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A Durham male student demonstrates wearing a pair of eye tracking technology glasses at The Bowes Museum

Our researchers are part of an exciting new project working to enhance museum visitor experience by using ground-breaking eye-tracking technology.

Innovative eye-tracking technology

Professor Andy Beresford, from our School of Modern Languages and Cultures, is leading a team conducting experiments at the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, County Durham.

One hundred visitors who volunteer to take part will wear state-of-the-art eye-tracking glasses. The glasses will record their eye movements as they move around the galleries, as well as how long they have spent gazing at a particular display.

On returning the glasses, participants will be asked to complete a questionnaire about their visit.

The researchers will analyse the data from the glasses, and the questionnaires to understand if there is a distinction between the memory and the physical reality of each person’s gallery experience.

The second part of the study, taking place at the University, will involve 50 volunteers taking part in a fixed eye-tracking experiment. This will test the usefulness of the label information provided for a particular object or display and will show whether they need to be rewritten or redesigned.

Improving the museum’s visitor experience

It is hoped that the results will inform potential changes to improve the experience of visitors at the museum and how it presents its displays.

By looking at the data gathered from the two experiments we’ll be able to make recommendations on how and in what ways the visitor experience could be improved by remodelling and recontextualising the artworks on show in the Picture Galleries at The Bowes Museum.

Professor Andy Beresford
Durham University’s School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Find out more:

With sections regularly featuring in the top five in national league tables such as the Good University Guide and the Complete University Guide by Subject, our School of Modern Languages and Cultures offers expertise in a wide range of subjects, including language, literature, cultural history, cinema and visual culture, and translation. In the Complete University Guide by Subject 2024, it was ranked 4th for German, 5th for Asian Studies and Italian and 6th for French. 

The School also hosts the BA in Visual Arts and Film and MA Visual Culture. It has forged a ground-breaking partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI), bringing students the unique opportunity to learn from industry experts along with University-wide access to the BFI Player. 

Feeling inspired? Visit our Modern Languages and Cultures webpages for more information on our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. 

Durham University is a top 100 world university. In the QS World University Rankings 2024, we were ranked 78th globally.