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Title: Towards conflict resolution and collaborative consensus-making : a participatory approach to architecture design in the Nottingham Natural History Museum, Wollaton Hall
Author: Zhang, Licheng
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 9729
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2016
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Public engagement in museum design has been widely discussed and practiced. Public engagement not only inspires the participants’ interests and creativity, but also significantly increases the communication between the museum and participants. To date, however, most museum engagement projects have only focused on the exhibition design, while very few projects try to discuss public participation in the architecture design of museum. Therefore, this thesis sets out to find the most appropriate way that members of the public can participate in the architecture design of a museum. To answer this question, the thesis firstly reviews the history of museums, which explains that the purposes of museums have been extended from collection and preservation to exhibition, education and communication. What is more important, public participation in museum exhibition has become a new form of communication that remarkably improves the visitors’ experience. However, there is no doubt that the design of the museum building also plays a vital role in communicating with the local residents. The relationship between the museum building and society is intimate. The focus of the thesis then shifts to the theories of participatory architecture design that normally consists of architects, museum staff and members of the public. The professionals and laypeople normally have quite different knowledge and experience of architecture design. Therefore, a typical difficulty in processing the participatory architecture design is judging and structuring the different ideas. More specifically, one of the key issues of this thesis is how to deal with the power dominance and conflicts in participation that exists in this area. Following this issue, the thesis deduces the relationship between control and communication. On the one hand, the participation should minimise the control that exists in order to offer an open atmosphere for communication; on the other hand, communication should take place under a form/type of control that restricts the powerful or talkative participants from dominating any discussion. Furthermore, the conflict-resolving and collaborative consensus-making activities are two further essential aspects in participation. By comparing many different participation methods, Idea Rating Sheets (IRSs) and Consensus Mapping (CM) are considered as the two most appropriate methods in the architecture design of the museum. Idea Rating Sheets (IRSs) were created by Jason Diceman who is an expert on facilitation and public participation. Diceman has been the Senior Public Consultation Coordinator for the City of Toronto since 2010. Consensus Mapping (CM) is created by Stuart L. Hart, professor emeritus in the Johnson School of Management, Cornell University. He is one of the world's top authorities on the implications of environment and poverty for business strategy. Therefore, the main research question of this thesis is; “What is the performance of IRSs (Idea Rating Sheets) and CM (Consensus Mapping) in resolving conflicts and reaching collaborative consensus in the participatory architecture design of the museum?” It is difficult to describe the performance generally, so the thesis divides the main question into eight sub-questions. Regarding the eight sub-questions, a mixed methods research approach has been adopted: questionnaires, interviews and observations. Meanwhile, there are two pilot studies: 1) the testing of IRSs performance in judgment-making; and 2) the testing of questionnaires and interviews. Based on the two pilot studies, the author set up a participation workshop, specifically using the IRSs and CM in the architecture design of Nottingham Natural History Museum, Wollaton Hall. The workshop consists of Phase One (Group A) and Phase Two (Group B). The two phases have slightly different features in order to test the performance of IRSs and CM in different situations. Each group consists of an architect, a member of the museum staff, several local residents, a facilitator and an observer. Although this thesis mainly studies the participatory architecture design, the participants in the workshop actually discussed both architecture and exhibition design. By analysing the large amount of data collected, it can be argued that: 1) IRSs quantitatively and qualitatively support the production of options and judgments; 2) IRSs benefit the equal chance of expression, but the facilitator should also ask the participants individually for their responses; and 3) IRSs encourage the participants to express in-depth ideas and transfer any conflicts that emerge to achieve consensus. In addition to these points, the thesis also discussed the advantages and disadvantages of using the workshop and mixed research methods in the participation study. The conclusion of this thesis not only offers practical suggestions for participatory architecture design, but also informs potential future research topics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: NA Architecture