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Games design as a curatorial intervention: Rethinking museum representation, meaning-making and agency with games design

Symeonidi, Angeliki- Zinovia; (2020) Games design as a curatorial intervention: Rethinking museum representation, meaning-making and agency with games design. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis contributes to the academic fields of Museum Studies and Game Studies by rethinking the application of games, play and design in museums. I propose and document the applicability of games design with museum visitors as a creative and visual methodology. Building upon established Museum Studies, games, play and design theories, power and agency theories and Multimodal Social Semiotics, I conceptualise games design as an active curatorial intervention in representation, meaning-making and agency. Drawing on data collected during two case studies, I examine and describe step by step how families with young people design games inspired by museums and their collections. As part of the research process, two workshops were designed and implemented in two different museums in the UK. Bringing together theories from the fields of Museum Studies, Game Studies, Platform Studies and Museum Distributed Network theories and Multimodal Social Semiotics, I read visitors’ games as curatorial platforms that challenge, add and transform the context within which they are situated, designed and played. This thesis maps out and highlights the potential of games design as a creative and visual methodology. It provides new and important insights into the much-debated question of museum representation, the notion and ethics of the playful and participatory museum and the role that games as media can play in the relation between museums and their communities. Its findings show that games design with visitors offers museum practice and academia the methodology to rethink issues of curation, representation, meaning-making and agency. Games design with visitors as a curatorial intervention allows museums to recognise and empower the production of alternative classifications that add new layers of playful representations and meanings to the authentic museum curation. In this way, new paths of encountering and experiencing the tangible and intangible heritage and natural history are created allowing visitors to play and experiment with meaning and representation in the museum setting. These findings make a significant contribution to the literature of Game Studies. By proposing and applying games design as a participatory curatorial intervention in museums, this thesis introduces and documents the value of games as media beyond their current entertainment and educational application. In this way, the findings in this study extend the understanding of how game studies and games culture contribute to other academic fields and practices.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Games design as a curatorial intervention: Rethinking museum representation, meaning-making and agency with games design
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: Museum Studies, Game Studies, Museums, Games, Museum games, Game design, Museum visitors, Multimodality, Meaning-making, Representation, Agency, Action Research, Participatory design, Museum pedagogy, Museum digital learning
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/10102982
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