhibition held at Te Papa during the past 10 years. This presentation will focus on how a collaborative design process created a truly unique visitor experience that has pushed the boundaries of museum design practice.
Interactive Diorama, Case Study Rembrandt, Professor Lily Diaz-Kommonen, Aalto University
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, is a 17th Century oil painting by Rembrandt that depicts a human dissection directed by the famed surgeon and mayor of Amsterdam. In addition to being part of the art canon of Western art, this intriguing artifact has been the subject of diverse replicas that have enabled a variety of interpretive readings and re-readings. In our opinion, the painting can be regarded as commentary on the relationship between scientific knowledge, spectacle and art. Beginning with the recent 2010 appropriation by Zimbabwean artist Yiull Damaso in which Nelson Mandela’s body substitutes the original corpse of Aris Kindt, a criminal whose remains were the subject of the January 16, 1632 autopsy, to its use as a rhetorical aid representing an eternal present in W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn and going back to include Edouard Manet’s 1856 copy, the painting provides us with a unique relational field that allows us to create a dialogical mixed reality experience. For the concept of the interactive diorama, we have used photogrammetry to re-create the space of the anatomy theatre that Rembrandt used to create the painting. In addition, we have re-created the characters from the painting. We are now using motion-capture technology to create animations that bring these characters to life. Our desire is to also create an interface that enables members of the audience to assume the embodied perspective of the characters represented in the painting. Using infrared devices we want the audience to be able to enter the space of the painting, we also want to make it possible for the audience to interact with the characters and the objects in the scene, thus becoming a part of the artwork itself. We think that it might be possible to generalize guidelines and come up with a new exhibition format.
A View from the Cloud: Sustainability and Global Place-Making, Nina Colosi, Founding and Creative Director, Streaming Museum
Large urban screens and billboards persist as highly commercialized phenomena, but they can also, through coordinated curatorial efforts, be pressed into service to provide a counterpoint to commercialization, re-envisioning the role of urban media environments in shaping collective identity, historical consciousness, and public display culture. STREAMING MUSEUM employs a curatorial model that seeks to convince both art and non-art venues of the epistemological value of connected public displays and cultural programming on a global scale while striving to bring a worldview into focus through the arts and its interconnections to contemporary world affairs. Since 2008 the museum has produced and presented exhibitions and programs that have reached millions through its website and public spaces located in world cities and remote locations on seven continents. This paper will look at case studies of past projects and a new global project – , A View From The Cloud – in the planning stage by the museum which strives to give visitors the sense of the ‘big picture’ through the arts, real-time world viewing, and related multidisciplinary writing — a worldview that technology makes possible.
13th November 11.30-1.00 Space 3
WORKSHOP: Building a 21st Century Museum: people, community, relevance, Dr David Fleming, Director, National Museums Liverpool
Drawing directly on his experience of building the new Museum of Liverpool, UK, David will work with participants to explore the processes and tools required to build a 21st Century Museum based on people, community and relevance. Prioritising the values and objectives of the Museum, the session will provide participants with the building blocks of project planning and open up a number of questions about the role of design in the achievement of the Museum’s overall mission and goals.
13th November 2.00-3.30, Space 1
Museums and galleries have become synonymous with iconic, resource intensive and spectacular architecture, an issue which continues to be much debated but which seems to continue unabated. In this session our speakers raise questions about the relationship between cultural organisations and iconic architecture, questioning the processes through which new buildings are commissioned and asking what can we learn, how might we imagine a different future for museum architecture, and do we need some new, more nuanced ways of understanding the built forms of museums and the ways in which they are always co-opted to different projects and agendas?
Zen and the Art of Museum Maintenance, Professor Oscar Ho, Chinese University of Hong Kong
The ‘Suddenly Cultured’ phenomenon in Asia has led to a dramatic growth in building new museums. Frequently commissioning a small circle of brand name architects for the job, these grand buildings are to be the artistic icon representing the cities, despite the fact that there is hardly any idea about what would be put inside these museums. Seduced by the idea of cultural industries and lulled by the temporary success of the Bilbao Guggenheim, Asian governments have launched a massive but superficial copying of museum building from the West. We have come to a time when serious reconsideration of the roles and functions of this thing called ‘museum’ is urgent, within global, and local context in particular. The wisdom of the Sixth Master of Zen Buddhism from Guangdong, a cultural experience in the fishing village Tai O in Hong Kong, and the creative expressions of the Umbrella Movement might give us some suggestions.
A Site for Convergence and Exchange: designing the 21st century university art museum, Professor Tim McNeil, University of California, Davis
University museums are touted as learning laboratories and places for academic exchange and cross-disciplinary experimentation. As contemporary museums, they need to also be models for museum best practices; sites of successful informal learning; and encourage community interaction, participation and social inclusion. The university museum has the unique opportunity to cultivate the next generation of visitors, philanthropists, donors and museum professionals. This presentation will examine the historical impact design has played in shaping the university museum and its role in the 21st century. Using a specific case study, it will demonstrate how the design process (rather than the design implementation) for a new art museum can serve as a catalyst for community inclusion, participation and engagement.
What to Do with 1,715 Museums – Reviewing the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, Mika Savela
The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition launched in June 2014 gathered 1,715 entries from around the world — possibly the largest number of proposals ever received by an architectural competition. In today’s networked world, the sheer number of panels shipped and images of massive stacks of submissions quickly made headlines. More philosophical questions followed on the scale of the competition, on what this meant for architecture, designing museums or even the competition culture. The Guggenheim organization took notice and made several novel choices. All entries were displayed digitally, subjected to public commenting and sharing on social media. Metadata of the entries as well as their descriptive tags was made searchable. Suddenly over 1,700 proposals for a contemporary art museum from 77 countries were turned into a global poll on what was “trending” in designing a cultural institution in 2014. This presentation looks into this data set and proposals as an overview of the design ideals of the current time, as well as a possible site for radical rethinking of a museum. The presentation also considers the local perspective, from which the architectural opportunity to build a prestigious public building and its surrounding in the central harbour front of a Nordic city has been also contrasting with the grass root cultural viewpoints.
13th November 2.00-3.30, Space 2
The papers in this session present a number of contemporary approaches to museum making all of which began with the presence of an historic site or building (or boat!). Together they raise a range of ideas and questions about the visions of use behind the new museums and the design solutions adopted.
The Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence, Kenneth Tam Si Wai, Chief Heritage Manager, Antiquities and Monuments Office, LCSD, Hong Kong
A very concealed fort located on top of the Lye Yue Mun headland on the seaward side struck me that it had the potential to become a field museum. The fort, considered as “The Jewel of the Crown” of the headland, was in a state of dilapidation but structurally intact and appeared to be in good condition. It was a fine example of Victorian fortification and also a good example of the art of the architects and engineers of that era. In mid-90s, the Government decided to revitalize the structure to a self-contained museum. As the architect of the project, my first reaction was “how to attract visitors to come to the museum?” particularly as the fort was originally designed to discourage people coming from where – the opposite intention. As well as illustrating the story of this unique heritage project, it is hoped that the presentation will offer insights to others confronted with similar problems in dealing with historical buildings and structures.
Discover the fascinating history of the historic Fireboat Alexander Grantham, Jonathan Tse, Conservation Office, LCSD, Hong Kong
In 2002, LCSD acquired the Fireboat Alexander Grantham as a collection item after 49 years of service. With a firm commitment to ‘responsible stewardship and good preservation practice’, the acquisition serves to create a ‘living history’ experience to the public. By exhibiting the vessel on land, the public now can readily access a part of the history that was previously the preserve of sea captains. The experience in converting the fireboat into a live exhibit demonstrates how the complex issues of site constraints, layout design, preservation treatment, lifting and installation, and visitors’ accessibility could be resolved by the concerted efforts of various work parties without compromising the historic integrity of the vessel. The Fireboat Alexander Grantham is now not only the largest artifact in our museum collection, but also an oversized object which allows visitors to walk through and view each of her components in their natural context. The presentation will address how we adopted the ‘exhibition as communicator’ approach to promote effective communication between people and the object, as well as to share our experience in enhancing the overall accessibility of the display to prepare for the visitation by various groups.
Refurbishment of Kom Tong Hall as Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum, Eric Chan Pak-wing, Consultant, Antiquities and Monuments Office, LCSD, Hong Kong
Kom Tong Hall was built in 1914 for a businessman, Ho Komtong. The Hall is believed to be the first domestic building in Hong Kong using structural steel with brick and stone masonry – state-of-the-art building technology at the time for public buildings. In July 2002 the then owner’s intention to demolish the building provoked widespread protest from the local community and Central and Western District Council. Fortunately, through the intervention of the Antiquity and Monument Office and Ho Kom-Tong’s great grandson, Andrew E. Tze, the demolition was put on hold. At that time the Government was studying the option of converting a suitable historic building into a museum to commemorate Dr Sun Yat-sen who was educated in Hong Kong and later became the founder of modern China. The availability of Kom Tong Hall was fortuitous, being close to the existing Sun Yat-sen Historical Trail. So negotiations took place for the Government to take over the building and to preserve it as a museum. This presentation outlines the process whereby the structural engineer together with the architect and the contractor helped to refurbish the building for adaptive reuse as a museum, while preserving its original splendour. A mandate of minimal intervention was adopted by a strong multidisciplinary team which has applied its diverse knowledge and skills to meet the stringent and yet conflicting requirements.
13th November 2.00-3.30, Space 3
WORKSHOP: Great Expectations: managing stakeholder and media responses to museum redevelopments, Jim Broughton and Louise Fitton, Natural History Museum, London
Museum renewal projects are often large scale, complex and contentious – especially when heritage buildings are involved, or if changes are being made to elements that are held high in public affection. Such projects demand strong leadership, impeccable planning and the skilful negotiation of multiple relationships and agendas. Participants in this workshop will work with Jim and Louise to explore how to scope a museum renewal project in order to clarify its high-level aims and communication objectives, how to run a design competition and select consultants with the right sensibility, how to manage expectations of the public, the press and funders – including special interest groups such as planning committees, heritage bodies, residents’ groups, museum staff, and so on – and how to see the project through to realisation. This workshop looks set to be an incredibly lively session and so come along ready to join in and play along!
14th November 2015 10.30-12.00, Space 1
All three papers in this session introduce specific case studies as a route to suggesting how art and museums might break free of the constraints and conventions of the traditional museum as a route towards a wider social engagement and the production of an active and critical form of experience. The session asks what can we learn from these examples and how might they suggest new directions for and approaches to thinking about and engaging in museum design?
Oi! for Social Engagement, Ivy Lin, Curator, Oi!, Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Hong Kong
Established in 2013, Oi! provides a platform for social engagement, where members of the art community and public can be connected and work together on new possibilities in art creation, realise ideas and explore their imagination. The overarching aim is to improve the neighbouring communities with mutual trust and respect. Indeed, the transformative power of art is indispensable and essential to the making of Oi! for social engagement. To us, art can ceaselessly blend into people’s lives. We believe that art has the power to transform people’s perceptions and opinions, change the culture and values of society. To achieve this, Oi! has set out implementation strategies by adopting a community-driven approach to identify and maximize the shared values of communities during the collaborative process. Since its opening in 2013, Oi! has developed strategies for place-making and launched various key projects for social engagement. In the continual process of reflection, negotiation, debate and consultation, Oi! provides an open and fair platform for people from all walks of life to share their experience, knowledge and creativity with one another, making a place where mutual empowerment and sustainability can be realised.
Ateneo Art Awards: A Headway for Young Artists and an Exhibition for Non-Museum Goers, Joel Alexander S. de Leon, Assistant Curator Ateneo Art Gallery, Manila
In 2003 the Ateneo Art Gallery (AAG), a university art museum, launched a platform to showcase young Filipino artists. The Ateneo Art Awards (AAA) is an annual program that gives recognition to the best exhibitions within a year by artists under 36 years of age. Why young artists? Firstly, the museum was founded in 1960 with the bequest from artist and art patron, Fernando Zobel of his collection of young artists then. Through five decades, the museum has established its reputation for collecting young contemporary artists and featuring them in the museum’s exhibition program. Secondly, given that the museum’s primary audience is the university community, the AAG believes that the youth could easily identify and engage with art of their generation. An annual platform featuring young artists could create a prolific museum experience and develop a museum-going habit among the younger generation. This paper will show how in the last 12 years, this annual AAG program has successfully merged seemingly disparate venues and audiences through exhibit design approaches. Creative graphic design and installation techniques juxtapose curatorial and commercial concerns and has aided in making the Ateneo Art Awards a brand name with a distinct audience following.
Museum of Activism: Museum at the point of Intersection, Andrew Lam, Director of 64 Museum and MOST (Museum of Site) Hong Kong
Andrew will contribute the theory of “relational activism” (andrew lam; a new museum operation theory/ strategy, based on ‘activism’ and ‘relational aesthetic’ (nicolas bouriaud, 1998), to the forum. With a view to bringing utopian/ political ideal to a practical realization, museum narrative functions in a wide range of new social-form + public-format: social media, virtual space, net-channel, literary writing, 3d-model, design event, street forum, rally, parade, demonstration, collective performance, live art, alternative archive, i-cafe, and other public and ‘guest’ venue. Museum exhibitor can partner with interventional event in public sphere to stir up discourse, debate and discussion, among many others. Enacting public engagement with pedagogical procedures can foster alternative mode of community learning. Finally, networked collaboration with all level-players can be one of the sustainable agendas for small-scale, low-budget museum in the next decade. Museum operating at the intersection of contemporary media, social culture and curatorial activism, museum should transcend categorical boundaries and social-political territories. From initiating curatorial projects in support of local communities, to curating globally networked media projects, global museum should have its socio-cultural objective been set within ‘the neighbour context’. The presentation will illustrate some lively formats of museum practice in a new era of post-umbrella movement…
14th November 2015 10.30-12.00, Space 2
PANEL: Exhibiting Chinese Objects and Logics of Viewing, Dr Vivian Ting, Design and Cultural Studies Workshop, Eileen Lam, Hong Kong Institute of Education and Pedith Chan, City University of Hong Kong
Entering into a museum, a public realm for display, a museum object can be understood as an example of its genre demonstrating certain aspects of a practice, a belief or a technique. Spatial design and exhibition interpretation is likely to frame the object as a specimen put under expert examination in a strictly controlled laboratory, imposing a visual-oriented experience and neglecting the dynamic of material culture from other temporal and spatial contexts. This discussion panel sets out to examine how Chinese objects have been exhibited historically and to consider different modes of object-viewer relationships in constructing knowledge of Chinese material culture. It considers how different cultural conventions and practices could be developed in presenting Chinese art to encourage meaningful dialogues between objects and viewers.
14th November 2015 10.30-12.00, Space 3
WORKSHOP: The Spectrum of Audience Engagement, Lucy Shorrocks, Morris Hargreaves McIntyre
The Spectrum of Audience Engagement tool was developed for a major strategic study at the Western Australian Museum (WAM), involving over 200 staff, stakeholders, visitors, non-visitors, and Aboriginal and community groups. The Museum is planning a $428m redevelopment – one of the biggest new museum projects in the world. More than just a new state-of-the-art building, the project aims to reinvent the institution and redefine the role of a museum in the 21st century. In this interactive workshop Lucy will share the WAM case study, explore how the Spectrum tool has informed fundamental change and design at WAM and how it can be applied across the sector, allowing museums to map their future design and development.
14th November 2015 10.30-12.00, Space 4
This session presents two ways of dealing with time in the museum by grounding it in specific narratives of people and places. Whether through personal, technical or political histories, time is re-thought as a means of structuring the experience of space in the museum – linking larger global perspectives with the intimate experience of the individual visitor.
‘When Stories become History’, Open narrative and personal testimonies in historical exhibitions, Arnaud Dechelle, Senior Lecturer, School of Design and Architecture, University of Lincoln
The presentation of personal testimonies is now embraced by all kind of historical and cultural institutions, including museums. The appeal for visitors is evident, helping them to connect to the people behind the objects in a more engaging way. This is now regarded as a key strategy to encourage visitor participation and enhance visitor experience. This trend challenges the traditional role of museums. They can no longer be seen as the sole guardians of a generic, consensual and a-political memory. The phenomenon also reveals a growing tendency for the appropriation of individual memories towards the construction of collective memory, therefore suggesting that it is the civic duty of citizens to participate in the construction of an open historical narrative. This could provide a new framework for the interpretive process and lead to new forms of historical museums. However, it also throws very deep and ethical questions on the nature of curation and the future role of museums: which version of history, who’s stories should they present? What memory should they preserve, who’s memories should they showcase? This paper will explore the roots of our fascination with ‘personal stories’ and explore some of the theoretical and design challenges that modern curators and designers face in creating narrative environments that can adapt to a new model of historical storytelling… ‘When Stories become History’.
Screening Times: Dioramas at the Shanghai Film Museum, Linda Johnson, Director, Madame Mao’s Dowry
As with many of the new museums opened during China’s museum boom, The Shanghai Film Museum was created by a State-owned enterprise in collaboration with a European architect and museum design consultant. The result is a large museum that incorporates a significant level of interactive technology, hands-on encounters with aspects of filmmaking, working studios producing animation film and live television shows, and three cinema spaces. This paper will concentrate upon the representation within the museum of the history of Shanghai film, particularly its Golden Age, through the use of dioramas and film. The dioramas can be read as integrative representations of a period of the city’s history that appears throughout Shanghai in a variety of forms, architectural and social. This paper will explain how the dioramas present the visitor with a vision of Shanghai that reasserts the city as a location of modernism. The paper provides an alternative approach to the modern museum in China by suggesting that its representations are not confined to promoting a-temporal ideas of nationhood or civilization, but are intimately connected with localised history and identity.
14th November 2015 1.00-2.30, Space 1
How can we design in support of social experience, dialogue, human interaction and exchange? What research can we draw upon in order to begin to think about designing for certain types of use, experience and engagement? And how far might we illustrate how exhibition format and media play a part in complex visitor experiences?
Designing for Social Experiences, Dr Mette Houlberg Rung and Pernille Jensen, Statens Museum For Kunst (National Gallery of Denmark)
This presentation focuses on how museum experiences have an inherent social dimension and explores how design and interpretive experiments can create new platforms for engaging with art. Based on results from a PhD project at Statens Museum for Kunst (National Gallery of Denmark) the presentation will begin to address how the social situation of the visitors impact their experiences in the museum and how interpretation and design can be rethought with social interaction in mind. Most museum design and interpretation in art museums supports an educational or contemplative agenda. Challenging this, a large wooden structure with a built-in board game entitled MatchSMK has been installed in the collections of Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen. Here interaction, free association, humor and dialogue has been in the heart of the design process, which was developed in collaboration with a professional board game consultant, user groups, museum interpreters and a museum architect. This case study serves as an example of how gallery design can be fundamentally embedded in the practices of curation and interpretation and proves how careful and reflective design can have a crucial impact on the visitors’ museum experience.
From ‘Field’ to ‘Wilderness’: Translation and Creation in Exhibitions, Sipei Lu, PhD Candidate, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
What opportunities and problematics will arise when site-specific art, not created with the intent to be shown in museums, is ‘transported’ to a museum environment? What kind of design thinking is needed in such curating? This paper will address these issues in the context of an art and ethnography project ‘Nanting’, which is based in Guangzhou in South China. Since 2012, students from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts (GAFA) hold an exhibition every year in Shen Wu Hall, an ancestral temple in the local village of Nanting, with artworks made based on the students’ ethnographic research in relation to public issues in the village. The aim of these exhibitions is to invoke emotions from local villagers, as well as scholars and other individuals, and generate public discussion around social issues. For the Project group, a white-wall museum space is an opportunity to bring ‘Nanting’ issues to a wider audience and stimulate dialogues regarding similar issues taking place elsewhere. As a result, how to contextualise those artworks in the white-wall space became a central concern when the Project group received the invitation to exhibit their project at the Minsheng Art Museum. Using my own personal experience of observing the curatorial process of transporting ‘Nanting’ from the ‘field’ in Guangzhou to the ‘wilderness’ in Beijing and interviewing key informants in this process, this paper argues that the curating in a museum space of process-based projects with political considerations, such as ‘Nanting’, can be achieved by applying design methods to not only translate the intricate issues of the place where original projects take place to museum audiences, but also create a parallel public space where new discussions can be generated.
Innovative Exhibition Formats – a case study from the Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, Annette Loeseke, Associated Lecturer, New York University Berlin and Reinwardt Academy Amsterdam
Drawing on a case study from the Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, this paper will examine the opportunities and challenges that innovative, experience-centred cross/intercultural presentations face. The Humboldt Lab is related to the Ethnological Museum and the Asian Art Museum of the National Museums in Berlin and serves as a creative laboratory for experimenting with new exhibition formats designed in preparation for the Humboldt Forum in Berlin’s reconstructed City Palace due to open in 2019. Presenting findings from a recent evaluation of the Lab’s installation ‘Enchantment/Beauty Parlour’, the workshop identifies key narrative strategies that the interdisciplinary curatorial team borrowed from the media/performing arts, and explores the hypothesis that the specific exhibition format – as opposed to content – has a significant impact on how visitors experience and interpret an exhibition. The paper argues that exhibition designers who aim to create meaningful and engaging visitor experiences for increasingly diverse audiences should start thinking from reception practices – as opposed to content – and seek to diversify exhibition formats, design and narrative structures.
14th November 2015 1.00-2.30, Space 2
In this session, we explore the complexity of exhibition narratives, the varied ways in which visitors to museum and gallery exhibitions experience narrative and some of the new and creative ways in which researchers and practitioners are approaching interpretive planning.
The Spatial Narrative of Tree of Life – Rethinking the Exhibition Design of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, Dr Wang Qi, Lecturer, Department of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Nottingham
This paper focuses on the architecture of natural history museums. As a platform to celebrate the wonders of nature, Darwin and his idea of evolution are usually an inevitable topic in display. By translating the text in “On the Origin of Species” into vivid showcases and diagrams, evolution gallery should be an efficient way to promote public understanding of evolution. However, because visitors’ understanding is mainly influenced by their body movements in gallery, the spatial organizations could encourage misunderstanding in an inconspicuous way. In existing evolution exhibitions, the meaning of the “tree of life” could be easily lost in the spatial syntax and exhibition narrative. Based on this fact, this paper is aiming to explore the essence of Tree of Life by interactive language of exhibition in three spatial prototypes – 1-D linear space, 2-D open space and 3-D stereo space, and to suggest alternative interpretations for future evolution galleries.
Between text and design – a critical dialogue on exhibition narratives, Jona Piehl, PhD Candidate, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, David Francis, Interpretation Officer, British Museum
The concept of dialogism has manifested itself within the museum in a variety of ways, including the inclusion of the voices of source communities within the exhibition and a call for the authorship of the exhibition to be revealed. However, it is less common for this concept of dialogism to extend to the analysis of the museum exhibition itself. This paper brings together two PhD candidates who both work within the field of narrative analysis, but approach exhibitions from different perspectives. Jona Piehl has a background in visual communication. Her research focuses on the contributions of graphic design to stories and storytelling in museum exhibitions. David Francis is an interpretation officer and visitor researcher. His area of interest is how text and objects combine to create narrative arcs in exhibitions, and how these correspond to the narrative readings of the museum visitor. By bringing together both researchers in a critical dialogue, this paper aims to tease out the multifaceted relationships between the visual and textual narratives in exhibitions.
Planning the Narrative, Tom Duncan, Midlands Three Cities PhD Candidate, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
This presentation will investigate how cross-disciplinary perspectives can influences the design and development of the museum planning process. Can studying different projects and media such as film, or an urban development project produce findings that can be applied to the development of a masterplan for a museum? The medium of film with its narrative structure and spatial qualities has an affinity to the museum experience. When watching a film the viewer’s attention is carried by the sequential presentation of narrative fragments embedded in a spatial context. Similarly as the visitor to a museum moves through the museum environment they interpret sequentially the fragments of the content presented. Using example projects by the studio Duncan McCauley the paper will attempt to establish a correlation of structural patterns between film and cultural projects and illustrate how these could contribute to enriching the planning process both for the experience of the visitor and the identity and meaning of the museum or heritage site. The multiplicity of the museum experience, with its different narratives and functions could also be understood as a microcosm of the larger urban fabric. A future part of the research will be to analyse a project in the urban context which may provide clues as to how a masterplan can provide a strategy for the museum to reach out more successfully to its community.
14th November 2015 1.00-2.30, Space 3
In this session our speakers concentrate on new museum developments in China and the wider region debating patterns of exhibition development, the centrality of new media in these approaches and the burgeoning museum industry.
Museum Exhibitions in Asia Pacific 1995-2015: Nationalism to Environmentalism and Much In-between, Chuck Sutyla, Founder and Director, Cultural Solutions, Hong Kong, Bangkok & Manila
Asia-Pacific has experienced an explosion of museum and gallery building and exhibitions over the last two decades, 1995-2015, primarily in public institutions. As economies expand and mature, infrastructure needs are being met, and populations become more urbanized, governments focus on investing in culture: festivals and celebrations; anniversaries; cultural industries and especially tourist attractions. And museums and galleries are the crown jewels of this cultural phenomenon. Everyone wants one and wants one better than their neighbour! This is the soft power of the new economy. The reality of achieving the goal of a world-class museum is challenging: some of the new museums have little or no staff and the role of the interpretative planner is new and not well understood. This paper focuses on two case studies: ARMS Army Museum of Singapore and the Philippine National Museum of Natural History. ARMS opened in 2007 in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Founding of the Singapore Armed Forces, while the Natural History Museum is scheduled to open in May 2016. It is part of the museum precinct planned for Rizal Park as set out in the Philippine National Museum Act of 1998.Each was created for paricular reasons, exhibits were designed with specific objectives, and means of expresssion (collections, graphics and media) were keenly debated. The result is two unique institutions with varying types of visitor experiences, focussing on very different audiences. ARMS has proven to be a success, while the Philippine National Museum of Natural History, is shaping up to be the largest attended museum in the country.
New Media Interactive Design in Museum Exhibitions, Liu, Danyun, Lecturer, Guandong University of Technology
As museums have become more audience focused, audience research has gradually become more and more important, especially for the audience behaviour and interaction in visiting and displaying. Museums now need to abandon the myth of homogeneity of the audience – visitors come from different backgrounds and have different needs and service policy needs to acknowledge this by undertaking multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. At the same time, re-design or a combination of museum and exhibition interior space planned to redeploy so that the viewer can have a comfortable study or leisure humane space. Such as the Warrington Museum in United States provides a simple scientific instruments – prism, encouraged the audience to appreciate the works through the instrument, to enjoy a trip to new and exciting visual adventure. Another example is Vaso Art Gallery museum, part of the work will be copied into the puzzle, and each pair is interspersed with the original invitation to the audience before they are combined into the status quo. This game allows the audience to get involved in the actual sense of accomplishment, not only provides an opportunity to partner with the music and relaxing, letting the audience have fun and original works of careful observation. With the development of more and more interactive media technology , interactive experiential design between the museum and the audience , not just the role of the media to show interaction with the audience , but to promote universal education and human power source.
The new age of the museum industry in China, Zihje Yao
This paper will discuss the new age of the museum industry in China. Firstly, it will analyse characteristics of Chinese audiences and visitors from cultural, sociological, psychological and economic perspectives. It will examine the change, since the 2010 Shanghai EXPO, in the way visitors now anticipate ‘story experiences’ at exhibitions, museums, delivered through multimedia and other events in public spaces. ‘Traditional’ audiences have developed into ‘new’ audiences, with different point of views and expectations of exhibitions and museums. The paper will go on to analyze characteristic features of local museums and exhibitions in China, and how to localize the museum industry by adapting the visitor experience, service, event planning, and museum operations to a specific local context. The museums industries in China is rapidly developing. On one hand cultural investment has been seen by government and enterprise as a major source of financial gain and enhanced cultural status; on the other hand it demonstrates trends in central government’s policy such as the development of public cultural services. This paper analyses the relationship between the museum industry and public cultural services showing how ‘new’ museums could become part of the engine transforming the Chinese industrial structure. By talking about the points above, this paper will explain the new idea of ‘the museum industry district’ and envision the possibility, the practical structure and the advantages of constructing a whole industrial chain around the museum.
14th November 2015 1.00-2.30, Space 4
The two papers in this session focus on storytelling and raise a number of questions about the possibilities of narrative approaches in exhibition making and the need for techniques for developing narrative exhibitions as well as the potential limitations of the storytelling exhibition in generating dialogue and exchange.
Tell a Spatial Story: constructing narrative exhibitions by variational timeline, Xu Jie, PhD Candidate, Zhejiang University
When visitors talk about museum exhibition, they talk about some exquisite ancient exhibits. It is rare to hear they find an amazing story in exhibition. With the narrative turn of contemporary exhibition appearing in the museum filed, curators and designers are shaping exhibitions by narrative. However, they do not have a solid tool or guide for analysing and constructing narrative exhibitions. There are countless forms of narrative in the world, but neither literature narrative theory nor film narrative theory is based on physical space. As a narrative medium with spatial properties, narrative exhibitions tells stories to visitors in a spatial form. This paper sets forward a new framework to analyse the narrative structure of an exhibition called Epic of Yue Area, which is the permanent historical exhibition in Zhejiang Provincial Museum. Most historical exhibitions in China’s Provincial museums are object-centred. They classify objects into categories such as politics, economics and culture and arrange them according to the sequence of dynasties. Often, they only give visitors a small text label for each object, which contains the name and the production time of the exhibit. Visitors actually cannot learn any history of a certain province in such exhibitions. As a narrative exhibition, Epic of Yue Area exhibits regional culture instead of only objects, which actually tells a spatial story of Zhejiang Province. The essential tool adopted by the Curator to construct Epic of Yue Area is a variational Timeline. This paper aims to clarify the differences between traditional storytelling and story-in-space, and explore how variational Timeline construct narrative exhibition to tell visitors a spatial story.
Telling the Story of Villages——Case Study on Village-themed Exhibition of Jinhua Museum, Chenhui Shao, PhD Candidate, Department of Cultural Heritage and Museology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
Because of numerous hills and mountains, there are many isolated villages in Jinhua, a city in the middle of Zhejiang Province. In those traditional villages, patriarchal clan system tied up with kinship played a central role and had a positive influence on the relationship of neighbourhood and the local economy. Nowadays, township government has taken the place of patriarchal clan system, however the influence still exists owing to some heritages passed down generation by generation. Therefore, Jinhua Museum planned a themed-exhibition called “village society”, which intends to show the social structure and their operation of villages, in order to learn more about the social and economic situation in Jinhua. This exhibition took almost three years to make and had several discussions during the process. Key questions included: “how to have dialog between museum and village people”, focusing on: Who is the narrator of the exhibition? Who is the target audience? And which side of the village was this exhibition trying to exhibit, a certain status of its past, its changing face or its current situation? In this paper, Chenhui Shao will explore the making of ‘Village Society’ and the relationship between its production and the Museum’s dialogue with local people.
14th November 2015 3.00-4.30, Space 1
This session sets out to explore the role of embodied experience in the visitor’s engagement with the objects and spaces of the museum. It looks in particular at the theory behind – and examples of – exhibitions that transcend the limits of text-based storytelling through structured experiences of movement in graphical, interior and landscape spaces. The session includes two papers which explore the specifics of museum space in China and how Chinese classical aesthetics and Chinese literati gardens might offer some clues to the future of museum and gallery design in the region.
YAJI GARDEN: A Site for Gathering the Literati, Johnson Chang, Director, Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong
The Yaji Garden is first of all not a salon, neither is it a white cube museum. It is a site for an interactive connoisseurship that crosses the divide of viewer and artist. Above all, the Yaji Garden is not designed for the “public”, a basic premise of modern public cultural institutions. Artists have been pursuing this form of activity for a very long time; one of the earliest memorable gathering, the Lanting Gathering in 353 AD, was immortalised by Wang Xizhi’s famous preface to the anthology of poetry written on that occasion. Lanting’s fame ultimately rests on Wang’s calligraphy, which has become the paradigmatic model every aspiring scholar would copy over the last thousand years. As China’s “art space” the literati garden has never looked back since then. Today, how to move forward as a site for contemporary art, and turn literati connoisseurship into a productive system for processing the diversity of modern issues is the objective of the current “Yaji Garden” project.
How can Chinese classical aesthetics help animate museums?, Lin Zao, Associate Professor, Guizhou University China
There is a typical western mode of ocularcentrism which reflects larger western philosophical emphasis on cognition as the way to engage with the world. Following it, some museums and exhibitions are still very western no matter how many non-western features they have exhibited and interpreted (e.g. Astor Chinese Court in MMA and Suzhou Museum in China). Compared with this western mode which is based on the knowledge-based world, I focus on the more aesthetic capacities of museums and try to map a different universal mode by Chinese classical aesthetic approaches. In this paper I will develop my argument through my example of the Chinese classical garden. In a knowledge explosion and fierce competition context, Chinese classical aesthetics inspired that there is an impaired and sleeping gallery between the outer world and the inner world should be repaired and awaked. And another kind of museum, as a harmoniously animistic cosmos for accommodating and leading people to the re-integration of the peaceful relationship with the world, should be explored and built.
From Body to Body: Architecture, Movement and Meaning in the Museum, Dr Jonathan Hale, Reader in Architectural Theory, University of Nottingham
This paper considers the role of bodily experience in the visitor’s engagement with the objects and spaces of the museum. Drawing on the phenomenological writings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-61), as well as recent research in neuroscience and philosophy on so-called ‘embodied cognition,’ the paper puts forward a theoretical framework for assessing the effectiveness of what might be called ‘interpretive exhibition design’. Examples of recent exhibition installations from the Royal Library in Copenhagen are used to illustrate the possibilities for the configuration of architectural space to help transcend the limits of text-based interpretation. The distinctive encounter between a moving observer and a (generally) static object in the museum is contrasted with the related experience of the live performance or cinematic image, where a moving object is encountered by a largely static observer. Through structured experiences of movement and bodily engagement within the museum, it is suggested that learning experiences can be created that operate ‘below the radar’ of conscious awareness, through the medium of the visitor’s own pre-existing bodily habitus.
14th November 2015 3.00-4.30, Space 2
This session picks us the question of the role of designers, design thinking and design history in museum projects. It asks what role designers can play in the politics of representation and how organisations can take full advantage of design approaches and processes in their work. The session ends with a fascinating case study from the State Historical Museum in Moscow and a plea to also look back and study the past.
Design and management in cultural organisations: how do arts managers understand the role of design in management processes?, Charlotte Bonham-Carter, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
As Managing Director of the London Underground in the early 20th Century, Frank Pick laid out a vision for ‘total design’ on the transport network. Pick’s commitment to ensuring that every aspect of the company’s activities reflected excellence in design established his reputation as a leading figure in design management. And yet, Transport for London’s (TfL) commitment to these principles was called into question last year, when the company made plans to sell-off its Grade I listed headquarters at 55 Broadway – a building that is often cited as London first skyscraper, and a symbolic emblem of TfL’s pioneering approach to art and design. Drawing upon her experience as Curator of Art on the Underground, and as a cultural worker within several contemporary art museums in London, Bonham-Carter will explore the significance of Pick’s approach and discuss the extent to which design is integrated with strategic planning in cultural organisations.
The Outsiders? The politics and practice of representing diverse cultures and narratives, Bill Haley, Founding Director Haley Sharpe Design (hsd)
In the course of our work as interpreters and exhibition designers, we are frequently called upon to vocalise and display the narratives of cultures that are not our own. But who has the ‘right’ to represent cultures or historical narratives? How should interpretive / design teams relate to the cultural context of a project? In this session Bill will draw upon a portfolio of projects, in particular those focused on national identity, colonial / post-colonial narratives and of those grappling with issues of reconciliation, to explore the opportunities and pitfalls that a cross-cultural model of working offers. He asks, what benefits can an external / ‘impartial’ team bring to the table, and what issues need to be overcome to ensure that multiple voices are woven into the fabric of a scheme?
Spatial history of the State Historical Museum, Russia: reflections and observations, Anna Mikhailova, PhD Candidiate, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
The goal of the talk is to argue for the need for critical thinking about the history of spatial transformations within museums. By using the case of the State Historical Museum (SHM) in Moscow, which to a certain extent could be characterized as a failure, the talk aims to show how negative experience can be productively used during both everyday museum management and larger projects such as hosting temporary exhibitions, festivals, concerts. The talk will begin with the brief history of the SHM and the political, cultural and museological contexts in which it was created and later transformed. Then the talk will proceed to the history of spatial changes which occurred specifically in the Entrance zone, known as ‘Paradue seni’, in order to show the decision-making process behind them. The final part of the paper will reveal those lessons that can be learned from these stories and how these lessons can be productively used nowadays.
14th November 2015 3.00-4.30, Space 3
WORKSHOP: Collaborative design processes, Dr Mette Houlberg Rung and Pernille Jensen
In this workshop you will work with Mette and in teams in order to design a small-scale exhibition and explore the collaborative design processes developed at Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK) (National Gallery of Denmark). Fundamental to this collaborative exhibition practice, is the involvement not only of designers and architects, but also interpreters, art historical researchers and communication officers. Together they form a curatorial group, whose task it is to develop an exhibition concept, design the exhibition and evaluate it. The workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to learn about the process, work through its key components, discuss its benefits and limitations, compare it to existing practices and reflect on the processes of exhibition development. Come ready to be creative!
14th November 2015 3.00-4.30, Space 4
Interestingly, each of the papers in this session take a particular focus – the sacred space of a particular group of people, the notion of the archive as a work of art or the architect’s sketch – as a mechanism for reimagining and remaking the space of exhibition.
Sacred space of the diaspora as exhibition space embodying spiritual heritage, culture, values and tradition, Rosemarie Fitton
There is a wealth of untapped potential in the development of exhibition spaces within spiritual space especially that used by the diaspora; for example Hindu Temples and Sikh Gurdwaras. Most religious groups in the UK combine in their sacred buildings space for spiritual observance, community activity, and exhibition. The latter usually reflects on the development of a particular religious community within their chosen location in their new home country. Often it is much more – charting the lives of the Gurus and their significant achievements; along with significant artefacts. However, it could be said that all spiritual spaces are exhibitions; they house artefacts – often of great age, value and significance in their particular context. They impart information, not only on aspects of the belief system from an historical perspective but also have temporary ‘exhibition’ space which conveys information on new developments/restoration activities or, more recently, art exhibitions. Schools use these spiritual spaces as learning environments, in the same way they would a Museum. This paper explores the possibilities found within and learning taken the sacred space of the diaspora during Rosemarie’s work on the design for the Swaminarayan Hindu temple in Leicester.
Bringing collections to the visitor: archives as works of art in the design of new archive repositories, Peter Lester, PhD Candidate, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
Archive collections hold a wealth of written and pictorial sources which contain both evidential and cultural information of value to the community they serve, whether business, academic or local. Access to this material is commonly achieved through a search room environment and the design of such research spaces is focussed primarily on researchers’ needs combined with security and preservation requirements. The inclusion of exhibition spaces has been a common feature of UK archive services for many years and more recent development projects have featured the commissioning of works of art within public archive spaces as artists and designers have become increasingly interested in using archive collections in new ways. This paper will introduce a number of case studies of innovative design and use of collections within archive buildings. It will seek to demonstrate how archives can be brought to visitors in a more direct and accessible way, utilising their (often hitherto unexploited) visual qualities, and to encourage the building of narrative devices which seek to exploit archives to a greater degree. It will pose questions as to how such ideas can be developed further to include community involvement in the design of archive-influenced works of art and exhibitions, and how cultural institutions including archives and museums can consider the use of their collections in the design of their research and gallery spaces.
Curating Projection of Transmitting Minds: Sketch Collection as Reflection on Contextualized Modern Architecture in Post-war Hong Kong, Jing Xiao, Postdoctoral Fellow in History and Theory of Architecture, City University of Hong Kong
Design museums specializing in architectural collections have not yet been formalized with a similar function of criticism as art museums in the pan-East-Asian region. In most cases, they partake of the contemporary creative industry simply as a passive intermediate body of completed works. Museums of international level might compile periodical and trans-territorial archives. However, a regional museum is to promote local creativity through more specified collections of design products, in terms not only of reminding the cherished collective memories, but also of theorizing the contextualized logic of a particular regional style, typology, and ideology that may defy the dogmatic international principles and means in a way, as Robin Evans proposed, that is well rounded up within the ambiguities and inconsistencies of the interpretation of architectural sketches. The absence of varieties of sketches in contemporary design museums in HK actually derives from the historical situation of local architectural practice. Sketches, on the other hand, epitomize transmitting minds. This paper takes M+ Museum, HK, as case study and elaborates the specialty of design sketches in contributing to new forms of architectural criticism. It promotes the projections of ideas and transformation by building a new standard of architectural critique based on the interpretation of contexts, enquiries, struggles, solutions, and even partial failures in design process. In this term, museums of design sketches can promote local design creativity better when they become part of a broader “critical culture,” and incorporate debate, social interaction, publishing and educational training in terms of a design culture in projection.
15th November 10.30-12.00, Space 1
Much of the discussion at the Future of Museum and Gallery Design is based around the transformation of museums and galleries and the necessary process of changing the physical museum and the opportunities for experience the physical structures, formats and media play a part in making possible. Change life, change space! In this session, we will hear about three examples of transformation from the very focused and specific project of driving change through the appropriation of an existing museum resource – conservation – to two larger scale transformation projects.
A Future for the Past and Present –leveraging on conservation educational programmes, Alice Tsang, Conservation Manager, Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Hong Kong
Amongst the core functions of museums (Acquire, Conserve, Research, Communicate and Exhibit) as defined by ICOM, ‘Exhibit’ and ‘Conserve’ look distinctive under their own ambit, with the former in search of flexibility and the latter conforming to standards. Furthermore, being an apparent front-of-stage activity, ‘Exhibit’ attracts much public attention, whereas ’Conserve’, which serves the needs of artefacts at the back-of-stage, is generally reckoned as secondary and auxiliary. Stepping into the second decade of the 21st Century when museums as public institutions, are opening up further to earn wider public support, the need for museums to make connections with visitors with an emphasis on communication has become more apparent, and the adoption of a customer-oriented and market responsive approach in the delivery of programmes and services has become more dominant. It is during the process of exploring new ways in enhancing new museum experiences for the visitors that ‘Conserve’ has been drawn into the limelight to assume a similar role as ‘Exhibit’ in front of the public. Taking the form of public educational programmes, ‘Conserve’ moves to the ‘front-of-stage’ to face the market and develop relationships with the public through a new channel. To this end, conservators have expanded their traditional role in museums to fulfil a broader social mission to promote conservation awareness in sustainable ways for the benefit of protecting and preserving the local cultural heritage for the future generations. Using the examples of the well-received conservation education activities currently run by the Conservation Office at the museums in Hong Kong, this paper will examine how conservators integrate ‘Conserve’ and ‘Exhibit’ together in the form of educational programmes to act as a powerful tool to ‘Communicate’ with the public and remake the traditional museum.
Rethinking Contemporary Art Museums as Social Spaces, Cheng-Yi Shih, PhD Candidate, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
The presentation will illustrate how two contemporary art venues in Taipei that own no permanent collections – Treasure Hill Artist Village (THAV) and Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei (MOCA Taipei) – adopt their unique strategies to enhance their missions of social engagement. Both venues have been transformed from historic buildings and are managed by Taipei City Government. They offer differing examples of active sites for cultural participation, and in both venues a dialogue between architecture, space, activities, and art practices would seem to characterize users’ experiences. The talk will look at aspects of the spatial, temporal and social characteristics of the sites in order to map the strategies of flexibility and interactivity that the two art venues perform. In spite of the fact that they own no permanent collections, both these case study museums attempt to achieve their institutional missions, to extend the diversity of museum activities, and to engage with the wider citizens in an agile manner. The art spaces they created offer a mirror for us to rethink the relationship between the viewed and viewer and to re-evaluate the possibilities of making art museums into social spaces.
Reimagining the Natural History Museum, Jim Broughton and Louise Fitton, The Natural History Museum, London
London’s Natural History Museum is one of the world’s ten most-visited museums. With a history stretching back more than 260 years, a collection of more than 80 million specimens, a vast purpose-built C19th building and almost 1,000 staff, the Museum is engaged in a constant process of reinvention in order to keep pace with the latest developments in scientific research and with the expectations and needs of its ever-growing audience. In January 2015 the Natural History Museum publicly launched its vision for the coming decade – a vision based on its principal mission to challenge the way human society thinks about the natural world, and to communicate this through narratives of the origins and evolution of life on Earth, biodiversity and sustainability. Jim and Louise will outline how the Museum is working to make this tangible through a programme of redesign and renewal of its major public spaces. As members of the Public Engagement Executive that is driving the transformation of the Museum’s public offer, Louise and Jim will also outline some of the processes of strategic thinking and management culture that have enabled the Natural History Museum to move its focus onto goals that are decades in the future while enthusing staff anew with the practical steps being made towards these in each aspect of the daily operation of the Museum.
15th November 10.30-12.00, Space 2
In different ways, each of the papers in this session focuses on the theme of bodily and sensory immersion in the experience of museum spaces. Questioning the traditional dominance of text-based interpretation in museums, the three papers open up new possibilities for the architecture of the building itself as well as a range of media to play a more significant role within the exhibition experience.
What are you going to do at ‘Roof Sentiment’?: Young Architects Program as a new way of expanding visitor experience, Dr Jin-geun Cho, Dah-young Chung and Dr Geuntae Park, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea
This presentation explores what ‘Roof Sentiment’ has brought to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) in terms of new visitor experience. ‘Roof Sentiment’ is the winning proposal for 2015 Young Architects Program (YAP) at MMCA, which was built in the courtyard of the museum. YAP is a project that has been committed to fostering young and emerging architectural talent by providing the opportunity to design and present their own projects. ‘Roof Sentiment’ is, in its design perspectives, representing one architectural element, roof. Roof is also the outstanding feature in traditional Korean architecture and the pitched shape of these roofs references the surrounding mountainous landscape in Korea. ‘Roof Sentiment’ has a serpentine shape, moving up and down, held up by tall pillars at the highest points, allowing for parts of the roof to dangle and move freely in the wind. Beneath the shade of the roof are grass mounds to explore and reed chairs to lounge in. Circular cut-outs are made in the roof, revealing views of the local environment, and these scenes shift as a breeze causes the droops in the roof to sway. ‘Roof Sentiment’ is an agent to awaken people to the summertime and their surroundings. This presentation will identify three distinctive characters of ‘Roof Sentiment’: (1) crossing over art and architecture, (2) completing museum architecture with filling empty and neutral space, and (3) creating design for new visitor experience. In particular, presenters will highlight that ‘Roof Sentiment’ has provided new “sentiments” to visitors, which have been forgotten, and that the range of visitor experience has been expanded in a unique way at current museum setting.
German Expressionist Art: the redevelopment of a collection, Cassandra Killington, Exhibition Designer, Leicester City Arts and Museum Service
With a particular focus on interpretation and design language, this paper will explore how Leicester Arts and Museum Service redeveloped their collection of 20th century German Expressionism, how they addressed the problems of engaging both local and global audiences in new and dynamic ways and how they established the collection as one of international importance. The interpretation strategy developed explores the expressionist artists’ belief that their work released deeper emotions which lay beneath the surface of everyday life, and could be told through the incredible stories of wartime friendships, shared artistic and cultural passions and the vision and commitment of successive museum curators and directors. By using appropriate design language – the way in which we communicate with our audiences – we could explore these stories, as expressionist artists did, through exploration of our own emotional response using art, dance, music, film and theatre.
Spatial Meaning-Making: Interpretive Design and the Embodied Experience, Christina Back, Head of Exhibition Design, Royal Library and National Museum of Photography, Denmark.
This paper explores spatial non-textual interpretive exhibition design and the embodied and multisensory exhibition encounter. The paper presents an overall introduction to a research project based on a case study conducted at the National Museum of Photography, the Royal Library, Copenhagen (2013-2015) – focusing on the narrative potentials of exhibition space, the issue of scenographic staging as part of a sensory-based interpretation strategy, and the visitor’s meaning-making in a staged environment. The research case in question was constructed as a laboratory-like experiment where a highly staged presentation of a single exhibit was subjected to an empirical study based on qualitative interviews. The exhibition space was designed to achieve an awakening of the senses, present the visitor with semantically open-ended inputs and perspectives for a narrative as they explore the space, and empower the visitor’s spatially embodied museum experience. Besides introducing the research project the paper also reflects on how the research project has been embedded into the practice of the exhibition team and later interpretive exhibition designs.
15th November 10.30-12.00, Space 3
WORKSHOP: Masterplanning Strategies, Tom Duncan, Duncan McCauley, Berlin
Planning processes in museums today need to acknowledge and react to the task of planning an experience as much as planning physical space and an operational institution. The masterplan of a museum or heritage site needs to contain both spatial and time based qualities, which together create the basis for the visitor experience. This workshop will give an insight into some of the processes developed by Duncan McCauley for creating visitor-orientated experiences in museums and heritage sites. After a brief introductory session with some representations of example projects participants will undertake three activities as a group in order to engage with the idea of the museum as an experience and to think about the relevance of time and sequence as part of the museum planning process.
15th November 1.00-2.30, Space 1
PANEL: The Credible and the Incredible: balancing science and wonder in new dinosaur museums, Dr Matt Carrano, Curator of Dinosauria, Smithsonian Institution, Pauline Dolovich, Architect and Principal, Reich+Petch Architects, Stephen Petri, Designer and Principal, Reich+Petch International, Victoria Manica, Designer and Principal, The Design Foundation
For most visitors a museum is about the “stuff” – the objects they see and the experiences they have, and how those combine to make memories that they will carry forward and share with their friends and families. So, for most people the experience of the museum is the EXHIBITS, fantastic objects from exotic or ancient worlds and experiences that allow them to have fun and be inspired. This session will explore three exciting new and future dinosaur and palaeontology museum projects that are mapping new directions in collections and research, architecture, experience design, visitor engagement, technological media, and education.
15th November 1.00-2.30, Space 2
PANEL: Design museums and international collaborations: The V&A Shekou project, Anaïs Aguerre, Head of International Initiatives and Shekou Project Director; Luisa Mengoni, Head of V&A Gallery and Advisor to the Shekou Design Museum; Rong Zhao, Head of Program, Shekou Design Museum
The V&A has entered into a pioneering collaboration with China Merchants Group to support their ambitious plan to set up a design museum in Shenzhen due to open in early 2017. The V&A will contribute with a V&A Gallery devoted to 20th and 21st century design drawing from its own collection in London. In this session, Anaïs Aguerre, Luisa Mengoni and Rong Zhao will deliver a number of short presentations which explore the project and the role it is playing in today’s changing Chinese design landscape.
15th November 1.00-2.30, Space 3
WORKSHOP: Engaging in non-textual exhibition design, Ane Pilegaard and Christina Back
The workshop investigates the potentials of visitor engagement strategies that unfold the visitor’s multisensory and embodied encounter with museum objects. Offering a hands-on introduction to spatial, visual, and material aesthetics in interpretive exhibition design, the workshop explores how exhibition design can awaken the senses beyond the limits of textual language and thereby empower the visitor’s spatially and materially embodied museum experience.