Art, dialogue and experiment: user participation as a social catalyst for museum communication

Project partners

PhD Fellow, cand.mag. Christiane Witzel Særkjær; Associate Professor, Ane Hejlskov Larsen, Aarhus University; and Randers Kunstmuseum

Project period

1 August 2016 - 31 July 2019

The aim of the project is to help advance local user participation at art galleries. This aim is realized through a study that develops and analyzes participatory and dialogical processes with local visitors at Randers Art Museum. The key research questions are: How does the museum space and interactions among visitors impact on their art experiences, and how can visitor participation be facilitated so as to be meaningful for the individual, the museum and society? The project is based on the assumption that visitor participation at art galleries facilitates social relations and interactions, both of which deepen visitors’ aesthetic experiences and insights while also enhancing their societal involvement.
In methodological terms, the project applies qualitative approaches. Individual and focus-group interviews and participant observation are combined with exploration of various principles for user participation, for example through user-led workshops where users meet artworks from the museum collection within and beyond the museum.
Project results will provide new, evidence-based approaches to local user participation and engagement of relevance for the museum sector at large as well as other cultural institutions that aim at advancing public  citizenship and individual well-being.