Posted by Rebecca Farley 29:01:12 22:20
Jointly commissioned by Newcastle and Gateshead city councils and Intersections this introductory scoping study aimed to provide a selective review of current examples of digital mobile public art interpretation and to give initial feedback from local arts audiences in NewcastleGateshead on their interests and preferences in relation to the future interpretation and promotion of public artworks in the City.
Conducted over Spring/Summer 2011, the research concentrated on a series of focus groups involving postgraduate and foundation level art students, Gateshead Cultural Volunteers and members of The Friends of the Shipley, augmented by an observation exercise of Newcastle’s Hidden Art walking tour.
Key findings: Where is it? was the primary starting point for discussion when participants were shown photographic images of public artworks located in the City. There was positive support for technology-based interpretation approaches including development of a mobile app but with a strong direction that digital solutions should only be part of a broader spectrum of engagement activity. Festival type events were suggested as especially positive ways of refreshing audience experience of existing permanent works. All participants showed a desire for content that reflected a range of perspectives around a public artwork rather than one static viewpoint. The observation exercise suggested that linking public artworks with heritage sites and social amenities (e.g. historic buildings or friendly cafes) could help to broaden the audience for public art in the City. The four mobile apps reviewed showed that as well as providing a way of guiding visitors around a physical collection of artworks, the app route also offers an opportunity to provide audiences with a variety of content levels and viewpoints, including options for feedback and sharing.
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