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An examination of the development process of hands-on educational exhibitions for children

Cave, Victoria Louise; (1999) An examination of the development process of hands-on educational exhibitions for children. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Educational exhibition projects are very complex. During their development a verbal, two-dimensional communication is transformed into a three-dimensional communication. It is extremely difficult to protect the integrity of the original intended educational messages. Perhaps the most difficult messages to protect are those embodied in hands-on exhibits. There are few research studies of the exhibition development process and existing ones tend to be reflective accounts of past experiences. This research project was designed to reveal the nature of the exhibition development process as it happens and to explore how, when and why communications can go off-course during exhibition development. The aim of the study is to describe the educational exhibition development process more fully so that practitioners can take steps to protect the integrity of their intended communications during all stages of exhibition development. The researcher studied the process of exhibition development at four different organisations. The data was collected through participant observation and analysed using grounded theory methodology. The researcher identified three common patterns of fundamental functional behaviours across the stories: 1. Keeping on Track behaviours: how a team co-ordinates their activities in order to keep to a schedule. 2. Focus Issues: how a team focuses on their intended communication outcome. 3. Flexibility Opportunities: how a team copes with unforeseen situations. A further, deeper level of analysis considered how the three fundamental functional behaviours interacted to have an impact on the educational exhibition projects. It was found that the dimensions of exhibition development were likely to be impinged on by three constraints: 1. Process: How the process of exhibition development unwinds. 2. Team Functioning: How the team functions. 3. Resources: How resources, such as money, staff time, offices and workshops, are used. The development of educational exhibitions is driven by the fundamental functional behaviours of Keeping on Track, Focus Issues and Flexibility Opportunities. Throughout the development process these fundamental functional behaviours patterns are impacted upon in a dynamic manner by the three major constraints. This study provides a fuller description than previously the nature of the educational exhibition development process, thus enabling exhibition developers to manage such projects more effectively than previously. This can help to ensure and safeguard the educational impact of their exhibitions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: An examination of the development process of hands-on educational exhibitions for children
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Communication and the arts; Children's exhibitions
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10120821
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