The Artcasting team met up recently with a number of colleagues who have been helping us think about possible futures for the ideas and insights generated during the project. Here is a summary of the key topics of discussion.

  • Artcasting helped highlight the extent to which measuring impact and engagement is stuck in some particularly fixed/immobile ideas of the gallery, and gave some insights into how that might shift. There is still a lot of possible work to do around rethinking accountability, impact, engagement in the context of more inventive methods and approaches.
  • There is also still a really interesting tension around ownership – and the implications of allowing/encouraging people to collect their own gallery are not entirely lining up with pressures on institutions to endorse interpretations, care for digital collections, and remain a trusted partner for artists, estates, rightsholders. Artcasting explored place-based encounters through the app & geofencing, but not other possible destinations and encounters for these stories. How can user-generated interpretation find an equal footing with other interpretations, and where and when is this desirable?  This prompts questions about expertise and authority which still have a lot of currency and potential for new thinking around them. Artcasting shifted some power dynamics, but  where are different ‘agential cuts’ (in Barad’s terminology) feasible? Aspects of mobilities theory could be tackled differently – challenging ideas around agency, individual memory, the politics of engagement in the gallery and what is and is not permitted.
  • The project made some assumptions about what can and can’t be articulated in relation to engagement, as do other forms of evaluation. How open or constrained should our questions about people’s interpretations be? Can we make something more-flexible for people to respond to? How could galleries integrate that?
  • Artcasting futures can include engaging in knowledge- and data-capture through data driven public engagement with art and heritage. There is a lot more we could do with data capture and analytics around how and why people engage with art and cultural heritage objects and share them. We know that measures of success are still very much driven by ‘footfall’ (physical or digital) and time spent in particular spaces – what can we learn about why someone shared this specific thing, in this place, at this time? What is the journey after the visit? Where are the silences (what people take away but do not want to share), and how do we protect these?

We pondered some next steps for these ideas – stay tuned for more on this.

Thanks to all who took part in this conversation with us: Gina Fierlafijn Reddie, Christopher Ganley, Chris Hambley, Mairi Lafferty and Nicola Osborne.

– Jen, Chris, Jeremy and Claire