Mapping Meaning Making in Museums

Mapping Meaning Making in Museums is a three-year project developed in line with the demands for audience development that offers greater insight into visitors’ learning and engagement in museums.

Visitor studies have heavily been framed with a concern about what visitors learn rather than the meanings they make moment-by-moment, in an embodied process unfolding during their encounters with the exhibits (Smith 2015). Museums “hold the promise of multiple connections waiting to be made, the majority of which cannot be predetermined as they rely on specific conjunctures brought by those who, in viewing them, bring them to life” (Message & Witcomb 2015, i). By exploring audiences’ interactions with the museum exhibits, the project seeks to explore how museums bring cultural heritage to life and how visitors’ interactions with the museum bring a range of cultural practices to the fore.

During the first year of the project (June 2016 - June 2017), a new qualitative tool was designed called Social Meaning Mapping, a theoretically informed expansion of what is known as ‘Personal Meaning Map’ which collects individual responses and focuses on the cognitive benefits gained after visiting a museum. Social Meaning Mapping, with a focus on groups, invites visitors to reflect upon their experience, asking them to re-trace their way in and through the galleries by drawing either on the gallery room’s floor plan or on an empty canvas as seen in the images here. At the same time, visitors’ discussions are audio-recorded. The new tool was integrated into the Visitracker app. A pilot study was conducted in late July 2017 and another one will take place during this autumn. The first results from the pilot study showed that visitors felt very comfortable when using the new tool, which allowed them to reflect upon their visit itinerary, revealing information about the social dynamics of their group, their interests and subjects of discussion while in the gallery room.

 

Publications 

Christidou, D. and Steier, R. (in press) Embodying Artistic Process in Art Gallery Visits. In K. Knutson, T. Okada and Crowley, K. (Eds.) Multidisciplinary Approaches to Art Learning and Creativity: Fostering Artistic Exploration in Formal and Informal Settings. Routledge.

Christidou, D. (2018) Art on the move: The role of joint attention in visitors' encounters with artworks, Learning Culture and Social Interaction. Volume 19, December 2018, pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lcsi.2018.03.008

Christidou, D. and Pierroux, P. (2018) Art, touch and meaning making: an analysis of multisensory interpretation in the museum. Museum Management and Curatorship. 34:1, 96-115. https://doi.org/10.1080/09647775.2018.1516561

Diamantopoulou, S. and Christidou, D. (2018) Children’s eye view of an archaeological site: Multimodal social semiotic perspectives in the use of drawings. Museum and Society, Volume 16, no. 3. https://doi.org/10.29311/mas.v16i3.2793

Peer-reviewed conference papers

Christidou, D. & Reitstatter, L. (2019). Trails of Walking, Ways of Talking: From Observation to Self-Reflection. Visitor Studies Association Annual Conference. Detroit, July 10-13, 2019. Abstract

Christidou, D. (2019). Social Meaning Mapping as a Means of Exploring the Visual in the Museum. International Visual Literacy Association 2019 Conference, M Leuven and K Leuven, October 16-16, 2019.

Christidou, D. and Pierroux, P. (2019). A Study of Touch as a Way of Knowing in an Art Exhibition. Visitor Studies Association Annual Conference, Detroit, July 10-13, 2019. Abstract

Steier, R., Shapiro, B., Christidou, D., Pierroux, P., Davidsen, J., & Hall, R (2019). Tools and Methods for ‘4E Analysis’: New Lenses for Analyzing Interaction in CSCL. In Lund, K., Niccolai, G. P., Lavoué, E., Hmelo-Silver, C., Gweon, G., and Baker, M. (Eds.). (2019). A Wide Lens: Combining Embodied, Enactive, Extended, and Embedded Learning in Collaborative Settings, 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) 2019, Volume 2. Lyon, France: International Society of the Learning Sciences. (pp. 759-766).

Steier, R. &  Pierroux, P. (2019). Mapping Mediated Interaction in Museums: VisiTracker tool for ethnographic observations of visitor groups. International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, CSCL 2019. Lyon, June 17-21, 2019.

Christidou, D. and Pierroux, P (2018). Visitors’ Hands-on Encounters with Art: The role of touch in meaning making. 2nd Symposium on Embodied Interaction: gesture, touch and embodied meaning-making. Odense, Denmark, 26-27 June.

Christidou, D. (2018). Designing digital tools for exploring interaction in museums. Visual and Multimodal Research Forum, University College London, Institute of Education, February 22. 

Christidou, D., Qvale, A. and Pierroux, P. (2017). Visitracker: a tool for visitor studies designed through a University and Museum Research Collaboration, The Connected Audience Conference 2017, 2nd International conference on Audience Research and Development, Vienna, September 14-16.

Christidou, D. (2017). Visitor Studies: Understanding Visitors’ Meaning-Making Practices, NordMedia Conference, Tampere, Finland, 17-19 August 2017.

Interviews

'Ut i kulturen: Håndspåleggelse' 11. desember, 2016 Jostein Gjertsen, NRK Radio

Invited Talks

Christidou, D. (2018) Big Data, Thick Data, No Data? The importance of an interdisciplinary approach, Visitor Studies Group 2018 Conference, 8-9 March 2018, London, UK.

Christidou, D. (2017). Touching Art: A learning perspective. Museumspedagogisk påskeseminar, April 03, 2017

Christidou, D., Qvale, A. and Pierroux, P. (2017) Visitracker: a tool for visitor studies designed through a University and Museum Research Collaboration, The Connected Audience Conference, 2nd International conference on Audience Research and Development, Vienna, Austria, 14 -16 September 2017)

Visitor Studies: Understanding Visitors’ Meaning-Making Practices, NordMedia Conference, Tampere, Finland, 17-19 August 2017. 

Christidou, D. (2017). Mapping Meaning Making in Museums - Project Presentation, NFR Kulmedia Seminar, Oslo, March 16-17, 2017

Christidou, D. (2017). Touching Art: A learning perspective. Museumspedagogisk påskeseminar, April 03, 2017

Tags: Museums and communication, Museum, Learning, visitors
Published Aug. 10, 2016 3:33 PM - Last modified Nov. 7, 2019 7:31 PM

Contact

Dimitra Christidou  dimitra.christidou@iped.uio.no


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