When Museums Meet Videogames

a series of talk and collaborative workshops

presented by the Villa Albertine and the French Embassy of the United States, organised by We Are Museums, in cooperation with the Smithsonian.

Today, videogames are a new social and cultural practice.
They have become this new space of socialization where people meet and evolve together. As diverse and varied as one can imagine, videogames deal with all the major topics of relevance in today’s society. They also touch the majority of the population. The potential of videogames for museums is limitless.
However, the relationship between the creative and the cultural sectors of education is still full of pitfalls. Museums often digitize their collections without considering how they appear in digital-native environments, while production studios do not pay enough attention to the historical and scientific context that museums provide.

Museums also struggle to pass on a sense of ownership and leadership to their audiences.

Thus, it is clear that the relationship between museums and videogame studios remains complex and requires further examination.
Our goal is to
raise awareness about this complex issue and to provide a safe environment conducive to honest and impactful discussion. Utilizing the collective intelligence of a well-curated group of professionals, we hope to accelerate innovation at the intersection of museums and videogames.
We want to
  • Foster collaboration between museum and videogame studios
  • Provide a safe space for open conversation
  • Provide networking opportunities to a broad range of actors from the museum and videogames sectors
  • Unpack the structural barriers preventing museum and studio collaboration
  • Brainstorm solutions, using case studies and references
If a building becomes architecture, then it is art
SESSION 1: Exploring New Horizons: Videogames and Museums

October 28th 11am ET
Today, we face a lack of knowledge on how videogames can be used in museums. Digital tools are often used to enhance visitor experiences but it is less common to see them in museums or to see museums use games on their online platforms. The first session of our program creates a common ground of knowledge and understanding of what a game is and what it brings, what are the different formats and possible uses and interactions, who are the audiences and how museums could benefit from them. In order to bring critical thinking and show what is possible, the second part of the session will present two very different uses of videogames in museums.

Host:

María Luján Oulton, Directora de Game on! El arte en juego, Game Arts International Assembly (GAIA), Women in Games Argentina (Argentina)

Speakers:

Brad MacDonald, Creative Media, Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building, and Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (United States)

Olivier Mauco, Director, Game in Society (France) and Augustin Pagenot, Centre Pompidou (France)

WORKSHOP 1: Mutual Learning Between Videogames Producers And Museums

October 28th 11:45AM ET
This workshop is all about getting to know each other and to better understand the diversity of profiles within the museum and videogames sector. Building bridges start by better knowing each other’s strengths and power, challenges and risks. To do so, each participant will have to bring one example of a videogame produced in collaboration with a museum. Then, each team will discuss the examples to explore the diversity of possibilities when we talk about museums and videogames and understand the current trends. In this session, participants will identify new types of collaboration and their benefits for the sector, but also the keys to success and pitfalls to avoid.
SESSION 2: When Cultural Institutions Become Videogame Producers

November 18th 11AM ET
Challenged by the pervasive technologies in our contemporary societies, museums need to radically transform their exhibition practices and audience experiences by incorporating new practices and actors in their programs. The second session of our program will dive into groundbreaking examples of museums nailing videogame production to explore new ways of engaging with audiences and exploring interactions. Let’s dive into these examples showing us new ways to tell stories from the museum’s collections.

Host:

TBC

Speakers:

Nick Fortugno, Playmatics (United States)

Kate Meyers Emery, Manager of Digital Engagement, George Eastman Museum (United States)

WORKSHOP 2: Implementing an innovative project in a museum & Producing a videogame: Challenges & solutions

November 18th 11:45AM ET
This second workshop will drive us into the production phase of a videogame. From high-end games to low budget and low expertise, each group will go through the production process of a videogame, discuss each step and identify how to foster successful collaborations. Each team will also highlight the potential pitfalls and roadblocks to avoid but also share useful resources and tips to make things easier. This session will include a great variety of profiles to ensure in-depth content, such as game designers, game players, non-profit organizations or commercial companies.
SESSION 3: Videogames - A Door to New and Diverse Audiences

December 9th 11AM ET
Today, videogames are understood as the new social spaces where cultural practice is being re-imagined, with new tools, technologies and social habits emerging daily. They are fabulous spaces where one can reach out to new and diverse audiences and start building strong relationships with each other. And because they are new spaces to explore, they can also be places to discuss inclusivity, social and cultural diversity or other topics related to today’s society and existing bias in the video game industry. It's time for museums to find these new audiences and make an impact through the use of videogames.

Host

Tanya DePass, I Need Diverse Games (United States)

Speakers

Skawennati, AbTeC Island on Second Life (United States)

Aurelie CLEMENTE-RUIZ, Head of exhibitions department, Institut du Monde Arabe (France)

WORKSHOP 3: Achieving Positive Social Impact Through Videogames

December 9th 11:45AM ET
This final workshop aims to better understand the diversity of audiences active in the videogame industry and how to better reach them. When we know that 1 person in 3 plays videogames in the world, we can easily imagine that most of the museum's audiences are within this group. Museums could achieve their social mission by amplifying social impact through videogames. The first part of this session will be about identifying the rich variety of audiences playing videogames. Who are they? Why do they play? What are their habits and passions?
The second part of the workshop is all about ideation to identify strategies to reach out to these non-accessible audiences through a collaboration between a museum and a videogame studio.
Our partners
'Museum Lab: When Museums Meet Videogames" is presented by the Villa Albertine and the French Embassy of the United States, organised by We Are Museums, in cooperation with the Smithsonian.