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The "This Is Our Playground" event is a test event for a larger scale project, it is developed for participants from the MA in Museum Studies and the BA (Hons) in Interactive Media Arts at the University of Ulster.

more about these courses
Students engaging with spaces

MA Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies: This well-established programme at the University of Ulster has many links with the museum and heritage profession.

Graduates have been successful in securing positions in the museum and heritage sectors both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The degree programme has been designed for individuals seeking further career development in the heritage and museum sectors, as well for graduates of Art and Design, Art History, Geography, History, Archaeology and allied disciplines, who wish to develop their research interests in these fields.

BA (Hons) Interactive Media Arts: The Interactive Media Arts course is centred on the new and dynamic media landscape. The course content focuses on the processes, practices, theories that have reshaped traditional media formats after the development of "new media" technologies. By analysing content development and media ecologies shaped by digital media, and mixing these with skills in digital content creation and multi-media authoring, students create a range of diverse practice-based projects.

On the 25th April 2012 the University of Ulster will hold a hack day at the Ulster Museum, students will develop innovative interactive experiences within the context of a traditional museum setting.

more about the day
About the event

The interactive experiences that students develop will question the notion of play in the museum, recontextualising the collections and gallery spaces to create new modes for the public to investigate and interrogate the spaces of the museum as an institution and develop new dialogues with the exhibits.

A unique feature of this project is the limited involvement of the museum, whilst aware that the hack day is taking place the museum is not directly involved in the planning or running of the event, instead students will observe the normal museums rules and regulations, and in many ways will look and behave like traditional visitors. The aim of this project is to work outside the traditionally slow, often bureaucratic management structure of museums as a means to explore how time constrained working can facilitate innovation within museums.

After the event the interactive experiences that students produce will be distributed freely under a creative commons license and will be available for download from this website.

This project takes a Guerilla approach to culture and media jamming, creating playful mediated experiences for museums and galleies. We have collected a series of examples of simular projects and ideas that have taken place

information on other projects
Learn To Play

Some key books, articles and examples that we think are a great starting point for any interactive interpretation project

Museums at Play: This book includes 40 case studies which demonstrate how key international museums are using play, games and interactivity to create engaging museum experiences.

Lift your (museum) game: A wiki for people who make museum games.

Gaming the Museum: Martha Henson and Danny Birchall, Wellcome Collection. Museums on the Web Conference

The rise of the hack day and what it means for the arts : Rohan Gunatillake. Guardian Culture Professionals Network

Museum Games and the Third Space : Elizabeth S. Goins, Ph.D. Rochester Institute of Technology, NY. Meaningful Play Conference

ART Game Lab exhibition, SFMoMA: An exhibition which features new games that use and respond to the museum space, such as Super Going.

This is our Playground is a collaborative research project in the Centre of Media Research at the University of Ulster. It looks at creating playful experiences for visitors and how play can engage and reshape our understanding of spaces.

more about Oonagh and Alan

Alan Hook is Course Director of the Interactive Media Arts program at the University of Ulster. He is a Lecturer in Interactive Media and a Researcher in Media and Play and Games at the Centre for Media Research. His research looks at playful mediated experiences. His looks atPervasive and Alternative Reality gaming, Video Games, and Play as a form of media interaction and mode of audience engagement. He blogs about things he sees with his eyes which affect his heart and head and tweets @alan_hook.

Oonagh Murphy is a PhD Student at the University of Ulster, her research looks at how museums are using digital technologies to engage with visitors, and at how digital projects are developed and managed within museums. Oonagh is a Museum Computer Group Committee member, and has recently been awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship, she reguarly blogs about her research www.oonaghmurphy.com and tweets @OonaghTweets

For more information about this project please contact: hello@oonaghmurphy.com or a.hook@ulster.ac.uk