Project #3 news release

​​[For the purposes of this site, ‘3 by 3’ is referred to as ‘Project #3’ elsewhere on this site and the Digital Commons (the ‘One by One’ online community space.]

How can digital technology aid more empathy and equity in museums?

Research teams from Southern University at New Orleans (US) and University of Leicester (UK) receive $490,000 from NEH and AHRC to investigate empathetic and equitable digital transformation in museums until July 2022.

We are pleased to announce that for 18 months – from February 2021 to July 2022 – ‘3 by 3’, a transatlantic research consortium led by Southern University New Orleans (SUNO) and the University of Leicester of cultural institutions, academics and professional bodies from the United States and the United Kingdom, will work together to open new directions for leading digital change in museums at this time of intersecting crises for museums across the world.

In its scope, structure and staging, ‘3 by 3’ aims to make an original and striking contribution both to existing knowledge within the humanities as well as to reflective practice and strategic development within the museum sector. Professor Ross Parry from the University of Leicester, the project’s Principal Investigator (PI), said: “the research will redefine what successful digital leadership in museums looks like, in human and not just business and technological terms.” He added, “in doing so, intellectually, ‘3 by 3’ will frame a new set of research questions and inspire new disciplinary intersections and theoretical informants for this subject area.”

For Dr Haitham Eid, US project director and Associate Professor at SUNO, an ambition of the project “is to uncover some of the major factors that enable, or disable, digital to manifest the core mission of museums as agents for social change.” “As the world faces both racial and health pandemics, museums have a moral obligation to promote equity, justice and wellbeing in their organizational structures and society.”

The unique consortium of partners that has been assembled for this project – which includes the American Alliance of Museums (US), the Museums Association (UK), Museum Computer Group (UK), Museum Computer Network (US) and the Smithsonian – provide an unprecedented opportunity for academically rigorous and practice-led collaboration on a single project.

“The field’s expansion into digital offerings during the pandemic has provided museums with the opportunity to reach wider, previously untapped audiences with their incredible content,” said Laura Lott, AAM President and CEO.  “It is critical that the momentum behind digital advancements be aligned with museums’ missions, values, and commitment to equity. The American Alliance of Museums is delighted in its continued involvement with this important global initiative.”

Using a variety of research methodologies, from institutional ethnography to business process maturity modelling, researchers on ‘3 by 3’ will articulate and explore the most pertinent questions facing digital in museums in our current moment – with emphasis on equity, inclusion and diversity within the digital workforce, workplace and culture of museum digital change – and re-locate museum technology as a socially purposeful subject and set of practices.