Here at the Transformations in Cultural and Scientific Communication Conference, Shelley Bernstein is giving her first masterclass! Follow the feed on twitter – tag #tcsc. I’ll be summarising feed as we go!
Archive for the 'Reviews' Category
Tags: culture, museum communication
John Holden from Demos recently released this report ‘Democratic Culture’ to explore what it is that we mean by culture in our times. The report establishes three useful spheres:the public, commercial and homemade. The public is that which is defined as culture through the act of being funded by governments, commercial culture is determined by the consumer and the homemade by the creator and/or community. Holden proposes that as these three spheres become increasingly interconnected and networked, the ambiguities between each is likely to increase. He suggestst that the reaction to this by those who consider art to be ‘for an elite’ will be that they to try to maintain their power to define what art is by separating it from everyday life. This is probably not such a new thought; before the internet we found ways of defining high and low culture, particularly in the museum/library/archive/gallery sector. Kevin Moore’s ‘Museums and Popular Culture’ (1997) dealt with issues of interpretation and representation and focused on the paradox of the museum in attempting to maintain a distance from those cultural events which, in another time and another place may well be defined as high culture.
But this is not the place for yet another ‘divide’ discussion. Holden describes the impact of ‘exculsivity’ and ‘the cultural snob’, suggesting levels of expert skill and knowledge are relative. He proposes that the arguements which frequently break out between the ranks are in themselves a mechanism for ‘asserting exculsivity’ in order to “guard the territory that they have mapped together, in order to keep the public out.” (Holden 2008, p. 20) Holden asserts that if we can begin to consider the demos as ‘us’, ” a self-governing, enlightened citizenry, with the capacity to make judgements and decide questions” then three-way communication can develop.
The article is an interesting read and contexutalises existing debates quite well. Where it seems to lack punch is in a sense of the future. Recognising that there is a big gap between the rhetoric or access and audience expectation, I can’t help feeling somewhat worn out by the report. It’s not the fault of DEMOS. Perhaps it has more to do with a sense of frustration that before we can move forward, we have to locate the muscles that work together to propel us through space.
Tags: cultural organisations, cultural tourism, design
I was recently at the Intercom Museum, Tourism Visitor Experience conference in Rotorua, New Zealand where a great program of events challenged some notions regarding the links between the cultural sector and tourism industries. I was particularly taken by Dame Cheryll Sotheran’s keynote ‘The designation museum’ and national brand. Dame Cheryll is the Director of the creative and tourism sectors for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. She led the development of a creative industries strategy in NZ and is responsible for the successful Better by Design program which promotes design integration for New Zealand businesses.
Dame Cheryll’s speech was underpinned by the convergence between cultural and economic industries and a holistic understanding of economic, social and cultural value. Here are some of the key points she made:
Economic development can be an incentive towards innovation and value-driven solutions
In a globalised world, economic development has new challenges and characteristics
– Decline in dominance of western economies
– Rise of new Asian economies
– New kinds of value and pluralism around cultural and social as well as economies
– Shift from production to consumption / market driven or value driven economies
– Value oriented consumption
This contributes to economic trends driven by consumer concepts and values, authenticity, climate change, sustainability. Additionally, there is a demand for immersive experiences, a breakdown of silos, and the new challenges of hyper-reality.
In this complex environment, Cultural organisations need to develop more nuanced response to experience economies. There is a big shift in the way experience is delivered – Innovation driven production is now occurring within increasingly converging markets such as sustainability , lifestyle etc. This is driven by innovation and niche-market design. It is culturally driven and is a point of difference
Cultural Organisations can led in this environment by – protecting, promoting, maintaining cultural difference. At the same time, there is a potential new role for design in this experience environment:
– Increasing design-driven innovation through
– Content ownership/ experience based industries
– Consolidating and looking at innovation in that market
– Value-based and driven solutions
– New practices based on collaboration
The next part of the speech centred on cultural organisations and tourism suggesting
– Experience and stories create value-driven demand
– Value-added memorable experiences can be combined with service industry
– Meta-narratives should be delivered with technical innovation and service excellence
– Integrity and authenticity, memorable approach
In terms of convergent experiences, she suggested that the following were areas of growth
Cultural value and distinctiveness
Some of the tensions in this field include:
Local vs global
Collections vs content
Authenticity and authority vs market-driven experiences
Object vs hyper-reality
Cultural organisations can not dismiss these tensions but rather intelligently analyse experience and narrative to engage with a technically demanding audience.
Explore new approaches
Increased understanding of how playing an active role is an incentive
Understand value-based solutions
Leadership opportunities – new partnerships
Recognising the distinctive offering, value, heritage and narrative driven
Towards the end of the presentation Dame Cheryll discussed new forms of collaboration based on – scarce resources, scale, strong brands or consumer services. She suggested that cultural organisations had the potential to create powerful resource sharing to identify meta-narratives which link new partners together to offer value-driven solutions and experiences.
I’m going to spend a bit of time thinking about this important last point. My next posts will be speculations of what these partnerships might look like!
Tags: cultural organisations, design, innovation
I recently found this article in BusinessWeek, “Art Museum as Research Lab“. It details an exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (now closed) which presented new designs in data visualization and other disciplines. The show, “Design and the Elastic Mind,” featured 200 projects by international designers and firms. The exhibition illustrated innovative processes in disciplines not usually associated with design, for instance in nanotechnology, as well as design for new markets in developing nations, and “three-dimensional printing” of physical objects directly from computer files.
The article is of particular interest because it places both design and cultural organisations in the centre of the innovation debate, something that rarely happens. I was recently at a Business Seminar at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum where I asked a question about the value of building new design relationships between cultural organisations and industry. While the panel responded with initiatives such as Proctor and Gamble’s ‘Connect and Develop’, the discussion stopped short of teasing out the potential of these debates.
I’ll be interested to see what happens in Australia in relation to design and cultural organisations. The ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation recently released a new paper SOCIAL NETWORK MARKETS: A NEW DEFINITION OF THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES where cultural organisations were finally considered part of both the innovation debate and the creative industries, but only when they were dealing with new knowledge. Additionally, design was added to the agenda all within the context of social networking.
As the exhibition in New York demonstrated, there are some real outcomes for design in collaboration with cultural organisations. I look forward to watching how this debate develops!