Attention and Seeing: Shaping New Museum Experiences

Phillip Long and Koven J. Smith
University of Texas, Austin

Every visitor to a museum brings with him or her a unique way of seeing and understanding shaped by his or her upbringing and selective concentration. Ten visitors to the same exhibition will, in effect, “see” 10 different exhibitions. And yet, museum experiences are still designed to encourage all visitors to see the same way. Phillip Long, Chief Innovation Officer at the University of Texas, Austin, and Koven J. Smith, Director of Digital Adaptation at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, will examine how museums might be able to deliberately design experiences to account for multiple ways of seeing and multiple types of attention. Using some projects currently underway at the Blanton as a framework, they will examine how museum experience design and digital interpretation might be used to help visitors to “see” in myriad new ways.

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Submit questions via Twitter to @ICAVCU with #ICA2017Innovate

Related Readings
Popova, Maria, “The Art of Looking: How Eleven Different Perspectives Illuminate the Multiple Realities in Our Everyday Wonderland,” Brain Pickings, published August 12, 2013

Garcia, Ben, (2012), What We Do Best: Making the Case for the Museum Learning in its Own Right, Journal of Museum Education, Volume 37(2), pp. 47-56

Kelly, Lynda (2011), “Student Learning in Museums: what do we know?,” Sovereign Hill Museums Association

Speakers Bios
Phillip Long is the Chief Innovation Officer, Associate Vice Provost for Learning, Clinical Professor in Educational Psychology and in the School of Information, all at the University of Texas, Austin. Dr. Long is part of the executive leadership of Project 2021, a 5-year effort to transform UT Austin into a fully engaged, data driven 21st learning environment. Long’s current research interests focus on active and blended learning pedagogies, remote laboratories, emerging technologies and the analytics that can be captured by instrumenting interactions in both virtual and environments with the goal of informing learner decision-making. He is a lapsed biologist now learning scientist focused on emerging technologies, the cognitive interactions with them, and the spaces, physical, and virtual wherein they occur.

Koven J. Smith is Director of Digital Adaption at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, where his focus is on the adoption of digital values across the Museum. Prior to that, he spent 15 years in technology management roles at the Denver Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Koven has also served as adjunct faculty in the Arts Administration program at New York University and the Museum Studies program at Johns Hopkins University. He has also served on the advisory boards for the Museum Computer Network, the Americorps Program in Cultural Technology, ArtStor, and ConservationSpace. In 2011, Koven founded Drinking About Museums, a social meetup for museum professionals that now numbers more than 30 chapters worldwide.

Inventing ICA: Technology and Innovation
Inventing ICA is a three-part lecture series that goes behind-the-scenes of the ICA’s work to launch a new art institute in Richmond, Virginia. Industry thought leaders will visit VCU for conversations with colleagues, students, and the general public. Themes addressed will include: Technology and Innovation; Impact and Community Engagement; and Curators and Culture.

Credits
Sponsored by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Office for Learning Innovation

Image: © Phillip Long, 2016 / © Koven J. Smith, 2016