Digital Tate: the use of video and the construction of audiences

PhD Thesis

Zouli, I (2018). Digital Tate: the use of video and the construction of audiences. PhD Thesis London South Bank University School of Arts and Creative Industries
AuthorsZouli, I
TypePhD Thesis

This PhD research emerges from an on-­‐going discussion in museum studies, which recognises the effect of digital technologies on the practices of contemporary museums and on the processes of knowledge production. It is the result of a collaborative study between London South Bank University and Tate, which examines how the contemporary art museum perceives digital culture and understands its audiences under networked conditions. The research departed from a recognition that Tate’s practices of video production provide an access point to examine how the museum creates and shares cultural knowledge. By distributing its video content through online channels, the museum also participates in a digital and networked landscape and thereby connects with its audiences. In an effort to adhere to this constantly growing and evolving landscape, Tate has been exploring different ways of expanding its production and programming practices in online spaces and engaging with the audiences that inhabit these spaces. The research regarded this point of exploration as an opportunity to examine the institutional perceptions and ideas that guide this process.
The core research question that the research addresses therefore is: How does the use and production of video content at Tate reflect the contemporary art museum’s understanding of digital culture and the way that it perceives its audience?
This question was addressed through situated empirical fieldwork in the organisation and particularly through the observation of the BMW Tate Live: Performance Room programme. Following the processes of the production of this series of live online performances, it was possible to trace the complexities that arose in Tate’s encounter with the structures and the audience of the network. The study of these complexities reflected the museum’s difficulty in embracing with unfamiliar elements of display and participation that the network proposed and unveiled processes of moderation and editorial control that aimed to contain the programme in the protected territory of the institution and its brand.
The value of the present work lies in its focus on the processes where institutional ideas and politics are enacted as a way to understand the museum’s complex structure. This research contributes to museum studies and media and cultural studies research by employing an interdisciplinary and reflexive method embedded in the museum practices in order to bring to light problems that are not new yet they are present and require attention. These problems pertain to the museum’s relation to technology and they affect the museum’s relationship with its audiences. The exploration of processes of production that this thesis suggests is considered a fundamental step in order to understand what knowledge the art museum produces in its encounter with the digital, how and for whom.

PublisherLondon South Bank University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
Print18 Dec 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited18 Dec 2018
Funder/ClientArts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Greek State Scholarship Foundation
Leventis Foundation
Publisher's version
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