New Cabinets for New Curiosities: get your work on show in Brighton Museum & Art Gallery!

Cabinet of Curiosities formerly in Brighton Museum, 1990s
Cabinet of Curiosities formerly in Brighton Museum, 1990s

Update 16 August 2012: We have extended the deadline for submissions to this project, and made some small changes to the way in which we will select projects to display. See this blog post for further details.

We’re delighted to announce that our New Cabinets for New Curiosities project has been accepted for the Brighton Digital Festival! This enables us to offer the chance for coders, developers and digital artists to get their work on display in Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, in a showcase running from Friday 7 September to Sunday 21 October.

As you may know from our blog post last week, we have just released our first sets of open data with accompanying images. While there are many good reasons for museums and other arts organisations to release open data, we are particularly interested in how other people can creatively re-use our digital collections. As such, we are inviting people to build prototype applications using our data, which we can showcase on the South Balcony of Brighton Museum during the Digital Festival. Thanks to Arts Council England’s Renaissance major grants programme, we  also have £8000 worth of funding to work with one developer to bring their project into a completed product which we can use online or in our galleries.

The rules

In order to be considered for showcasing in New Cabinets for New Curiosities, any submitted application must follow these rules:

  1. It needs to use a portion of at least one of the collection datasets we have released as open data, which can be downloaded from our Image Store
  2. Other datasets and images can be incorporated, providing they are licensed for that purpose
  3. It should run on a Windows PC and in a web browser (preferably Chrome), but from local data (ie. without an internet connection)
  4. It should not require any peripherals other than a keyboard and a mouse
  5. It should cater for basic accessibility
  6. Museum objects represent people’s lives and cultures. Please treat them, and potential users, with respect.
  7. Surprise us!

Depending on how many submissions we receive, we hope to showcase at least four entries in the gallery. Submissions must be received by 6pm Friday 24 August. We will contact those shortlisted by Wednesday 29 August, and will the applications will need to be ready for installation by Friday 7 September.

Of course, if you are able to host an online version of your application, please let us know the URL and we may be able to promote that individually.

What are we looking for?

I wrote a little bit about the overall theme of New Cabinets for New Curiosities earlier on our blog, and we have also posted on the history of Cabinets of Curiosity. To put it simply, it’s thinking about new ways of presenting collections digitally, and how we may encourage new forms of interaction. It’s deliberately broad, but it’s based on a problem. A searchable collections database is an important thing, and we will be redeveloping ours in the future. But are there other, more exciting ways of presenting collections online and in-gallery? We’re exploring these issues through projects like our Map the Museum beta; but we’d be interested to know how other people would approach this.

Other than the rules above, we are open about how this topic might be explored, but examples  may be:

  • Games
  • Data visualisation
  • Crowd sourcing
  • A searchable database with ‘a twist’

We don’t expect the prototypes we showcase to be full featured products. They need to function, but they can be very simple. All we are looking for at this stage, are applications that can demonstrate an idea in action.

How to submit?

We will announce full details on how to submit your entry soon. But for now, if you have any questions about the process, or would simply like feedback on something you would like to develop, please let me know via the form below. To follow tweets about the project follow @newcuriosities.

Kevin Bacon
Digital Development Officer

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