Researchers to create more engaging digital museum experiences
The IT University of Copenhagen is leading a new research project helping museums across Europe exploit the potential of technology for engaging art and culture audiences. The project has received €2,4 million in EU funding.
Smartphones combined with technologies like augmented reality give museums unprecedented opportunities for engaging their audience. A new major research project led by researchers at ITU will provide museums with tools for exploiting the potential of digital media.
The GIFT project begins in 2017 and is funded by the EU program Horizon 2020.
- European cultural institutions and museums have worked with digitization for a long time and spent a lot of money for instance making digital versions of their works, but they are challenged when it comes to creating engaging digital experiences for their guests. This is where we will help them, says project manager and Assistant Professor at ITU, Anders Sundnes Løvlie.
Museum visits as playlists
In particular, the researchers are interested in how mobile applications can enhance experiences in the physical world.
- We call it 'hybrid virtual museum experiences', because we do not want people to wear virtual reality goggles that trap them in a digital world. We have to exploit the digital tools, but also the physical sphere – a bit like Pokémon GO, which makes people relate to both the physical and the digital environment. We will encourage nuanced and complex experiences, rather than just digital reproductions of exhibits, says Anders Sundnes Løvlie.
Specifically, the project will result in two prototypes that will personalize the museum experience. One app will allow visitors to compose their own guides to an exhibition, which they can passed on to friends, just as friends share 'mixtapes' or music playlists. The other app is a game in which visitors can play against visitors in other museums around Europe.
The prototypes will be freely available to museums, enabling them to create new digital experiences with few resources.
The challenge is not technological
In collaboration with the museum partners, the researchers will also develop an open-source framework with guidelines, theory and software that can help museums to design similar digital experiences.
- The challenge is not primarily technological. The challenge is finding good designs that work with the users. It should not simply be fun – art and cultural heritage are also about serious topics that should provoke or educate. It is important that museums do not just function as archives, but that they also engage the audience in the cultural experience. When the audience is invited to participate and contribute, they gain more ownership and a better understanding, says Anders Sundnes Løvlie.
Besides ITU, five partners and 10 museums all over Europe are participating in the three-year project.
Anders Sundnes Løvlie, Assistant Professor, phone +45 7218 5373, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Vibeke Arildsen, Press Officer, phone 2555 0447, email email@example.com