Artwork Biographies & Institutional Memory

 

Works of art in museum collections are managed and shaped by institutional policies and personal beliefs. Oral History methodology can help to explore this socio-cultural perspective.

However, the tools to facilitate this in conservation research still lag behind. The project ‘Artwork Biographies and Institutional Memory’ (Art_Bios_In_Me) is set up along two lines of research that address this problem. One explores obstacles and pitfalls in archiving and unlocking interviews to improve museum workflow, while the other encourages technological advances in transcribing and unlocking this unique source material, preparing it for digital humanities research.

The Kröller-Müller Museum (KMM) and the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (RCE) will provide case study material to assess the deposit infrastructure with Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS), and conduct a feasibility study to adapt Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) for preservation with the Foundation for Open Speech Technology (FOST). Only time-stamped transcripts will make interviews searchable – opening up opportunities for text-mining, cross-referencing and other applications of artificial intelligence (AI). The intended methodological and technological advances in the use of Oral History methodology in conservation research will be of great benefit to technical art history, object diagnosis, conservation decision-making, and cultural heritage analysis in general.

nicas-research.nl/projects/artwork-biographies-and-institutional-memory