The work of the audience: visual matrix methodology in museums

Froggett, Lynn orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8406-6231, Muller, Lizzie and Bennett, Jill (2023) The work of the audience: visual matrix methodology in museums. In: Audience Data and Research. Routledge, London, pp. 82-96. ISBN 9781032632452

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Visual matrix methodology has been designed for researching cultural imaginaries. It is an image-led, group-based method that creates a 'third space' research setting to observe audience groups re-enacting lived experience of an event or process that takes place in the third space of a cultural setting. In this article, the method is described through its use in relation to an art-science exhibition, Human+ Future of the species, where three audience groups with investments in technology worked with exhibition material to achieve a complex ambivalent state of mind regarding technological futures. The visual matrix has been designed to capture the affective and aesthetic quality of audience engagement in third space by showing what audiences do with what is presented to them. We argue that such methodologies are useful for museums as they grapple with their role as sites where citizens not only engage in dialogue with one another but actively re-work their imaginaries of the future.

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