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Design Challenge:

To co-create with Koldinghus a participatory museum experience for young Kolding newcomers to strengthen their sense of community & attract a younger audience to the museum.

My role: Designer, researcher, workshop facilitator and videoediting


Design team: Robert Orlowski, Emanuelly Karla de Santana, Jasmin Taher & Petra Piskor

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Koldinghus owns a vastly diverse archive of historical artefacts. In fact, thousands of artefacts were never exhibited at the museum, either due to time constraint or lack of context to bind the artefacts together in an exhibition. Head of Cultural Heritage, Steen Lundbye presented us the question “How could Koldinghus show these archived artefacts to the public without a traditional exhibition?”. Lundbye also expressed to us that Koldinghus wishes to attract a younger audience to the museum, and it would be a plus if both these issues could be addressed in one design solution.

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Pictures: Artefacts in Koldinghus' hidden archives

Understanding Youngsters in Kolding

A 2018 Survey Report (Petrova) interviewed 44 international students in Kolding about their perception of the city and their plans for after graduation. The survey found that on one side international students who move to Kolding enjoy the city’s cultural environment, a strong sense of network, education opportunities and easy access to the beach. On the other side, they also felt that the city is expensive to live in, lacks entertainment options and working opportunities, and is difficult to build connections with locals. As a result, students reported that despite wishing to stay in Kolding after their studies, they were ready to move away to other cities with more opportunities after their studies.

Our mission became to design a museum experience that introduced young Kolding newcomers to local history through artifacts they could easily relate to, and that potentially led them to meet new people in town.

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Welcome to Kolding

Twice a year an event called “Welcome to Kolding” is held at Pakhuset, where local organizations come together to present themselves to international students and Kolding newcomers. Our design team attended the event to interview guests, ask what they knew about Koldinghus and what type of museum experiences they enjoy the most.

Hidden Archive Workshop I: Merging Narratives
Koldinghus - 06.11.2019

Inspired by the three installations, Sence me, Trapholdt, Museum of Broken relationships and CO2 theatre,  we held the first hidden archive workshop. Prior to the workshop, our design team together with museum inspector Connie Ramskov, selected a handful of everyday objects from the archive that anyone could relate to such as a handbag, a pair of shoes, a beer bottle and a typewriter.

Young Kolding newcomers were invited on social media and asked to bring an everyday object that meant something special to them. After an introductory round participants were asked to present each other their objects and stories. Unanimously participants brought objects that reminded them of home, loved-ones or their journey moving to Kolding. Ramskov then presented the pre-selected artifacts and their backstories to the participants.

The participants were then asked to write a narrative that merged the story of their own objects and one of the museum artifacts, and to create a small scale exhibition to visualize their narrative.

The workshop ended with a guided tour through the hidden archive rooms.

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Hidden Archive Workshop II: Unfolding Stories
Koldinghus - 05.12.2020

The second workshop was directly co-created with museum employees Steen Lundbye and Connie Ramskov, based on our observations of the previous workshop.

This time around participants did not need to bring a personal item. Instead, they introduced themselves to each other explaining what brings them to Kolding. Then, Lundbye and Ramskov told the stories of some pre-selected artifacts such as a sushi plate, posters from the Danish reunification of 1920 and a broche.

After listening to the stories, participants were instructed to secretly choose one of the objects that spoke most to them and write a narrative from the objects perspective. Participants were asked to imagine the object telling their own story from the moment they were created, their life experiences, how they ended up in Koldinghus and what the objects imagined about their own futures.

The narratives were then read out loud for other participants to guess which object it belonged to. Topics such as identity, personality and nostalgia were commonly present in the stories created. The workshop ended with a guided tour through the hidden archive rooms.

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