Interpretation, Storytelling & Education Recap

Review and discuss the key ideas that came out of the day with co-leads and presenters.  Track:Interpretation & Storytelling & Education


Unknown Speaker 17:19
I think we can stop the screen share. Yeah, so we have, there's a range of emotions I think we're all probably feeling right we're inspired by colleagues, curious, you're thoughtful, I'm interested in the frustrated comments because I think that's a, you know, valid feeling when when learning about so MANY things and thinking about how to implement them in your own space and how that might work inspired overwhelm with what I want to do, overwhelmed, so maybe we can use this session to kind of deal with that collective feeling of being overwhelmed and digesting and being inspired at the same time. So I will reintroduce myself I'm Melanie Garcia Sympson I'm a curatorial associate at the block Museum of Art, and work on a lot of different projects with collections interpretation. I use she her pronouns, and the woman in her 30s have black hair and glasses, and I work at, again the black Museum of Art at Northwestern which sits on the homeland of the Council of the three fires

Unknown Speaker 18:33
and Hi, I'm Vince Dziekan I'm calling in from Melbourne where it's bright and early or as you can see still very dark in the morning, and I'm speaking to you from the traditional lands of the Kulin nation and Melbourne and recognize the continuing connection to land waters and culture of country. And I guess the word that I would probably use would be waking up. But I think what you've just introduced there Melamine is great I think it'd be really nice to tap into some of those emotions and how they, they actually kind of play into a discussion around interpretation storytelling and education.

Unknown Speaker 19:19
So we're here I mean we're gonna reiterate that we're here as facilitators and not as experts, and that you know we weren't able to attend all the sessions so hoping there's some collective wisdom to be shared and I'll point people to Slack because the session, leaders and participants have posted great materials if you weren't able to make the sessions. Rick shared resource documents just a lot of great stuff. I'm going to put so there's 37 of us do you think we'll stay in this configure Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 19:49
why, why not I think so. We were we were weighing up sort of breakout rooms and things like that but if unless we get kind of people saying they want breakout rooms I think we could probably stay together.

Unknown Speaker 20:05
So I'll put this, you know in case they're helpful I'll put the four questions that we started with at the beginning of the day into the chat. I may have written them differently after I read this had attended a couple of the sessions, but maybe we can start with, you know what, what insights stuck with you and what, what questions are you left with. Maybe you are inspired, what were you inspired by or if you're curious to learn more, what would you want to know more about.

Unknown Speaker 20:54
I think we've got something in the thread there from Emily. What's next for best practices. Does anybody have a take on that from from perhaps something that you engage with in one of the presentations before. Yeah, please, go ahead. Yeah, feel free to jump in, everybody.

Unknown Speaker 21:25
I wasn't actually going to reply to Emily's comment but Akira I'm Tim, I'm joining from Wellington in altaira. So shout out to you it's in the longest lockdown of all time, I think in a suit. Yes, but No, I just wanted to just say, I had two sessions that were really inspiring in terms of the scale one was the lightning talks of all the different things that are going on. And that was mind blowing. Just the scale of little things but had other people doing them, and already grabbed a bunch of ideas but also I think, really enjoyed the session with Leslie halfmoon and her colleagues there about the immersive theater in Oklahoma and that was just really stunning. Not just on the scale of it because it's the complete opposite of my project. It's a full installation which isn't what I do but to see that scale was amazing but also just hearing from them, and the the process and the detail and the respecting of and respecting and centering of an indigenous voice and that was really powerful to hear. Again, you know, my project works across the Pacific, but to hear it replicated the heart of that, in, in, in, in North America was really heartwarming so I just wanted to acknowledge all of the presenters in both of those and thank you for that inspiration.

Unknown Speaker 22:56
I was just going to kind of maybe sort of prompt, something a little further there in terms of making that connection to best practice. Do you think there is something, maybe in that recognition, around, you know, indigenous snowing, as an example that would kind of be something that maybe helps us to, to think, or really rethink what we understand to be best practice in, sort of, you know, digital interpretation engagement or education.

Unknown Speaker 23:28
I think I, I don't have the chance apologize to Leslie and her presenters of if I quote this wrong, but she, she said at one point it was a really nice phrase, she said, um, you know, travel time doesn't work at the speed of light. And I think also often what happens in terms of digital delivery time is we think in, in a contractual time, or a project time and in a budget time and I think what what that project did was to actually recenter the indigenous way of thinking in terms of its graphic design in terms of the display in terms of the oral stories, but also the process behind it was reflecting actually a relational time and a relational space. You're not just building a product at the end, or you're building relationships that shine a light and to re highlight and I think that's a challenge if but if budgets are on a 12 month scale, or in a funded in a particular way, and leadership, you know is looking for deliverability and metrics, because so much of our relational space isn't measurable in a, in a contractual risk space. And I think, but the output, and again, you know, is so much more powerful and I say, I mean I think for both ends for the piece that Lizzie described but I was also thinking of the thickness of the battleship New Jersey project, which was just a YouTube channel that is created a relationship with 1000s of people, because it centers it on storytelling and an experience rather than an Effects project

Unknown Speaker 25:10
in a relationship that might be more enduring in some way or kind of is paving the way for an ongoing relationship rather than something that's, I guess kind of transactional in a moment.

Unknown Speaker 25:23
Yeah, absolutely. I mean those stories from that museum are going to exist long beyond whether or not the installations installed, right. So, how do you honor that in an ongoing way.

Unknown Speaker 25:35
Thank you. Interesting.

Unknown Speaker 25:40
Just to carry on that thought about the relationships being able to be ongoing on that, that same on the project that was at the New Jersey battleship museum, you know, people who might still have been very interested but maybe don't live nearby or wouldn't have gotten a membership for financial reasons or just because it's inconvenient, they're able to have an ongoing long, longer term relationship with not only the music, the content, but also then the museum in a way that, you know it's not the same immersive experience you'd get in a visit, but it's also not done in several hours, like it's, it's something that continues and even if the videos were are short. You know if you're engaging on a regular basis, it's something that you're continuing to, you know, participate in. And I mean, the success of that project is amazing I was, I was like, blown away by it

Unknown Speaker 26:51
is a question about scalable projects, so how you move from initial experience experiments to the next level and growing capacity. I wonder if I wonder if anyone who spoke in the hybrid model section might be able to speak to that, or anybody who attended that session, it seemed like that was

Unknown Speaker 27:19
a theme. Yeah, I'd be really interested to hear more from from anybody just about the value of experimentation, and I guess that kind of willingness to to experiment whether again that is kind of that, you know, light touch small scale, you know, sort of experiments, through to how they may be translated into kind of, you know, more wholesale kind of insights, you know, into instead of translate, then into kind of into become incorporated, you know into practices. I wonder if anybody's got something on that.

Unknown Speaker 28:07
I don't know if Kate Meyers Emery is here but she was, She was one people moderating the, the politics of staff time, or no budget stuff and she was talking about how something you know you do small projects, and, you know, with the resources staff time of course but without without other costs, right, and or with minimal other costs, and that the, the opposite of that is that once you produce the result, then that's something that you can definitely get a grant for after right because you can you can sort of like test the grounds that way and then get the funding for for a larger project down. Yeah, dope like at some point. So, but she didn't get like a specific like this project is how we did it but I've been experiences where people, we plan for our projects, and whether or not we got the grant we were going to do it anyway. But you, you, you, we have we have separate plans right if we if we didn't get the grant, then we're going to do it this way if we got the grant, then we're going to do it that way. So, if you have a game plan, give it like multiple plans in place by imagining what the larger scale thing could be and what that looks like that can be, that can be helpful. They can help funders, see what you have in mind for what you want to do. And, or, you know, your management in terms of their allocation of resources, right.

Unknown Speaker 29:45
No, absolutely and I just kind of think with, with some of this, obviously a backstory, you know, to all of this has been the experience of the past 18 months, and DS you know we are still here and locked down in Melbourne. And, you know, actually yesterday we had the highest case numbers, experienced locally, you know, over the 18 months so you know again a continuing issue that everybody's going to obviously have to find ways to live with, but I'm just wondering if kind of a spirit of experimentation has kind of been instilled in some ways by the pandemic experience. And again, the way that, you know, that rapid response to maybe projects has kind of started to maybe Badian in, in some ways, I just wonder if anybody has any observations or experiences, either from the presentations or from their own that, you know kind of speak to that.

Unknown Speaker 30:58
I can jump in again. Um, so I was in, I did do a presentation just on a game that we created. We made it using, Like, our survey platform, not a gaming platform, we didn't allocate the time to, like I had to learn a little bit more about the survey platform to be able to, to use and abuse it and the way that I did. Oh, but we you know we didn't learn. We didn't allocate the time to like learn some of the other, more intentional platforms for games and things like that. And because of that we were kind of able to slide it under the radar of our management, as far as like, you know this isn't going to be a massive investment of time you know we're not going to take a bunch of money to do this thing. We just want to make it, it was very, it was a little bit more of a situation where we felt like we could, like, Ask for forgiveness not permission. So we were able to do that first. And then, since we had made it there, we're like, okay, you can try it with like a couple of our, our schools that do week long programs. And when that got good traction. Then we were, you know, able to share it a little bit wider, and now there's talk about actually investing a little bit of money, you know, to make it look a little bit more professional we did what we could you know but it's covered in branding from a website, and things like that so I think that both because we're not. I mean we're still off site as well like my, my team is all still working from home. But, like, both because we are meeting to do things in a whole new way, we often don't have access to the resources like, which are collections and the sites and things that you know are so important to the work that we do and our what is the draw, we're needing to come up with new and alternative ways to do things, you know, if you don't have the, the building or if you don't have the amazing, you know, fossils, what is the draw and since we have to come up with new things, we're able to get away with a little bit more, a little more experimentation, and a little bit more looseness, and I think people think it'll change, but people are still kind of riding the wave of they're expecting things to not necessarily be perfect. They just want to see them, although I do think that that's going to shift to people expecting more professional polished things pretty quickly.

Unknown Speaker 33:42
And I'm wondering when you're, you're saying people, I'm wondering where audiences, kind of fit into that because I'm kind of getting a sense that some of those people might be, you know, internal stakeholders, you know, but also, I guess the expectations or the desires of audience. Have you got a take on how that how that, you know plays into, you know your your example.

Unknown Speaker 34:15
Yeah, I mean, we're just able to, like, we, I, so I work with a legislature, which our organization just takes things very seriously. And I think because we, I'm gonna say this delicately, because we want to be taken, because it's a serious and important institution, they feel like they have to always be very serious, or they won't be be seen to be important. So we haven't been able to use humor, and really anything we've ever done ever before. But we're able to have some humor in this because it was smaller scale it's online, there on the site. And we got actually got a lot of pushback on the humor aspects of it. But, you know, the audience has responded really well to that our audience is great six kids, you know, 11, year olds, and, and they like humor, they think it's, it's funny and engaging, and it makes something like the process of how an idea becomes a piece of legislation, more interesting and engaging. So we've been able to kind of use that to prove that, that this is an effective tool, you know, we're not using it trivially, we're all professionals that you know are making deliberate intentional choices with it. And hopefully we'll be able to translate some of that, that evidence into being able to use it in some of our on site programming when we're able to be back on site.

Unknown Speaker 35:55
I think your your comment there's resonated with a few people around you know that you know that importance of humor, and how, yeah, as a survival mechanism, maybe in some ways but also I guess that crack is kind of maybe been opened up and you know people have jumped into it. I personally attended the open collections session earlier and that this, you know, quite obvious that you know some of the projects in that are very much about kind of engaging with being playful, you know, and, you know, you know, that's one of the ways that I guess, you know, people would, would like to feel like they can engage with culture and consume culture in that sort of playful way so yeah, I think that's really quite interesting. Is there another sort of question. Melanie that you,

Unknown Speaker 36:49
Allison was gonna speak,

Unknown Speaker 36:50
oh sorry, Allison.

Unknown Speaker 36:52
Oh no, no worries, just to say Kelsey I resonate with you so hard. Archives Ontario here, I completely got you and the oversight and the like, No, you know, hasn't hesitancy around, memorizing collections, but I just wanted to respond to something FinCEN, you were saying, or if it's apologies. Regarding sort of the, or Kelsey you're talking about this as well, but the sort of shifting expectations of our visitors regarding our her programming and the interpretation, we've been doing, virtually, I just this morning, got an email from a teacher who wanted to book a virtual workshop and she was saying she's all She's all ready to book but her board wants to check with me. How MANY virtual workshops we've delivered to date to grade seven and eight students, and she wants biography like bio statements for our two presenters, so that the board can like bet us to kind of, I don't know, like, check who we are, I don't know, you know, see if we're good enough, basically, but they want to, obviously, find out like how MANY of these programs we've delivered so their expectations are changing like to this point, I've not had any boards, ask us, you know, okay, how MANY workshops or any teachers say like, how MANY of these done at this point now, this is, this is the first signal that, at least this this board and this teacher. Their expectation has changed of course, like clearly and they're, they're looking for some modicum of quality or expectation that like we've done this before, but they also want to know, who are these people, and what is their background, which is not unheard of. I've definitely been asked before, like what are my, what are my qualifications, but this is the first time with a virtual workshop we've been asked that before, so that was just,

Unknown Speaker 38:33
that's a really interesting one. Do you have a sense of what's behind that, Like, like, is this something in the water.

Unknown Speaker 38:44
They also asked us for vulnerable vulnerable sector check which is like a tournament.

Unknown Speaker 38:50
Yes, that's what that was in the back of my mind it's like that. Yeah, it's an it's an interesting one because like one of the notes that I kind of, sort of took from what I was attending before is, you know, we, in this course we're at a, you know, museum Technology Conference. You know, we think about, you know, asking the question you know how are new technologies, you know, influencing or changing the way we approach interpretation storytelling education like that's a natural, go to in terms of us framing, you know that discussion, but I guess you know it's it's increasingly apparent that, you know, there, there are these kind of changing, sort of, I guess kind of emerging audiences that we need to be considering and, you know what, how are those expectations, influencing you know and maybe transforming our way of thinking about, you know, those, those covers practices. So I think the discussion around audiences is really, really important and like I'm just kind of thinking of how here in Australia the Australia Council, just published a participation survey. And this was kind of gauging, sort of, you know participation across the arts sector, so we're talking museums we're talking performing arts we're talking music we're talking theater, and kind of, you know, surveying, you know what, how that has changed over the past two years and, again, I think it's just a really interesting. I guess kind of sort of thing to be looking at and I'm wondering if there are maybe some other either policies or reports or studies that have been done maybe that other people would be familiar with, specifically around participation, and maybe changing audiences or, you know, the changing needs or I guess kind of influence of audience. Is there any sort of examples that people have out there that might add to that mix.

Unknown Speaker 41:10
I would certainly recommend if anybody wants to just kind of check it out, we would just do a Google search for the Australia Council on the Arts, participation survey, and you'll, you'll find the document.

Unknown Speaker 41:30
Let me Was there any other things that we had on our list that we haven't gotten to

Unknown Speaker 41:36
know that I might let the list fade, but things that people are talking about kind of struck a chord with me, um, you know, this idea that I love this, you know, using, using a survey platform and like gamifying that and using, you know, not trying to hire a developer that you don't have money for, and all this stuff because I, I think being kind of new to this space I do often. I'm having conversations where I'm trying to, like, how do I say this, like I know enough about technology that people kind of are like oh, maybe you can make this, like, make this more, more people like it if it's last year or if it's, you know, uses a new tool or something and, and realizing that you know some of the stuff that we get engaged, that gets the most engagement are, you know, PDFs, Teacher Guides, because they have content that people can't get anywhere else. So I really, you know, a lot of what what was happening, go the conversation in a culture bridge conversation was like really resonated with me and my work. And also in terms of, you know, and this is maybe too simple of a response, what you're saying this, but in terms of audiences shifting, thinking about like how some of us are who are museums that are pretty local like I'm at a University Museum I think someone else in the chat also is and so having this very kind of specific audience so that not that's not the audience only audience we care about, it's a pretty kind of small and dedicated audience and then having programs move online and even the fact that student docents give tours and family members across the country or logging into to watch them it's kind of changed the dynamic of our programming.

Unknown Speaker 43:29
That's really interesting. I guess with the time that we've got left. I'm wondering if there any kind of questions from the floor or points of discussion that anybody would like to take the opportunity.

Unknown Speaker 43:45
I was in the origins immersive storytelling experience, you know, and I, I've been going. This is my sixth year MCs in like seven times or if I've done six times going to museums the web, and, and, and in other experiences that I've seen. I have never seen an example of co creation where you're really creating something with, with the community and letting them have the authority over what is happening in your space that has gone wrong. Right, every time that happens, the, the outcome is right. the outcome is a good thing, right i, time and time again every single time I see this like I've seen presentations at these conferences I've seen this at a museum I worked at before and when they, you know, suddenly were like winning awards for this exhibit and University Museum that does not win awards. Right. sudden suddenly all these accolades, right, it's. So, any opportunity that you can get to identify the right communities that you want to work with and then give them the driver's seat and run everything past them first. It's going to be better for you to do that,

Unknown Speaker 45:05
and like just the acceptance that that kind of work, it's a longer timeline and it's a lot of, you know, building trust and, you know, can't happen as quickly as like make a website,

Unknown Speaker 45:20
know it's a longer term thing and then and and that's the relationship idea has been spanning multiple days at this conference so far about like you know the, that it's that really this work is about building relationships, right, which I, you know, I teach to my students about how development is about building relationships but like like like funding, fundraising, right. It's about building relationships but turns out that, using technology is also the same.

Unknown Speaker 46:06
I think that's a great a great sort of, not necessarily a kind of a postscript or anything but I think that idea of just kind of the connection to relationships and how forging and maintaining and caring for those relationships is increasingly in a, you know, such a central part of what, you know, we do you know as New Museum practitioners as educators, you know, I think that's, that's, you know, really, really great, really fundamental. Again, Melanie, any anything. I'm looking at kind of our clock.

Unknown Speaker 46:50
Well, I think I will. I'll just point out that there's a global recap panel on November 10 that we hope to see people at and that also, there's a networking event immediately following the session that I hope to see some of you at but Vince I know you have some moments here at the end.

Unknown Speaker 47:07
Yeah, sure I was hoping just to kind of, you know, take the, the opportunity here is a bit of a wrap up to also just bring a new publication series to everyone's attention. So I hope you won't mind me kind of introducing this to him and I'm hoping that you know some of you would be interested in getting in touch, offline, in due course, but maybe as a way of just wrapping up, I might just share screen and very quickly introduce you to this particular publication series, so sorry I'm sharing my screen. There we go. Hopefully everybody can kind of see our, our slides, but it's as some of you might be aware. I've been working quite extensively in the space of museum technology from a scholarly perspective. And in terms of work that we've done in this area, drawing your attention and the fact that, you know, recently we have converted the Routledge Handbook of museums, Media and Communication. To open access. So I would certainly welcome and kind of gift. This publication to everyone that's here. This is a book that was published two years ago with Routledge book that I edited along with my colleagues, Kirsten dropped in there. Kim Schroeder and also Ross Perry and Ross and I have subsequently as they flow through from this book, developed a new book series with Routledge, which is titled critical perspectives on museums and digital technology. We currently have four contracted books, which should start hitting the shelves next year. But again, we're also in a very developmental stage with this, and speaking to MANY people, about upcoming projects and developing those with a range of contributors, the series itself is really looking to as it says here not only face the implications that this transitional moment presents but rise to new challenges that this precedented state of affairs, inevitably carries with it. And as museums hurtle towards their post digital horizon at an accelerated rate, the deeply mediated even symbiotic relationship, pointing back to the relationship between museums and technology demands reframing and reassembly. So that's a bit of our kind of position statement on that. But just to, to kind of draw, you know, the range of ideas and the things that have been discussed here around within this theme area of interpretation, digital storytelling, and education. I'm hoping that you can see or anticipate the way how important some of these ideas and conversations that we've, we've spoke about over the last 45 minutes can fit into this matrix of thinking about digital museums,

Unknown Speaker 50:42
and recognizing that when we're talking about digital, we're talking now about things like confidence decolonization experience. History inclusion transformation. These are the ways that we're understanding digital, and the implications of digital. And we're seeing that these are the kinds of insights and questions and values, you know that we're needing to kind of engage with, we're needing to kind of understand and explore things around capability and literacy through to narrative. Understanding management capacity and change these are the kinds of things that any discussion of digital in the context of museums today needs to be framing that discussion by. And when we're talking about museums, and that relationship to technology, we're recognizing you know the web of course as being kind of a platform within that. But also, AI, increasingly, and design practices within that. And so again, you know, ideas and issues around ethics ideas around purpose, innovation, and ultimately, you know, achieving a confidence and maturity, around how we're thinking about the digital museum or the post digital museum as it might actually be. So within this new matrix, and these are just kind of indicative of the types of titles and the types of thematic 's and the types of discussions that we're initiating through the book series. I'd be really interested to hear from people in due course, around work that you're doing around case studies around possible ideas that you might have. That again, specifically within the context of our session today, where, where digital interpretation fits in, or digital storytelling in certainly education is something that, you know, because both Ross and I are embedded both in academia, Ross, in the Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, and myself here in Melbourne at Monash University in a school of Art Design and Architecture. Again, we're recognizing that education is also kind of due for perhaps a bit of an update in terms of how we're thinking about the educative mission, and the practices of museums in that space as well so again just to, to leave that as a bit of an exit, please don't hesitate to get in touch offline. My email address is there on the screen. And I'd certainly welcome hearing from anybody with ideas, or around possible contributions in the future. So, again, I hope that is not a shameless plug, but actually, maybe presents a way for seeing how some of those kind of thought mines that we've kind of touched on today, you know actually factor into a way of rethinking what digital and museums, and the relationship between them is and can be. So thank you.

Unknown Speaker 54:28
I'll also say get in touch, I'm looking to connect with people to get in touch if I'm like if you're interested in talking about collaboration among departments and museums, I'm on a very young. Digital Strategy Committee and we're trying to make it work and a lot of these questions about, you know, talking to leadership about your what you're doing and digital planning and what Allison, what you shared was so helpful, Hearing helps change the way you, you work, love to talk more about that stuff. Thank you.

Unknown Speaker 55:02
Thank you everybody. Enjoy the rest of your evening. Nice to see you again Melanie and Hi everybody. Take care. Catch you soon.