Workshop: Knowledge graphs as a means to critically describe museum collections (Aarhus University, 9 Oct 2023)

On Monday 9 October, I gave a workshop for the students of Prof. Magda Tyzlik-Carver in the Critical Data Studies programme.

The workshop was conceptualized as a collaboration between critical collection studies and critical data studies. The idea was to look at social issues in art museums and think about the role of data. We read short descriptions of social issues in 19th-century paintings and then tried to map them as a graph. I shared work I had done with students of art history and my own research on painting collections The goal was to produce for a small group of paintings critical diagrams of their social context.

This exercise was meant as an intervention against the usual concept of museum databases, where you would only have a very limited scope of metadata – e.g. artist name, date, title, medium, provenance – and then a description in the online catalogue, very often lacking a deeper assessment of the social function of art and collecting.

One of the graphs the students in Aarhus created, based on a student publication titled “Images of the World” which had come out of a seminar together with Freya Schwachenwald in the summer term 2022. These graphs were done in Graphviz, this means they were written as code of nodes and edges, which then is rendered as a diagram. This necessitates to think of critical arguments as logical concepts and contextualizations that can be mapped. This is a step towards bringing these arguments and concepts in touch with museum data, this could be done for example in a semantic web environment such as Wikidata.

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Lukas Fuchsgruber (2023, 12. Oktober). Workshop: Knowledge graphs as a means to critically describe museum collections (Aarhus University, 9 Oct 2023). Nullmuseum. Abgerufen am 25. Februar 2024, von

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