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Exploring the transformation of museums into cultural hubs: A case study of design society, Shenzhen, China

Hu, Nan 2022. Exploring the transformation of museums into cultural hubs: A case study of design society, Shenzhen, China. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Drawing from conceptual discussions of museums over the past five decades, this thesis investigates a newly emergent global trend for institutions to identify themselves as ‘cultural hubs’, in particular via a case study of Design Society in Shenzhen, China. Literatures in museum studies and visitors studies were reviewed in developing a theoretical framework, and the development of Chinese museums was also included for a contextual understanding of the case study. Surveys, interviews, document analysis, observations and autoethnography were carried out to examine the concept and practices of Design Society and its visitors’ experiences. As a new institution, Design Society tries to transcend traditional boundaries associated with museums by identifying itself as a cultural hub. This study demonstrates that cultural programmes at Design Society provide multidimensional experiences for visitors. The object experiences, sensory experiences, transformative experiences, physical experiences and social experiences had by visitors demonstrate the desired characteristics of a cultural hub which is visitor-centred, experience-driven, and where opportunities for visitors to interact, co-create and share are considered important. However, as Design Society struggled to articulate and communicate its identity, ‘cultural hub’ was perhaps not the most helpful concept for them to utilise, especially in a context where historically narrow definitions of a museum dominate. The development of institutions like Design Society may have a profound impact on museum theory and practice, although it is still too early to judge whether they dilute or serve to reimagine the notion of a museum, at a time when that notion itself is in flux. Nevertheless, this thesis deepens our understanding of visitor experiences, testing a revised model for exploring its parameters within these contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 August 2022
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2022 13:10

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