In 2019 the Museums + AI Network, led by Dr Oonagh Murphy, Lecturer in Arts Management, engaged with 50 senior museum professionals, and leading academics across the UK and US to develop new insights into AI in a museum context.
Alongside industry focussed events Dr Murphy ran a series of events called Curator: Computer: Creator that encouraged diverse voices to join the conversation on what AI might look like for museums in the near future in partnership with the Barbican Centre (London), and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (NYC).
During these workshops and events, she worked with a network of museum professionals to test, challenge and refine models of practice, workshop formats, and development tools – this work led to the development of AI: A Museum Planning Toolkit which was first published in 2020. With Case studies from American Museum of Natural History, National Gallery, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The English language version of the toolkit has been downloaded 4,000+ times, with print copies distributed to policy makers in the UK and USA. The Library of Congress stated that they sought to ‘mirror’ the strategic model outlined in the toolkit, in their Machine Learning strategy. The research has been presented to the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education who are seeking to develop policy around AI within the Creative and Cultural Industries.
As a result of the impact that this work has had on the sector Dr Murphy was commissioned alongside international research collaborator Dr Elena Villaespesa, Pratt Institute to help the region of Baden-Baden (Germany) to develop an AI working group. Thanks to this partnership and ongoing advisory work associated with this research the Toolkit has now been published in German and Spanish. The 2022 versions of the toolkit feature new case studies from The Prado Museum, ZKM, Ludwig Forum Aachen, and Das Badische Landesmuseum and are open access and free to download.
In her role as Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Loughborough University Dr Murphy will share her latest research at the AI & Cultural Heritage Forum on the 28th March. This online event is free to attend and can be booked now.