Summer Breakthrough

Bring on the coffee!
Michael Zimmerman
My summer breakthrough actually happened earlier today during a meeting with Joseph Gonzales, director of the Museum Communications program here at UArts. The breakthrough came as a result of a rethinking process, and a summer dedicated to another project, though my thesis was never far out of mind.
Last week I went through Joseph’s notes on my early summer thesis proposal and reworked things with an eye to an upcoming class presentation. After spending some time cutting and formulating ideas I was able to construct a clear, but shaky, idea of how I can join my love of active museum experiences with scholarly research and a clear connection to communications. I was able to bounce these ideas off Joseph today, which resulted in some useful feedback and interesting discussion.
One of the most relieving breakthroughs was identifying the three main parts of my literature review.  Last year I did an awful lot of independent reading for my thesis that ended up being of little help.  Having these three main areas gives me the freedom and confidence to being reading independently once more, knowing that what I’m doing will directly contribute to my final thesis paper.
The three areas I’ve identified are:
            -Marketing, specifically the strength of word-of-mouth
            -Participatory communication, as it pertains to today’s museums
            -Social technology, specifically the current uses of  and future potential
By understanding these concepts I’ll be able to clearly articulate my concept of creating “visitor advocates” through in-person engagement. Just what that engagement will look like is still up in the air, though I have some ideas I’ll be ruminating on as the semester progresses.
Identifying this framework, and going through the motions of actually explaining my ideas to someone has proved useful in getting from a loosey-goosey concept, to something I feel confident building up and taking to completion.
I’m also looking forward to bouncing these ideas off my lovely Museum Communication cohorts tomorrow! See you all soon!