Engaging with Participatory Culture in Art Institution’s Digital Additions of Web Presences
Clark, Hannah L.
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Participatory culture is a modern theory on culture changes that emerged in the 21st century following the internet boom and the development of Web 2.0, which is primarily social media platforms. It is a developing culture that encourages increased accessibility, community, contribution, and collaboration amongst those involved and it has strong ties to the internet as well as the physical world. This paper argues that participatory culture is a natural progression of the academic understanding of participation in art institutions and that when developing digital additions, such as websites and social media profiles, art institutions should evaluate how their content engages with participatory culture and Web 2.0 in order to stay relevant in the digital world. This paper explores how current trends in the physical gallery space transition to the digital world by analyzing participation in institutional space, looking at why art institutions have been slow to adopt digital components, and studying the history of photographic representations and how that history translates to specific online spaces. It analyzes real world examples from 2020-2021 of art institutions' digital content, including webpages, virtual tours, and social media use. Through those analyses, this paper looks at ways that succeed and fail to engage with participatory culture and argues for simple things that institutions can implement to increase their engagement with their visitors.