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11.00  To and from Youth: Co-producing a Learning Program on Digital Democracy with Youths

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9:00, Dimanche 5 Juin 2016 (30 minutes)

This paper will present the project “To and from Youth” at the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology, which allowed a group of eight youths to co-design a reflexive learning program for pupils aged between fifteen and eighteen. The design activities were related to the highly awarded exhibition “Things and Democracy” and aimed at extending reflections on how internet technologies, with their weaknesses and strengths, introduce issues of democracy into young people’s everyday lives. The co-design process lasted eight months, focusing on how usage of iPads might afford various dialogic learning activities. In digital production they facilitate collaborations in sound, picture, and text, the making of something that is permanent, as well as tools for self-directed interpretation of the museum exhibition. Using digital intervention techniques based on co-design principles involving young people was the approach chosen by the museum to explore how the dialogic museum may include new practices of museum design. 

This project is aligned with the new collaborative paradigm challenging museums’ curatorial voice, with a special attention to the role of digital media for supporting actions rather than broadcasting facts, and for success measured by repeated actions rather than the number of visits. The project was based on principles of democratizing museum processes and envisioning the multiple forms of dialogic museums. The numerous current collaborative methodological approaches in museums, where audience groups are included in exhibition design processes, form a background for this project to explore collaborative approaches supporting development of museums’ digital communication services beyond exhibition design and into designing new learning activities. 

The project conducts collaborative research methods and principles of collaborative formations, with special attention toward the inclusion of perspectives on potential futures for co-design and participatory design. It is based on exploring how dialogic-based museum pedagogy might include digital media, and specifically how a learning activity based on digital production may enhance young people’s reflections on how issues exhibited in a museum matter for their own lives. 

The dialogue-based pedagogic approach for the media design is founded on Bakthin’s notion of dialogues as mutually constituted, into a pedagogical and didactic framework emphasizing communication, multi-voicedness and encounters with multiple viewpoints as core values. The digital intervention in question aims at designing digital-based activities that enhance young people’s co-composition, and to explore how young people might use mobile devices, in this case iPads, to produce digital utterances as a dialogic reflection to museum exhibitions.

Torhild Skåtun


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