The Moveable Museum of Found Objects (2011-15)

An online self-initiated, self-funded project with an offline touring element which was commissioned by a variety of organisations.

The Moveable Museum of Found Objects evolved from a self-initiated enquiry led project called ‘We Found Art,’ developed to think with, and through a piece of post-graduate research that I was working on at the time. This research explored the ways in which social-media projects, developed by artists, were challenging traditional models of participation in the arts.

We Found Art explored notions of value and beauty in objects that had been lost, forgotten, or discarded. Over the course of six months, I used Twitter and FaceBook to invite people to post their small found objects to me, along with a note of where they were found and why they were chosen. I received 203 objects from across the UK and beyond and cultivated a thriving project community. The objects were catalogued and accessioned, as they would were they to be joining a gallery or museum collection, and professionally photographed.

To acknowledge and value the contributions of the We Found Art community, I carefully curated the project’s crowdsourced collection within the cupboards and drawers of my 1980s 5 birth caravan. This became The Moveable Museum of Found Objects and toured widely across the East Midlands, taking a museum experience to unexpected places and unsuspecting audiences. Without fail, no matter where I pitched up, the familiar space of the caravan combined with the surprise of its unusual collection and location encouraged interaction from audiences who ordinarily may not have considered visiting a museum.

I was commissioned to tour the Moveable Museum of Found Objects within a variety of different contexts by:

  • The Bathing Beauties Festival, Mablethorpe
  • The Mighty Creatives
  • Transported
  • The University of Lincoln (DESIS-UK)
  • Education Development Trust (formerly the Centre for British Teachers)
  • NK Arts Partnership
  • First Art

The experience of developing a project that inhabited both digital and physical environments provided me with rich insights into how web 2.0 technology effects the creation, distribution and consumption of the arts and its relationship with the live experience. It also helped me to create a model of working to make participative social media led projects both a viable and democratic component of my practice. I’ve been commissioned to write articles and speak at conferences about this project, please visit my research pages to find out more.

You can also view a little film about the Moveable Museum of Found Objects here.

You can view a slideshow of images from this project here.