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Digitally enhanced polyvocality and reflective spaces: challenges in sustaining dialogue in museums through digital technologies

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gabi ArrigoniORCiD, Dr Areti Galani



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


This chapter investigates the way dialogue is understood and put to work through digital technologies in a set of exhibitions dealing with European narratives and addressing questions of otherness. Grounded on fieldwork conducted in ten museums, it identifies opportunities and challenges associated with digital dialogic interactions. These are mostly configured as sites for encountering the other and visualising the multiplicity of voices included in the display. The chapter discusses three dimensions of dialogue emerging from the fieldwork connected to the themes of polyvocality, civic listening and the tension between institutional and online spaces for dialogue. It concludes with a reflection on the barriers and opportunities for digitally-mediated dialogue in museums. We argue that the limited experimentation on digital dialogues is rooted in a perceived distance between technology-mediated and human dialogic capacities. Furthermore, we reflect on the role of multimedia environments in shaping identity construction in museums.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Arrigoni G, Galani A

Editor(s): Galani A; Mason R; Arrigoni G;

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: European Heritage, Dialogue and Digital Practices

Year: 2019

Pages: 37-61

Print publication date: 22/07/2019

Online publication date: 09/07/2019

Acceptance date: 19/02/2019

Series Title: Critical Heritages of Europe

Publisher: Routledge

Place Published: London


DOI: 10.4324/9780429053511-3

Notes: 9780429053511 eBook ISBN

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780367148065