How can museums use digital culture, content and technologies to drive not only business change but also social change?

Lightning Talk
Sejul Malde, Culture24, UK

This talk will present the thinking behind, and the emergent findings from, Let’s Get Real 6 – a collaborative action research project that together, with 19 UK cultural organisations, is exploring how museums can embrace digital technologies to drive social change.
This talk is for anyone who is interested in how their museum can embrace digital technology for greater social good. This will join up two current, yet disconnected areas of discussion and practice taking place within museums today. The first examines the digital transformation of museums. The other looks at how museums can become more socially relevant to a changing society. There is currently very little in the way of research and practice that explicitly seeks to understand the connections between these.
Connecting up these areas promises far more than just an isolated opportunity for museums. Rather, understanding the social purpose of digital technologies for museums is critical to the sector’s future existence. If museums are to remain relevant in our fast-evolving and increasingly digitally-influenced world they need to recognise how society itself is changing because of digital culture, and respond to these changes meaningfully. This social shift is far more profound than more people surfing the web or using their smartphones. It’s about fundamental changes to our identity, our wellbeing, the information we consume, the democracy we participate in and the communities we connect with. Other sectors are already exploring how they can embrace technology for social good, yet little is happening so far within the museum sector.
The Let’s Get Real 6 project is seeking to change that. By working collaboratively with a number of UK museums and galleries including the National Gallery, Tate, Welcome Collection, National Museum Wales, the project will examine how museums can strategically and practically begin to explore these connections in order to embrace digital technologies to drive social change.

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Ross Parry, 'The End of the Beginning: Normativity in the Postdigital Museum', Museum Worlds, vol. 1 (2013), 24-39.