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The Hidden Constellation: exploring “legacy” digital labour at Science Museum Group

Thursday 6 October 2022, 6.00PM to 7.15pm

Speaker(s): Dr Sophie Frost (Leicester University/One by One)

This research uncovered a parallel constellation of museum work – a pattern of digital labour no less complex, overlapping, or hierarchical than other, more familiar kinds of labour that have long taken place in museums. The research culminated in the creation of The Hidden Constellation, a six-part podcast series exploring the new, hidden, distributed, legacy and collective forms of digital labour now influencing, reinforcing, and disrupting the power, knowledge, and expertise of our museums.
In this seminar, Sophie will focus specifically on the ‘legacy’ digital labour of Science Museum Group, reflecting on how ‘legacy’ computing systems – both processes and procedures and software and hardware – have affected the ways the Group functions in the present, and the kind of museum philosophy that has evolved as a result. While some of this legacy is time-consuming and problematic, much of it has paved the way for the sophisticated digital labour practices that can now be found across the institution. Sophie will consider how computing legacies have impacted everything from collections management protocol, curatorial practice, the design of museum interactives, to thornier issues such as cyber security, data protection and the complex world of digital preservation.

This research was part of the ‘One by One’ research initiative led by the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

About the Speaker:

Sophie is a Research Fellow in the School of Museum Studies at University of Leicester. As part of the 'One by One' research initiative she has presented and produced three podcasts exploring the role and impact of technology on cultural work - The Hidden Constellation (forthcoming Sept 2022), People. Change. Museums. (2020-21) and Voices of the Royal Pavilion & Museums (2020). Sophie has written on digital courage, emotional labour, and creative agency in the use of technology in cultural organisations. She is an Associate for Culture24, supporting digital leadership programmes for arts and heritage organisations internationally. In 2018, she was AHRC Creative Economy Fellow for CAMEo at the University of Leicester, where she researched the digital impact of Phoenix Arts Centre leading to the publication of A Digital Roadmap for the Arts (2019). Sophie has lectured on arts management, creative and media industries, digital culture and arts education for De Montfort University, King’s College London and Goldsmiths’ College. She has worked in managerial and consultancy roles for arts organisations including Southbank Centre, British Film Institute and Freelands Foundation.

Location: tbc

Admission: Free