Digital Collection Engagement

Installation view, ‘The shape of things to come’, Buxton Contemporary, The University of Melbourne, 9 March – 24 June 2018, photograph by Christian Capurro.

Academic

Ryan Johnston
Buxton Contemporary

Intern

Nicole Davis
School of Historical and Philosophical Studies

Project

Buxton Contemporary is a new museum focused on contemporary Australian art. It has been founded to house the Michael Buxton Collection of 350 artworks by 59 artists. The collection cannot be displayed all at once, and the museum will host non-collection shows, so the Museum is interested in providing a rich digital collection experience through the website. A particular focus of the museum is the foregrounding of artists voices and processes. The internship will explore avenues for digital engagement, which may include new modes of digital presentation or collection search; optimising catalogue meta-data for online engagement; or ways of adding other rich content to online catalogue records.

Internship Outcome

Buxton Contemporary is a new museum of Australian contemporary art, based at Southbank, featuring 350 artworks by 59 artists donated to the University by Michael Buxton. The internship explored avenues for providing a rich digital experience through an online collections site that would both provide access to those items not on display and engage the broadest possible audience with the collection. The internship surveyed platforms suitable for such a site, as well as exploring innovative digital presentation of collections at cultural institutions worldwide. Also considered were two key objectives of the museum—the foregrounding of artists’ voices and processes, and facilitation of teaching and research—and how the digital collection experience might contribute to these. A final report summarised the findings, and made suggestions and recommendations for the implementation of a collections online site and how it might contribute to the museum’s objectives.