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Tiia & Street Art Museum Amsterdam!

I am Tiia and I come from Turku, Finland. I have been working for about 10 years in communication and cultural field. Turku is a very cute and cultural place to be, but I wanted to take the time to see something out of the box, so I came to experience Amsterdam and to do a one-month internship at SAMA to learn about community museums.

I did my master in digital culture and cultural heritage a few years ago and am now finishing a course in museology studies, so when looking for an internship the keywords for me were virtual reality and community museum. SAMA is a community museum who are working with virtual reality technology as a way to digitally preserve their collection. I’m happy that I got into those two themes during my stay and I learned about both. I had a little bit of previous experience about virtual and augmented reality. Working at SAMA, I’ve now gotten hands-on experience in how to write a script, block out, film and edit the video from scratch and all the variables that need to be juggled for a VR project. Before my internship at SAMA, I was excited but skeptical of the real value and use of VR content, but this experience made me o think that it is valid format when there’s a proper plan for how to use VR. Content is the king - again. I don’t know what other kinds of technology can restore and reproduce better the feeling of standing in front of a wall-sized mural after the mural is gone other than VR.

Photos by Tiia Suorsa (2019)

I have never worked with a museum similar to SAMA, so it was a very interesting experience for me to follow how the community-based eco-museum is working. While most museum can’t function the same way as SAMA, which is highly agile but at times unstructured, there is a need for bigger and smaller museums, traditional and experimental ones. This kind of smaller contemporary museums have ability to be laboratories for new and crazy ideas, make them happen and take risks, when bigger ones are moving carefully. Museums can benefit from each other by cooperating in a moment when they are ready to join the game. Not all ideas are helpful, but creating an environment where all ideas can be shared in order to bring the best ones to daylight is necessary.

Photos by Tiia Suorsa (2019)

Working with the community and using art as a tool to interact and collaborate was interesting. There were many different kinds of levels of understanding the meaning of one artwork: the experience of the locals living with the piece every day, the stories of the professional artists and by the artistic value each piece holds itself. I also learned the uniqueness of the collection management in street art museum. Think about any other museum where it would be normal that one day few artworks are gone forever without warning. That has happened recently in few places in the world, but in this kind of museum the thought is present and ruling management and planning all the time, it’s in the nature of street art and of SAMA.

During my internship, I got to know all the main parts of the museum: a great team with very diverse backgrounds, guided tours in different languages, internal and public workshops, openings and cooperation with the guys from Impact Hub.

Sometimes agile working tended to be scattered, but that’s the price of flexible and experimental working. I enjoyed the workshops with school kids as they were learning to express themselves on the wall of the museum and for example in return I wrote the new communication plan for the museum. Overall it opened my eyes and I got to see the museum world from a completely new perspective. I learned a lot about community museums and the ways to use VR content as part of the museum experience.

Photos by Tiia Suorsa (2019)

Thanks a lot for the great team and see you Amsterdam!

Tiia Suorsa

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