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Digital Strategies @ Design Museum Finland 2016


The Digital Strategies for Museums and Cultural Heritage Course (DOM E-5064) at the Department of Media, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture collaborates with the Design Museum Finland in Autumn 2016 to explore paths to digital engagement for Finnish Design Heritage. The course presents a theoretical and practical overview of design strategies for museums and digital heritage. It runs from September 19 – December 2, 2016. See course website for more details:


Hot Stones & Cool Digitals: Sustainable Contact Zones for Intangible Cultural Heritage in Finland


The International Journal for Intangible Heritage has published our article: Hot Stones & Cool Digitals: Sustainable Contact Zones for Intangible Cultural Heritage in Finland, in Volume 11, pages 161-172. The article shows that a combination of community participation and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) could be an effective way of promoting communities as on-site contexts for intangible cultural heritage (ICH). James Clifford’s Museums as Contact Zones (1997) serves as a theoretical and practical basis for this approach. Two community-based museum projects are documented here that were conducted in Finland between 2012 and 2014: a community-based digitisation project with the Gallen-Kallela Museum in Espoo, and a museum installation in the Hakaniemi Market Square in Helsinki to which members of the local community were the major contributors. Both projects demonstrated that it is possible for a community to foster ICH through participation, collaboration, borrowing from museum practices and by the application of emerging digital technologies.

International Journal of Intangible Heritage:

Dropbox link:

Digital Engagements at EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art 2015

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

Research Project: The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum (May 2014 – June 2015)

“Powering the Cooper Hewitt” project will investigate a sustainable framework for the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. It will explore a participatory relationship between design collections, color search, user- communities and energy use of the museum. It will examine the links between energy & social metrics of museum’s user communities, analyzes carbon footprints and behavior of accessing digital artifacts by community from the museum’s collections. Finally, it aims to implement a participatory museum installation wherein the museum’s saved energy fosters a collection of its community’s design objects and energy stories matched to the museum’s own cloud collections.

See related post about the Energy Art Installation at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum:

Digital Strategies for Museums @ Media Lab starting 08.09.2014

I will be teaching this Autumn 2014 a new course at Media Lab that presents a theoretical and practical overview of digital strategies for museums and cultural heritage. Students will develop their own micro­-digital archive, supported by how­-to lectures in a ‘make’ environment, and will have the opportunity to curate their collections collaboratively. The course will be divided into two Phases. The first Phase, ‘Understanding the Strategies and Tools of Digital Cultural Heritage’, will provide practical knowledge of metadata, born­-digital collecting, and preservation planning. The second Phase, ‘Advancing the Digital Archive for Interpretation’ will focus on managing online archives and digital curation. In addition, students will be asked to consider the impact of social media and museum­ user communities on digital archives. The course will further situate the student exercises by considering the aspect of sustainable ICT (internet & communication technologies) and its implications in the creation, management and interfacing of digital heritage.

The class will be structured to balance theory and practice. There will be Guest Lecturers throughout the course from various archives and museums. Once a week. 1,5 Hour lecture followed by 1 hour Making/Discussion ­ workshop. (approx 2.5 hours)  3.30pm ­- 6pm. Mondays.

The Data-Shaped Museum & Social Change: A Brief Insight from MuseumNext 2014

It was not quite long ago that I was sitting down and analyzing numbers from my latest museum project, its social metrics, visitor counts, google analytics and other random geeky tools I dug up or chanced upon from the Internet. And it crossed my mind, that i was merely peeking into a singular window of statistics and data, getting sunk into a data wormhole of one museum and being close to myopic in vision and judgement. Yes, I had plenty of metrics to drool on, and they would be enough for me to beat my drum in another adrenalized conference. But I had a nagging feeling that without any reference data, metrics of other museums in my neighborhood, their audience activities, and data that could be compared with, I had no right to claim that my project was successful! After all, in today’s world we are all interconnected and that includes museums too. And what about social change affected by my project? Did my data in any form displayed that? Or initiating acts of socially conscious projects that I have been working on for the last few years? How could I be sure that by merely gathering social metrics data of a museum project that I had effected some sort of new conscientious or altruistic thinking among my audience?

MEMI (2014) – Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Color is History.005

This proposal is for an art installation project to visualize the digital collections of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum New York in context of its energy use, user-community and color search. It is the final exposition of a year-long project: MEMI (Museum Energy Model Interface) that explores a participatory relationship between art collections, color search, user-communities and energy use of the museum. The MEMI project in itself explores a digital search and monitoring methodology that not only strives to be a tool to access collections, but also records and analyses ICT-based processes of the online Collections Wall of the National Design Museum. It explores the links between energy & social metrics of museum’s user communities, analyzes carbon footprints and behavior of accessing digital artifacts by community from the museum’s collections. The “Color is History” Art installation will try to gather and combine the museum’s art collections, its energy use data, its user-community participation analytics, color tagging of individual artifacts and their respective narratives. It will stream continuous displays of color, artifacts, narratives and energy on the Museum floor (see System Diagram). The art installation will be fed content through a public online interface based on a Django web application framework & programmed in Python language. This interface/web application will access the open API (application programming interface) of the Museum’s digital collections. The physical installation itself will constitute of programmed LED displays, Arduino microprocessors and on-site computers. The saved energy use of the museum combined with online participation by its users will be channelled through the local energy provider to power the installation.

Talking Trashlab (2012)


Trashlab monthly events, at Media Factory as part of Pixelversity 2012 programme (Pixelache Helsinki), aimed to explore experimental art-design-technology practice between hacker and maker cultures, in the context of re/up-cycling and the increased availability of new fabrication tools.

Trashlab’s objective is to build up a community of people (artists, designers, hackers, makers, re/up-cyclers, activists) inside and outside Aalto context, who are concerned with material and electronic waste in contemporary society, and tackle this problem with creative and tangential approaches.

A lecture series called ‘Talking Trash(lab) was organised to complement, which invited local, regional and European guests to speak on related topics, as a presentation on Friday early evening before each Trashlab workshop in Pixelversity 2012 calendar. In addition, ‘Light is History’ project was followed as case-example throughout the year for the overlaps fostered by Trashlab.

Pixelache’s Trashlab:

Keywords: trash, waste, recycling, upcycling, electronics, digital fabrication, social- interface, community development, peer-produced documentation.