Meeting 1- Gallery observation and first meeting with team members
After the project brief from Creative Labs, our team members briefly introduced ourselves and explored the gallery spaces. In the beginning, three spaces that captured my interest were the learning space, gallery exhibition and the outside environment of the Hepworth. When I look around the gallery spaces, there are a lot of young students inside the gallery viewing the Three-dimensional artwork collections, drawing their interpretations of the artwork into two dimensional spaces in their sketchbook. Initially, I came up with the idea of how gallery visitors can create 3 dimensional sculptures using a digital tool that can easily transform two dimensional printed forms. Perhaps, this digital tool can be installed in the learning space as well as downloaded through as a mobile app. Visitors can create their own sculpture inspired by Barbara Hepworth collections and visitors can design and print their own design collections and share their digital artworks globally through social networks or digital market spaces. They can also sell their digital artworks or products in the Hepworth shop and featured artworks can be projected outside the building during the night time. There are some similar approaches that could be available in other galleries, but the most important considerations would be how we can differentiate them and whether the idea would be feasible to the Hepworth.
Meeting 2 & 3- Exploring ideas and understanding of the gallery space and visitors
After a couple of days, I wanted to know more about who the target audiences of the Hepworth are. In fashion marketing, understanding the target audiences is the most crucial part of the design process. Initially my interest was to understand the ‘target audiences’ and identifying who they are and what they care about, and what the main motivations for visiting the Hepworth are.
Katie on our team suggested looking at the behind-the-scenes elements of the Hepworth. We arranged the meeting with the Curator, Sam, and our team got together in Hepworth on Tuesday April 07 2015. Sam kindly explained the new acquisition of artworks in the archive. The meeting was very useful to understand the process of curating artworks and how they conserve and maintain art collections in the Hepworth.
As I am a designer and fashion marketer, I have found there are some similarity between the fashion design process and curating artworks. Fashion companies normally plan and produce new collections around six months in advance to present new collections, and then consumers tend to passively consume pre-designed products. Whilst the curators generally create themes for prospective exhibitions and events, the general public has an opportunity to see pre-arranged artworks that are selected by curators. Although there are some co-creative tools available, this is still an early stage in the design process and the general public tends to passively view artwork. What if the general public can select collections from the gallery achieve and create their gallery spaces in Hepworth? Perhaps, a small virtual space allows people to plan and curate art collections virtually? I have found that there is an existing tool that allows users to create virtual art galleries in 3D spaces. For instance, the Google art project allows users to access and view artworks online using ‘Street View ‘indoor’ technology. Another online tool, ‘Exhibit’ enables users to create a virtual DIY personal gallery and share their artwork globally. Although the Hepworth gallery tries to open the behind-the-scenes archive of the gallery through events like ‘Museums Showoff’ or arranging a meeting with a curator, there are still limitations with the current Hepworth library and artwork archive not being widely open to the general public. How can the unseen gallery space be more actively used by the general public? How can people become more interested in the artwork, and how the technologies and innovative design solutions can maximize public engagement of art and facilitate social conversation?
In the last meeting our team briefly agreed to focus on gallery audiences to understand who they are, how often they come, what they do and why they come to the Hepworth, instead of other places. Our team is primarily interested in alternative ways of accessing knowledge of art, sharing and exchanging knowledge and intangible experiences of artworks in order to create a new networked exchange model. The outcome of the research could be helpful to understand deeper motivations of the gallery users. Perhaps we could divide a broader gallery audience into subsets based on the levels of gallery spaces (e.g. heavy – gallery archive users?), medium – learning and exhibition space users?), Light users-shops?) Maybe a web-interface that allows users to upload their personal story video after the gallery visit? And then they could share their personal experience on impacts of art engagement in their personal life? What are the challenges and barriers to this process? What are opportunities for the Hepworth? The main consideration of this approach will be whether people are willing to participate in this process and commit their time to it during their busy schedule.