Digital alone is not enough. Competences for the Museum of the Future

lecture by Katrin Glinka 2:30 – 3 pm

Connected to the advent of digitality in our working and living environments are, alongside skepticism and reservations, enthusiasm, promises and far-reaching hopes. This is also the case in the humanities as well as in the cultural sphere and of course in the museum as well. However, it is becoming quite clear that the anticipated positive effects and change cannot be achieved through the use of digital technologies alone. The keynote lecture will examine the question of which competencies and structures – besides the digital – will be required by the museum in order to achieve some of its promises. A museum is not democratised simply by presenting parts of its collection digitally. A museum is not simply decolonized by short term projects which enable “digital participation” while (post-)colonial representation critique takes place on subordinate project websites. A museum doesn’t simply become  a place of inclusion by creating 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” in pursuit of goals which include not only to create digital technologies for mediation, exhibition, communication and research, but which at the same time actively participate in the development of the representation critique in relation to the museum. Which competencies and what approach do mediators, curators, museologists need in order to transform the museum of the future beyond only the digital? Which 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, 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.