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An information design approach to documenting live art: locating & empowering the document user

Traina, R. (2018) An information design approach to documenting live art: locating & empowering the document user. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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The live art community can access information about past live works through a variety of documents and documentation, but it might be argued that the designed printed published live art document pervades what is available, and is used by a wide range of live art interested readers (artists, academics, researchers, students, employees within the live art sector). Traditional documents of this kind typically adopt a top-down interpretative approach to communicating a past live work. In other words, they present the 'truth' of a live work's meaning, generally as per the artist's explanations, but also in line with the document producer's precise agendas. In contrast, this thesis pioneers a bottom-up approach, asking what documents of this kind should contain and look like, if they are to meet the desires, needs and preferences of their users. For this research project, the selected user is the live art postgraduate student. The thesis was guided by the principles and practices of information design. Information design provided frameworks for: • Eliciting user need, and in turn the content and structure of a user-driven prototype live art document; • Shaping the design and formal qualities of the prototype; and • Testing the prototype with end users Workshops and interviews with postgraduate students revealed a desire for richer descriptive data and better document and data transparency, as part of students' own drive to unearth the 'truth' of a live work. In response, the prototype documented the experience of 'what happened' during a selected live work. It employed subjective audience descriptions and documentary photographs as its key data, and adopted a design approach that prioritised user accessibility. Significantly, this research found that document design plays a crucial role in both negotiating our understanding of a live work's meaning, and empowering users to meet their personal research goals more effectively.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Dyson, M.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Arts and Communication Design
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Typography & Graphic Communication
ID Code:78952
Date on Title Page:2017

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