Production of Social Media/Chapter 4

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Chapter 4 Social Traces. Participation and the creation of shared heritage (page 69-86) Luigina Ciolfi

It’s a text about interaction design for museums and exhibitions which have experimented with ways of facilitating visitor’s participation and about the design of interactive systems. Due to the more active role that social media and social technology grant people, a new concept of “shared heritage” where institutional content and contributions of visitors make heritage has been established. It is called a “media museum” (Russo). Luigina Ciolfi gives the examples based on exhibition designs for museums and public spaces that were realized in the past few years by the Interaction design Centre (IDC) at the University of Limerick. She is focusing on the increasing role of social media and how it influences the communication and participation of people. Inclusion is the key-word. It is very important to explore technologies, which of those can facilitate participation and how they can create new ways of interaction. In the past museums were spaces where a deep cleft between experts and visitors existed. In recent years this changed in some ways. Museums started to be open and participative institutions. Social media leads to a new way of sharing and collaboration. To enable participation a lot of issues have to be considered, because lot of actors like curators, volunteers… have to be brought under an interaction design perspective. Museums and heritage sites are the memory of people and their identity.” Heritage is increasingly intended as what a community values and speaks out to others about their identity.” (chapter 4, page 71) Early attempts of participation were i.e. lecture theatres and workshop spaces. Very often social media is chosen to open visits to comment on the exhibits. The strategy of lots heritage sites is to open their doors to other activities like performances, meet-ups etc.) or they bring themselves (artefacts, staff) outside of their spaces to become known. The basically attempts of interaction design is to encourage people to voice their opinions, views and to participate in activities. Examples for museums that communicate, promote, enrich and create exhibits by sharing content and crowdsourcing are such as the Metroploitan Museum of Art and the Victoria&Albert Museum. Besides of the visitors there are other communities that are part of the participation and the co-creation and sharing of heritage. These are the staff like curators, archivists and guides, stakeholders from funding institutions, designers etc. All of them can contribute their experiences, ideas and perspectives and foster the social interaction of sharing heritage. The term for these interactions is “social traces” It means all the ideas, opinions, activities etc that form together the basis of the interaction and participation. Some of the Examples The examples Luigina Ciolfi shows in her text started before social media became what it is today. They range from traditional art museums to city spaces, to open-air exhibitions and historical landmarks.

1.) The Hunt Museum in Limerick

It was established as a private collection. It employs a small staff and the most interesting part is, that they search for volunteers who want to lead guided tours, workshops or other activities. The curator has knowledge of the artefacts and the museum but also about the family history which allows the visitors to experience the collection from the view of the collector’s histories

2.) Milk Market in Limerick

The Milk Market takes places in a historical building weekly. People don’t go there only for shopping, also for connection and socializing. Everybody is connected and involved in the Market (The vendors, local residents, patrons etc) , but not only because of shopping, also because of live-music, cooking demonstrations etc.

3.) Bunratty Folk Park

It is a living-history museum, collection of building, artefacts and landmarks of Ireland within a large outdoor park. The buildings were moved stone by stone to the park from places all around Ireland. Then they received period-appropriate furnishing and decorations. Today a team of professionals shows different places in the Park traditional activities like baking or making butter. They are the possibility of interaction between the visitors and the Park. All of them bring the houses and places through the activities and performances to life.