Digital Media Empowerment in Museums

This talk by Chris Bangle at one of Creative Morning London made me think about museums and audiences, and museum marketing professional and digital media.

He talked about empowerment, encouraging designers to allow development through empowering others. Not to just feed others with good design but allowing others to design. I think museums have been doing a lot of  this through engagements with their audiences; young people, families, etc

Projects for example allowing young people to choose objects for our exhibitions, arts project encouraging local community  and many more.

But then he talked about designers being the ELITE, that there is a sense of ELITIST that only those who have gone through a design degree could design, etc. That 2000 years ago only the elite could read and write, therefore only a few could access information.

The museums world used to be elitist, that only white, upper middle class, well-educated people dwell in this world. Not anymore of course, there are many programmes museums do to encourage diversity for example the Museum Association – Diversify; a programme that offers people from ethnic minorities, from less affluent backgrounds, or with disabilities bursaries to study museums studies, and other similar programmes run to encourage this empowerment.

Which are brilliant, and so much of what Chris Bangle said that the Museums world have commendably actually done in empowering others.

However, are we still Elitist in terms of knowledge, knowledge of the digital media specially? Looking through discussions about museums and digital media it has been the same people or people from the same area of work (marketing, audience development). Have we shared enough with others? Have we encouraged/empowered others in our museums to use digital media in their work? Have we shared our knowledge to other museums that has less, in terms of budget and time? After all, are we not in world of openness, where crowdsourcing, open-source is common? Why are we not treating this knowledge the same way?

How many of us could say honestly that the other teams in our museums or even the director understands about the importance and the workings of digital media? How many people in your museum knows about the wonderous Hootsuite or QR codes or PPC campaigns? Do you they need to know?

It would be good to know whether you are sharing with others in your museum. If you are how do you do it? I find it rather difficult as some people has the tendency to block off digital things because they think its to complicated. Do let me know by leaving a comment below.


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