Deep Mapping: Creating a Dynamic Web Application Museum "Soft Power" Map

Project details

The project, ACMI on the Global Map, employs Geographical Information Technologies to develop a pilot version of the digital mapping system "Museum Soft Power Map". This digital system offers a new computation research method to explore contemporary museums and geography of their influence. It geo-visualises museum "soft power," defined as an institutional ability to mobilise global public, generate economic activity and attract international investments.

Hosted and supported by the Digital Studio at the University of Melbourne, the project brought together academics and 13 graduate students from the School of Culture and Communication to collaborate with cultural professionals from the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). It successfully trailed a pilot version of the digital geo-visualisation system "Museum Soft Power Map" that will be further developed in collaboration with major museums around the world.

The pilot is a focused single-museum online tool that maps and assesses the ACMI's "attraction power" in Melbourne and abroad. The dynamic web application ACMI Soft Power offers multilayered exploration of ACMI cultural resources and social outputs to reveal social-demographic, cultural and economic factors that affect its capacity to attract larger visitation and revenue. The application offers engaging ways to explore 1) ACMI Film Collection and its potential appeal in different countries around the world; 2) ACMI online global audiences across its website, social media pages, such as Facebook and 2 dedicated YouTube channels, as well as TripAdvisor; 3) ACMI international network of institutional connections and partnerships; and 4) local impact of ACMI blockbusters, Dreamwork Animation and Game Masters, touring around the globe.

The Project received the 2018 Melbourne Engagement Grant, 2018 Digital Humanities Australasia Award, 2018 Award of the International Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations and 2017 Museum Computer Network Scholar Award, granted for developing innovative solutions to enhance museum transparency and strengthen proactive management in global PR. This research makes a significant contribution to the study of contemporary museums and facilitates a more nuanced contextual exploration of their impacts that can supply data for a more complex city-wide cultural research and planning.


Dr Natalia Grincheva, Research Fellow, Research Unit in Public Cultures