The Museums and Artificial Intelligence Network was established in 2019 and brought together a range of senior museum professionals and prominent academics to develop the conversation around AI, ethics and museums #museumsai. The Network was for funded for 12 months by the AHRC through the UK-US Collaboration for Digital Scholarship in Cultural Institutions fund.
Principal Investigator: Dr Oonagh Murphy
Lecturer in Arts Management at Goldsmiths, University of London. As an arts manager, writer and lecturer her research has taken her around the world to explore international best practice on the scalability of emerging technologies for cultural organisations.
She completed a Ph.D in Museum Studies and Digital Culture, and a Masters of Research in Heritage and Conflict at Ulster University, Northern Ireland. A recipient of a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship, she is a Fellow of the Higher Education. @Oonaghtweets
International Co-Investigator: Dr Elena Villaespesa
Elena Villaespesa works as an Assistant Professor at the School of Information, Pratt Institute. Her research and teaching areas of interest include digital strategy, data analytics and user experience research and evaluation applied to the museum sector.
She completed a Ph.D. in Digital Heritage at the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester (United Kingdom) and an MA in Arts Management, Universidad Carlos III, Madrid (Spain). She has previously worked as a Digital Analyst at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Tate.
Through a series of industry workshops in London, New York and San Diego, the network facilitated in depth discussions designed to open up debate around the key parameters, methods and paradigms of AI in a museum context.
AI is becoming an increasingly pressing concern for many large museums who are beginning to experiment with its potential to provide new ways to engage with audiences, visitors, art and objects.
AI technologies including machine learning, predictive analytics and others, bring exciting possibilities of knowing more about visitors and collections. However, these technologies also raise important ethical questions for museums. With an increasing awareness and regulations about data usage in wider society, museums, must approach AI with both caution and fervour. As such exploring, critiquing and understanding the ethical implications of AI within a museum context is increasingly becoming a pressing need for museums.
This network creates a forum to facilitate these core questions, with a view to influencing museum practice in this area for years to come, the network will create an ethically robust professional framework, to support museums who are keen to engage with the possibilities of these technologies, develop new audiences and increase access to their collections.
Since our active research concluded we have produced a series of publications, delivered talks at international conferences and began to share its findings through museum professional and academic networks. Please do visit our resources page to see what materials are currently available.
The Network is funded by: