In recent years, cultural institutions have shown growing interest in the creation of participatory approaches and in the role that digital technologies could play in their mediation and promotion activities. The COLLABORA project aims to develop a theoretical, empirical and political reflection on new digital platforms contributing to the creation, documentation and promotion of cultures and heritage.
1. Theoretical objective. Epistemology of platforms. The project aims to define the theoretical framework of online contribution, with an emphasis on the underlying epistemic model. We will conduct a work of reflection around three major axes: (i) the role of the amateur over time by considering historical, sociological, anthropological, philosophical and economic studies; (ii) the different definitions emerging in the context of studies on participation: participation, collaboration, cooperation, contribution; (iii) the role played by digital devices. <br /> <br />2. Empirical objective. Uses of platforms. The project aims to define the state of the art of contributory cultural platforms in France and abroad. We will: (i) conduct an exhaustive analysis through a questionnaire and interviews, considering not only the platforms for documentation, but also those for creation and dissemination; (ii) go beyond a simple inventory of platforms to open their «black boxes« and understand the epistemic model and the political relationship established between institution and citizen. Based on the inventory, case studies will be identified. They will be studied by conducting an analysis of practices and uses related to the platform. <br /> <br />3. Political objective. Platforms in action. The COLLABORA project aims to build a network for reflection and exchange dedicated to digital contribution between cultural institutions, researchers and groups of amateurs, by facilitating the construction of common recommendations that combine political, sociological, epistemological and technological reflection.
The COLLABORA project is organized into three major actions corresponding to its three objectives:
Theoretical action. Epistemology of platforms. This action will define the theoretical, historical and epistemological framework of online contribution, with an emphasis on the interactions between cultural institutions and amateurs.
Empirical action. Uses of platforms. The project will start from the observation of what already exists by offering a complete and interdisciplinary analysis of the participatory cultural platforms already at work. To do this, it will be necessary to carry out the following two sub-actions:
- Existing: Inventory of platforms. During this phase, the project team will carry out an inventory of the contributory cultural platforms existing in France and abroad. The objective of this first exploratory analysis is to reconstruct the general scenario of the sector.
- Thanks to the inventory of platforms, we will identify a smaller number of case studies for which the project team will develop a methodology to open the “black box” of these platforms and understand the epistemic model and the political relationship established between institution and citizen.
Political action. Platforms in action. As an action-research project that aims to respond to an urgent social demand, the COLLABORA project cannot be satisfied with carrying out a theoretical study, based on an empirical analysis. Indeed, the theoretical and empirical tasks have to be followed by the political action. The organization and participation in several types of events (seminars and conferences, seminars for professionals, workshops with associations, meetings and interviews with amateurs) will make it possible to build a network of reflection and sharing of experiences between cultural institutions, world of research and amateurs dedicated to digital contribution.
In recent years, the development of digital technologies has encouraged the figure of the “amateur”. The web, first with blogs and then with social networks and collaborative platforms, has offered new spaces in which the pro-amateur can find an open and democratic ground where he can express himself and gain recognition alongside the expert officially responsible for the construction of knowledge. This phenomenon has particularly affected the field of culture. Coping with this new situation, cultural institutions have become increasingly interested in the creation of participatory approaches and in the role that digital technologies could play in the mediation and communication activities. The concern of cultural institutions is not only to better understand these phenomena of participatory construction of knowledge, but also to convey the energy and enthusiasm of amateurs towards the walls of museums, archives, libraries, theatres, etc. Cultural participatory platforms have emerged as a response to this need. With the term "cultural participatory platforms", we refer to any digital device that allows amateurs, or more generally citizens, to contribute to the construction of knowledge related to cultural objects, by interacting with one or more cultural institutions (archives, libraries, museums, theatres or directly a central administration such as the Ministry of Culture).
Although a number of cultural participatory platforms have been launched to invite amateurs to participate in the construction of culture, the relationship between institutions and amateurs on these platforms is not always linear and transparent. If the institution feels the need to interact with these key actors, at the same time it struggles to give them a place that would preserve their freedom of expression. Similarly, amateurs who start their activity independently, are often attracted by the institutional framework in order to give recognition or visibility to their action. Yet, in this institutional framework, they are not always comfortable.
Today, academic research on this subject, particularly in France, is not yet sufficiently developed to be able to assist the associative and institutional world of culture in this opening action towards the citizen. In particular, there is not yet a scientific and technical expertise that can allow the dissemination of digital platforms as a means to build a collaborative approach for building knowledge.
Starting from this analysis, the COLLABORA project aims to develop a theoretical, empirical and political reflection on new participatory digital platforms for the creation, documentation and enhancement of cultures and heritage. The coordinator will federate in a single interdisciplinary team the necessary expertise to reach for the following three objectives: theoretical objective (platform epistemology); empirical objective (uses of platforms); political objective (platforms in action). Theoretically, by questioning the epistemic and political models of these platforms, between participatory sciences and amateur practices, this project aims at proposing a new approach focusing on the relationship between amateurs and institutions and the analysis of platforms as that "border framework" shared among the various actors that act on it. Based on this theoretical framework and the analysis of the uses of existing platforms, this project envisages as an ultimate step the co-creation of recommendations and their validation through the co-construction of a platform, engaging in this process the principal project actors: institutions, amateurs, researchers and engineers.
Madame Marta Severo (DISPOSITIFS D'INFORMATION ET DE COMMUNICATION À L'ÈRE NUMÉRIQUE PARIS ILE DE FRANCE)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
DICEN IDF DISPOSITIFS D'INFORMATION ET DE COMMUNICATION À L'ÈRE NUMÉRIQUE PARIS ILE DE FRANCE
Help of the ANR 295,272 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: March 2019 - 36 Months