Digital Fellows Reading List, July 2019

We asked each of the five Digital Fellows to recommend a couple of resources – books, websites, podcasts, articles, exhibitions etc – that they’re finding useful or inspiring at the moment.

Lauren Vargas

Book: The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker

Why this resource is useful and usable: Strategic facilitator and conflict resolution specialist, Priya Parker, explains how we can redesign, reimagine, and reinvent our social gatherings to be more meaningful and purposeful. At the Museum of London, we are using the case studies featured in this book as inspiration to redesign our in-person digital content meetings, reimagine the engagement hooks and connections of our digital content, and reinvent the ways in which the Museum may bridge in-person and digital content and events.

(Don’t have time to read the book? Check out Priya’s TED 2019 talk!)

Article: Deconstructing Being Agile by Joe Van Os

Why this resource is useful and usable: Agile principles were first published in 2001 as part of the Agile Manifesto – these principles were originally crafted for software developers to manage information technology (IT) product and projects. Over the course of 18 years, numerous frameworks have been created to move away from waterfall project management toward practices that are useful and usable by all areas of an organization. Agile practices allow organizations to realistically plan and achieve long term goals within a complex and evolving environment. At the National Army Museum, we are testing agile principles and tools to become more agile in planning and deploying exhibitions and events.

And a bonus link from Lauren:

I’ve started a Friday Five feature on my blog where I am sharing a podcast, tweet, article, book, video inspiring me / work during each week, and grouping these five resources into themes. My latest Friday Five is about tech ethics.

Sophie Frost

Exhibition: AI: More Than Human at the Barbican Centre, London, 16 May – 26 August 2019

Why this is interesting: Would you like to better understand artificial intelligence (AI)? Look no further than this fantastic exhibition held across the Barbican Centre this summer. Highly informative and interactive, this thoughtfully curated exhibition reflects upon the history of AI beginning with the Jewish myth of the Golem (for those who don’t know: an animated anthropomorphic being that is magically created entirely from inanimate matter such as clay) right through to how artifical intelligence is shaping the future of our cities, our institutions and ourselves.

Also not to be missed: Japanese art/design collective TeamLab’s stunning and immersive What a Loving and Beautiful World experience in the Barbican’s basement.

Two people walking on a reflective surface while a pattern of flowers and butterflies appears on walls around them

What a Loving and Beautiful World (c) teamLab

Book: Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Joseph E. Aoun (2017)

Why this is interesting: This thought-provoking book, written by the president of Northeastern University in USA, reflects upon the role of universities in an era where computers are increasingly replacing people. Provocatively, Dr Aoun suggests that art and culture are some of the only areas of human life to remain irreplicable by robots, thus justifying the importance of the humanities – and their correlative spirit of invention, creation and discovery – in our education system.

Marco Mason

Book: Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation by Tim Brown (2009)

Why this is interesting: This is one of the few seminal books anyone interested in design thinking should read. I find this book inspiring because it clearly describes how thinking like a designer can transform the way organisations develop physical and digital products, services, and even organisational strategy. In my experience at Derby Museums, I’ve had opportunities to directly observe and, through my action research, apply design thinking at all four levels – from products to strategy.

Articles: Rethinking Design Thinking

Kimbell, L., 2011. Rethinking design thinking: Part I. Design and Culture, 3(3), pp.285-306.

Kimbell, L., 2012. Rethinking design thinking: Part II. Design and Culture, 4(2), pp.129-148.

Why these are interesting: This is an academic article (written in two parts) which although aimed at researchers, would be valuable reading for everybody interested in design thinking for digital heritage. I’m sharing it because it is a fundamental inspiration for my current line of research on Digital Cultural Heritage Design as it suggests observing, and therefore studying, “design as practice.” It’s been so inspiring for me that I have just submitted an article as first author (together with Dr Giasemi Vavoula at the School of Museum Studies) that proposes a new research agenda and outlines a conceptual framework for cultural heritage research, taking “design practice” as the focus of analysis.

Yoti Goudas

Article: Museums Need To Do More To Welcome Disabled Visitors by Geraldine Kendall Adams, Museums Journal. Issue 117/02, p12-13, 01.02.2017

Why this is interesting: This is an article that focuses on how museums must continue to improve standards and information regarding accessibility for those who are differently abled.  It specifically focuses on online access and digital tools, as these are often the first point of call for disabled people or their companions when planning a day out.

Infographic: Accessibility in theatre by Joe Shellard, The Guardian 11.11.2015

Why this is interesting: It has been forecast for many years that as the Boomer generation ages, the number of people with disabilities (or who are differently abled) will increase.  This infographic not only shows the increase in percentages of the different kinds of disabilities that are being recorded, but also the increased number of requests for accessible services (e.g. audio tours in the theatre sector) and the monetary spend per annum for such services.

Karin de Wild

Book: Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization: Second Edition (London: Random House Business, 2006).

Why this is interesting: How can you build a learning organization, in which people are continuously expand their capacities to adapt to new situations? This book offers a coherent body of theory, as well as some first insights in how to implement this theory in practice.

Book: Gerald C. Kane et al., The Technology Fallacy: How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2019).

Why this is interesting: This book is the perfect read if you’d like to know more about how you can lead an organization through the process of digital transformation. Besides useful analyses of data from a global survey carried out across multiple years, and a large number of interviews, it also offers a guide for how to get started.

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