Engaging Audiences on Ongoing Social Debates through Interactive and Immersive Exhibits

By Irida Ntalla.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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

Museums have been influenced by technological innovations with a significant interest in so-called interactivity and the use of interactives has increased in the last twenty years (Kidd et al. 2011, 6). This takes place in an era when many museums have shifted attention from objects to processes with an aim of showing processes that bring them a recognisable relationship with the social issues . How do audiences engage in that process via the practices of interactivity? The audience engagement with digital interactives and interactive exhibits aspire to multi-dimensional spatial experiences. It is argued that these experiences allow numerous emotional, affective and personal encounters. This change alters the conditions of the audiences’ experience. Touch-screen interactives in the new galleries of the Museum of London aim to elucidate current debates on London. A large-scale interactive art installation in the new wing of the National Maritime Museum takes the visitors on a personal journey through climate change issues. Can interactivity via these environments integrate intuitive experiences and engage the audience in social debates? This paper discusses preliminary results from a qualitative research study that involves 107 audience interviews from both institutions that unveils ‘interactive engagement’ of audiences in relation to elements of emotions, curiosity, and factual knowledge.

Keywords: Interactivity, Museum, Audience Experience, Engagement

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.105-116. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 352.972KB).

Irida Ntalla

PhD Candidate/Research Assistant, Schools of Arts and Social Sciences, Cultural Policy and Management, City University, London, UK, UK

Irida Ntalla is a PhD researcher at School of Arts and Social Sciences, Centre of Cultural Policy and Management, City University London. Her research deploys interactivity in the context of the museum within UK, via the prisms of audience experience, affect, embodiment and space. She has a number of presentations, publications and chapters on the subject area. She is currently a grant holder of the AHRC funded (2013) project ‘New media, audiences and affective experiences’ and editor at PhD Journal Critical Contemporary Culture. Irida has been working in numerous cultural institutions on the spectrum of new media, arts and heritage. She holds a MA degree on Interactive Media Arts-Critical Theory & Practice in Goldsmiths University, London and a BA on Cultural Technology and Communication, Aegean University, Greece.

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