Theorising place and potential transgression in the museum space

Currently preparing for another seminar towards the end of the month which I’m looking forward to, which will hopefully be a more practical session on measuring impact of transmedia narratives within a space using play.

Looking up Indigenous/diasporic researchers of place and found this article, ‘Place in the African American Intellectual Tradition‘ (with some exciting references!) which had an interesting bit:

We begin with the Columbian Exposition and the extraordinary range of figures who converged in the “White City,” and then move to the Great Migration, drawing on work by Davarian Baldwin, Wallace Best, Marcia Chatelain, and Jacqueline Stewart to make sense of the ways in which the African American community was formed in Bronzeville. Moving to the postwar era, students read excerpts of Horace Cayton and St. Clair Drake’s Black Metropolis (1945) to reconstruct class divisions and color lines, before turning to the ways in which urban renewal policies and public housing transformed the South Side. By the time the students come to Harold Washington’s mayoral tenure in the 1980s, they have become well acquainted with the geography of the South Side, its main thoroughfares and borders, as well as the many ethical and empirical challenges that emerge when attempting to create a narrative about African American communities.

Celeste Day Moore

that not only brought Du Bois’ data visualisations to mind but instantly made me re-frame him as a scholar of place, making me wonder about the connection between the ‘double consciousness’ and performativities of oft-excluded/forgotten audiences to museums/galleries, performances which the museologist Helen Leahy,

 historicises… describing it as knowing how to look while also knowing that looking in a museum incorporates ‘knowing how and where to stand, where and how fast to walk, what to say and what not to say, and what not to touch’.

Adrian R Bailey, Liminal spaces and the shaping of family museum visits: a spatial ethnography of a major international art museum


…also remind[ing] us that different museums and artworks have produced different normative behaviours, different audience performances, and have occasionally generated audience transgression and resistance.

Adrian R Bailey, Liminal spaces and the shaping of family museum visits: a spatial ethnography of a major international art museum

Not really sure where I’m going with this, although there’s possibly a connection with constructivist theories of meaning making by museum audiences and the potential of encouraging mutual/shared transgression of [expectations of] the space and narratives by providing the ingredients by which visitors from marginalised groups can create their meaning, instead of specific content/experiences.