Salon 13 Bigger Data

Data is among the raw materials that enable thinkers and innovators of all stripes to frame research questions, understand cultural patterns, and subvert habitual practices. What is new today is the unprecedented velocity, variety, and volume of data enabled by the digital turn, and the proliferation of devices that record and transmit it. Data is bigger, and avoiding clichés when talking about it is increasingly difficult. Whether it’s fighting crime, improving public health, solving the perils of dating, or optimizing transport links, this colossal wave of information–often termed Big Data–has invariably transformed our lives. For some, the application of data in the arts is anathema. For others, it offers a new source of inspiration and medium of expression, and a potential to curate the museum experience at both micro and macro levels.

Watch the videos from the salon and explore some of these questions: If big Data is only as good as the intelligence we glean from it, what kind of intellectual infrastructure is needed to optimize its use? What kind of translation tools? Who does Big Data benefit? What can we do to curtail the unbridled “what’s yours is mine” approach Big Data engenders–and do we need to? How can museums mobilize Big Data to enrich the museum experience for visitors, reach new audiences online, and transform scholarly research? Building on the discussion in Salon 12: On Philanthropy, how can museums transform Big Data into compelling metrics for prospective patrons, members, supporters, and sponsors?

This salon took place on February 24th, 2015.


Reading Resources