Deep Viewpoints was designed by The Open University and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) to support Citizen Curation. We define Citizen Curation as individuals and groups from outside the museum profession engaging in curatorial activities to communicate their own ideas and stories.
The design of Deep Viewpoints was inspired by the process of Slow Looking in which museum visitors are guided to observe artworks and develop their own response. IMMA had previously developed a series of Slow Art Videos. The videos prompt the viewer to think about what they see (e.g. “What is our attention drawn to first?”) as well as gradually introducing contextual information about the artwork, helping the viewer to form their own interpretation.
Within Deep Viewpoints, the processes of observing and responding to art are guided by scripts. Each script is made up of a sequence of stages containing artworks, statements and various prompts or questions to which the reader of the script can respond.
During the EU H2020 funded SPICE project, IMMA used Deep Viewpoints as part of an initiative to reach communities traditionally underserved by the museum sector and to bring new perspectives to the museum’s collection and exhibitions. Participating communities included recent migrants, asylum seekers, young men in custody, an advocacy group that promotes the identity of black and mixed-race Irish people, healthcare workers, a reading group for people who are both LGBTQ+ and from Global Majority communities, young people living with long-term illnesses, the Traveller community and young people who have experienced the care system.
Participating communities were not only involved in interpreting artworks with the guidance of the scripts but also creating new scripts, mediating how others observe and think about art.