Carmen Granito: Designing Exhibition Blueprints for Research Outreach

In Case Studies by General Account

Carmen Granito, Anthropology, Durham University

Host Organisation: Heritage Management Organisation, Elefsina, Greece

The main aim of the exhibition blueprint was to transform a piece of cultural evolution research into an accessible and engaging experience for a non-specialist audience. The blueprint is going to be proposed to potential host venues and will be further refined in collaboration with their inhouse curatorial staff in order to adjust it to the venue’s specific purpose, needs and spaces.

I am now developing a toolkit for researchers working on relevant topics or adopting similar theoretical frameworks as mine. The toolkit will give them an idea of how to start and develop the translation of their research into an exhibition, what elements to consider, what challenges await; this will also create some common background with professionals in museum, libraries, science centres etc. and facilitate potential collaborations with them.

During my placement I created the blueprint of an exhibition designed for distributing research findings on the cultural evolution of graphical symbols. The blueprint responded to the topic of my PhD and its wider research area: the cultural evolution of art styles; how cultural groups create shared visual languages and conventions; and how social contexts can affect the styles of representation of pictorial signs, in particular the processes of abstraction and figuration.

During the first stage of the process I conducted extensive research on venues and institutions that might potentially host the exhibition, their programming criteria, their audiences and how the exhibition might address them. During the second phase I developed the content: building the concept, narratives, structure and content package of the exhibition.