Art Gallery of Burlington
Laura Buisman and Tara Bursey
1. What did you want to find out at the start of your project?
At the beginning of the project, my collaborator and I were interested in how we could actively generate authentic engagement with our social media accounts, and digital programs. During the pandemic, we struggled to pivot to online as our base is very focused on the in-person studio environment, and more physical manifestations of community. Our first project attempted to find a way to unite these to modes of engagement, which proved to be difficult logistically during the pandemic and continuing lockdowns and limited visitor numbers.
2. What did you actually do?
Laura and I decided to take a more playful and experimental approach to our project, and make use of a fully digital platform. We ended up designing a cheeky Buzzfeed quiz that challenged people to play the role of the curator as a way to understand more about them, their tastes, interests and what their investment in the gallery is. Unfortunately, due to timing on the DART program that ran into the holidays and a new shutdown, we were unable to test the quiz. However, now we have a basis for the future.
3. What was the most difficult thing you found?
As discussed during DART meetings, the hardest thing was working within our limitations of time, resources and institutional capacity during the pandemic. We had to, with so many things at this time, abruptly ‘pivot’ away from an original idea and come up with a new one, which was an interesting exercise, but a moment of frustration for sure.
4. What surprised you?
I loved writing the Buzzfeed quiz, and didn’t anticipate that! I love the idea of a gallery/museum not taking itself too seriously.
5. What is next for you and/or your org?
None yet! I hope we can run this buzzfeed quiz in the future, and test how it works for collecting some interesting audience data. While I appreciate having gone through this process, it would be great to have our work and learnings honoured through an unveil of some kind. I am hopeful that we can find it in ourselves to be brave and make room for this kind of unorthodox content, but this is all still so new for cultural institutions!
6. What 3 quick takeaways would you give to help future participants/your current fellow participants?
- Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and have fun with your project
- Don’t get too ambitious, as a project like this isn’t meant to completely shift the culture of your institution. That work takes time and buy in from everyone.
- Little discoveries can lead to big breakthroughs.