Thursday, 4 November 2010


Photographer: Leonard Gren

Hello everyone!

Today and tomorrow Engage is arranging their annual, international conference in Nottingham under the title "The Art of Influencing Change". I´ll be blogging continously under this headline both today and tomorrow. Welcome in to follow the reflections and watch out.

I´ve just heard a fantastic lecture from Phyllida Hancock, participating in the project Contender Charlie. With a starting point in Shakespeare´s plays she uses his language and text in order to develop a leadership.
Using fantastic empathy, charisma and humor, she used Shakespere´s play, Henry V to show how different roles and strategies build leadership. It was really a superb lecture! To learn more about Contender Charlie follow the link.

Since before lunch the conference has focused on how the Internet can be used in order to build networks in different types of art projects. The objective being to use the net to build sustainable, social models based on a thought that the Internet will change peoples behaviour in connection with a global, ecological perspective.
Ruth Catlow from Furtherfield presented their Zero Dollar Laptop Project. ZDLP is based upon a thought that people through creative and critical thinking can become active creators within thier culture and society.
Sam Bower presented the project which wants to inspire people to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society where ever they live. contributes to that by offering access to information, possibility to interconnect with people and ideas and making resources and tools available.
Jonette Middleton presented her art project "Unity Panda" where she with the aid of Facebook and a shop in Coventry and 1 knitting pattern how to knit a Unity Panda got over 500 people to knit parts making up 130 Unity Pandas. These Pandas are going to be used in Panda diplomacy with China.
Zero Dollar Laptop Project
Unity Panda

FRIDAY 5TH 09:00
Yet another day at the conference. To summarize my impressions so far there are 2 themes dominating the conference. (But that should not be taken as a sign where all practice is going, it could also be put down to choices made by the organizing committee for the conference). The themes are that social media is used in order to create networks using art and art practice as a tool for people the change and influence their every day life. The other theme is that art and art practice is seen as a tool to create a sustainable way of living. There has been several speakers presenting projects where the framework is the global ecological challenge and art as a tool for a sustainable way of living. I´ll be back with more reflections during the day.


Fotograf: shannonkringen

Lately I´ve been on the arranging committee for 2 conferences in Sweden which has highlighted the importance of a professional discussion.

The first conference was arranged by the society for Swedish museum teachers and an organization called ”Forum for exhibitioners”, where we dissected the topic how technology is used and can be used in exhibitions today. The second conference was arranged together with the faculty for museum studies at Gothenburg University and highlighted the issue of norm critical perspectives from a curatorial and pedagogical point of view.

Both seminars received very good reviews in the evaluations, which in itself is enough to understand that they matter, but I also want to make a personal reflection about why I think a professional dialogue is essential for professional development
The exhibition medium is moving towards a more audience practice. This makes pedagogy a more and more important part of both the creation and the communication of exhibition content. This also means that the profession becomes more complex and complicated. It´s no longer about fitting an exhibition to a target group or a school class.

- It´s about having the target group in sight from the start in order to adapt the content, to have knowledge about different cognitive stages of development and learning capabilities.
- It´s about a knowledge of how methods and tools can be used based on the exhibition´s objectives and aims connected to target group.
- It´s about having knowledge of a spectra of accessibility aspects, both when it comes to function disabilities, both also for people without these.
- It´s about having knowledge of norm critical aspects in order not to maintain or amplify norms which discriminate.

All these perspectives are pedagogical and have to be on the table from the start in the process which will end in an exhibition. That´s why a pedagogical knowledge and expertise and a pedagogical eye who can guard over these issues in the process.
Because, how we twist and turn it is the audience who are our principals and recipients of exhibitions. An exhibition which doesn´t reach the recipient is not a good exhibition!

Friday, 1 October 2010


Photographer: Darwin Bell

My work at Swedish Travelling Exhibitions (STE) means that I shift beween discussions about culture politics on an international level to hands-on method development for visitors in exhibitions.

Last Friday we published a "Pedagogical guide book on moving images" which has been produced by my unit in STE, Tour production and Pedagogy.

The Gudie book is meant as an aid for everyone working pedagogically with moving images or art videos and who is in need of a guide about how to work pedagogically with these things. The Guide book contains a theoretical cheatsheet for workshops about art videos, but also how to use the mobile phone as a multimedia tool to make your own art video. In the Guide book we open up for some of Sweden´s art pedagogues and artists who have been doing this for a long time.

Ann- Sofie Roxhage and Elenor Noble have through their work as gallery teachers at Gothenburg Art Gallery, Röda Sten and other art institutions in the Gothenburg area, over a period of 5 years developed their "Cheatsheet on how to view and experience contemporary art". The cheatsheet was part of the pedagogical material that was produced for the 2009 Gothenburg Biennale.

Anders Weberg is an artist working with video, sound and installations where he, above all, uses the mobile phone as a tool. In the Guide book he provides tips and ideas on how to use this multimedia tool, now in everyone´s pockets, to create your own art.

Johanna Sjöström, curator at the Art museum in Gothenburg, provides a summary of the history of moving images and Karolina Westling, film pedagogue and media scientist at The University of Gothenburg, provides an entrance to the moving image as a pedagogical tool.

For those interested the Guide book can be ordered from STE, though it only exists in Swedish. The purpose of the book is to make it easier and improve practice for everyone working with moving images and art movies.

To me, being responsible for the pedagogical development at STE, the Guide book serves several aspects;
- It meets a pronounced need in the exhibition sector.
- It provides space for external voices to present their knowledge and line of work.
- It is produced by persons in my unit and others at STE without my contribution which will give them a boost.
- It turns our pedagogical policy document into practice.

The Guide book was released in connection with a seminar and workshop in Landskrona, in the south of Sweden. The seminar attracted som 50 people working with moving images and art videos, in art galleries, museums, schools, youth clubs and so on. A great mix of people which also showed that this type of pedagogical material is wanted far beyond the exhibition sector. More of this!


Wednesday, 1 September 2010


Hello everyone!
I hope that you all got back to work after a long and peaceful holiday. I´m starting my blogging this autumn with a report written by Swedish pedagogue and author Pia Cederholm, originally published on Exhibition Aesthetical Forum, a Swedish website consigned to articles on the exhibition media.

Her report is about a lecture at École du Louvre in Paris given by Colette Dufresne-Tassé this spring.

Colette Dufresne-Tassé is a Canadian professor and resigning chairman of the international ICOM committe CECA. She heads a research team at the University in Montréal which with different methods are trying to find out what happens in the meeting between the visitor and the exhibition. The purpose being to use the results of their research to develop the exhibition media.In her lecture Mrs Dufresne-Tassé gave a lot of advice. From these Pia Cederholm has put together "10 commandments for a successful exhibition". Unfortunately her blog is in Swedish so I have translated her report and also shortened it a bit.

1. Thou shall only have one message.
Coherence is the lead word. Choose a theme and stick to it no matter how tempting it is to add less relevant side tracks.

2. Thou shall find your angel between the familiar and the new.
You do this by adressing both the visitor´s prior knowledge and their curiosity at the same time.

3. Thou shall create opportunities for meaningful experiences.
Have the visitor´s perspective for your eyes so that your lust to experiment with exhibition design or researching a complex area doesn´t make the final result incomprehensible to amateurs.

4. Thou shall do everything in your power in order to make it easy for the visitor to learn.
This is done by approaching the exhibition like a puzzle: Start with the frame and the corner pieces. Use artefacts to help the visitor to fill in the missing pieces, to draw their own conclusions. Remind yourself that the visitors aren´t there to read, that can be done in a book.

5. Thou shall create environments that captures the interest of the visitor.
The scenography, or in french "la muséographie", determines how the visitor will understand the artefacts. This is why you have to think through how settings and cabinets correspond and that in three different layers: practically, aesthetically and semantically.

6. Thou shall not begrudge the visitor to be physically active.
Place and present the artefacts in order for the visitor to be lured into freeing their fantasy to reach further in their meaning making.

7. Thou shall not demand the visitor to be physically active.
The intellectual effort is enough. If the exhibition requires the visitor to climb around pulling ropes in order to get to knowledge they will give up.

8.Thou shall lead the visitor´s thoughts towards the object.
When you have made the visitor to stop, seriously widening her or his senses, observing, reading and reflecting, you must see to that there is more to find out. This way the visitor gets paid for the effort and won´t float away in other thoughts.

9. Thou shall understand the difference betwen permanent and temporary exhibitions.
Then you can make use of their different prerequisites. The temporary exhibition attracts the audience by it´s uniqueness, a "on-time-only" opportunity and a whole context to dive into. The permanent exhibition attracts with order and being systematically arranged.

10. Thou shall not be boring.
To visit a museum shall be an experience beyond the ordinary. Therefor you have to pull the visitor out of her or his normal reality. Open the gate to an unknown world which is unknown and different.

What do you think? Please comment!


The "10 commandments for a succesful exhibition" was translated by Göran Björnberg from Pia Cederholm´s original text which can be found here

Monday, 7 June 2010


"Technothreads" Science Gallery, Dubin, Photographer: prizepony

Hi everyone!

A few weeks ago I was in Tampere, Finland, participating in something called European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA). It is a conference arranged by European Museum Forum, where the climax is to deliver the prize for this Year´s museum in Europe. This year the prize, the 32nd since the start, went to Ozeanum in Stralsund, Germany.

A conference as this one presents an opportunity to follow a general discourse regarding European museums and the development of their practice, if there is one. It also presents a great opportunity to network since some 150 people from the European museums are gathered in the same place for three days.

One exciting meeting I had, out of severel, was with Michael John Gorman, head of Science Gallery in Dublin. Science Gallery is an interdisciplinary meeting place for art and science. Exhibitions, events, happenings, workshops and projects are thrown into a mix with speed-dating between artists and scientists and Open calls on different themes. The last theme was "Music and the body".

What made it extra exciting this year was that Science Gallery received a Commendation, together with two other museums, during the ceremony. Is it a museum? That was frequently discussed during the dinner.

The definition of a museum is usually that it holds a collection. Has Science Gallery a collection? Yes, but it is to a great extent made up of ideas and experiences, rather than artefacts. Thus they are a great example of a discourse under debate. I know from my conversations with Michael John Gorman that Science Gallery is thinking about how to make their collection accessible. Is it possible to create systems where ideas can be presented in an attractive way? It is going to be exciting to see the result.

Here is a link to Science Gallery and if you are in Dublin, make a visit. That´s what I aim to do!

Thursday, 6 May 2010


"Interactive wall" Te Papa Museum, Nya Zeeland, Photographer: Samuel Mann

”The world is made of stories, not atoms.”

Hi friends!
Today´s blog derives it´s theme from a conference I went to in Leicester two weeks ago labelled ”Narrative spaces”. As a starting point I am using a quote from American poet Muriel Rukeyser.

The Narrative doesn´t just exist in a piece of art but also inside ourselves. When meeting art we create our own narrative based on the impressions we get and the experiences we bring with us. The narrative is also affected by the room and time we exist in. Therefor the narrative space is more than just the piece of art and the viewer. The exhibition room, the museum and contemporary topics are also part of forming my narrative.

As a pedagogue I am looking for the challenge in finding methods which will trig these open processes giving space to the visitor to find their own narratives. As another key note speaker, Lee Skolnick, said when quoting Jerome Bruner;

”Good art embodies our story, it does not remind us of our story”

The issue for the pedagogue is to liberate each and every visitor´s narrative which lies embodied in a work of art or an exhibition. Thus art and the exhibition become part of a dialogue, a making of meaning which in its best moments will make me look upon the world with new eyes. Bruner stated that the narrative and the dialogue are important for the making of meaning. Learning involves the "construction" of meaning. There is no reality, truth, right or wrong existing in the world waiting to be discovered. Each person in conjunction with the communities in which they operate construct reality, truth, right and wrong. Therefor the narrative is part of a social process. I´ll finish with another quote from Bruner and Lee Skolnick;

”Narratives constitute reality”

Is it necessary to add that it was a good conference!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


Photographer: Ricardo Martins

Last week I moderated a seminar which FUISM (The Swedish Association for Museum Educators) arranged in connection with the Spring Meeting, the annual meeting for the Swedish museum sector. The theme for the seminar was “Tomorrow´s audience – a challenge for the whole organization?” In the panel discussing the issue was Lars Amréus, director of The Museum of National Antiquities and chairman for the Association of Swedish Museums, Eric Åström, Swedish Arts Council, Maria Jansén, director, Östergötland County Museum and Eriqa Lindsten, Head of audience activities, Bohuslän County Museum. In today´s blog I am going to discuss an issue Maria Jansén addressed in her key note, The Museum without a manual.

An increasing number of present-day museums are open institutions where visitors are welcomed to take part in exhibition work and collecting activities. New media, mobile phones, Flickr and Facebook are tools for interactive methods using synchronic communicative and feedback possibilities to activate the visitor. This development is in line with the thoughts of the English sociologist Tony Bennet in his book ”The Birth of the Museum” where he discussed and clarified the museums´ role in the development of society and how new museums are formed from this function. Museums have become active meeting places, arenas for a dialogue on today´s and tomorrow´s topics.

This addresses new demands on how the exhibition communicates with the visitor. I see the exhibitions as a social meeting place – a media for meaning making. The exhibition offers a framework for meaning making processes through the way artifacts and ideas are shaped and presented. When signs, symbols, pictures and objects are put together to unities meaning is formed which builds on previous experiences and knowledge. The exhibition carries a pedagogical dimension as is, a dimension which has to communicate with the visitor without a guide explaining or interpreting. In the same way the Museum hold a pedagogical dimension where exhibitions, collections, archives and the Web must be accessible. A Museum without a Manual.

I mean that this pedagogical dimension to a high degree requires a pedagogical competence regarding the form, design and presentation of exhibitions and the museum. Sure, in the present-day museum everyone has a pedagogical mission, but this must not be mixed with pedagogical competence. The pedagogical competence is important when content is made accessible to the visitor. That is why I see the pedagogical competence as the single most important competence in the present-day museum which wants to reach and engage its visitors, the museums which want to make a difference. This “post-museum” builds on an understanding of the complex relationship between culture, identity, learning and communication, which is at the heart of tomorrow´s museum. A communication and pedagogy building on a Museum without a manual.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


A few weeks ago I was part of arranging a seminar at the Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg. The seminar was a co-arrangement between Swedish Travelling Exhibitions and the School of Global Studies at Gothenburg University. The theme for the seminar was "The Museum and the audience".

In the programme The Museum of World Culture told about their audience work. The Museum has young adults as their main target group and are very successful with their work towards this target group. During 2009 the museum had over 200 000 visitors, out of these 60% were younger than 30 years.

One perspective Katarina Bergil (acting director) and Klas Grinell (curator) adressed in their speech was the museum´s view on the audience. The starting point for their discussion was that the visitors possess knowledge and abilities which are relevant to the museum. Museums need to develop new methods in order to capture these capacities and to involve them in their activities.

A common expression when working with certain target groups and especially those which are socially underprivileged is "outreach". At the Museum of World Culture they are thinking in the opposite direction, should the museum talk about "INREACH"?

The ”outreach” expression often has an interpretation precedence embedded into it. We are aiming at groups who are underrepresented and underprivliged, but we do it with our culture and our views on culture, with our codes and language, with our methods. A form of cultural colonialism.

INREACH is about viewing the visitor as an active player, a carrier of knowledge and experiences, who can contribute and develop our perspectives and activities. It is a perspective which creates relevance for the visitor by us valueing their participation and by us looking for an equal meeting where both parties learn from each other.

INREACH becomes a turn of thoughts where we look upon an internal needs for development as something which is in the interest of both parties, as a common, socio-cultural process where we meet in a dialogue and where we interact with the surrounding world in order to learn from each other.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

HAPPY 2010!

Time to move forward into a new year. The picture above also depicts a new position for this blog. I got it from Flickr, a social media, where producers and consumers (aka procumers) of photography meet. Pictures, posted under the creative commons segment, made available for anyone to use, under certain given circumstances..

A new year also means news for this blog. During 2010 I´m going to blog once a month. 2009 tought me that once a week doesn´t work. It is too often. It is still going to be a professional blog aimed at people interested in learning and meaningmaking in connction with exhibitions and museums. During this year I will also present guest bloggers. All the blogs are going to be illustrated with pictures from flickr. Why is that?

There are 2 main reasons. At first I want to contribute to the use and development of social media by blogging, twittering and using flickr. Hereby I combine 3 social media. Secondly it is a standpoint against a control of intellectual property rights (IPR), It is my opinion that thoughts, ideas and views shouldn´t be a commodity, they should be "free of charge" thus creating a creative commons. We all need to contribute to a collective memory if we are going to solve the big issues of today and tomorrow, the environment, starvation and a global economical and social injustice.

On Friday I´m going to visit the newly opened Modern museum in Malmo, in the south of Sweden to see what it is like and how they work with meaningmaking in this newly opened museum. It is going to be exciting. Don´t forget to register as followers. This means you will get a message every time I post a new blog. You can also add me on Twitter. My Twitter alias is Goranzone.

We´ll be in touch!