Developing successful exhibitions

Best practices to develop interactive exhibitions with hands on exhibits, multimedia, video installations and other new technologies and approaches.

7 - 11 November 2016, Adriatico Guesthouse, ICTP (Trieste)



Introduction to the course
Besides educational programmes and events, the cornerstone of science centres' and museums' communication are their exhibitions, that can be interactive, immersive and/or narrative, and use all kinds of media: video projections, historical objects, specimens, hands-on exhibits, new technologies such as virtual or augmented reality, etc.
The knowledge and skills required to participate in the development of such exhibitions are specialized, and many professionals with different roles are needed: scientific advisors, content developers, architects, designers, multimedia developers... What are the challenges and opportunities for exhibitions to communicate? How is exhibition design evolving, to become more engaging, participatory and ultimately more effective? How can the different roles of an exhibition team effectively blend and with an efficient schedule?
This interactive course will present and discuss the state-of-the-art of science exhibition development with particular focus on the possible different design approaches, helping participants to reflect on the relationship between the different media, contents and visitors' experience.

The course will last 5 days and include theoretical presentations, practical workshops and the presentation of international best practices. Course leaders and facilitators are professionals with an international experience in the field and in training. Keynote speakers will be leading professionals in the industry. Peer-to-peer learning will also be facilitated since it is expected attendees will come from different parts of the world and have interesting and varied profiles.

Architects, designers, scientists wishing to act as content developers or scientific advisors, and all who are required to collaborate to the development of interpretative exhibitions.

The course is organised in collaboration with the Association of Architects and Engineers of Trieste and entitles Italian architects to credits as in-service training.

Course overview

Day 1  - Course introduction
What is a "good" and what is a "bad" exhibition?
To whom?
Understanding visitors
Understanding organizations
Understanding wider audience

Day 2  - What and how?
Exhibitions as story telling
Themes, topics, stories and narrative
Creating environment and moods.
Developing learning objectives
Exploring visitors circulation and spaces

Day 3 - Which media?
Current design, media opportunities, technology trends
Objects, interactives, media, multi media and new technologies
The exhibitions development role play
Exhibition development: Phases and roles

Day 4 - How?
Commissioning and developing the exhibition
Exhibition development: Preparing a brief
Clients, commissions and professionals
Speakers discussion forum
1-1 problem solving

Day 5 - Can visitors contribute to exhibitions?
Evaluation and audience research: phases and methods
What you know and what you would like to know about your audiences?
Course evaluation


Philip Hughes, Designer and Project Director, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, London (United Kingdom)
Miha Kos, Director Hiša Eksperimentov, Ljubljana (Slovenija)
Laura Miotto, Design Director Gsmprjct, Singapore
Gordon Rankmore, Museum and Heritage Consultant, London (United Kingdom)
Paola Rodari, Project Manager, SISSA Medialab, Trieste (Italy)

Paola Rodari, JCOM Masterclasses Coordinator 
Gordon Rankmore, JCOM Masterclasses Programme Advisor