Sensory Objects Research Presented at the Inclusive Museum Conference

Kate and Nic gave a hands on presentation of the Sensory Objects project to the Inclusive Museums Conference at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles. We sent a big box containing Sensory Objects developed by our Co-researchers from Reading College at MERL and also the Access to Heritage Group in Liverpool. We showed slides and videos of our current group from the Tower Project at the British Museum to explain our project conference attendees. We met people from all over the world who were interested in our project. The pictures below show some of them trying out the objects you can see Phillip and Johns scrapbooks of Sudley House Liverpool, Sians mooing boot and Rachel’s Pink grunting Pig and Nic explaining our ideas of using Squishy Circuits, littleBits and our research with littleBits go LARGE.

Inclusive Museums Presentation Sensory Objects

Inclusive Museums Presentation Sensory Objects

Sensory Objects Presenation Nic at InMusCon

Sensory Objects Presenation Nic at the Inclusive Museum Conference

During the conference there were many talks and discussions often all happening at once. One of the most inspiring talks, I thought, was by Nina Simon, she wrote a book that helped give shape to our sensory objects project The Participatory Museum. Below are some images she used during her talk about Santa Cruz Museum where she is working at now. Her talk showed her ideas and experiences of making the museum a place where everyone can feel welcome and take part. She mentioned Pop Up Museums and also the idea of the museum acting as a place for people to have conversations, bringing unlikely people together, she described it as ‘bridging’ the two people bottom left of the picture are a lady who knits and a graffiti artist who meet during a workshop at the museum and really got on.

Presentation Nina Simon

Presentation Nina Simon

During the talk Nina mentioned some of the problems of making the museum more participatory, that some people in the community accuse her of dumbing down the museum, she illustrated the problem by showing this cartoon below. You can’t please everyone, in the cartoon a character called MAH that Nina said represented her is telling Michelangelo that his painting of the Sistine Chapel is “a bit passive and that he must engage the visitor, leave room for the visitors to colour in your work with crayons or paint ball! you know…. dumb down your work!” Nina mentioned that by widening the audience to the museum you will also alienate people who enjoyed it as it was, but attendance and participation in the Santa Cruz Museum continues to rise and generate income because of her ideas of inclusion.

Nina Simon Cartoon

Nina Simon Cartoon

The video below shows Nina giving a talk which has similar content to the presentation at the Inclusive Museums Conference.

Tower Project at The British Museum Session Four 30.07.14

During this session the group discussed objects they had seen at the British Museum in the Enlightenment Gallery. Below is the programme for the day.

Tower Project Programme Session 4

Tower Project Programme Session 4

Carly one of two PhD students contributing to the Sensory Objects Project led a session to reflect on the objects chosen from the Enlightenment Gallery. The picture below is an example of one of our Co-researchers Justin choosing his object in the Enlightenment Gallery, a silver replica of the Warwick Vase, he chose the vase because it reminded him of a football trophy, when asked to describe why he chose it he held the Warwick Vase above his head.

Justin and the Warwick Vase

Justin and the Warwick Vase

One by one our co-researchers presented their chosen objects to the rest of the group  and shared their thoughts on this object (why they liked it, what they imagined it would feel/smell like etc)….Our visitors from Austria shared their chosen objects they also presented some drawings and thoughts about the objects, this was their final session with the group.

Austrian visitors Present Ideas

Austrian visitors Present Ideas

Then Carly asked our co-researchers to imagine they had a piece of clay in their hands and ask them to sculpt their object out of this imaginary clay.

Carly demos invisible Clay

Carly demos invisible Clay

Some of the  group said how much they disliked real clay because it was too messy, but imaginary clay was nice and clean.

Working with imaginary clay

Working with imaginary clay

The group were really good at remembering and imagining what size the object they had chosen was, what shape it was, if it was smooth/rough etc…

Passing invisible clay object

Passing invisible clay object

When their object was complete Carly asked us to imagine our object had become really heavy, and we had to hand it to the next person, then we imagined it being really light.

Making objects with imaginary clay

Making objects with imaginary clay

After lunch the group were asked to upload their pictures on to our wiki webpage and add thoughts about the objects they have chosen from the Enlightenment Gallery. Our Co-researchers were going to carry out some independent research during August using our Sensory Expedition book. We had a vote to decide which museum our group would visit, the group chose the Transport Museum and our co-researchers would add information about the visit to the Wiki ready for discussion on our next session on Sept 3rd.

Tower Project at The British Museum Session THREE 23.07.14

Tower Project Sensory Object co-researchers visit The British Museum focussing on the the Enlightenment Gallery, we were joined by visitors to the Rix Centre from Austria.

TowerProject at British Museum

TowerProject at The British Museum

Below is our programme plan for the day.

Tower Project session 3 British Museum

Tower Project session 3 The British Museum

Sam began our day with showing me a drawing she had made about the Sensory Objects project.

Samantha and her Sensory Project Pic

Samantha and her Sensory Project Pic

We were welcomed to the museum by their Access and Equality manager Jane Samuels.

Jane welcomes Group

Jane welcomes Group

Jane gave us an image of Sir Hans Sloane and asked our group to see if they could spot the painting as they entered Room 2.

Jane said that when we found the painting we would find Hilary Williams who would give us a talk about Sir Hans Sloane, his collection and the Enlightenment Gallery see picture below.

Group Listening to Hilary

Group Listening to Hilary

Hilary asked our co-researchers how old is the Earth? See picture below.

Based on the Bible people used to think it was 400 years old but when people discovered fossils they realised it was millions of years old.

Hilary asks how old is the earth

Hilary asks how old is the earth

Hilary explained that the Enlightenment Gallery contained collections of natural things like shells, animals, mineral rocks and fossils and things made by humans such as tools and artworks.

After lunch our co-researchers were asked to choose an object in the Enlightenment Gallery that they liked and would like more information about. We asked them to consider what sensory information their object had and if they would like more. How would if feel if you could touch it? smell if you could sniff it etc Below are some of their choices, Justin chose a replica of silver cup.

Justin with Cup

Justin with Cup

Adalana the replica of the Pitt Diamond.

Adalana and diamond

Adalana and diamond

Close up of replica Pitt Diamond that Adalana chose.

Adelanas diamond

Adelanas diamond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emen chose a carved foot in a sandel.

Emen draws sandle

Emen draws sandle

Sandle carvedKaty chose a snake, rat and mongoose.

Katy Snake Rat

Katy Snake Rat

Tim chose a miniature Egyptian mummy sarcophagus.

Tims objects collected

Tims objects collected

Ryan chose Chinese Plates.

Ryans choice

Ryans choice

Julie chose a stuffed heron which she made some notes about.

Julie draws a heron

Julie draws a heron

Sam and Noelle talk about shell collection and how it reminded her of her mum who lived by the sea.

Sam and Noelle

Sam and Noelle

Michael chose a big bowl

Michael and his bowl

Michael and his bowl

Judith chose objects from Africa

Judiths notes

Judiths notes

Judith's choice

Judith’s choice

Some of the group tried out the British Museum handling table, they enjoyed using the magnifying glass to view the objects.

Sam tries handling collection

Sam tries the handling table

Katy at handling table holding a flint.

Katy at Handling table

Katy at Handling table

Our co-researchers collected thoughts and stories about the chosen object (see pictures below), ready to talk about their chosen object when we meet at the Rix Centre next week.

Adelana draws

Adelana draws

Tim with his notes

Tim with notes

Tim with notes

 

Tower Project London Session TWO 16.07.14

In our second session with our Co-researchers from the Tower Project we asked them to bring in an object that was special for them and they would be able to talk about why they brought it. Below is the easy read outline plan of the day.

 Week 2 Tower Project Session

Week 2 Tower Project Session

The theme of the day was to create a Pop Up Museum form objects everyone had been asked to bring in. Everyone had brought something they could talk about we made a video of each person with their object.

We wanted to think about objects people own that are special for them and how they transform when they become part of a museum collection.

Co-researchers with objects

Co-researchers with objects Emem photographs them

First we described the object we had brought in, what it meant to each person, and where we kept it, what it made us think of when we saw it. The picture below shows Justin with his trophy for Disco Dancing he won it when he was 3 years old. Next Katy with her musical globe of the Lion King bought for her by her sister who had seen the stage play and Marc a visitor from Austria who is with us for 3 weeks on a study placement he had bought some wafer biscuits that are typically Austrian as a gift for everyone at the Rix Centre.

Talking about the objects

Talking about the objects

Once we had videoed everyone talking about their object we took instant photos of the objects and created a label with images and some text. The picture below shows all the Co-researchers with the labels they had made.

Everyone at the Pop up Museum

Everyone at the Pop up Museum

Next we decided to make categories for our Pop Up Museum, we chose 7 which is the same number they have in the Enlightenment Museum. Our section names for the Pop Up Museum were 1 Toys and Games, 2 Food and Drink, 3 Family Histories, 4 Places, 5 Awards, 6 Events and 7 Curios. The image below shows the group at work displaying their objects in different sections, Noelle helps Michael display his football.

Pop Up Museum Foot ball

Noelle helps organise the Pop Up Museum Michael’s  Football is displayed

 

Popup museum in the making

Popup museum in the making

Exhibits in the Pop Up Museum, we had some glass display cases which we tried out each object inside some were too big, so we used the base. Putting the objects under glass made changed the object. The images below show exhibits in our museum in the first picture you can see Adalana she chose to display her white cane, Kell showed her Grandmothers wedding ring and Julie a Champagne glass she was given on her 30th birthday.

Adalana, Kelly and Julie pop up exhibits

Adalana, Kelly and Julie pop up exhibits

The picture below shows items brought in by Tower Project support workers Debbie displayed old money, Minos a mosaic that reminded him of Greece and Farhat (sorry need to find out how to spell name) a watch that he was given for his 25th birthday the 3rd of his collection.

Support workers Pop up Exhibits

Support workers Pop up Exhibits

The picture below shows Samatha’s journal where she writes about all the work she does, next is Tim’s soldier at the Trooping of the Colour he has a big collection of them he spoke how putting the figure under the glass dome changed its scale and finally Emen’s medal he won for running, he has lots of medals for sport.

Popup museum Sam Tim and Emem

Popup museum Sam Tim and Emem

Below shows Ryans bus he used to travel on a Route Master, Adjoa’s teddy given to her by a friend at the airport, a collection of all our wrist watches from some of the group and the Austrian food, chocolate, biscuits and pumpkin oil.

The Tower Project Pop Up Museum

The Tower Project Pop Up Museum

We photographed the Pop Up Museum see pictures below

We took lots of photos

We took lots of photos

Austrian food and drink exhibits with sensory information on the labels

Austrian treats exhibit Pop up museum

Austrian treats exhibit Pop up museum

It was a really interesting day, hearing about everyones object and then seeing them displayed. We talked a bit about how our museum might have connections to the Enlightenment Gallery at the British Museum we are visiting next. See a picture of our discussion below we remembered Andy’s talk about Museums and Collections last week, where the fork came from, what is was used for originally, who bought it and how it ended up as an exhibit. We asked our co-researchers what was our research question was? They said how to make museums more accessible. We will explore adding sensory information to tell stories about objects from our Co-researchers perspective. Our group suggested using video, touch sounds, braille to help make museums more enjoyable to visit.

Kates cartoons of  session

Tower Project London Session ONE 09.07.14

We held an introductory session with our new Co-Researchers from the Tower Project London at the Rix Centre who will be researching sensory objects for the British Museum. The picture below shows the easy read plan for the day.

Tower Project Session ONE

Tower Project Session ONE

It was great to meet every one from the Tower Group see the picture below

Tower Group during first session

Tower Group during first session

Andy used cartoons to help us think about objects, collecting and displaying the objects in museums see picture below

Collecting Objects FORK

Collecting Objects FORK

Universities Museum Group Digital Showcase Bristol

UMG PIC

UMG PIC

Nic and Faustina took some of our Sensory Objects to display at Digital Dimensions: the University Museums Group Digital Technology Showcase in Bristol. We were given the “dressing room” of the Warwick Theatre to display everything.

UMG SHOW

UMG SHOW

We put Rumena’s chicken in the hallway so that as people walked past it activated the sensor and drew people into the room. We learned afterward that they were having a meeting in main theatre down the hall and they could hear the chicken and an occasional pig and cow throughout meeting, but they said they didn’t mind, it livened up the meeting. The showcase gave us a great opportunity to share our research with others from museums. One delegate tweeted about Rumena’s Chicken see picture below.

Chicken Twitter Comments

Chicken Twitter Comments

Sensory Objects paper published

Sensory Objects Project has had a paper published in the SIGACCESS Newsletter. DOWNLOAD SENSORY OBJECTS PAPER PDF HERE

SIG ACCESS PAGE

SIG ACCESS PAGE

SIGACCESS promotes the professional interests of computing personnel with disabilities and the application of computing and information technology in solving relevant disability problems. It also strives to educate the public to support careers for people with disabilities. The newsletter is read by many people including those interested in the design, development, evaluation, and scientific investigations of technologies to support individuals with disabilities. This includes:

  • Researchers
  • Clinicians and teachers charged with assessing disabilities
  • Rehabilitation personnel who administer assistive technologies
  • Policy makers concerned with equitable access to information technologies for people with disabilities

Sensory Objects In Progress Seminar June 10th

Our seminar was excellent and we want to say a big Thank You! to all who took part you were brilliant. Below shows the events of the day in our easy read programme

Seminar Easy Read Doc

Seminar Easy Read Doc

Miranda Fox from Reading Mencap Coffee Club began the day with an intro to the project with Kate

Miranda from Reading Mencap

Miranda from Reading Mencap

Phil Lucas Head of Reading College LLD/D Dept was also kind enough to say a few words, he mentioned that our project predicted the future, learning ‘through project’ which he felt was very successful and something that Reading College would be doing more of in the future. He was very proud of what the students had achieved and that it had benefited both students and staff.The picture below shows Rachel demonstrating her pig to Phil and Skye using an iPad to show her Wiki

Rachel with Phil Lucas in background

Rachel with Phil Lucas in background

Our Co-researchers demonstrated their sensory objects to the seminar, the picture below shows Gosia helping one of our visitors experience Rachel’s Pig.

Trying Rachel's Pink Pig

Trying Rachel’s Pink Pig

Trying Rachel's Pink Pig close up

Trying Rachel’s Pink Pig close up

 

Sheep cushion

Sheep cushion that goes baa when you stoke it

Sian show Tina from the Art Dept her Wiki

Sian shows Tina from the University of Reading Art Dept her Wiki

 

Andy smiles while photos

Andy smiles while photos

Kate Arnold-Forster Director of MERL talked about the impact of the project on MERL that it had given them ideas for interactive exhibits in the redesign of MERL and also for workshops that have a more open ended creative approach.

The picture in the slide below shows the museum where Sensory Objects will work next at the British Museum from July 2015.

Kate ArnoldForster Director of MERL

Kate ArnoldForster Director of MERL

Special thanks go to our Co-researcher group who came up for the two days from Liverpool. John Taylor and Phillip Ryan from Liverpool Mencap Access to Heritage Group

John & Philip present their research using the Sensory Objects Cookbook

John & Philip present their research using the Sensory Objects Cookbook

John shows Nicola andPhilip shows Gosia sensory Scrap book

John shows Nicola andPhilip shows Gosia sensory Scrap book

John and Philip gave a vivid report of their experiences using our Sensory Activities Cookbook, by demonstrating through slides, fat scrap books and boxes of textures, and their reflections and thoughts of their sensory experiences visiting Sudley House in Liverpool.

Philbox

Gosia and Andy presented ideas about using multi media as away for our co-researchers to reflect.

Gosia & Andy presentation

Gosia & Andy presentation

Andy taking

Andy talking about multimedia advocacy

Nic presented littleBits go LARGE and other workshop tools developed by the project to make technology more accessible or is that make accessible technology?

Nic and littleBits

Nic and littleBits

Trying littleBits

Trying littleBits

Having a go with littleBits

Having a go with littleBits

Nicola Grove gave a talk about the meanings of objects and led a discussion.

Nicola during her talk

Nicola during her talk

Nicola asked for a volunteer to help her discuss what objects mean to different people, she asked John close his eyes and tell us what object he was holding. John gave a great description of the cold feel of a metal key. Nicola asked the audience what a key meant to them, some people said home, but Nicola mentioned that for those of us who don’t have our own key to where we live it would have a different meaning.

Nicola Gives John a Key

Nicola Gives John a Key

Qian Chen our students lecturer finished the day by leading an impromptu sing along of Old Mac Donald! by that time our numbers had swelled to around 80 people as many students arrived from Reading College.

Award Ceremony at the Natural History Museum London 11.06.14

We were invited to the National co-ordinating centre for public engagement (NCCPE) Engage Competition award ceremony at the Natural History Museum London.

Awards Crowd

Awards Crowd

Only three people per project were allowed to go, otherwise we would have invited more of our research group to come along! The picture below shows Nic, Kate and Ajay by a banner showing our co-researchers in Liverpool.

At Award Ceremony

At Award Ceremony

At the ceremony we watched videos from all the finalists projects in the final including Sensory Objects. You can watch the videos here

Sensory Objects were runners up in the Art Design and Culture Award. We were really pleased to be included amongst such great projects. The picture below shows our page in the finalist booklet and a crystal paper weight awarded to all finalists.

Sensory Objects Runnerup Page

Sensory Objects Runnerup Page

After the ceremony we were given afternoon tea see picture below, which we enjoyed very much!

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea

After the ceremony we were invited to take part in Universities Week Late at the Natural History Museum part of Universities Week, an action-packed evening to explore how research impacts everyday lives. We took part in the Researchers Cafe we had a menu of questions about our research that the public could talk to us about.

These were our questions: How important is it to be able to experience more than our sense of sight in museums?  Which senses trigger your emotions most? How do multisensory experiences improve museum experiences?

We made sure we took some props including Sians Moot and littleBits go LARGE to help our discussion. The picture below shows Nic and Ajay ready at the table.

Nic and Ajay ready to discuss at the Researchers Cafe

Nic and Ajay ready to discuss at the Researchers Cafe

Buckets, Baskets and Boots

On Monday June 9th we held our event Buckets, Baskets and Boots at MERL, it was very successful everyone enjoyed the chance to meet our co-researchers find out what they had been researching and try their sensory objects.

Sensory Object Researchers at MERL event

Sensory Object Researchers at MERL event

The picture below shows Rachel and Sian helping to demonstrate Guillermo’s bucket, it made different farm animal sounds when you dipped your hand in and out some people loved it some found it too LOUD.

Demo of Guillermo's Bucket

Demo of Guillermo’s Bucket

The picture below shows Rachel demonstrating her pig it grunts when you squeeze its nose and ears.

RachelsmilesPinkpigtwo

It was a lovely sunny day at MERL some visitors took the sensory objects outside to try the picture below shows a visitor from Reading College pressing the tractor on Skye’s bucket which played the sound of co-researchers singing Old MacDonald.

Pressing Tractor on Skyes Bucket

Pressing Tractor on Skyes Bucket

Rachel McGowan wasn’t able to come to the Monday event but many people enjoyed her jiggling pig.

Sunglasses and Yellow pig

Sunglasses and Rachel’s Yellow pig

John, Philip, Ticky, June and Gerry came from Liverpool Mencap Access to Heritage Group for the event and tried all the objects, the yellow pig see pic below made John laugh!

John with Rachel's yellow pig

John with Rachel’s yellow pig

The picture below shows Ticky and Philip tryout Lukes bucket, when you drop an egg down the hole it Luke’s voice is triggered saying things like “Hole in One”, “Wheeeeee!” and “Quack”

Ticky and Philip try Luke's Bucket

Ticky and Philip try Luke’s Bucket

Our co-researchers used their Wiki webpages to tell people about their research.

Co-researchers Wikis on smart board

Co-researchers Wikis on smart board

Skye with iPad showing her Wiki

Skye with iPad showing her Wiki

Our co-researchers Rachel and Rumena made smoothies with Robyn that were delicious and made the place smell good too. The pictures below show Robyn and Rachel and Rachel making a smoothie for Gosia.

Robyn and Rachel RachelgiveGosiasmoothie

Our co-researchers and summer students Mia and Kassie helped everyone tryout littleBits

 LITTLEBITS

LITTLEBITS

Sound boxes were demonstrated by our Co-researchers

Soundboxes

and also discover our Wellie boot herb garden.Rachel with herboot

The day was well attended including many from Reading College, Mencap Reading and Liverpool Access to Heritage Group.

Viewing sensoryobjects

Finally the picture below shows a tweet comment about the event!

Twitter comment about event at MERL

Twitter comment about event at MERL