Reflector and the International Slavery Museum

The first update on the progress of our Reflector project.

We're researching what connected objects may mean for a collection of rare archaeological objects associated with the Transatlantic Slave Trade. These are objects that are so fragile, precious, and emotional that they are often displayed behind a piece of glass in a museum, or worse, boxed up in shelved storage somewhere.


What if these artefacts were instead curated by a physical object and displayed in a school classroom, presented to the class every few days in a thought-provoking format. What if there was built-in commentary, allowing you to react, reflect, comment or ask questions? Could these comments then enrich the experience of the next person to reflect on that artefact?


Since the kick off workshop we’ve been working on the proposition and developing our thinking:


During the course of the project we will explore.

Can connected objects facilitate reflective experiences?

Can connected objects enable rich engagement with historical artefacts in non-traditional environments?

Are such objects and experiences meaningful to people such as users, museums, archaeologists and academics?

What kinds of interactions encourage reflection?


To begin to answer these questions we have to understand how cultural institutions are working outwith museums to engage school groups. We have established a relationship with the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, who will act as a user group and provide expert guidance and context for the project.  


This panel is made up of the three members of their Education Team, a Curator, and Head of Archaeology. We hope that designing for a specific audience will lead to a re-useable platform, which is transferable to other cultural institutions.


The first step in understanding how we develop our thinking is for University of Bristol and Uniform to facilitate an ideas session at the ISM to gauge their reaction to some experience prototype concepts.