Museums and digital media: establishing a research agenda for the Scottish Heritage Sector

As museums, galleries and archives, together with academia and the creative industries, grapple with the opportunities and challenges afforded by social media, new patterns of personal and collective participation emerge which raise a number of fascinating questions. These touch on the relevance of traditional approaches to display and editorial intervention in the face of new forms of user authorship; on the long-term educational implications of a change in the nature of artifacts which, as volatile amalgams of bits and bytes, can now be manipulated, re-distributed and re-described;  on the management of a combination of institutional and user-generated content within new interaction dynamics where users are peers rather than customers; on the nature of online users’ motivation and expectations; on new professional roles within institutions; on new kinds of institutional partnerships, where ‘global’ and ‘local’ mesh in yet unfamiliar patterns.

It is important that these and other questions which emerge from innovative online experiences in the heritage sector in Scotland and beyond are captured and explored as part of a robust and dynamic research agenda, to help inform, support and inspire museum professionals now and in the future as they aim not just to adapt to change but also be leaders in innovation. This presentation explores some emerging themes and potential questions which might start to shape up such a research agenda.

Michela Clari

Michela is a doctoral student in the School of Education. Funded by an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award in partnership between the University and RCAHMS, she is researching the changing patterns of power and participation through social media in museum access and education. Michela’s professional background is linguistics, lexicography and reference publishing. She was Managing Editor and then Editorial Director with HarperCollins Publishers for over 15 years with responsibility for Collins bilingual and ELT dictionaries for the UK and worldwide, where she developed a keen interest in the impact of the web and new digital opportunities on content creation and sharing in the creative industries and wider implications for cultural institutions.

Listen to Michela’s presentation on our Resources page.