Complexities of collaborating

Understanding and managing differences in collaborative design of museum communication

Authored by: Line Vestergaard Knudsen , Anne Rørbæk Olesen

The Routledge Handbook of Museums, Media and Communication

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138676305
eBook ISBN: 9781315560168
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter deals with the concept of collaborative design and argues for the importance of a detailed analytical attention to the complexities of collaborating across different stakeholders when researching and managing the design of museum communication. Collaboration is a term often used in the literature on designing museum communication and there are numerous accounts of the potentials of collaboration in the museum context. Thus, collaboration is a necessary activity for developing communication that adheres to an increasingly complex media usage in today's museum world. However, the focus is often on overall perspectives and outcomes, rather than on how collaboration is actually practiced as a complex work process across various stakeholders. In this chapter, we give an overview of studies of potentials and challenges of collaborative design across dissimilar constellations of collaboration and we put emphasis on differences as a particularly important factor. Inspired by perspectives from Science and Technology Studies (STS), we give examples to show how various approaches to complexity can be used to investigate differences in collaborative design processes. Finally, we discuss how the advocated approach can introduce new directions to both research and management of collaborative design of museum communication.

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