Just spent a little while taking a brief but enjoyable gambol in this new gallery/museum-based social media project, Creative Spaces. It’s a beta version, but already creates a great model of how to make collections more accessible, and how to let the public use material that might otherwise be gathering dust. I should get out more, I know, but I do like the idea of not having to travel to museums.
Creative Spaces is based on the idea of creating groups and notebooks around subject areas. They have access to the digital archives of nine major galleries and museums, including the Tate, the Imperial War Museum, the V&A, the Natural History Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. The photo on the right is from a notebook created by one user titled My Dream Green Home, which uses the collections to find inspiraton for modern green living. It shows a wartime community garden in Worcestershire in 1943, courtesy of the Imperial War Museum. The original caption reads:
The English village is a closely knit community, its inhabitants good neighbours who share their labours and their surplus produce. It is thus good ground on which to organise wartime Food Production Clubs to produce more food and save shipping space and transport. Clubs are run by villagers, with help from County Authorities. At Rowney Green, Worcester, a club helps villagers to cultivate more land, keep pigs, poultry and bees. Seeds and fertilizers are bought wholesale through the club, advice comes from the County Authority through Mr S T Buckley assistant instructor in horticulture.
It was a similar photograph taken in the US that inspired artist Amy Franceschini to start the Victory Gardens project in 2007. Amy was one of the artists I met in California last week; more of that soon.
Anyway, Creative Spaces is a really excellent project. They’re looking for people to get stuck in and beta test it, so go along and try it out. Myself? I’d like to see an advanced search facility, but I’m sure there are plenty of other tweaks that you could suggest…