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Museum encounters: A choreography of visitors’ bodies in interaction

Diamantopoulou, S; Christidou, D; (2019) Museum encounters: A choreography of visitors’ bodies in interaction. Museum Management and Curatorship , 34 (4) pp. 344-361. 10.1080/09647775.2019.1585279. Green open access

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Abstract

By viewing the museum experience as inextricably linked to an interactive nexus of bodies and objects arranged in the museum space, this paper foregrounds the significance of movement in the shaping of museum encounters. Informed by the fields of dance, symbolic interactionism and multimodal social semiotics, it introduces a conceptualisation of visitors’ movement as choreography unfolding either in compliance with the museum ‘script’ (scripted choreographies), or in response to prompts from other visitors sharing the same space (improvised choreographies). Attending to visitors’ positioning and alignment as key resources of movement, the analysis of video data from two London galleries illustrates how visitors oscillate between performing ‘scripted choreographies’ and ‘improvised choreographies’ through shifts in positioning and alignment, while being spectators of other visitors’ choreographies. Both kinds of choreographies are continuously shaped in interaction with the ‘scripted’ museum stage and other visitors’ ‘scripted’ and ‘improvised choreographies’.

Type: Article
Title: Museum encounters: A choreography of visitors’ bodies in interaction
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/09647775.2019.1585279
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/09647775.2019.1585279
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: museum, visitors, embodiment, choreography, space, movement, multimodality
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10068664
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