Museums as Cognitive Engines of Social Change

Workshop - register now

Tuesday, April 02, 2019: 5:30pm - 8:00pm - Clarendon (3F): Museums as Cognitive Engines of Social Change

William Casebeer, Beyond Conflict, USA, Tim Phillips, Beyond Conflict, USA

New insights from the scientific study of the mind and brain provide us with powerful tools to better assess the impact of, and potentially radically augment, the transformative power of cultural institutions such as art museums. Using Beyond Conflict’s “Museums as Cognitive Engines” framework which systematically considers the role museum experience plays in our overall “cognitive ecology,” we use these new insights to more effectively assess the likely behavioral impact of museum exhibits, content and programming. A novel science-informed design process allows us to consider the neurobiology of identity, emotion, and belonging in content design, which can lead to entirely new and more effective programs to generate positive social change. Using case studies from Kenya, Maryland and Jordan, the Beyond Conflict team will discuss the framework, how it has been applied, and how these new results and new methods of assessment promise to increase the scope and impact of our cultural institutions on the communities they serve.