Perceiving the art museum: Investigating visitation and non-visitation in Cyprus and abroad
thesisposted on 11.02.2010, 10:52 by Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert
The purpose of this research is to understand people’s perceptions regarding art museums and galleries and the way these perceptions influence their visitation decisions. This study explores the factors influencing museum perceptions, the way perceptions are formed, and their function in the contemporary environment of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. With the help of in-depth, semi-structured interviews, and by merging sociological and psychological approaches which appear in the existing literature, a conceptual model was created. According to this conceptual model, socio-cultural, individual, and environmental factors shape our spectacles of perception and therefore the way we make sense of the world around us. I explore the significance of power relations (engaging with Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital) and the way in which individuals construct and maintain selfidentity through the drawing of symbolic boundaries. One of the main outcomes of this study is the identification of different filters, named museum perceptual filters, which “colour” our spectacles of perception and force us to view and use art museums in different ways. The 8 museum perceptual filters identified in this study are the following: (a) professional, (b) art-loving, (c) self-exploration, (d) cultural tourism, (e) social visitation, (f) romantic, (g) rejection, and (h) indifference filter.