Extending Site-Specific Audience Experience via Multi-Platform Communication Design

J. Watkins and A. Russo (Australia)


Communication design, interactivity, cultural institutions.


Across much of the Australian cultural sector, the principal mission of curatorship remains wedded to the production of site-specific physical exhibitions. This mission is entirely understandable when viewed through the tradition of ongoing cultural exhibition in well populated urban locations, yet sits less comfortably within the wide geographic distribution of the Australian population. Although a growing desire to reach wider audiences via an expanded online presence is evident, such initiatives are tempered by the prohibitive cost of digitising existing collections optimised for physical exhibition. Significant amounts - if not the majority - of compelling cultural content remain inaccessible to communities and the general public. Multi-Platform Communication Design is a design method which repurposes existing content across multiple communication channels in order to extend an audience experience across multiple target segments. Applied to the cultural institution sector, MPCD takes existing platform or site-specific artefacts to new, distributed audiences in a cost-effective manner. In so doing, MPCD can extend and increase the audience experience beyond current curatorial and audience expectations. The rationale behind MPCD lies neither in a technological orientation nor blue skies research. Rather, it is firmly focused in providing a tool whereby cultural institutions can reach a wider audience cost-effectively, and communities can not only access content more readily, they may also contribute to the creation of digital collections. This paper acknowledges the exciting potential of synchronous iTV/web broadcast and contributes to the developing multi-platform debate by defining outcomes for both consumers and producers and links this debate to the emerging concept of a “cultural consumer” within this sector.

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