Maja Rudloff

Maja Rudloff


Master in art history and PhD in media science

Primary fields of research

Museums, cultural politics, digitization, mediatization, user participation, gender, media, representation, visual culture

Current research

Untill 2021 I am working on the postdoc-project The local art museum: anchoring, dissemination and narration. The project is financed by the New Carlsberg Foundation.

Project description:

The changing status and role of the museums in society has long led to an increased research and political focus. The museological research of recent decades has focused on the continued relevance and authenticity of the museums in a changing political and social reality. This research focus includes a paradigm shift in the perception of museums and their cultural heritage where the transition from analogue to digital communication – among other things – has led to a changed view on museum collections and the knowledge produced in museums. Politically, the discussion about the museums has focused on continued social relevance, competitiveness and ability to renew and adapt to increasing demands from the experience community, as well as the museums ability to attract visitors from a broad demographic reality through dissemination. However, only a limited part of the research literature and of the politically-initiated user surveys have focused in isolation and in depth on art museums, including on regional and local differences, realities and applications.

The present research project is a critical analysis of a smaller local art museum's existing dissemination practice, which at the same time identifies and highlights concrete development opportunities within local anchoring, dissemination and narrative. The project, which will more accurately examine Ribe Art Museum's dissemination practices and development on multiple platforms, as well as its reception by users, has three overall objectives:

(1) The project will provide critical insight into the use of the narratives and the recognition potentials of a permanent art museum's permanent collections.

(2) The Postdoc project, in conjunction with this, will analyze a local museum's strategy as a visible and active actor in the local community, especially in the mobilization and use of art-related narratives.

(3) In addition, the project will produce a long-missed evaluation and reflection of the smaller museum's dissemination and communication practices - analogously and digitally - in a rapidly changing museum landscape, where goals and resources continue to be reviewed and developed, not least in the light of new digital initiatives and economic reorientations in the field of culture.

In Denmark, most of the dissemination of Danish art history is provided by the smaller and locally anchored art museums. Process-oriented and in-depth studies, which evaluate the existing art museum's existing dissemination, as it takes place in conjunction with art historical professionalism across media, platforms and stakeholders, is extremely rare, even though it is this type of museums that dominate in the Danish culture picture outside of the largest cities. The lack of research focus on smaller Danish art museums is also reflected in the existing literature, published and / or by the museums themselves. There are smaller books, exhibition catalogs and articles about individual museums, collections and exhibitions and, in some cases, their local historical context, but a thorough and long-term research project that collects knowledge about a contemporary art museum's contemporary dissemination challenges, conditions and potentials is still missing. Similarly, concrete development-oriented studies that critically examine both the development and the final use of analogue and digital communication products continue to be highly lacking in Danish and international contexts. Where the larger art museums in Denmark and internationally gradually can be characterized as post-digital, the smaller institutions still struggle to integrate the dissemination with the new digital paradigms and practices. The development and research in digital museums have already suggested a number of blindnesses and pitfalls, but also potentials for re-conceptualization and rethinking the museums’ identity and narratives about art. Danish museums, the political level and the research world lack knowledge and critical insight into how the smaller museums' work with analogue and digital dissemination and how the development of the same can / should / will affect the museum's own identity and possibilities. The project remedies this shortcoming by focusing on a single smaller museum through a three-year development process from 2017-2020.

The three research areas of the project - (1) the dissemination of museum collections and iconic main works, (2) the museum's anchoring in the community and (3) development work with a new digital dissemination initiative - are mutually overlapping. Together, they circle the museum's general activities in the community in terms of strategy, curation, marketing, communication / dissemination, users and digitization. Both areas 1, 2 and 3 are based on Ribe Art Museum and the dissemination of Danish art history, but have paradigmatic relevance to a larger group of "local" museums - nationally and internationally.


ID: 128034686