Beyond the Collecting Social Photo project – Implementing practices and digital tools for collecting social digital photography into four Nordic museums and archives

Professional Forum

Friday, April 16, 2021: 11:00am - 12:00pm - - Professional Forum

Kajsa Hartig, Västernorrlands museum , Sweden, Bente Jensen, Aalborg City Archives, Denmark , Anni Wallenius, The Finnish Museum of Photography, Finland, Elisabeth Boogh, Stockholm County Museum, Sweden, Aron Ambrosiani, Nordiska museet, Sweden

Over the past three years Collecting Social Photo, a Nordic research project, has explored methods for collecting social digital photography in museums and archives. The results are a set of recommendations, that in 2020 was shared with the international museum and archives sectors. 

The project has paved the way for the next steps of collecting, as the recommendations span across a broad range of areas such as adopting a human centered approach to collecting, sustainably implementing digital tools and technologies as well as adjusting policies and procedures to better fit new work methods. Now it is time to shift from the freedom and limitations of a project to everyday practices, and also to implement the recommendations. 

This professional forum is aiming to explore the practical consequences of applying new methods into five Nordic museums and archives. These national, regional and local institutions have different missions as well as backgrounds in collecting from social media / social digital photography. Two have experience of collecting from before the project, one has gradually developed practices during the project and one is adopting the recommendations with no previous background in online collection of photography.

In which ways do the set of recommendations serve as an agent of change and push the institutions forward? Five specific aspects of change will be examined in the forum: institutions’ abilities to adopt inclusive methods and build trust around collecting, abilities to perform successful outreach, sustainable use of technology and acquiring the collected material into the collections in a way that is compliant to standards and existing systems. The fifth aspect is discussing a change of culture, not only in terms of becoming more agile and responsive, but also to regard and acknowledge this type of photography as cultural heritage and archives.

Boogh, Elisabeth, Kajsa Hartig, Bente Jensen, Paula Uimonen and Anni Wallenius (2020): Connect to Collect: Approaches to Collecting Social Digital Photography in Museums and Archives.

Bushey, Jessica. 2015. Trustworthy Citizen-Generated Images and Video on Social Media Platforms. Paper presented at 48th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 5–8 January, 2015.

Jensen, Bente, Elisabeth Boogh, Kajsa Hartig and Anni Wallenius. 2019. (Hash)tagging with the Users: Participatory Collection of Digital Social Photography in Museums and Archives. In Participatory Archives: Theory and Practice, edited by Edward Benoit III and Alexandra Eveleigh, 59–70. London: Facet Publishing.

Stuedahl, Dagny et al. (2014): Experimental zones: Two cases of exploring frames of participation in a dialogic museum : Designing for creative engagement in museums and cultural institutions in Digital Creativity Volume 25, 2014.

Thomson, Sara Day. 2016. Preserving Social Media, DPC Technology Watch Report 16-01. Digital Preservation Coalition.