Project Type: <span>Experience Design</span>

Natural History Museum

A major research and consultation project working with curatorial and Learning teams to develop a new Children’s Gallery, a global international education initiative, onsite programming and online activities. We worked alongside the teams onsite on remotely to establish the guiding principles for the project, develop key interpretive themes and programming which engages young people with caring for and understanding their immediate natural environments and ecosystems as well as those globally.

The research explored how to:

  • Optimise the experience of the new Children’s Gallery, through activities on themes of Wild Voices, connecting with animals’ lives in different habitats.
  • Lift barriers of access to schools, families and groups with intersecting factors of disadvantage or SENDs, by consulting them, travelling to settings with activities, and easing their experience of the NHM as a whole.
  • Inspire and acknowledge young children as imaginative friends of the natural world, and provide templates for partners in the GEI, through online resources for digital and real-world play and nature connection.
  • Develop skills of adults (including NHM staff and volunteers) to reconnect with nature and support children through a ’School of Nature Play’.
  • To do action research as the activities are developed, to serve the global initiatve with insights.

Museum of London: Before London

We were commissioned by Museum of London to carry out formative research to inform the design of the Before London gallery at their new site in Smithfield Market. MoL wanted to understand what objects their target visitor groups would respond to, their reactions to the proposed graphical and illustation styles and how people understand the timespan of pre-history.

Working with the Museum’s curators, Learning team and designers, we ran a number of collaborative and interactive online consultation workshops which explored the materials from the galleries in detail. Flow carefully recruited a breadth of visitors and non-visitors representing adults and teachers and led sessions discussing and exploring content to understand their reactions, understanding and interests. With teachers we spoke in depth about how they teach pre-history at Key Stage 2 and how physical visits to the museums, the interpretation and in-gallery design would support learning about London, the environment, it’s people and their lives.

The research was presented in person to the clients with Flow leading a discussion on it’s insights and a written report and a full appendix of material provided.

With Flow’s expertise in Experience Design and Museum Learning, we love to work with clients on formative research. If you are looking to clarify or test approaches to new exhibitions or projects, we would love to talk with you about how we can help you design the best for your visitors.

Long Live Southbank – The Undercroft

We are working with the skaters at Southbank’s Undercroft to help them to tell their story of change. Following a successful fundraising campaign and refurbishment project, LLSB and the Southbank Centre hope to see the skatespot being used by more girls and young people.

We will be working with LLSB and Southbank until 2022, observing the space, collecting data and interviewing skaters about their experience. Our baseline research in 2019 revealed a multi-cultural, multi talented community, and data captured since shows their potential to develop and thrive.

Museum of London – Talking Point

The Talking Point Gallery is an opportunity for Museum of London curators, designers, engagement and learning staff to create, test and learn from content ideas which will feed into the development of the new museum site at Smithfield Market in 2025. Museum visitors were invited to test and respond to content,and museum staff were encouraged to push their boundaries in terms of the way content is displayed and interpreted.

Flow worked with staff to identify the aims of the gallery and with volunteers to develop an evaluation toolkit to capture visitors responses in the space. The Hair exhibition combined interaction and experiential moments alongside objects from the collection. The design and interpretation evolved over the course of its run to prototype and test responses to displays and interpretation.

The project culminated in a report and set of recommendations about prototyping spaces and creating experiential galleries.

Scarborough Museums Trust

Scarborough Museums Trust is formed of the Rotunda Museum, Scarborough Art Gallery and Woodend House. Working across Collections, Exhibitions and Curatorial Flow helped build a Story of Change for the Trust to align their ambitions and identify their impacts. From this we created an audience development strategy and evaluation tools which will evidence and provide guidance as they work towards the future.

Flow is also supporting the Futurelab exhibition which is bringing three contemporary practitioners into the Art Gallery to re-imagine and explore what the Trust’s spaces can do for the people of the town.

Experience Design

Flow UK’s new director, Susanne Buck brings expertise in Experience Design, a practice that sits perfectly with our principle of ‘flow’. It looks specifically at the experience people have while visiting a show, exhibition, event or retail space. It’s a way of looking holistically at the design of content, marketing and visitor services. By focusing on the quality of audience engagement, the emotional journey, and the ideas stimulated by an experience we can improve these greatly. This has been understood in the museum world for many years but in articulating this practice, and applying creative tools, we can turn it into a powerful tool for design and evaluation.

In her work at Central St Martins Susanne has taught courses, alongside Creative Producer Pigalle Tavakkolli, aimed at brand managers, product designers, curators and marketers from the UK and abroad. She also designs and facilitates bespoke workshops for practitioners wishing to address a challenge they are facing in their company. Previous clients include HIVE – a healthcare communications agency and Guerilla Science, who wanted to learn how to use narrative as a tool in their work.