Abi L. Glen, Doctoral Candidate in the Faculty of English, appointed as 2019 AHRC Creative Economy Engagement Fellow, Fitzwilliam Museum

Image credit: Museum in a Box http://www.museuminabox.org/boxes/

The purpose of the project is to design, create and test prototypes for a new, Fitzwilliam-centric subscription service using the technology created by Museum In a Box. MIaB is an edtech company pioneering the use of ‘Brain Boxes’: a small plywood box, about the size of a Roberts radio, containing speakers, a Raspberry Pi, and an NFC reader. NFC stickers attached to a range of 3-D printed replicas and other tactile objects (picture postcards, playing cards, etc) mean the user’s box will be able to recognise the objects and play recorded material about them accordingly. The aims are 3-fold: 1) to democratise museum access and education; 2) to allow interaction with museum objects regardless of geography, finance or disability; 3) to offer an enhanced experience of these objects through their tactile nature.

Image credit: Abi L. Glen

The intended outcome of the CEEF fellowship is to ‘send the Fitz, in bits’—i.e. to send small themed collections of 3D printed objects to consumers for them to use with a ‘Brain Box’ (which they can purchase or rent). Because these low-cost collections could be sent to audiences with minimal access to wider cultural provision, they could drastically increase the reach of the museum’s collections as well as attract new, more diverse audiences for the museum itself.

Abi L. Glen will be working on the project full time for the next six months with a collaborative team of four fellows, alongside Dr Jo Vine (Research Facilitator) and Dan Pett (Head of Digital).