Letting Go

Curating and story telling from the bottom up

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In September 2011, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage published Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World. The book investigates path-breaking public history practices at a time when the traditional expertise of museums and historical institutions is constantly challenged by evolving trends in technology, community-based programming, oral histories, and contemporary art.

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The anthology features 26 newly commissioned thought pieces, case studies, conversations, and artworks by 19 leading cultural practitioners, including Nina Simon, Michael Frisch, Kathleen McLean, Fred Wilson, and more. These contributors address questions of ownership in the world of Web 2.0 and social media—can everyone be a storyteller or curator?

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To help investigate these questions, I needed to design a book that highlighted the diversity of content and opinions that the book contained, while simultaneously alluding to the uniqueness of each of their voices. To do this, I utilized a broad color palette, and assigned a unique color to each of the specific themes that the book covered. This allows the reader to thread specific themes together throughout the publication. I also used a mix of typefaces, ranging from serif, sans-serif to grotesque and slab-serif, each representing the emergence of new perspectives that consistently challenge the status quo in the museum world.

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