In Autumn 2015, we collaborated with EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art for a course at the Department of Media Aalto University. Our primary goal was to analyze and understand the modern art museum and to formulate strategic digital approaches.

The structure of the course was designed to cover the museum system and its various parts and operations.  Every class had a lecture component in the first half and a ‘make’ component in the second. The lectures were about storytelling, community participation, spatial design and digital strategies and applications for museums. These were followed by an in-class workshop where the students worked by themselves or together on tasks assigned resulting in a class presentation and critiques. The tasks assigned included How to curate your own collection, applying a narrative structure to your collection, building participation with museum audience, imagining the spatial needs, and formulating digital strategies.

FEEL EMMA by Juulia Juutilainen

Thus, through the course, a collection of critical approaches to audience engagement with modern art at the EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art was developed. The approches span from personalized journeys through artifacts to disruption via memes, from in-house reportage to accessing public art beyond the walls of the museum. The projects include a meme workshop, navigating the museum space by relations, a walking guide to public art, a video communication method for museum and audience to share their ideas, feelings about art expressed in colors, icon-based engagement with artifacts and a mind-mapping exercise with modern art.

MEMMA, A MEME EXHIBTION by Antoine Thibaudeau

EMMA was involved in this course in many aspects. First, we discussed the themes and topics in advance before the course began with the Chief Curator Reetta Kalajo and ICT & Production Manager Pertti Lähteenmäki. Reetta delivered a lecture at Media Lab about the challenges of a modern art museum, Pertti advised us on the digital strategies that the museum had embarked upon. Two final presentation dates were scheduled at EMMA where the student projects were critiqued and discussed.

We did come across some challenges in this course. Since it was designed to simulate a digital lab of a museum, as such it would have meant that students would work together on common projects. However, students decided to develop their own ideas separately, and as a result not much co-operation or integrated projects were achieved. Some ideas did flow across the projects, such as a critical approach to digital strategies for museums. Another key challenge was how to design around the copyrights of art works. The students were able to come up with alternative solutions as seen in the projects themselves.

THE GUIDE by Alex van Giersbergen
THE GUIDE by Alex van Giersbergen

The following projects were outcomes of the Digital Strategies for Museums and Cultural Heritage Course Autumn 2015 in collaboration with EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art:

1. Alex van Giersbergen ( THE GUIDE: The Guide is an attempt to create new ways of navigating exhibitions based on the relationships between artworks.

2. Wenna Zhang ( CREATIVE COMMENTS: A new video communication method for museum and audience to share their ideas on the screen.

3. Antoine Thibaudeau ( mEMMA: A participative MEME exhibition project.

4. Juulia Juutilainen ( FeelEMMA: a location-based mobile application for sharing art experiences in colors.

5. Katya Anokhina ( Stories Told By Emma: A voice guided tour of uncommon and interesting places in the city with personal and philosophical stories about them.

6. Shareef Askar ( EMMAstory: Forming a stage for museum narrative in another dimension.

7. Eero Tiainen ( Emma Musement Park: Museum visitors use Emma as a muse of inspiration for making inside worlds visible and sharing emotions.

All the presentations can be found here:

Please contact for 2016 Course proposals.