Designing with Information and Communications Technology for Event Potentials in an Art Museum Context

Open Access
Lin, Yen-ju
Graduate Program:
Art Education
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
January 25, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Karen Treat Keifer Boyd, Dissertation Advisor/Co-Advisor
  • Karen Treat Keifer Boyd, Committee Chair/Co-Chair
  • Charles Richard Garoian, Committee Member
  • Booker Stephen Carpenter Ii, Committee Member
  • Eileen M Trauth, Committee Member
  • art museum education
  • pedagogic assemblage
  • ICT
  • event potential
  • actor-network theory
  • feminist online pedagogy
The purpose of this action research is to design with information and communications technologies (ICTs) for event potentials in an art museum context. I identify ICTs as actors that can create event potentials, a concept discussed by Elizabeth Ellsworth (2004). Event potentials, in this study, refer to social media’s capacity to facilitate emergent knowledge by making social and cultural associations and differences visible. The pedagogical assemblages made visible by ICTs, in this study, are comprised of learning activities that network learners in constructing knowledge through interactions with others about their perspectives, knowledge, and life experiences. Building upon Ellsworth’s pedagogic approach of creating event potentials, this study envisions a museum exhibition as a pedagogic assemblage of personal memory and public discourse and explores how to design ICTs for event potentials to translate a museum exhibition from an assemblage of events and meanings into a space of emergent knowledge. Actor-Network Theory (ANT) is the analytic approach of this study. ANT is a theory that conceptualizes knowledge as mutual articulation through interactions between both human and non-human actors. From an ANT perspective, ICTs are actors with agency that create event potentials and negotiate between an exhibition’s pedagogic address and individual narratives that visitors bring from their personal and cultural backgrounds. The ANT lens corresponds to Ellsworth’s notion of pedagogic assemblage in that knowledge and the formation of social phenomena come through continual association and differentiation of both human and non-human objects. In understanding the pedagogic assemblage in an art museum context, ANT is both a theoretical lens and an analytical approach to observe associations between museum visitors, the design of ICTs, and the museum environment. By adopting the ANT approach, I traced how the processes of design and redesign of ICTs, as actors with event potentials, translate and expand learning activities in and beyond an art museum context. In this study, I adopted feminist online pedagogy to frame my design and redesign of ICTs in Surveying Judy Chicago: Five Decades exhibition at the Palmer Museum of Art in 2014, and observed museum visitors’ interactions and responses to my ICT designs and redesigns. My design of ICTs aimed to embody feminist online pedagogy to facilitate collaboration, distributed leadership, and mutual articulation between the self and others. The data for this research consists of artifacts, reflective journal entries, semi-structured participant interviews, systematic observations, and documentation of my process of designing with ICTs for event potentials in an art museum context. Through the examination of the process of designing ICTs in this exhibition, I investigated the process of designing ICT to engage visitors’ active participation and to explore ways to facilitate museum audiences’ interaction with the integration of ICTs. The design and redesign of ICTs, the exhibition, and the Feminist Art Gallery Conversations were entangled with participants’ experience in the pedagogic assemblage of the learning environment. Through an action research design of ICTs, I made visible the pedagogic assemblage of Surveying Judy Chicago: Five Decades, which consists assemblages of onsite interactions and online dialogue, of lived experience and emergent knowledge, of public space and personal voice, and assemblage of self and otherness. The outcome of this study contributes to understanding of how art museums can employ ICTs to facilitate participatory interactions that support learning and future research.