LAB 5: (in) relationships — challenging / (un)learning / breaking open

LAB 5 “(in) relationships — challenging / (un)learning / breaking open” is a cooperation between the departments Museum Education and Public Relations / Marketing. The Lab is concerned with the relationships between people, objects and the museum as an institution.  How are these relationships formed and how can they be changed? Lab 5 deals with these questions, focusing on the two main themes of “language” and “space”. The topic of language is essential for a museum and for the transfer of knowledge. Texts for catalogues and exhibitions, calendars of events, press releases and other information materials are media that speak with and to the visitors. As a museum we take a position in relation to this by consciously designing these texts. The same is true for the handling and use of images. We will also be addressing this in Lab 5. 

Most important is: language is not just language! Just like society, it is always in a state of flux. As a museum we address a very wide variety of visitors. Thus, it is important to communicate in writing and in conversation in a contemporary and diversity-oriented way. Lab 5 examines how we as a museum can communicate in a non-discriminatory, gender-neutral and easy language. As one of the first steps, a library was set up in the LindenLAB, which over time will be filled with relevant publications on these topics. In this way the museum staff and visitors have an opportunity to engage with the current discussion, the current state of research and also personal experience reports.

In the spirit of multiperspectivity, the Lab 5, together with representatives of other museums, (local) organizations, initiatives and actors in the urban society, would like to reflect on the museum’s handling of language to date in order to develop new guidelines. This process will deliberately involve external expertise in order to obtain different perspectives on existing texts and formulations and to learn together.

What does it mean to write non-discriminatory and gender-neutral texts? How can we make texts easier to understand through the use of simple language? How can we adapt our everyday spoken language? What familiar structures may have to be disrupted for this purpose? Which images do we use and which not? How do we use them? Which images must be contextualized or abstracted?

As a second focus, Lab 5 is concerned with space. Together with experts, we are exploring what kind of space is needed for new forms of cooperation. What can a museum look like that invites visitors and encourages them to help shaping it? What architectural changes are needed for this? What means/tools should such a space provide? How should it be designed so that as many different people as possible want to use it and get involved? And how do such processes transform knowledge in museums and their exhibitions? We understand the LindenLAB as a field of experimentation that will take on different forms, functions and purposes over time.

For Lab 5, the process and its effects are the focus of attention. What we learn should be incorporated into the future self-understanding of the museum.