Tate Britain displays British art from 1500 to today. Yes, it's a museum, but it's also like a big living room. All those works of art are yours.
Tate has devised a new way of looking at the Displays with a range of themed 'Collections'. These suggest a number of personal journeys you could take, reflecting different moods and enthusiasms and revealing the extraordinary breadth of work on show.
The general idea of Your Collection is that you can use it to virtually curate your own selection of works from the Tate's collection. This is a feature many galleries, museums and online image databases are interested in.
The Tate's sample Your Collection collections include like 'The I'm in a Hurry' collection, and 'The Rainy Day' collection. At first I thought these were 'user-generated content' (i.e. made by visitors to the site) which had been created, submitted and posted.
Then when I had a play at forming my own selection, I discovered a few things:
- You can only pick from about 40 images - not from the Tate's online collection
- Your 'exhibition' must have 6 images - any less and you're sent back to the storeroom
- You can't submit your collection, although the site will auto-generate a (heavily branded) leaflet in PDF format, and allow you to email this
- You can only submit a generic blurb, not a comment on each work you've selected
- The details of each work (artist, date, title) are not available.
So - despite a very slick interface, and that lovable Tate branding - the Your Collection feature is a disappointing outcome of an interesting and useful idea.