A call to action : crafting inclusive digital museum objects, networks and ecologies
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In this thesis, I examine the omnipresent digital museum object, seeking to understand what it is, what it does, and what it could be. I explore the lack of consensus surrounding the definition of the digital museum object, offering a new conceptualisation of an object that exists and is valuable in its own right. In isolating the generative potential of the digital museum object, I suggest that it offers inclusive and polyvocal opportunities to museums. By placing the digital museum object in a complex relational network of interactions, analysed through nuanced application of actor-network theory (ANT), I expose the asymmetrical power structures embedded between museum and audience in the postdigital landscape. Finally, this research places digital museum objects and networks within a dynamic, evolving transnational and transcultural digital ecology. This ecology is rooted in the colonial practices of physical environments, replicated in the digital sphere. Thus, I trouble general claims that the digital landscape has democratised access, stating that instead, many of the issues encountered in physical museum spaces are replicated (or even heightened) in the postdigital environment. The creation of inclusive polyvocal digital museum objects is one positive step in an effort that seeks to counter exclusive structures and to create digital spaces that are more welcoming to all. Moreover, based on my analysis, I suggest practical steps that might be taken in beginning a journey towards creating digital museum objects that speak with, and for many, people.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2028-08-08
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Restricted until 8th August 2028
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