One Simple Question to Make Your Work More Participatory

Museum 2.0

I said to him: I can't really answer that question. The key question is, every step of the way: how can you invite people beyond yourself to help make this step better? This is the question I ask myself anytime I'm working on something with a participatory intent. But even developing that open call was a participatory process: Wes worked with other staff to think through how the residencies could work. It's a question of how they can make it BETTER.

The Participatory Museum, Five Years Later

Museum 2.0

This week marks five years since the book The Participatory Museum was first released. I wrote The Participatory Museum for two reasons: to explore the "how" of participatory design in museums, cultural centers, libraries, and science centers to create a version of this blog that was more "shareable" with organizational leaders and trustees By many measures, the book has been a success. Across the museum field, the questions about visitor participation have gone from "what?"

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Trainer’s Notebook: The Digital Nonprofit: A Participatory Workshop

Beth Kanter

There are different ways to design a participatory workshop. The spectragram is typically used as a warm up and traditionally the facilitator identified a couple of provocative questions related to the topic being discussed and had people line up as to whether they agree or disagree with the statement. It is a useful method for getting participants to express a point of view, engage in debate, listen to others and hear another person’s different point of view.

Trainer’s Notebook: Just A Few Participatory Facilitation Techniques

Beth Kanter

Recently, a colleague asked me a wonderful question: How did you learn to become a good facilitator and trainer? I also had an opportunity to attend a couple of sessions that used participatory facilitation techniques. If you are new to participatory facilitation techniques, use the Spectagram as an opener and use it to better understand skill levels in the room. Participants volunteer their question for the Spectragram.

17 Ways We Made our Exhibition Participatory

Museum 2.0

It is multi-disciplinary, incorporates diverse voices from our community, and provides interactive and participatory opportunities for visitor involvement. This post focuses on one aspect of the exhibition: its participatory and interactive elements. Pull up an armchair for a tour of our participatory hits, misses, and related discoveries. So many museum exhibitions relegate the participatory bits in at the end.

Balancing Engagement: Adventures in Participatory Exhibit Labels

Museum 2.0

We decided to approach the label-writing for these boards in a participatory way. We blatantly borrowed the brilliant technique the San Diego Museum of Natural History used to write labels based on visitors’ questions. Visitors have gone to town, writing both basic questions (“who made them?” “who And that leads me to a basic question: Is it better to replace the post-its with a label that answers visitors’ questions, or to continue to support this participation?

12 Ways We Made our Santa Cruz Collects Exhibition Participatory

Museum 2.0

The content focuses on the question of WHY we collect and how our collections reflect our individual and community identities. This exhibition represents a few big shifts for us: We used a more participatory design process. Our previous big exhibition, All You Need is Love, was highly participatory for visitors but minimally participatory in the development process. Without further ado, here's what we did to make the exhibition participatory.

Our Museum: Extraordinary Resources on How Museums and Galleries Become Participatory Places

Museum 2.0

Most participatory projects were short-term, siloed innovations, not institutional transformations. While that was painful for the organizations involved, it also helped force the issue of whether participatory engagement could be core to a strong future business model for each organization or not. Critical friends are trusted outside observers who may raise tough questions and uncomfortable truths that a collaborating community group cannot or will not share.

Adventures in Evaluating Participatory Exhibits: An In-Depth Look at the Memory Jar Project

Museum 2.0

Two years ago, we mounted one of our most successful participatory exhibits ever at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History: Memory Jars. Two years later, this project is still one of the most fondly remembered participatory experiences at the museum--by visitors and staff. I want to instead highlight the work Anna did to analyze the content of the jars observationally, which got at the question of emotional resonance in a more quantitative way. A man walks into a museum.

Participatory Moment of Zen: Diverse Visitor Contributions Add Up to Empathy

Museum 2.0

This person is writing about a participatory element (the "pastport") that we included in the exhibition Crossing Cultures. In front of each of those paintings, you could stamp your pastport, reflect on the artwork and the question, and share your story. We created a simple wheel with open-ended questions about identity and place, setting it in a lounge area. design exhibition Museum of Art and History participatory museum usercontent

The Participatory Nonprofit?

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

The book includes a "Connected Quiz, a set of reflective questions that can help an activist think about how well they or their organization is connecting with others -- something to think about before jumping into the tools. Another point of intersection here for me is Henry Jenkins recently published 72-page white paper " Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century."

Adventures in Participatory Audience Engagement at the Henry Art Gallery

Museum 2.0

In 2009 , students built a participatory exhibit from scratch. Thirteen students produced three projects that layered participatory activities onto an exhibition of artwork from the permanent collection of the Henry Art Gallery. What I Learned Part 1: Facilitation is Powerful When I taught this class the first time, I put a real premium on the idea of designing participatory activities that were visitor-driven and required minimal or no facilitation.

Getting in on the Act: New Report on Participatory Arts Engagement

Museum 2.0

Last month, the Irvine Foundation put out a new report, Getting In On the Act , about participatory arts practice and new frameworks for audience engagement. It is framed as a kind of study guide; pop-outs provide questions that tease out opportunities and tensions in the narrative. I've often been asked about examples of participatory practice in theater, dance, and classical music, and this report is a great starting point. participatory museum usercontent business models

Developing a Participatory, Provocative History Project at a Small Museum in Minnesota: Interview with Mary Warner

Museum 2.0

Earlier this year, I was fascinated to read the account of a participatory project at the Morrison County Historical Society in Minnesota, in which community members were invited to write essays about “what’s it like” to have various life experiences in the County. One of the things that came up in that anonymous letter was the person questioning whether it was “history” to talk about someone’s contemporary experience. interview participatory museum inclusion

What I Learned from Beck (the rock star) about Participatory Arts

Museum 2.0

Beck''s project is unusual because he deliberately resurrected a mostly-defunct participatory platform: sheet music for popular songs. In his thoughtful preface to this project, I reconnected with five lessons I''ve learned from participatory projects in museums and cultural sites. In my experience, the best participatory experiences are as constrained and clear as possible in the invitation offered, and as open-ended as possible in the outcome generated.

Book Announcement: The Participatory Museum is now available!

Museum 2.0

The Participatory Museum is a practical guide to visitor participation. The Participatory Museum is an attempt at providing such a resource. I hope it opens up a broader conversation about the nuts and bolts of successful participatory projects. At 388 pages, there's a lot to explore and to help you refine your thinking and participatory project planning. As many of you know, this book was created via a participatory process that involved many individuals.

Participatory Internships in Santa Cruz this School Year

Museum 2.0

I'm particularly excited about two internships that relate to participatory exhibition design. First, there is the Participatory Exhibit Design Internship. These interns work with our curatorial team to develop interactive and participatory components for upcoming exhibitions. We are always looking for interns with strong graphic/3D design skills; the best interns can help us plan exhibits, design labels, AND learn to develop terrific participatory experiences for visitors.

The Johnny Cash Project: A Participatory Music Video That Sings

Museum 2.0

One of the questions that comes up most frequently when I talk with folks about participation is: what should we do with the things that visitors create? This question is a byproduct of the reality that most participatory projects have poorly articulated value. When a participatory activity is designed without a goal in mind, you end up with a bunch of undervalued stuff and nowhere to put it.

Music 42

Participatory Design Vs. Design for Participation: Exploring the Difference

Museum 2.0

Which of these descriptions exemplifies participatory museum practice? But the difference between the two examples teases out a problem in differentiating "participatory design" from "design for participation." In the first case, you are making the design process participatory. In the second, you make the product participatory. My burning question is whether these should remain exclusive from each other. Tags: design participatory museum Pop quiz!

Answers to the Ten Questions I am Most Often Asked

Museum 2.0

This post shares some of the most interesting questions I've heard throughout these experiences. Feel free to add your own questions and answers in the comments! BROAD QUESTIONS ABOUT AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION 1. Granted, I live in an increasingly narrow world of people who are exploring these topics and want me to work with them, but I still learn a lot from the questions and struggles I hear from colleagues and people who comment on the blog. Ideas participatory museu

Why Are So Many Participatory Experiences Focused on Teens?

Museum 2.0

Over the past year, I've noticed a strange trend in the calls I receive about upcoming participatory museum projects: the majority of them are being planned for teen audiences. And while I enjoy working with youth and consuming their creations as a museum visitor, I'd like to call into question the idea that they are or should be the primary audience for participatory experiences. Why are teens over-represented in participatory projects?

Teen 23

Avoiding the Participatory Ghetto: Are Museums Evolving with their Innovative Web Strategies?

Museum 2.0

I’d never attended before and was impressed by many very smart, international people doing radical projects to make museum collections and experiences accessible and participatory online. But I left uneasy, grappling with questions that plagued me throughout the conference. Are participatory activities happening on the web because that is the best place for them? Where are the friendly, open, participatory experiences you came for?

Participatory Media: Who Owns the Work You Share?

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

This is an excellent analysis of the issue of corporate control and ownership of your participatory media. Asking all the right questions: How far can these corporate facilitators of the new " user generated content " be trusted to safeguard the democratic roots from which they have grown, and how might their vested interests interfere with the fundamental messages being communicated by this empowered audience?

4 Questions to Help You Develop Your Year-End Messaging

Achieve

When it comes to developing messaging for a fundraising appeal, I’m asked one question more than any other: How do I get started? Supplemental questions to consider: Why does your organization exist (i.e., Include participatory, “you”-centric language (e.g., “Are

Henry Jenkins discusses participatory media in Second Life

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

I listened to the audio feed of him talking to the kids, answering their questions. We could also IM our questions from the adults were listening and observing. I just received my copy of Henry Jenkin's Convergence Culture which has been on my list ever since I heard him speak at the launch of the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Learning and Media Initiative. I'm hoping to get a chance to finish during some much needed down time.

Guest Post by Nina Simon: Design Techniques for Developing Questions for Visitor Participation

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

On Friday, I offered a participatory design workshop for Seattle-area museum professionals ( slides here ). We concluded by sharing the tough questions each of us struggl es with in applying participatory design techniques to museum practice. Dennis Schatz from the Pacific Science Center contributed: How do we find the RIGHT questions for visitor participation? I love this question. First, what do the right questions look like?

Ramifications of Web 2.0 for nonprofits with participatory applications

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

Christine reports that this chicken and egg question came up: " Do people's social needs drive the emergence of new technology, or does. Via Christine.net comes a summary of a discussion from N-TEN's NTC Conference last month. This one well worth reading if you're interested in social software and nonprofits. the emergence of these new technologies drive what people want to do? "

Postcards as a Call to Action: A Powerful, Political Participatory Experience at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

Museum 2.0

The best participatory projects are useful. The participatory activity in question is part of the new Unfinished Business gallery, a room in which the museum engages with a contemporary issue related to the passion and work of Jane Addams and the historic Hull-House activist residents. Like the best participatory projects , this postcard activity is constrained but not limiting.

Adventures in Participatory Journalism: An Interview with Sarah Rich about 48 Hour Magazine

Museum 2.0

Oh, and they wanted it to be participatory. I talked with Sarah Rich , one of the project’s instigators and staff members, to learn more about 48 Hour Magazine and its implications for other participatory media projects. And it was a sort of question in our heads: do you have a higher probability of getting great creative work from people because we made it fun and not burdensome? You made contribution to the magazine participatory.

Lessons in Participatory Design from SFMOMA's Exhibition on (you guessed) The Art of Participation

Museum 2.0

The Art of Participation provides a retrospective on participatory art as well as presenting opportunities for visitors to engage in contemporary (“now”) works. While many of the artifacts of historical art pieces are arresting, the pieces of “now” form an exciting testbed for gallery-based participatory engagement, albeit in a meta way around the topic of participation. DON’T make the participatory activity too narrow or difficult. Here are two pictures. The first one is me.

Museum 2.0 Rerun: Answers to the Ten Questions I Am Most Commonly Asked

Museum 2.0

This post shares some of the most interesting questions I''ve heard throughout these experiences. Feel free to add your own questions and answers in the comments! BROAD QUESTIONS ABOUT AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION 1. Granted, I live in an increasingly narrow world of people who are exploring these topics and want me to work with them, but I still learn a lot from the questions and struggles I hear from colleagues and people who comment on the blog.

Design Techniques for Developing Questions for Visitor Participation

Museum 2.0

On Friday, I offered a participatory design workshop for Seattle-area museum professionals ( slides here ). We concluded by sharing the tough questions each of us struggles with in applying participatory design techniques to museum practice. Dennis Schatz from the Pacific Science Center contributed: How do we find the RIGHT questions for visitor participation? I love this question. First, what do the right questions look like?

FInding the Right Questions (For Visitor Dialogue)

Museum 2.0

These days, it's fashionable to use label-writing to ask visitors questions. But asking a question, even providing a talk-back location for visitors to answer the question, does not guarantee an engaging social experience. In reality, most of our questions are too earnest, too leading, too obvious, to spark interest, let alone engagement. Have you ever had someone ask you a question and not care to hear the answer? In questions, it comes out loud and clear.

Voice 20

Case Study: A Participatory Road Trip takes the SJMA on a Wild Ride

Museum 2.0

I was captivated by Chris Alexander 's story about participatory online/onsite efforts at the San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA). I've struggled thinking about the answer to that question. After all, as naysayers of participatory design often remind me, the museum is not a popularity contest. If you have questions about this project, leave a comment and Chris will respond, or you can reach him directly via his website.

Will They Play in Pyongyang? Culture, Geography, and Participation

Museum 2.0

I saw how participatory techniques were working in diverse museums around the world. Here are two observations about visitor participation: Participatory activities invite people to engage in new ways that may disrupt traditional norms of interaction. In this frame, any kind of participatory activity could work, anywhere. Participatory activities work best when people feel comfortable and confident getting involved. The objections started in Texas.

Trust Me, Know Me, Love Me: Trust in the Participatory Age

Museum 2.0

Museums aren't the only venues facing this question: news outlets, corporate brands, and educators are also grappling with the question of trust in the participatory age. Here's something to be proud of. Museums (and libraries) are trusted sources of information.

Where's the Community in the Crowd? Framing and the Wall Street Journal's "Everybody's a Curator"

Museum 2.0

The whole process of being interviewed for the story made me question the stories we tell and words we use to describe participatory work. These questions don''t just apply to press coverage. What is the metaphor for participatory arts? Phrases like “community engagement” or “participatory” or “social practice” are not strong enough. Projects participatory museum

New Approach, Historic Mission: Remaking a Factory Museum via Community Co-Production

Museum 2.0

A strong participatory process is not a loosey-goosey, open the doors and do whatever strategy. It''s not a question of the participatory process being unidirectional, something that we are doing for you the community. Kudos to the Silk Mill for doing the difficult, messy, resource-intensive work of making their participatory process both open and professional. And it leaves me with just one question. design inclusion institutional change participatory museum

Against Participation

Museum 2.0

I'm embarrassed to say I hadn't really thought about these questions before the Against Participation symposium. I grapple with these questions personally when I decide what invitations to take, where to spend my time, where to share my voice. The 2016 US election dredged up these questions for me once again. It reenergized me about focusing my limited time, energy, and creativity on the participatory opportunities that fuel me and my dreams.

Voice 31

Participation, Contemplation, and the Complexity of "And"

Museum 2.0

Our museum in Santa Cruz has been slammed by those who believe participatory experiences have gone too far. We always knew that the inclusion of participatory and community-centered practices in arts institutions was controversial. To me, the backlash against participatory and community-centered experiences is not surprising. I''ve always understood that participatory experiences are not for everyone. I have wrestled with these questions over the past six weeks.

How Do You Inspire Visitors to Take Action After They Leave?

Museum 2.0

But at the very next C3 meeting with our partners, we ran into two big questions of content and design: The issues facing foster youth are huge and complex. We addressed the first question with guidance from one of the former foster youth who helped develop the exhibition, Karen. design exhibition Museum of Art and History participatory museum social justice

Temple Contemporary and the Puzzle of Sharing Powerful Processes

Museum 2.0

Temple Contemporary’s mission is to creatively re-imagine the social function of art through questions of local relevance and international significance. They live their mission, working in questions and projects rather than exhibitions and programs. TUPAC advisors come together for one meeting, each bringing a question of local relevance and international significance--a question they don't know the answer to. The community drives the question.

ASKing about Art at the Brooklyn Museum: Interview with Shelley Bernstein and Sara Devine

Museum 2.0

ASK is a mobile app which allows our visitors to ask questions about the works they see on view and get answers — from our staff — during their visit. For example, staff responses like: “Actually, I’m not really sure, but we do know this about the object” or encouraging people with “That’s a great question” has helped make the app feel human. Send in your question, and it can be days before the artist or curator responds with an answer.