Birds of a Feather session Digital Humanities Australasia 2018

A collaboration between museums, academics and graduate students: Pioneering museum soft power evaluations through geo-visualization  (28)

Natalia Grincheva 1 , Eliza Cole 1 , Kirstin Annika Clements 1 , Jin Yu 1 , Maria Teresa Tavares Costa 1 , Jean Hair 1
  1. The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia

This Birds of a Feather session will offer an interactive participatory presentation of the research project, ACMI on the Global Map, conducted in collaboration with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) as well as with academics across research units and students of the MA Arts and Cultural Management Program at the University of Melbourne. It aims to trial a pilot version of the digital geo-visualisation system “Museum Soft Power Map” that will be fully developed based on the project’s results and findings.  The pilot is a focused single-museum online tool to geo-visualise and assess the ACMI’s “attraction power” in Melbourne and abroad. It maps the ACMI’s international engagements and impacts to reveal what factors affect its capacity to attract larger visitation and revenue in different places. The digital mapping tool integrates automated data mining and cultural analytics to measure a museum’s visibility, recognition and “attraction” power to local residents.  Employing ACMI’s institutional records in collection acquisitions, international programming and economic revenue, the digital map reveals where and why ACMI has a stronger “attraction” power.

The project not only aims to produce an innovative research tool that advances the development of cultural management practices and scholarship, it also provides a platform for engaging and connecting wider communities. The project is a collaboration between several partners at the University of Melbourne, including Research Unit in Public Cultures, Digital Studio, AURIN, Australia’s spatial intelligence network and Spatial@Melbourne, a university-wide hub for geo-spatial initiatives. Furthermore, the project involves graduate students from the MA Arts and Cultural Management Program as active contributors through the new Research Internship program. This is a new research residency program during which graduate students are placed at ACMI X and work on their individual research tasks associated with the research project, ACMI on the Global Map.

This Birds of a Feather session will bring together the Lead CI, Dr Natalia Grincheva, and five graduate students to create interactive presentation of the project through engaging and provocative discussions with the audiences. The first part of the session (20 min) will demonstrate the geo-visualisation system of ACMI soft power to facilitate a critical exploration of the platform’s functionality, interface usability, data processing and visualization. It will employ dynamic online polling and interactive discussions to collect reflections and conduct evaluations of the system, as an academic research tool. The second part of the session (40 min) will be led by five graduate students (approximately 6-7 min each), who will introduce their individual research projects associated with the program. The students will share their major research findings in the format of dynamic interactive lightning talks that will invite audience critical ideas and feedback on the way and lead to productive discussions in the end of the session.

The Birds of a Feather sessions will contribute to the Conference Theme: Making Connections, by providing a convincing illustration of a collaborative design that enables innovative discovery and experimental research based on creative fusions and cross-disciplinary partnerships among the museum, academics and graduate students.