Participatory and Co-Design in Libraries, Archives, and Museums

In an effort to broaden our exposure to the fields of Participatory and Co-design, throughout the fall of 2019 and early 2020, members of the Digital Scholarship Group team studied these design techniques, mainly how they can be implemented in different fields and on different scales, how they can be used to used in meeting settings, and how they can impact the design of cultural heritage institutions. 

This research has culminated in a review document that explores examples of Participatory and Co-Design in nine different libraries, archives, and museums; each with their own unique way of implementing Participatory and Co-design into their institution. The document gives a brief explanation of Participatory and Co-Design and why these methods are important to cultural heritage, provides the nine examples along with explanations and further readings, discusses Participatory and Co-Design in other forms of cultural heritage, and gives examples of another popular participation design method often used in cultural heritage organizations: crowdsourcing. 

Our hope is with this document, those who have an interest in the fields of Participatory and Co-Design can learn more about how they are being used in cultural heritage sites. We recognize that Participatory and Co-Design can be wonderful in theory while also being quite intimidating and difficult when being executed. With this document readers can learn through examples how Participatory and Co-Design can be put into practice. 

These examples are here to show readers that they should not be afraid of implementing Participatory and Co-Design, for they can lead to fantastic and worthwhile results that can permanently change organizations for the better. We hope that this document helps readers gather ideas on how to conduct Participatory and Co-design, and inspire them to use it to better community outreach and participation in their own  organizations. 

*Disclaimer: This review is mainly filled with documentation pulled from other works. Usually a review such as this would simply cite source material and link out to it for readers to look through at their own discretion. However, as information on the internet may move or be taken down, in the interest of this review’s readers, highlights have been copied and pasted from their original locations into this document, with citations and links back to the original. The Digital Scholarship Group in no way takes credit for these writings, but believes that they are valuable educational tools that will benefit readers.

PDF of Co-design document: LAM Co-Design Examples.