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This essay seeks to identify and analyse the underlying theme and sub-themes resulting from the qualitative analysis of this transcribed interview, between an interviewer and a member of staff from the Metro Gallery. The member of staff, Kate, was asked questions in relation to her roles as a curator, the expertise required, work ethics, and its implications towards the organisation and the public as a whole. The interview was conducted in March 2016.   

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Analytic Procedure
The primary method used to analyse this transcript is grounded theory. It allows for the systematic presentation of data, through concurrently categorising, summarising and labelling each piece of information. (Charmaz, 2006) As the subsequent themes that emerged are ‘grounded’ in the data itself, this method formed the basis on which I constructed my concepts and analysed them. 

As part of the first steps of making analytic interpretations, initial coding was used. (ibid.) I started by reading the transcript multiple times, each time picking out repeated words, or terms with meanings that overlapped. Codes were then built using a “what, when, where, how, why approach” to specific areas of the data. (Scott and Howell, 2008) As recurring codes began to appear, grouping them allowed me to establish a pattern, and identify important ideas surrounding Kate’s responses. After initial coding, I used incident to incident coding by comparing and cross-referencing similar groups of codes across the different situations that Kate experienced in the organisation. (Charmaz, 2006) For example, similar codes that appeared when Kate was explaining her involvement in the events “Masks, Shapes and Symbols” and “Painting in the Wake of Performance” was processed together. Due to the nature of this type of coding, processing the data changed and became non-linear, as I was constantly required to compare new codes with previously generated codes. I chose not to adopt the line by line coding approach in this situation as this may not generate new ideas or categories due to many similarities in the wording between the questions posted to Kate, and the terms used in the responses. 
Usage of memos were effective in validating emerging categories, as it was a reminder to challenge my thought processes and presumptions that might otherwise be overlooked by the codings. (Corbin and Strauss, 2008) Though some of the initial codes appeared to be disjunct and irrelevant, memos helped to bridge understandings between each code, and in turn connected the information gaps. Similarly with the codes, low-inference descriptors were used to record these memos so that the data can retain its reliability. (Silverman, 2013) As a move from descriptive coding to the conceptualisation of categories and themes, axial coding was used to bring the separate and scattered data back together. In this section, interrelated categories were joined together on a conceptual plane rather than a descriptive one. This method was adopted to link categories and sub-categories together. I also revisited the text again to note the frequencies of occurrences of specific words in the codes or sub-categories, in order to determine the main theme. (Corbin and Strauss, 2008)

The last process before the conceptualisation of the main theme was selective coding. At this stage, identification of the central theme was achieved through forming definitive relationships between the categories. (Scott and Howell, 2008) In addition to constructing the theory through grounded theory, I have also used findings of other research papers to support my analysis. 

Identification of Key Themes
Through in-depth analysis I identified a central theme with three main sub-themes, all of which are interconnected. The intrinsic versus educational value of art was the central issue surrounding this interview, with recurring clashing ideologies between treating art as an experiential process and art as an educational tool. The three sub-themes that together produced the central theme are: collaborations, conflicts, and reconciliations.

Further analysis of these sub-themes produced concepts that are key to supporting the central theme. Within collaborations, codes such as hybrids, across boundaries and network were highlighted. Conflicts form the main crux of the sub-themes with codes like ambiguity, definable, and criteria while in reconciliations balance and public-oriented were the main concepts. For the purpose of this essay, only learning roles, curatorial roles, artistic involvement, and schools will be discussed due to limitations of only analysing one qualitative source.

Analysis and Findings- Collaborations
Roles within a museum organisation has been rapidly changing over the past two decades. Whilst there are still separate roles that members of staff should undertake, job scopes between these roles are gradually getting “blurred” interdepartmentally. For museums it is the beginning of a paradigm shift with the incorporation of educational materials into the exhibition design, where curators integrated educational resources into the exhibitions rather than adding it like an afterthought. (Samis)

Through the transcript, Kate’s role in the Metro Gallery as a curator has evolved through the decades. Originally part of the performance department that seeks to “integrate performance as an art form” and not just “an extra-curricular activity”, she had since transitioned to working alongside the Learning department through interdepartmental collaborations on projects. Kate’s repeated use of the term “network”, such as a “big network of people”, “networked institution”, and “a network of knowledge” while describing the organisation suggests that the organisation is very much interconnected at its core. With the intricacies of working in large teams, good “functioning working relationships” are crucial to the organisation. On a foundational level good communication skills are key to progress in this work environment. 

Through project collaborations, hybrid events that focuses on both quality performances and educational benefits are produced. With the inclusion of a third stakeholder, the artists themselves, changes are evident towards how galleries view artistic programming. As artists are gaining more control, and hence contributing, to the programme of their performances, resultant projects included “lecture performances”, “straight lectures”, or “panel discussions”. This comes as the direct result of shifting expectations towards what putting up a good event entails. (Marty, 2004) As all three stakeholders have been invested in the planning process, the resulting hybrid event will naturally also produce hybrid main take-aways among the visitors.

School collaborations is another factor that Metro Gallery looks towards. As a lot of artists who work in the gallery work in school settings as well, learning and performance resources are bound to extend past materials made available to schools. Schools and Metro Gallery also function as part of a cyclic role. The gallery “informs”, or influences how art is taught in schools through the provision of resources that both supports existing teaching guidelines, and challenges the traditional thinking in school settings at the same time. (Stone, 1993) Simultaneously, schools respond by implementing new educational materials towards current teaching methods. Coupled with “allowing space” for students to think, students are better able to develop creatively. Metro Gallery can then feed into the developing “good practice”, and this leads to a healthy “interconnected” collaboration, across organisation boundaries, that function through a cyclic system of call and response.  

Analysis and Findings- Conflicts
One of the main issues arising from the analysis is the differing priorities brought into the programming by the learning department and curatorial department. The main purpose of the learning department would be to educate visitors, in which they actively facilitate meaning-making that would enable learning. (Silverman, 1995) As learning is now seen as an active participation of the learner with the exhibition space, with any gallery or museum, the effectiveness of the exhibit is more often than not measured through the educational potential of it. (Hein, 1998) To achieve these goals, “in depth academic research” and “comparing” with other institutions is crucial. Whilst this is in line with the aims and objectives of any gallery or museum, from a curator’s perspective, and by extension an artist’s perspective, the “experiential” would be their priority for their visitors. As emphasised by Kate, “performance programme has always gone against the grain of what the institution’s set up for”. (p. 2) The curatorial department focuses heavily on “on the ground research” and “going to great lengths to see art.” In this respect, in addition to intellectual involvement as with the learning department, there is greater emotional involvement in their work as well, which therefore translates to a different set of criteria, or expected outcomes, out of any project. 

Another conflict between these two departments are the differing ideologies behind the terms “art” and “learning”. For the curatorial department, art is a form of “human practice that doesn’t really have any criteria”. Indeed art provides a different experience to each individual, and has no measurable learning as to whether a person has gained more out of a exhibition. Even if no definitive take-aways can be seen, the intrinsic value of art stays the same (ie. does not depreciate), as it is defined to be “outside any requirement” to achieve anything. However with the learning department, there is a need for art to be presented as educational, a “requirement to achieve something”. The educational value of art is thus increased when learning outcomes can be measured and accessed, when it becomes definable. It is particularly interesting to note that Kate could present her thoughts in a clear and concise manner when asked to elaborate on main take-aways on an educational platform. However from a curating or experiential level, she was unable to directly pinpoint what she personally hopes visitors could take-away from the exhibits. This is further seen through the many ellipses in the transcript, (p.4) which shows her hesitations when she is unable to find the right words to explain herself. Ultimately, it becomes much harder to define learning objectives from an artistic perspective compared to a educational point of view. As the two departments have contrasting ideologies behind how they produce their projects, tension exists when their programming differences gets “presented as being the same thing”. Though Kate acknowledges that it is hard to distinguish the programming differences on a general public level, there becomes a consistent need to negotiate and mediate internally. 

Lastly, differing emphasis between the learning and curatorial departments creates a difficult ambiguity within the organisation. In the curatorial department, the emphasis is on the artist and the performance or exhibit, and only after would it be about building the “theoretical stuff”, or learning, that surrounds the art form. However with the learning department the inverse occurs, whereby stress is on the pedagogical theory and artists are of secondary importance that function as a supporting role to the learning purposes and outcomes. With regard to performances, the curatorial department emphasises on the experiential again, thinking about avant-garde ways to utilise an old space, and transforming it to become a space for maximum experience. Curators value the “authenticity of encounter” above the theoretical learning. The learning department on the other hand chooses to value the provision of succinct, “packaged information” to maximise visitors’ learning outputs, to the extent of interpreting the art form for the visitors. 

Analysis and Findings- Reconciliations
As learning in a museum or gallery space is inevitably cross disciplinary, these spaces need to operate with visitor experience in mind. (Hooper-Greenhill, 1999) While looking at this bigger picture, both departments should aim to put forth their projects in ways that are “understandable” to their audience. To curators and artists, the decision to perform or exhibit a work is derived from the notion that it evokes a personal, emotional, or mental response, but in such instances, if the generic public is unable to grasp the intended meaning from it, the message will not be translated or received no matter how good or highly valued this art is. Similarly, although museums and galleries are an educational institution at its core, if the learning department constantly generates only information in the form of write ups or panels, and not utilise other visual or auditory formats to enhance learning processes, learning becomes a two dimensional linear approach. Therefore, compromises through careful negotiations should be achieved in order to strike the right balance. 

This transcript highlights various stakeholders- the learning department, curatorial department, schools, and artists, and their attitudes and considerations towards the intrinsic and educational value of art. Although differing in many ways, departments within the organisation should work towards producing programs that are public-orientated as their ultimate aim. As such, programs put forth should be “partly didactic” and “partly experiential”. Though this analysis is able to capture relationships and dynamics between these stakeholders, the resulting theory is limited in significance, due to the fact that differing museums are likely to adopt different internal working models. Furthermore, these are also the opinions of a single member of staff. A factor that could be improved on with this interview would be to discuss possible failed projects, or highly successful ones, that resulted from a collaboration between the learning and curatorial departments, so as to understand the limitations or strengths of each department. This in turn could spark further research into the effectiveness of collaboration projects within educational and artistic organisations. Another possible branch to research into would be analysing the differing weight of influence, between the learning and curatorial department, over a project, so that these organisations are able to compare and make an informed decision as to the balance to strike when programming an exhibition or performance. With further analysis of in-depth interviews in Metro Gallery, parallel comparisons can also be drawn and further codings and sub themes can be connected to this existing analysis. 


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