The interactive museum experience: investigating experiential tendencies and audience focus in the Galleries of Modern London and the High Arctic exhibition

Ntalla, Irida (2017). The interactive museum experience: investigating experiential tendencies and audience focus in the Galleries of Modern London and the High Arctic exhibition. (Unpublished Post-Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

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Abstract

Although there are many studies on interactivity in museums in terms of enhancing learning, achieving educational objectives, structuring and orchestrating visitor engagement, democratising knowledge, exploring social interaction and bringing more audiences in to the museum space, they often do not take the multifaceted nature and context-dependency of interactivity into account. Throughout the thesis, I argue that the practice of digital interactivity in museum spaces should not be fetishized, but it must be examined and understood, depending on the context and the setting it takes place in. The approach undertaken in this study brings philosophical and theoretical perspectives on physical, emotional and technological interactivity and its multiple threads into dialogue with ethnographic research in two exhibition spaces: the permanent Galleries of Modern London, at the Museum of London, and the temporary High Arctic exhibition, at the National Maritime Museum, London. The study extends existing literature in two respects. First, attention is paid to the concerns reflected in different approaches to the digital interactivity in museum spaces: I term factual and poetic interactivity as two techniques and forms directly related to the empirical examples. The analysis and this distinction offer a platform to theorise and discuss nuances and tendencies of digital interactivity in museum spaces. Second, it identifies the multiplicity of modes of interactivity as perceived by visitors and museum professionals in and around two museums, foregrounding not only the technological aspect, but also the content and the processes of interaction through sensorial and embodied means such as touch, play and immersion. Together, the findings foreground and engage with an approach to digital interactivity, which discusses how a complex assemblage of institutional practices, multisensory experiences, and affective and cognitive dimensions are at work and at play in digitally mediated environments.

Keywords: museums, digital interactivity, experience, audience, visitors

Item Type: Thesis (Post-Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/17280

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