Transforming communities through co-designing novel experience of heritage at a local museum

Transforming communities through co-designing novel experiences of heritage at a local museum – a participatory case of research through design

Caroline Claisse, Sheffield Hallam University

Caroline will present current research from her practice-led PhD on the design and evaluation of two interactive exhibitions at the Bishops’ House museum; one of the few surviving Tudor buildings in Sheffield, now managed by a community of volunteers who constantly needs to increase interests and awareness of the place for its survival. She will unpack her design process to show how co-designing empowered the museum volunteers; pushing them beyond day-to-day management toward more creative and curatorial roles. Findings from the two interactive exhibitions will be presented to show how the work succeeded in engaging visitors in new ways with the house – through the eyes of the volunteers, which encouraged more personal and multiple forms of engagement that proved to strengthen the resilience of the community.

Caroline is a designer and researcher specialising in developing exhibitions and interpretive works for museums. Previously, she graduated from the Royal College of Art (London) where she worked as a Visiting Lecturer and carried out research on digital technology, storytelling and creative thinking. Her MA work “The Exquisite Cabinet” was selected in 2015 by Design Council as “Ones to Watch Rethinking Reality”. Caroline is currently doing a practice-led PhD in the Art and Design Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University where she explores the potential of tangible interaction and embedded technologies to engage visitors in personal and multi-sensory ways with heritage. With her research, she investigates ways of bringing technologies to historical sites where she uses participatory and design-based methods to involve local communities in co-creating novel experiences of heritage.

T-Room, 1.09 Evolution House