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Recasting witnessing in museums: digital interactive displays for dialogic remembering

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



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Taylor and Francis, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Recently, the role of personal memories in the exhibition space has evolved synergistically with the creation of digital exhibits that provide opportunities for encounter between visitors and ordinary others remembering their difficult histories. The article contextualises the use of dialogic museum displays in relation to the concept of mediated witnessing by focusing on the use of digital interactivity. Grounded on the analysis of three case studies from museums in Poland, UK and Italy, the article illustrates how dialogic features supported by digital technologies frame processes of partaking other peoples’ memories, enriching and reworking the idea of dialogic remembering. Our key findings concern the role of dialogue in enhancing the liveness and the experiential dimension of mediated witnessing. Further, the article notes a shift in the use of the testimony in museums from evidencing past events to a stronger emphasis in supporting listening attitudes and reflective processes during the museum visit. The article observes an expanded use of digital interactivity, to contributes, through dialogicality, to the framing of affective and performative approaches to both knowledge and identity production in museums.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Arrigoni G, Galani A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Heritage Studies

Year: 2021

Volume: 27

Issue: 2

Pages: 250-264

Online publication date: 27/07/2020

Acceptance date: 07/07/2020

Date deposited: 07/08/2020

ISSN (print): 1352-7258

ISSN (electronic): 1470-3610

Publisher: Taylor and Francis


DOI: 10.1080/13527258.2020.1795909


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