“where does this work belong?” new digital approaches to evaluating engagement with artPaper
Jeremy Knox, University of Edinburgh, UK, Jen Ross, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
How can digital encounters between art and place be visualised and become a story about engagement that is meaningful for visitors, gallery educators, and funders? What does it mean to be inventive about evaluation?
These questions have informed the work of the Artcasting project team at the University of Edinburgh and their partners at the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate, in the context of the United Kingdom’s ARTIST ROOMS touring exhibition. ARTIST ROOMS is a collection of more than sixteen hundred works of international contemporary art, jointly owned and managed by Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. ARTIST ROOMS On Tour shares the collection throughout the UK in a programme of exhibitions organised in collaboration with local associate galleries of all sizes. ARTIST ROOMS On Tour puts internationally important contemporary artworks in many locations that do not routinely have access to such works and puts the task of making them relevant in the hands of local galleries and users. It particularly aims to ensure the collection engages new, young audiences, and this is mirrored in this project by a focus on young people (ages thirteen to twenty-five).
Artcasting invites visitors to make an imaginative association between art and place and uses beacon and geofencing technology, combined with user-generated content, to create places in the world where artworks from the collection can be re-encountered—what we are calling “artcasts.” At the same time, the project has developed a framework through which artcasts can be understood in evaluative terms; drawing from Arts Council England’s new “quality principles” and working closely with ARTIST ROOMS and associate galleries to understand what practitioners and funders really need and want from their evaluation practices. Artcasting is an innovative digital intervention, but also an object to think and learn with, going beyond instrumental uses of technology to solve a specific problem, moving towards “inventive problem-making” (Michael, 2012).
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