Voices of Cultural Memory: Oral/Aural Storytelling in the Museum


Operating at the intersection of museum studies and cultural memory studies, this project investigates the role of the voice, and different forms of mediating the human voice through audioguides, in the production of cultural memory in the museum. The researchers will collate and synthesize existing case studies in which the voice is crucial in the construction and activation of memory communities in museum or art exhibition contexts. Furthermore, they will test various kinds of audioguides in the upcoming Stedelijk Museum exhibition I am a native foreigner: mono-aural vs. binaural/3D recordings; interactive and multilayered storytelling and visitor exchange, as well as live storytelling, in which the voice is heard directly, and the artist can be seen in a real-life performance. The use of technology in creating empathy and allowing visitors intimate participation in memory cultures of migration will help make the museum a space of societal inclusion. Using structured interviews with visitors, as well as the theoretical lens of cultural memory studies, the researchers will conceptualize how the voice can be employed in museum settings to offer an immersive experience that invokes and produces cultural memory and empathy in visitors.

Working together with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Big Orange (and Amsterdam-based audio design expert) this project aims to theorize the use of voice in museums, and to offer conceptually grounded practical advice to the museum about how to create audioguides that engage visitors socially and culturally through the use of cultural memory.





Dr. L.M.F. Bertens

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Leiden, Faculteit der Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen, Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS)


29/06/2017 tot 30/07/2018