Conversational Panel, Hauntings in the Digital Sphere: Curating Collection Portals

Aarati Akkapeddi, Brandie MacDonald, Chao Tayiana Maina
Moderators: Danuta Sierhuis and Jennifer Nicoll

As Agnes undertakes a major digitization project to digitize close to 60% of the 17,000 objects in our collection, our staff are collectively thinking about the ways in which collections and their metadata are curated and how they are publicly presented through digital means. How do the online platforms and the searchable interfaces within museums obscure and belie the complexity of the histories of cultural heritage objects and their associated metadata? How are these interfaces haunted by the digital manifestations of cultural collections and how do they restage histories of categorization, silence, erasure and colonialism? How do we reimagine how we record and structure data about cultural collections that is more respectful and reflects multiplicity? These interfaces are only as good as the data that feeds them, so how can we reimagine curating community-driven and decolonial digital practices that informs the design for reimagined portals for online collections in museums?

Part of An Institute for Curatorial Inquiry
In-Person, 14–19 August 2022

Related Workshop

This panel was also extended by a workshop, Manifesting Reimagined Collection Portals facilitated by Danuta Sierhuis and Jennifer Nicoll.

Participants engage with each other through activities and brainstorm how to reimagine new online portals/interfaces for museum collections and what needs to happen to make them a reality. Using design thinking questions and a Mural whiteboard, the resulting discussions are documented and turned into a living manifesto for new futures for the digital presence of online collections that is shared publicly. The workshop also informs Agnes’s ongoing digitization projects and upcoming plans for My AGNES, a community-centric platform and online collections portal.

Workshop documentation:

Image Credits

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