Since the mid-1990s, Esbjerg Art Museum has sought to find new ways of presenting modern art. At the same time we have initiated research into the experiences of the art museum audience. Our choice to work in this research area should be seen in connection with the fact that we, based on semiotics, regard the conveying of aesthetic experiences to our guest as our most important task.
Seen from our point of view it is through the encounter with the works that meaning and aesthetic experiences emerge.
This is why we continuously strive to create the best possible conditions for letting the works open up to our guests - and for making the guests open up to our works. The research programme that investigates both audience experiences and the dissemination work of the museum is a comprehensive one which lies at the very heart of the museum's efforts and activities, and it is fully integrated in the dissemination work of the museum. Thus the results of every single research activity will be used directly in exhibitions or new dissemination initiatives. And reversely, new dissemination initiatives may become the object of research-based investigation. All projects are carried out in cooperation with research psychologist Bjarne Sode Funch, Ph.D. During our cooperation, Bjarne Funch has obtained a doctorate based on his dissertation, The Psychology of Art Appreciation (Museum Tusculanum Press, 1997).
Since 2003, several external researchers have worked on the projects: Professor of Semiotics Per Aage Brandt (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio), Professor and composer Karl Aage Rasmussen (The Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus), Professor of Museology Eilean Hooper-Greenhill (University of Leicester), Ass. Prof. of Art History Anders Troelsen (Aarhus University), and Ass. Prof. of Art History Rune Gade (University of Copenhagen).