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Analyses of Social Interaction in Museums and Galleries. Video-based studies that derive innovative findings regarding the international organisation of the museum visit

We have undertaken a series of video-based studies of visitor behaviour in a number of museums and galleries across Europe. They concern the ways in which visitors in interaction with others approach, encounter, explore, animate and appreciate various types of exhibits from paintings to interactive installations.

They contrast with many existing studies of visitor behaviour in that they concern the detailed exploration of what happens at the exhibit-face. In addition they take seriously the real-time embodied conduct of visitors.

They would be of interest to scholars concerned with social interaction (including sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, linguists and other), as well as museum managers, curators, exhibit and exhibition designers and technology developers interested in designing for museums, galleries and public spaces more generally.

The studies have been presented at numerous conferences and workshops around Europe. In addition, they are available in published form in the following journal articles and conference proceedings:

Heath, C. and D. vom Lehn (in press, 2004) Configuring Reception. Theory, Culture and Society.

Heath, C. and D. vom Lehn (in press, 2004) Interaction and Interactives. Public Understanding of Science.

Hindmarsh, J., Heath, C., vom Lehn, D. and J. Cleverly (in press, 2004) Creating Assemblies in Public Environments: Social interaction, interactive exhibits and CSCW. Journal of Computer Supported Cooperative Work.

vom Lehn, D. and C. Heath (2003) Displacing the Object: Mobile technologies and interpretive resources. In the Proceedings of Cultural Institutions and Digital Technology (ICHIM 03). Paris.

vom Lehn, D., Heath, C. and J. Hindmarsh (2003) La découverte interactive des objets de musée. Alliage; Culture-Science-Technique, 50-51, pp. 165-177.

Heath, C., Luff, P., vom Lehn, D., Hindmarsh, J. and J. Cleverly (2002) Crafting Participation: Designing ecologies, configuring experience. Visual Communication, 1, 1, pp. 9-34.

vom Lehn, D., Heath, C. and J. Hindmarsh (2002) Video-based field studies in museums and galleries. Visitor Studies Today!, 5, 3, pp. 15-23.

Heath, C. C. & D.vom Lehn (2002) Misconstruing Interaction. In Hinton, M. (ed.) Interactive Learning in Museums of Art and Design London: Victoria and Albert Museum.

They are also avialble in SHAPE deliverables: see

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King's College London
The Management Centre, King's College London
SE1 9NN London
United Kingdom