Co-creating experiences report // White Paper

Museums and edutainment spaces across the world experiment with shifting from static, object-driven, hierarchical and sequential exhibitions towards the explorative, audience- and story-driven experiences.

New design approaches are encouraging a change towards co-production involving multidisciplinary teams, but also an active co-creation of experiences by visitors interacting with their environment.

 

This report explores the role of co-creation in the gallery and museum, drawing on the practices involved when exhibition-makers bring new media technology to bear on visitor engagement, participation and (especially) co-creation.

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Visitor-centric exhibition design model: The visitor is immersed in the narrative and multisensorial experience. By interacting with objects, display and space, they provide a stream of data, which can be potentially collected and re-applied in the exhibition production process.

Author: Izabela Derda, ESHCC

It brings together some of the findings of the Smartification of Audience Experience project and highlights key discussion points of the panel, which took place on 18 May 2021 and involved:  William Uricchio (MIT/Utrecht University) – keynote, Pepijn Wilbers (Studio Louter)

  • Aline Franzke (University of Duisburg-Essen)
     

  • Peter van der Putten (Leiden University)
     

  • Hedwig Wosten (Mauritshuis)
     

  • Izabela Derda (Erasmus University)

 

In the paper, we explore co-creative practices, but also we recognize the ethical considerations around “unaware” co-creation, in which user data is harnessed to guide, enrich, and even to produce the materials in an exhibition. Since, in our mobile and data-rich environment, much potential visitor data is generated unconsciously and often inadvertently, using this data raises questions around civics, privacy and agency.

Unaware co-creation model

Author: Izabela Derda, ESHCC

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In conclusions of our paper, we highlight the need for:

 

Developing a common language

The conceptual grid around co-creation is hazy. Establishing a common language will allow designers and researchers alike to move more freely in the area of experience design, and support understanding of visitors’ behaviors in the spaces of experience and interdependencies between visitors, spaces and content.

Acknowledging unaware co-creation

It is in the very nature of digital media that they especially enable unaware co-creation, thanks to their ability to reduce visitor interactions to data streams. Data constantly generated from visitor interactions (with other visitors, with exhibition content, with the space itself) may then be applied in the process of creation.

Considering ethical considerations around unaware co-creation

It is crucial to recognize the ethical considerations around “unaware” co-creation, in which user data is harnessed to guide, enrich, and even to produce the materials in an exhibition. Since, in our mobile and datarich environment, much potential visitor data is generated unconsciously and often inadvertently, using this data raises questions around civics, privacy and agency.