In the Spring of 2021, students in LIBR 588: Theory and Practice of Oral History developed an online oral history exhibit of people’s experiences during the year 2020 entitled the 2020 (Re)Collection. The COVID-19 pandemic massively impacted the lives of people around the globe, from essential service workers and artists to home cooks, families, and youth activists. The pandemic also changed the way classes were taught, with the entire course being facilitated online via Zoom. Students were given the opportunity to develop their own oral history project within the context of 2020. Five groups interviewed, transcribed, and published oral histories of friends, family, and acquaintances around the following topics: Essential Work, At Home in 2020, Youth and Activism, Food as Resistance, and Performing in Lockdown.
In the Spring of 2020, I taught the course The Theory and Practice of Oral History, and tasked my students to create an audio based exhibit using a Museum in a Box – a great tool I’ve worked with before. The task was – how would we preserve stories about the earth? What kinds of stories would researchers tell about their favourite organisms?
We developed a Museum in a Box to be exhibited on UBC Campus; but due to the COVID crisis, were unable to actually install it. Instead, on May 1st, we launched the website: Listening To the Earth, which served as a virtual exhibit and archive of the interviews the students conducted.
For the past two years I have been working collaboratively with Dr. Laura Gibson (Kings College London) on a Wenner-Gren funded project called Amagugu-Ethu/ Our Treasures; which sought to document stories from KwaZulu-Natal experts about some of the Zulu collections in the Iziko Museum in Cape Town, South Africa. We worked closely with Museum in a Box, a company dedicated to making museum objects and stories more shareable and accessible.
Our first workshop took place in April 2019 in Cape Town, and with a team of Zulu-speaking experts, artists, storytellers, technical wizards, museum workers and academics. With the collaboration of staff at Iziko, we spent time in the archives and the collections store, took images and recorded audio of stories about 10 items that have little information about them. We then developed a Museum in a Box resource that plays the story recorded about an object. Using images, 3D prints and sound recordings taken during the workshop, the Box is an interactive experience that gives new insights to the objects and the workshop process.
In September 2019, these boxes and the recordings were sent back to Iziko and to the Luthuli Museum in KwaZulu-Natal. Our Zulu partners in South Africa launched an event at the Luthuli Museum to introduce the project to local cultural leaders and schools, and we hope the project expands so that many Zulu-speaking communities can hear stories and share knowledge the pots, containers, and beadwork normally locked away in museum storerooms.
You can read more about the project in the post by George Oates: http://www.museuminabox.org/amagugu-ethu-our-treasures/
This project was generously supported by the Wenner Gren Foundation, the University of Leicester, and Museum in a Box.
Image Credit: From Wrapped in the Cloud, Meghann O’Brien, 2018. Produced in collaboration with Conrad Sly, Hannah Turner, Reese Muntean, and Kate Hennessy.
I am happy to share some of the collaboration I’ve been working on with Meghann O’Brien (Jaad Kuujus), Conrad Sly, and Kate Hennessy at the Making Culture Lab at SFU. Over the past 6 months, we have been working to digitize (through 3D scanning and photogrammetry), Meghann O’Brien’s weaving, Sky Blanket, as a media installation on a touring exhibit called BoarderX, curated by Jaimie Isaac.
Read more about the process, and more about Meghann’s work on the Making Culture Lab’s site.
You can see Wrapped in the Cloud on exhibit at The Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina, and it will be touring elsewhere in Canada throughout 2019/2020.
I’m happy to share that my students from the Spring 2018 Centre for Digital Media class, “Museums and Art Galleries in a Digital Age” will be presenting their video interviews as part of their final projects for the Museums and the Web Conference, happening April 18-21 here in Vancouver, BC.
As part of the Museums and the Web Exhibition event (MWX), the videos will be installed in the conference venue and posted online, and we will be conducting pop-up interviews for the conference attendees and live-editing these.
Image from postcards: Smithsonian Institution Archives, SIA2014-00280, designed by Gillian Russell
Conceived of as a response to the 2016 exhibit ““Witness” at New Westminster’s New Media Gallery. this project, “Witnessing” is a series of three processing artworks developed by students at the Critical Media Arts Studio at SFU’s School of Interactive Art and Technology (SIAT) in the IAT 810 New Media Class. Witnessing is exhibited at the AHVA Gallery at the Audain Art Centre as part of the “Under Super Vision” Symposium.
The web-based projects all address the thematic issues raised in the Witness exhibit, that of human machine communication and mutual surveillance. Each work is presented in an online archive, and they all demonstrate the uneasy marriage of our shared technological fears and desires.
Paired with each processing project is page in a pamphlet Zine (shown above); imagined as a future archive of humanities’ attempts to communicate with an all-seeing machine. The projects document how a contemporary machine might learn of our thoughts, memories, languages, and visions.
The project website is available here.
The publication based on the zine and the student projects will be held in the New Media Gallery’s permanent library collection as well as a web-based archive forthcoming in the new issue of The New School’s Immediacy Journal.
Turner, Hannah, Gabriela Aceves Sepulveda, Frederico Machuca, Jo Shin and Xavier Wu. 2017. “Witnessing.” Curated and Edited by Hannah Turner and Gabriela Aceves Sepulveda.
Co-curated (with Gregory Dreicer and Sharon Fortney) and designed in collaboration with HCMA Architecture, this new exhibit that examines our ideas of truth and believability on exhibit now at the Museum of Vancouver (MOV). Every museum object has multiple stories, and in many cases these histories have yet to be told. The exhibit looks at key objects in Vancouver and exposes these stories to ask visitors to examine how and why they believe what they believe.
Unbelievable is on view at the Museum of Vancouver until Spring 2018.
Press and Reviews:
In 2015, I was a research partner with the project “I made this: Children’s Participatory Learning with 3D Printing”. This research advanced a comprehensive scholarly understanding of children’s participatory learning in informal learning environments. We held workshops in a museum setting encourage children to acquire and create knowledge about the individual, cultural and institutional values underpinning both the technological systems used for making and the resultant artifacts. See our recent publication in Curator (2017) here: Using 3D Printing to Enhance Understanding and Engagement with Young Audiences: Lessons from Workshops in a Museum.
I was a research partner with this SSHRC funded project within the Semaphore Research Cluster at the University of Toronto.Our workshop, “Footwear Futures” was held at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Ontario. For more, see the Bata Shoe Museum.