Understanding and mapping perspectives

This framing helps an individual, group or organisation to understand where they are, in terms of the environment in which they use their digital skills and literacy – currently or in the future. This helps to locate relevant spheres of activity, influence and support, and identify appropriate inputs and outputs to support their digital skills and literacy development and deployment. 

It’s useful to think, at any one time, where are you on this framing? How does where you are affect your perspective and how you do the things that you do? The framing is broken down into five perspectives, intended to challenge the assumption that the only perspective for museum people to consider is the organisational one.

Personal perspective

This is about the individual as a human being, considering their particular skills and needs in the context of digital activity in their personal life. For example, through the use of social media in their personal life an individual might reflect on the impact this has on their needs relating to their online identity, their privacy or their relationships, as well as the specific technical skills and knowledge they may need.

Organisation perspective

This focuses on the perspective of the individual in their role in a museum, for example as a curator, learning manager, marketing specialist, director, visitor services officer, trustee, or sometimes almost all of those things in the case of small organisations. It’s important for you to consider not only their primary organisational perspective but other, sometimes less formal, perspectives you hold; for example, in roles as managers, team leaders, advocates, mentors and so on. 

Network perspective

This perspective recognises the highly collaborative nature of the museum sector, and the presence of many effective peer networks of varying degrees of formality and focus – for example, GEM, Museums Computer Group and Museum Detox, to name but a few. These networks can provide a huge variety of potential advice, resources, and opportunities to a museum person in respect of their digital skills and knowledge, but can also be a forum for the museum person to offer, share and reflect on their own experiences and expertise in relation to digital skills and literacy. 

Sector perspective

This steps beyond the networks and out to the wider sector, covering the ways in which individuals relate to, have impact upon and are impacted by sector-wide policies, structures, initiatives, funding bodies and modes of operating. So it could, for example, relate to an individual sharing their challenges as a curator coping with new technologies at a sector conference on innovation.

Society perspective 

This focuses on the role of an individual in society in their capacity as a citizen. For a museum worker, you might also consider this perspective to reflect on your role supporting your museum to be an effective civic agent.

Mapping activity

Whilst it isn’t a necessity, you can use the simple circle framing below for this mapping activity. Draw it yourself on a piece of paper or in a Word Doc or copy and paste it from this resource. However you could just as easily list out each perspective and jot down notes underneath the headings. If you would like to do the activity collaboratively with other members of your team, online, you could use tools like Padlet, Miro or Google Jamboard.

Having a conversation is a great way to begin the process, as a way for people to collaboratively map and discuss the different environments in which they use their digital skills and literacy – currently or in the future. For example through these conversations, you might discover that your digital skills and literacies could be better utilised by existing networks, to share best practice and learn from colleagues across the sector.

This is a useful exercise to undertake to help understand potential barriers, challenges and opportunities as they present themselves within these different environments and contexts. It is a helpful exercise to help broaden your perspectives and consider your digital skills and literacies within these wider contexts.