Putting Curation in Context

We learn better when we can be immersed in actual context.  As you learn the tasks to be performed you also learn how the environment interacts with the content which is critical to success. This is why isolated, separated from the work context, event style training often falls short.

Some learned skills though are more hidden, the outputs are the only evidence of the work performed as the majority of the process happen within ones mind.  Artists are a good example.  Yes, many artists learned techniques and tools and those are visible but the decision-making and planning of a great work is happening inside the artists brain, often in micro-instances.  We often only see the work forming but not until its “done” can it be appreciated and meaning made.

Curation is a similar, hidden process. There are many definitions and practices of curation today and many have long been held by academia and in institutions like Zoos and Museums.  Similar to the work of a traditional curator, content curators must understand their audience, select and discard various pieces, and tell a story that benefits the audience and influences their opinions and behavior.  Curation as a marketing activity is more widely known. These corporate curators sift through the Web and share works of others as a means to inform and educate consumers, thus increasing their company’s value in their eyes.

Content creation for learning has grown exponentially with Web 2.0 as well. Articles, video, audio, demonstrations, step-by-steps, strategy pieces, etc are churned out world-wide from practitioners and experts alike. Today, as Dr. Clark Quinn stated, Curation Trumps Creation. Successful individuals are practicing PKM or Personal Knowledge Management and when doing so deliberately and in the open, they become the curators of digital content; separating the wheat from the chaff and helping others to makes sense of it all.

Like the exhibits seen at a museum, much of this curation work is done in the heads of a curator making it very difficult to understand the “how” of curation not just the “what.”  It’s time to have them Work Out Loud!  With this challenge in mind I set out to work with our local CNY ASTD chapter to put curation in context and immerse the curious in the world of curation to better understand its historic and modern value.  On July 31st The Everson Museum of Art and CNY ASTD are joining forces for From Art to Information: Curation – a Strategy.

The event will start by plunging attendees into the most common setting for curation. For the first hour will be led by  David Prince, Curator of the Syracuse University Collections. David has intimate knowledge of the galleries at the Everson Museum and will lead the group through various exhibits discussing the backstory of the curation process; why the pieces were selected and others not? Is there a reason behind the way pieces are displayed? What story was the curator trying to tell? Were they successful? The attendees will have the opportunity to look beyond the Art and engage a Curator to dig deeper into the principles and practices.

In the second half David Kelly, Program Director for the eLearning Guild, will pick up where David Prince leaves off and share why and how individuals and organizations are curating digital content. David is uniquely qualified as a conference curator and international speaker on learning and performance in the information age. He will share how curation can help individuals and organizations focus on the most relevant and critical information to meet their needs. He will lead an examination of various examples where curation is used for learning, and some of the tools that are used for curation purposes.

I expect the event will deepen attendees understanding of curation and accelerate their own as well as their organizations curation practice.  If it isn’t obvious, I’m extremely excited to be a part of something that can bring personal and organization benefits to so many in Central New York.  If you’re in the area or can make it into town on July 31st. click here to register and join us for an enlightening evening!

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