Book cover of "The Routledge International Handbook of New Digital Practices in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums and Heritage Sites"

New essay: “The distributed museum is already here–it’s just not very evenly distributed”

I am very pleased to announce that The Routledge International Handbook of New Digital Practices in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums and Heritage Sites was released on November 18th! This massive tome, edited by Hannah Lewi, Wally Smith, Dirk vom Lehn, and Steven Cooke is almost 500 pages of goodness from museum professionals around the world. My contribution, “The distributed museum is already here–it’s just not very evenly distributed” is accessible in author accepted, preprint form. Additionally, the wonderful Tim Sherratt (whom you doubtless already follow at @wragge on Twitter) has undertaken the task of compiling as many of the accessible chapters from the book as possible on GitHub, so you can get a sense of the scope and depth of the volume!

If you’re intrigued, here’s the abstract and citation. Happy reading!

Abstract

The title of this essay is a play on science fiction author William Gibson’s quote, ‘The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed’. 1 It seemed fitting, given that most, if not all, aspects of Balsamo and Bautista’s (2011) ‘distributed museum’ – one in which the generative acts of the museum are decoupled from the edifice of the museum building – currently exist, though nowhere all under one roof, physically or figuratively. I will explore three seminal descriptions (Balsamo & Bautista, 2011; Dewdney, Dibosa & Walsh, 2013; Proctor, 2010) of the distributed museum and add five additional dialectical relationships that characterise the problematic state of 21st-century museum practice. From the outset, the community of practitioners trying to understand how museums should exist in the digital realm has been international in scope. Many leading voices have contributed to this book, along with many newer voices, who demonstrate how truly global this community is. The idea of the distributed museum has great utility to help us understand the dialectics affecting museum practice and explore how they are (or are not) manifesting in museums across the globe.

Citation

Ed Rodley, “The distributed museum is already here–it’s just not very evenly distributed” in Hannah Lewi, Wally Smith, Dirk vom Lehn, Steven Cooke (eds), The Routledge International Handbook of New Digital Practices in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums and Heritage Sites, London: Routledge, 2019, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429506765.

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