Linda Lotina will defend his doctoral thesis titled „Conceptualizing Engagement Modes: Understanding Museum – Audience Relationships in Latvian Museums” on 30 March 2016 at 14.15 at the UT Senate Hall.
Pille Runnel, Eesti Rahva Muuseumi teadusdirektor, (PhD)
Opponent: professor Dagny Stuedahl (dr.polit.), Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Summary: The PhD Thesis “Conceptualizing of Engagement Modes: Understanding Museum – Audience Relationship In Latvian Museums” has two main aims. The empirical aim is to explore how museum professionals understand audience engagement and interact with active audiences. The broader theoretical aim is to introduce a novel conception of museum audience engagement. Research is based on four related studies exploring museum relationships with audience in online and on-site in Latvian museums. The trend of democracy and a notion of a museum as a democratic institution provide a context for the study. The sources of data are interviews with museum professionals and visitors and social media content created by museums. The main data analysis methods involve content analysis and grounded theory. Apart from engagement analysis in Latvian museums, the study develops concepts related to audience engagement in museum context and conceptualizes engagement modes. The study debates internal and external factors influencing audience engagement in Latvian museums and as result claims that unique context of each museum institution does not support normative approach towards standardized engagement repertoire in museums. Balanced engagement repertoire online and on-site representing variety of engagement modes in terms of audience activity and power sharing is context sensitive and significant tool of democratization.