Digital is not enough. Competences for the museum of the future

With the advent of digitality in our working and living environments, we associate, alongside scepticism and reservations, enthusiasm, promises and far-reaching hopes. This is also the case in the humanities as well as in the cultural field and, of course, in the museum. However, it becomes very clear that the hoped-for positive effects and changes cannot be achieved through the only use of digital technologies. The keynote lecture will examine the question of which competencies and structures – besides the digital – will be needed in the museum to fulfill some of the promises. A museum is not democratized simply by having parts of its collection digitally presented. A museum is not simply decolonized by making “digital participation” possible in short-term projects and (post-)colonial critique of representation taking place on subordinate project websites. A museum does not become a place of inclusion simply by having a website developed and designed according to the specifications of the regulation for barrier-free information technology. All these are important steps on the right track, but they neither solve the potential of digital technologies, nor do they change the essence of the museum as an institution. The impulse lecture paints a picture of the “museum of the future”, whose goal is not only to create digital technologies for mediation, exhibition, communication and research, but which at the same time plays an active role in fulfilling the demands on a museum formulated in the critique of institutions and representation. Which competencies and what attitude do mediators, curators, museologists need to transform the museum of the future not only digitally? What challenges do we have to face if we want to create the museum of the future together as a more inclusive place, where open exchange and sharing and negotiating knowledge is promoted and supported?

Katrin Glinka works at the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, where she is the Scientific Project Lead of museum4punkt0, a three-year collaborative project that develops and evaluates innovative applications of digital technologies in museums. She worked as a research associate and lecturer at the Fachhochschule Potsdam (Potsdam University of Applied Sciences) before joining SPK. Katrin holds a master’s degree from Leuphana University Lüneburg and is currently a PhD candidate at the Humboldt-University Berlin. Her dissertation on »Structures of Similarity – Representation and Reference in Digital Collections« is informed by constructivist theories and investigates differences and similarities between concepts, terminologies, and methods in computer science, art history, and museum practice. She regularly works on interdisciplinary projects that apply digital technologies to museum collections, spatial knowledge, or social practices. In the last few years, she has given talks and workshops, and published articles and conference papers particularly on digitisation and visualisation in the cultural field and their means and potential for curation, critical and interventionist approaches, or visitor orientation in museums.