Digital Storytelling with Museum Objects in the Smithsonian Learning Lab

Dr Antonia Liguori, Loughborough University, and Dr Philippa Rappoport, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, will facilitate a workshop at the RDM and Data Sharing/Openness in The Arts – Virtual Forum.

The conference is hosted by the University of Edinburgh’s Digital Curation Centre, a world-leading centre of expertise in digital information curation with a focus on building capacity, capability and skills for research data management.

This session will demonstrate a variety of techniques to incorporate personal experiences in the exploration and use of museum resources, and will share how the Smithsonian Learning Lab can be used to access digital resources, build learning experiences, and cultivate collaboration and community over distance.

After an introduction to the Smithsonian Learning Lab and previous experiences with Digital Storytelling within that environment, participants will be engaged in discussions around: 

  • how Digital Storytelling can supplement and inform ontologies and metadata to extract meanings from museums’ digital collections and therefore activate data to inform curatorial practice in museums;
  • how Digital Storytelling can enhance the educational values of museums’ objects and stimulate multiple contexts of understanding and co-creation;
  • how digital technology, applied not necessarily in museum spaces, can connect local communities to the museum, and in particular how Digital Storytelling could facilitate this discourse by engaging hard to reach audiences.

Workshop structure:

  • Icebreaking activity with museum objects (15 minutes)
  • Introduction to the Smithsonian Learning Lab (10 minutes)
  • Screening examples of Digital Stories (DS) and tagging exercise on padlet (15 minutes)
  • Our experience in applying DS in the Smithsonian Learning Lab (15 minutes)
  • Participant story-circle with museum objects (20 minutes)
  • Discussion (15 minutes)

Here is the companion Learning Lab Collection for the workshop:

Here is the padlet used for the icebreaker and the story circle:

Presenters bio:

Dr Antonia Liguori is a Lecturer in Applied Storytelling at Loughborough University, UK. Her academic background is in History and Computer Science. Since 2008, she has been involved in a variety of international research projects to develop tools and methods to foster innovation in education; to explore the role of storytelling in today’s digital world; to investigate and trial ways of using digital storytelling as a participatory methodology for interdisciplinary research. Over the past five years her research has been focusing on three main strands: applied storytelling on environmental issues; digital storytelling in (cultural/heritage) education; storytelling and urban design. More recently, after having joined HEART – Healing Education Animation Research Therapy, she has been exploring digital storytelling as therapeutic intervention.  Before moving to the UK, she was the coordinator of the Multimedia Department at BAICR Sistema Cultura, in Italy, a consortium of five cultural institutions with the aim of contributing to the enhancement of the historical and cultural heritage through the use of innovative methodologies, communicative approaches and the creation of digital environments. She is also a journalist and a SEO manager. 

Dr. Philippa Rappoport is the Manager of Community Engagement at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, and in this capacity produces a range of community digital education and professional development projects, locally and nationally. She works to create digital assets for educators, schools, families, and new immigrant English Language learners, including Smithsonian Learning Lab teaching collections, YouTube videos with curators, educators, and tradition bearers, a handmade family stories book-making website, and online heritage tours. She has a Ph.D. in Slavic Folklore and Linguistics, and has taught comparative Russian/American Folklore, Russian, French, and English for Speakers of Other Languages at the high school and college levels. Currently she teaches Russian Culture at George Washington University.