Museums, Multimedia and Me: Enhancing the Experience of Visiting the British Museum through the Use of Multimedia with People with Learning Disabilities

By Mary Newman and Nick Weldin.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper is the outcome of a piece of participatory action research that took place as a collaboration between the Rix Centre at the University of East London, the British Museum in London and the Tower Project, London. It describes our experiences of working with a group of young adults with learning disabilities to explore ways of enhancing the experience for people with learning disabilities visiting the Hadrian exhibition at the British Museum in London. The participating group took part in a series of interactive multimedia workshops to help develop knowledge and understanding of the themes of the exhibition leading to a visit to the exhibition itself.

We describe the background to the project, and the process of developing user/learner centred activities around the themes of the exhibition making use of a range of innovative participatory multimedia developed with and for this client group at the Rix Centre. We will describe the experiences when visiting the exhibition itself and subsequent feedback from participants. We reflect on the experience of both participants and their supporters, and the facilitators. We highlight practice and make suggestions that could be transferable to other settings.

Keywords: Museum, Exhibition, Multimedia, Inclusion, Social Inclusion, Learning Disability, Technology, Representation, Accessibility

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.67-78. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.374MB).

Mary Newman

Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of East London, London, UK

Mary Newman is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of East London. She works with the Rix Centre at UEL, a research and development centre looking at the opportunities presented by new media technology to transform the lives of people who have learning disabilities. She also teaches on the Multimedia and Computer Games Design (Story Development) undergraduate programmes as well as developing and delivering courses in Multimedia Advocacy.

Nick Weldin

Senior Technologist, The Rix Centre, University of East London, London, UK

Nick Weldin has worked with people with learning difficulties for many years in residential and leisure settings. He ran an adventure playground for disabled children, a leisure project for people with learning difficulties and was a pyrotechnician for a number of years. He led a project for 10 years developing multimedia profiling with people with profound learning difficulties, and now works at the Rix Centre, a research and development centre at the University of East London, looking at ways to work with people with profound learning difficulties using multimedia. He also works at Tinker. it as Senior Technologist where he is often training people how to use microcontrollers using an open source tool called Arduino.

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