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Two Humanistic Communication Theories for Museums, Libraries and Archives

Ann Davis
p. 5-15

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1An unexpected problem arose with the 2011 opening of the new University of Calgary library: too few chairs. Contemporary assumptions had suggested that the wide availability of library materials online would mean that patrons would not physically come to a building, but would rather consult necessary sources on their computers from the comfort of home. Yet, far from deserted, this new library needed more seats. What happened in a museum? A 2012 exhibition, Matisse: Pairs and Series, at the Pompidou Centre in Paris was wildly popular, engaging visitors in protracted discussions and long stays in the show. At the same time, the wonderful permanent collection a few floors below was virtually empty. How are archives working? Recently I preordered material from the national archives of Canada. After I had gone through security and registered, I went to pick up my order only to be told by an apologetic archivist that my documents had been misplaced. I would be notified when they were found and would I come back. The staff of the archives had been cut again. These are some examples of communication challenges and successes for memory institutions today.

2This paper will explore two humanistic communication theories that examine these problems, starting first with Zygmunt Bauman’s emphasis on physical space. Discussing the realities of living in an age of uncertainty, Bauman turns to a sense of place in the production of meaning and identity. Central to this idea is an emphasis on society, on people rather than technology, a new humanism analogous to the democratic, humanitarian ideas of the Enlightenment. Progress is defined here in social terms, with technology and collections playing supporting roles. Second, following Martin Heidegger and John Dewey, separation of mind and body is rejected in favour of uniting thinking and action. The theory of embodied cognition posits that the workings of the mind and body are intertwined to a far greater degree than previously understood. Here the generation effect, learning by generating or doing rather than simply observing, is important. These two theories help to clarify some of the very real contemporary challenges faced by museums, libraries, and archives and seek to suggest possible solutions.

Bauman and a sense of place

3Zygmunt Bauman, a Polish sociologist living in England, is concerned with how we find meaning and identity in what he calls an age of uncertainty. In his recent book Liquid Times, he describes a world in which the real powers that shape our conditions are global, but our institutions of political action are local. This confrontation - the strong word he uses - occurs in cities where the “battlegrounds on which global powers and stubbornly local meanings and identities meet, clash, struggle and seek a satisfactory, or just bearable, settlement” (Bauman, 2007, p. 81). People, as global operators, may roam in cyberspace, but as human agents they are confined to physical spaces. These environments are crucial.

It is around places that human experience tends to be formed and gleaned, that life-sharing is attempted to be managed, that life meaning is conceived, absorbed and negotiated. And it is in places that human urges and desires are gestated and incubated, that they live in the hope of fulfilment, run the risk of frustration - and are indeed, more often than not, frustrated and strangled. (Bauman, 2007, p.81, emphasis in original)

4Here we have the paradox of increasingly local politics in a world emphatically shaped by global processes. Bauman goes on in his pessimistic fashion to emphasize, following Manuel Castells, that the “ever more conspicuous mark of our time is the intense … ‘production of meaning and identity: my neighbourhood, my community, my city, my school, my tree, my river, my beach, my chapel, my peace, my environment’” (Bauman, 2007, pp. 83-84, quoting Castells, 1997, pp.61, 25). It is these very local spaces and places that are of interest to us; however, as often configured today, they may be problematic, contributing to isolation rather than mitigating it.

5Bauman contends that architects and urban planners have added to the very real difficulties of urban life by designing cities that exclude and segregate rather than include and increase tolerance to difference. He is especially critical of the segregation of residential and public spaces. More favourable would be an opposite architectural and urban planning strategy, one that promotes “the propagation of open, inviting and hospitable public spaces which all categories of urban residents would be tempted to attend regularly and knowingly and willingly share” (Bauman, 2007, p.91). He references Hans Gadamer, who points out in Truth and Method that mutual understanding is prompted by a “fusion of horizons,” horizons developed and expanded in the course of accumulating experiences. Bauman concludes that the “‘fusion’ that mutual understanding requires can only be the outcome of shared experience; and sharing experience is inconceivable without shared space” (Bauman, 2007, p. 92, emphasis in original). This creates a sense of place.

6What characterizes this sense of place? It is more than local and regional identity, claims Beverly Sandalack, an urban design professor at the University of Calgary. Rather it is authentic identity. “This authentic identity,” she writes, “usually arises from the responsiveness to certain local and regional factors, to local environment and to cultural process and form - over time” (Sandalack, 2005, p.13). Authentic identity is also personal and experiential. It is necessary, for “we need places other than our own homes to call our own” (Sandalack, 2005, p.13). Identity and its expression in place have historic roots. The ancient Romans believed in a genius loci or a spirit of place; according to Christian Norberg-Schulz, a Norwegian architectural theorist, they thought it was “of great existential importance to come to terms with the genius of the locale where (their) life takes place” (quoted in Sandalack, 2005, p. 14; Norberg-Schulz, 1979, p.18). Genius loci, then, has identity – an identity derived from the “particular relationships of things to each other in a particular place” (Quantrill, 1987, p. 46).

7Physical artifacts as well as human intervention are necessary for a sense of place. For a space to have meaning, it needs to belong and to be the continuous responsibility of a group of people. Roger Trancik, an urban design professor at Cornell University, felicitously characterizes this as “a certain patina given by human use over time” (Trancki, 1986, p.113). According to Norberg-Schulz, a sense of place needs two psychological functions: orientation and identification. Orientation refers to legibility, readability, or how parts can be deciphered through location, shape, colour or arrangement and understood to form a coherent mental pattern. Identification involves becoming friends with the environment, working with it, not against it (Norberg-Schulz, 1979, pp.19-21).

A sense of place, that is, the ability to orient ourselves and to identify with an environment, is greatest when the environment is both familiar and distinctive; this increases the potential depth and intensity of human experience (Lynch 1960, p. 10). A space, then, only becomes a place “when it is given a contextual meaning derived from cultural and regional content” (Trancik 1986, p. 112) and when it supports and is supported by a community. Authentic identity is not something that is imposed, but something that is derived from its location in space and time, and from human interaction and use, over time. (Sandalack, 2005, p. 15)

8Memory is linked to a sense of place in important ways, and ways important to us. The ancient Athenians and Romans derived the “method of loci,” essentially a mnemonic device to promote and order memories in the head. The method involves constructing in one’s mind a detailed building, at times called a “memory palace,” inside which memories can be put and then retrieved. Subsequently, from an imaginary memory place there developed a real, physical memory place, a cabinet of curiosity, a collection of objects in an organized, manageable interior space. Michael Harris, a journalist and documentary filmmaker, calls both methods – loci and cabinets of curiosity – attempts to “pull a world’s worth of material into a small, navigable space” (Harris, 2014, p. 147).

9As Nicholas Carr describes, perceiving and remembering space and location is linked how navigation works in the mind and memory. In the early 1970s, researchers at University College London discovered location-keyed neurons, which they dubbed “place cells.” In 2005, a team of Norwegian neuroscientists discovered a different set of place cells, which they called “grid cells.” Taken together, grid and place cells, according to science writer James Gorman, act “as a kind of built-in navigation system.” In addition to their role in navigation, these cells appear to be involved in the formation of memories, particularly memories of events and experiences. In a 2013 article in Nature Neuroscience, scientists concluded that, “The neuronal mechanisms that evolved to define the spatial relationship among landmarks can also serve to embody associations among objects, events and other types of factual information” (quoted in Carr, 2014, pp. 134-135). Space and place, then, seem to have considerable importance for memory and associations.

Thinking and acting

10Museums, libraries and archives are not simply memory institutions, although that is part of their attraction. Rather they are also, importantly, creating organizations where people go to explore and discover, in short to think. So the nature of thinking is important. More and more theorists are convinced that thinking is bound up with action, that if you really want to know something, you have to do it.

11John Dewey, an influential American educator and writer, who made groundbreaking contributions to educational theory, philosophy and art history, was adamant about the ties between mind and body. “Thinking, or knowledge-getting, is far from being the armchair thing it is often supposed to be,” wrote Dewey in 1916. “Hands and feet, apparatus and appliances of all kinds are as much a part of it as changes in the brain” (Dewey, 1916, p. 13-14; in Carr, 2014, p.148). From Hegel and Darwin, Dewey conceived of experience “as an interaction with, as well as a reconstruction of, the environment” (Dewey,1964 [1916], p. 577). This experience, the result of “interaction of organism and environment,” becomes participation and communication. The means of this participation are “sense-organs with their connected motor apparatus” (Dewey,1964 [1916], p.593). Dewey championed humans’ unique ability to unify “sense and impulse, … brain and eye and ear” (Dewey, 1916 [1964], p. 593). This theory was based on an active, holistic interpretation: “Life goes on in an environment, not merely in [sic] it but because of it, through interaction with it” (Dewey,1964 [1916], p.579). Space and place have considerable importance for memory and associations.

12Martin Heidegger, the German philosopher, argued that the deepest form of understanding available to us “is not mere perceptual cognition, but, rather, a handling, using and taking care of things, which has its own kind of knowledge” (Carr, 2014, p. 148). The separation of mind and body promoted by Descartes and generally accepted in the west, though not in the east, is here rejected in favour of one whole, a unity. Such rejection is continued by the Portuguese-American neuroscientist Antonio Damasio and the renowned Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells (Castells, 2009, p. 138).

13The illusion of mind-body dualism exploded in contemporary psychology and neuroscience has resulted in what is being called embodied cognition. Confirming what Dewey and Heidegger posited, embodied cognition submits, as Nicholas Carr notes in his provocative book The Glass Cage:

Not only are the brain and body composed of the same matter, but their workings are interwoven to a degree far beyond what we assume. The biological processes that constitute “thinking” emerge not just from neural computations in the skull but from the actions and sensory perceptions of the entire body. (Carr, 2014, p. 149)

14Philosopher Shaun Gallagher, in his important book How the Body Shapes the Mind, declared that, “Nothing about human experience remains untouched by human embodiment, from the basic perceptual and emotional processes that are already at work in infancy, to a sophisticated interaction with other people … from the exercise of free will in intentional action, to the creation of cultural artifacts that provide for further human affordances” (Gallagher, 2005, p. 247). Just how all this works is still being explored, but what seems clear is that thinking cannot be separated from physical being, just as physical being cannot be separated from the world around us.

15The concept of embodied cognition helps to explain, as Gallagher suggests, our prodigious interest in technology. Because we are tuned to our environment, our bodies and minds are quick to acquire tools and other artifacts. These tools might be a cane or hammer, each of which will be incorporated by our brain into its neural map of our body. Other animals, such as monkeys and elephants, also use tools this way. But it is humans who have devised tools to extend our mental as well as our physical capabilities. These tools are often helpful, but the ease with which we use technology and make it a part of our daily functioning can also be harmful; they can and do separate the mind from action, actually disembodying us, often producing an erosion of skills and a dulling of perceptions. As Carr explains:

One of the great ironies of our time is that even as scientists discover more about the essential roles that physical action and sensory perception play in the development of our thoughts, memories, and skills, we’re spending less time acting in the world and more time living and working through the abstract medium of the computer screen ... With the general-purpose computer, we’ve managed, perversely enough, to devise a tool that steals from us the bodily joy of working with tools. (Carr, 2014,p. 151)

16Another important part of acting in the world, of communication, as Manuel Castells notes, involves mirror neurons. Mirror neurons represent the action of another subject, enabling processes of imitation and empathy. They make it possible to relate emotionally to others. Mirror neurons activate the same neural networks when one feels fear or sees someone else feeling fear, or when seeing images of people feeling fear or when watching events evoking fear. Furthermore they assist in the process of abstraction, the shift from observation and action to representation (Castells, 2009, pp.144-145; see also Ananiev, 2011). Castells comments that, “The capacity to evaluate the intentional state of others and to send signals to manipulate these intentions can assist evolution toward higher cooperation, inducing better individual and group outcomes” (2009, p. 145).

17Thought as well as memory are involved in what is called the generation effect. Since the 1970s, cognitive psychologists have explored the effect that people remember much better when generating or producing rather than just reading. In an early, famous experiment, Norman Slameck asked people to memorize antonyms, like hot and cold. Some test subjects were given cards like this:

hot : cold

18Others were given slightly different cards like this:

hot : c

that showed only the first letter of the second word, the antonym. Subsequently those with the card with the missing letters were much better at remembering the word pairs (Carr, 2014, pp.72-73). A 2011 Science article demonstrated that students who read a complex assignment during a study period and then spent a second period recalling as much as possible, learned the material more fully than students who read the assignment repeatedly over four study periods. Thus we see that the mental action of generation improves the ability to carry out activities that “require conceptual reasoning and requisite deeper cognitive processing” (Carr, 2014, p. 73, quoting Britte Haugan Chen). However, the easy availability of information online weakens our memory for facts. Computers allow us to skip the work of generation, to rely overtly on Google, and thus to avoid using our brains fully. The result is a forfeiting of deep learning.

19Nicholas Carr sums up the high value of the generation effect and the great losses provoked by its absence:

The kinds of effort that give rise to talent - characterized by challenging tasks, clear goals, and direct feedback - are very similar to those that provide us with a sense of flow [generation]. They‘re immersive experiences. They also describe the kinds of work that force us to actively generate knowledge rather than passively take in information. Honing our skills, enlarging our understanding, and achieving personal satisfaction and fulfillment are all of a piece. They all require connections, physical and mental, between the individual and the world. They all require, to quote the American philosopher Robert Talisse, “getting your hands dirty with the world and letting the world kick back in a certain way.” (Carr, 2014, p. 85)

Museums, Libraries and Archives

20If Gallagher, Carr, Castells and many others are right, and technology is making us dumber, less physically active and less able to reason, can we both retain the vast benefits we have derived from technology and counter its negative effects? Can we join thinking and physical action to create a sense of place? Since technology is increasingly used in libraries, as well as in museums and archives, are these memory and collecting institutions doomed? Are we in the ironic position where institutions created to support and promote education are actually harming learning? Perhaps a way around these tricky problems is a renewed emphasis on people within an environment, a revitalization of humanism and a reduced emphasis on the collections.

21Museums are certainly challenged today. If holding collections, they need to devote considerable staff and resources to the care of these precious artifacts, leaving little time or energy for other matters, including visitors. At the same time, public funding is often withering, so museums must apportion precious, limited resources to fundraising. Furthermore, the numerous suggestions for visitor engagement, the active mind/active body theory promoted by Dewey and so many others, runs counter to the museum tradition where the visitor is expected to acknowledge and accept the authority and superior knowledge of the museum staff. Changing a visitor from a passive receptor to an active participant is not an easy task.

22The Matisse show, Matisse: Pairs and Series, at the Pompidou Centre was a brilliant example of an event that effectively melded the traditional art museum emphasis on aesthetics with the postmodern visitor-created experience. The show addressed a question many visitors ask of creators: “How did he do this?” Right from the straightforward exhibition title, we know exactly what to expect. No cute, sexy or grand language here. On a wall, adjacent to the lineup to get into the show, an extensive timeline was mounted – laying out Matisse’s creative life, in considerable detail, through words and photographs. Since the show was very popular, visitors had to stand for some time in this line and therefore had lots of opportunity to become familiar with Matisse’s life, even if they knew little about it before. Once inside, visitors delighted in works hung chronologically, in pairs or series as the title suggested. The space was organized such that each pair or grouping could be seen from one vantage point, so that the individual pieces could be appreciated both for themselves and easily compared to others. Extended labels, written in clear, non-technical language, provided lots of information on each work and suggested approaches for considering the contrasting works. The theme of the exhibition, clear right from the beginning, was evident in every room, always anchored in Matisse’s extraordinary ability to reimagine a scene differently, to present to us varied interpretations of the same thing.

23Why was the exhibition so successful? One reason, of course, was the quality of the content. Not only is Matisse a very great painter, well known and loved, but also the particular pieces exhibited were among his very best. Then the theme of the show, the idea of exploring how he worked by showing contrasting paintings, was entirely in keeping with Matisse’s own methodology and was beautifully executed. The show’s thesis, and the curators’ interpretation, was not forced or uncertain, but clearly and happily demonstrated throughout. Each pair or grouping was very carefully chosen, such that the changes from one piece to the next were plainly visible, even to a visitor who had no previous knowledge of the master’s work. For these reasons alone the show would have been considered a success. However a further, overarching reason made this experience great and memorable: the exhibition was about more than the work of a great French painter. It was about much more than art history. Its theme touched everyone, probing a universal question, for the show was fundamentally about the nature of creativity.

24The response of the visitors was most interesting. They were fully engaged. People would stop at each group of paintings, first to look and read the labels, but also, importantly and consistently, to discuss, parse, and analyze. This process would take a considerable amount of time: there was no sense of hurry, of a necessity to move on. Rather families and friends would consider one pair, then perhaps circle back to reexamine a previous pair, or stop, sit on an appropriately placed bench, and continue to talk. This exhibition certainly demonstrated the centrality of sense of place as a location of meaning making, one that breaks down previous barriers to expand into the new and wonderful – Gadamer’s “fusion of horizons.” Authentic identity was discovered, as the broad theme of creativity found resonance with every viewer, for in the past each person has struggled with the problem of how to create, even if creating means mending, metal-working or management rather than painting. Following Dewey, Heidegger and Carr, the show amply confirmed the ties of mind and body, the moving of both mind and body in consort. Mirror neurons were actively used in the numerous discussions, both those held during time in the exhibition and afterwards. A visit to Matisse: Pairs and Series was a lasting, memorable experience.

25The contrast in visitor reaction between the Matisse exhibition and the display of the Pompidou permanent collection a few floors below is extreme. It graphically shows the very real problems museums have in achieving audience engagement, for not only were there few visitors in the famous, high quality, permanent collection, but the ones that were there were mostly silent, wandering from one major work to another, sometimes stopping, but there was little indication that they linked one work to another or to their past experiences. They were seldom dynamically involved. What is needed, then, is for museums to change from “being providers of content and designers of experience to becoming facilitator of experiences around content…[M]useum professionals must create activities that link the curatorial research and the institutional collection with interests, expectation and previous knowledge of the visitors” (Radice, 2015, p. 262).This is not denying the value of collections, but rather using them in ways better configured to visitors’ interests. A sense of place and mind-body links greatly help in this difficult endeavour.

26Libraries too are challenged. By the late 1990s, the Web had drastically changed libraries, not to say threatened them, for now users could access library information from anywhere, not just from inside a library building. This led to a major crisis, prompting the question “why do we need libraries?” For some people, the question is still valid today. While it is hard to get firm numbers of libraries that have closed, it has been reported that in 2012 more than 200 libraries were shuttered in the UK, and a 2013 article in The Guardian suggested that some felt 1000 would be closed by 2016. A new US college, Minerva, in San Francisco, has decided not to have a library at all (Wood, 2014, p. 53). The emergency prompted an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, on November 16, 2001, titled “The Deserted Library”, illustrated by a cover photograph of the inside of a library with no one in it.

27Two other important trends developed at this time, trends especially but not uniquely evident in academic libraries. The first was the Information Commons movement: quality, high-tech workspaces supported by technical and intellectual expertise. These new spaces were made possible with the second trend: the building of high-density storage facilities away from the library building. Now the collection was moved out to make more room for users. Indeed, the first “bookless” libraries soon appeared (Hickerson, 2014, p. 16).

28It is with these three features in mind – the technological revolution, information commons and distant collection storage – that the new library at the University of Calgary was designed. Rather than including the traditional small carrels with protective sides, promoting quiet isolation, the new library features long tables, at which eight or more users sit with their computers in front of them, talk to their neighbours, discuss assignments, even eat lunch, drink coffee and get help with technological questions. It has become a community, populated by those with similar education who seek a convenient, friendly, not overly officious space to study and to socialize. The library quickly became so popular that more books were removed to the distant high-density storage building and 200 more chairs were added (Hickerson, 2014, p. 16). This new community focus, noted by OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), a global library cooperative active in more than 100 countries:

moves the library towards a set of services around creation, curation, and consumption of resources that are less anchored in a locally managed collection, and more driven by engagement with research and learning behaviors.(Dempsey, Malpas,& Lavoie, 2014, p.10)

29Whether consciously or not, students countered Bauman’s uncertainty by creating a sense of place, a community in which embodied cognition, mirror neurons, and the generation effect can and do have considerable range.

30This sense of community in a specific place, the emphasis on people rather than collections, is finding considerable favour. In November 2014, The Royal Society of Canada published a report on “Canada’s Libraries, Archives and Public Memory.” This report noted that:

There is a growing realization that physical libraries are becoming even more important community spaces, places where people gather, share, and learn from each other. Print collections will occupy less physical space but, if anything, libraries will find that competing demands for quiet space and for noisy public space, for collaboration and for discovery spaces mean that library buildings will become larger and more flexible. (Royal Society, 2014, pp. 27-28)

31There are a number of exciting examples of libraries that emphasize people over collections, that are real community organizations. Alison Hopkins, Territorial Librarian of the Northwest Territories in Canada, reported on library programs that combine aspects of civic duty and public value:

From January to March 2013, 20 public libraries offered 1000 programs attended by 14,000 people. These programs include a sewing circle, family computer night, a cupcake challenge, drumming and hand games, robotics club, and a Pokémon club. After-school programs are especially popular in small communities with few other options. (Royal Society, 2014, pp. 28-29)

32It is interesting to note that many of these activities involve body-mind unity and go well beyond the traditional library expectation that a patron will sit quietly reading a book.Internationally there are strong examples of genuine interaction between the institution and its users:

DOK, in the Netherlands, developed software that allows library users to add images and stories to the library’s digital local history collection. The Library 10 in Helsinki permits users to program concert space any night of the week, without consulting staff except to ensure that the space is available. In Denmark, more than 50 public library buildings allow users to enter the space, including checking out physical material, even when the branch is closed; precautionary checks include using the library card as part of a general identification card. Discovery Layer software allows users to comment on library material they liked and didn’t like (Royal Society, 2014, pp. 24-25).

33This energetic attention to the citizen-user marks a tectonic shift in libraries and is particularly noticeable in community archives.

34The two communication theories - sense of place and body-mind links - are also germane to archives. But archives are somewhat different from libraries in that they cater to a more specialized audience, those interested in history and genealogy. Yet in building communities, archives have a very important role “for dealing with creating and authenticating evidence, storytelling, memory-making … Aboriginal or indigenous people have especially rich traditional cultures in this regard … as do some women’s and ethnic communities” (Royal Society, 2014, pp. 85-86). Shelley Sweeney, Head of the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, declares:

Archival records are critically important to individuals and to society in general. They are the basis for individual and societal human rights, provide transparency of action and accountability for governments, and support enriching cultural activities that basically make life worth living, such as the creation of films and documentaries, the writing of books and histories, and the tracing of personal family genealogies. (Royal Society,2014, p. 88)

35Neglecting archives and archival collections is an inestimable loss to community and society.

36While library collections, especially paper ones, are taking second place to active people in the new humanistic library, in archives collections are assuming greater importance, although more physical activity is also being promoted. Archival collections may well be in analogue form; like libraries, archives still have, and will continue to deal with, paper. In Canada, it is estimated that only one to two percent of Canada’s documentary heritage is digital (Royal Society, 2014, p. 93). Unlike libraries that hold volumes available in many copies and therefore in many places, archives have scarce and unique holdings. OCLC records that special collections and archives, being composed of these rare and unique materials, are attracting more attention because they are a major factor in forming the reputation of the institution (Dempsey et al., 2014, p.17).

37With increased attention being given to archives and their collections, digitization and other methods of expanding access are also becoming more important. This has prompted increased attention given to how materials are shown in the online environment, not just as lists or photographs, but as coherent collections of materials. For example, University of Illinois’ special collections blog, Non Solus, highlights particular holdings by embedding them in a larger narrative about specific lines of critical inquiry (Dempsey et al., 2014, p.22). Returning to Bauman and a sense of place, the newly-opened archive of Stratford-Perth in Canada boasts not only a state-of-the art records storage room and a well-equipped public reading room, but also a gallery space in which to show “treasures of the collections, welcome school groups and host speakers on local history” (Royal Society, 2014, p.86). Archives, like museums, are mounting exhibitions to contextualize and characterize their holdings.

38Bauman’s particular, local place - place not space - is key in humanistic communications in museums, libraries and archives. A sense of place, built and supported by a community, generates the development of valued meaning and authentic identity. Open, inviting, hospitable places that urban residents regularly, willingly and knowingly share are surely what all three institutions aspire to be. From shared space comes the possibility of shared experience, which in turn promotes necessary mutual understanding. Museums, libraries and archives, as organizations geared to thinking, are beginning to recognize the important links between mind and body, and thus are starting to understand that, if you really want to know something, you have to do it and get your hands dirty. Embodied cognition and the generation effect reject passivity in favour of action, focusing more attention on the physical as well as the mental. The broad conclusion is that in museums and libraries, and to a certain extent archives, collections and technology – while certainly valuable – should be secondary to sensory experience, humanistic communication through action.

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Ann Davis

Former Director, The Nickle Arts Museum, University of Calgary - Canada

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