Firstly I took the opportunity to update my ‘About’ section on this blog. I read it the other day and it doesn’t do me justice. So in the spirit of self-confidence and a little more self-promotion, I have made it more about me and what I do and not just why I am writing a blog.
So, what is my PhD all about? This feels like a big step to put it out there in the public eye.
I am interested in how people experience museums, in particular their emotional responses, memories, understanding and how sensory engagement plays a part in this. Now, this part has been delved into here and there in the last decade and there have been some interesting advancements in understanding. I am also interesting in well-being and how museum visiting may help to foster a sense of well-being. Currently that part is something I need to look into a little further to see how it might fit in and in what way.
So, how do I contribute to original thinking or move this subject on from where it is? This is the key question. It is not a PhD if I don’t.
I live in probably the most multi-cultural city in the UK (barring London). Leicester has a wealth of diverse and exciting communities and I want to know how people from diverse and exciting communities experience our local authority museums. Local authority museums should be accessible and exciting for all local communities, but they still only really attract certain audiences. I am going to look at how different communities experience our local museums, how they feel about them and if the messages that the museums are putting out make any sense. Essentially, local museums are for the local communities, but with such diverse local communities are they really representing them? How can they represent them and communicate with them better? In the long run, would this encourage new audiences into the museum?
There is quite lot in there to do with communities, understanding how new visitors approach museums and how people feel. Putting it into so few words makes it all seem quite simple!
I am not entirely sure of how I am going to go about collecting the data I will need to complete this. I do know that I will be using visual methods, creative explorations and other ways of understanding emotions and feelings. That is a challenge for later this year.
I will add a disclaimer here of how this may change as it goes along. I was set on a different subject entirely when I first began and this is what has come out of my discussions with my supervisor and having read more widely around the subject.
Now I need to put this into a literature review!