Objects and Meaning Making
Point of departure and conference theme
In the past decades, the authority of the meaning making that takes place in museums has gradually shifted from the objects and the curator to the visitors. This shift is reflected in concrete cases of exhibition development, where the involvement of users has become a central concern in the elaboration of new exhibition formats. In museum research, a movement away from the object, towards the users, has paralleled this shift. This has been expressed, among other things, in the emergence of more focused user analyses and ethnographies as well as critical deconstructions of the dominant narratives presented by exhibitions.
Taken together, these developments have caused the question of the role of the object in meaning making to be raised again, both with respect to museum dissemination practices (cf. Dudley 2009, 2012; Bjerregaard 2014), mediated learning in informal learning environments (Jakobsson & Davidsson 2012; Rowe & Bachmann 2012) and the cultural education role played by the museums and the disciplines disseminated in them (Shanks 2012). This conference focuses on the status of the object in relation to museum meaning making by involving both semiotic and material perspectives.