Passionate about culture. Champion for the next generation of Cultural visitors. Defender of Libraries. Glass Explorer. Digital and Tech Enthusiast. Sharing knowledge. Troublemaker and/or advocate, depending on what you need.
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    September 14th, 2014mardixonCulture, International

    This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately for different reasons.  Without prejudice or background on why I was asking, I tweeted:

    What is a Thought Leader and or Cultural Leader? Seriously, I’m trying to figure out what it means and who decides who they are.

    keepyourcoinsIt has been an interesting discussion/debate.  It seems to be a term used and known but no real clear definition or role description. But yet we as a society continue to label people as Thought Leaders and Cultural Leaders without really knowing what it means.  I don’t know about you, but this interest and confuses me.  To be fair, it is not just culture that has this issue.  This issue could be said with tech, education, publishing, etc.  Read the rest of this entry »

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    September 5th, 2014mardixonCulture, International

    ask_for_twitterBecause museum people like numbers…

    I’ve been asked a few times about the history of Ask A Curator day.  I’ve also been asked about numbers because cultural people are OBSESSED with numbers. Here is a bit of fun stats such as breakdown of countries, history of AskaCurator Day and answers to questions I get (a lot).



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    August 24th, 2014mardixonCulture, International

    Andrew MandinachBy Andrew Mandinach

    I grew up in a museum. As long as I can remember, I spent every summer in a summer camp at the Palm Springs Art Museum. In middle school I joined their teen afterschool program, and I even went on to become a camp counselor one summer in high school. At that time, it was the Desert Museum and they had a fantastic summer camp that focused on science, theater, and art. Read the rest of this entry »

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    August 15th, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    The National Gallery LondonAs many of you know I’ve been a Google Explorer since December 2013.  My original focus was to see how Google Glass could work within the cultural sector.

    For months I used projects I was working on to share Glass – to instigate dialogue and consider how people would use Glass should they own a pair.  As time went on my focus shifted from the cultural sector in general to, more specifically, accessibility. It became apparent the more I experienced the use of Glass with others just how many of those experiences that Glass provided generated examples of how this new technology could impact on people’s lives for the better.

    It was during MuseumNext that my research came full circle back to Glass in museums.  There was a lot of discussion on innovation and technology at MuseumNext, but I challenged the discussion by suggesting that the word innovation is being used to loosely and freely, is what many Museums doing innovate? Is an App still ‘innovative work’ just because it’s….an App?  This initiated another discussion from a few follow up posts which lead to me mentioning that I’ve had Glass for a while now, making it very public and offering it for research or experimentation to the Museum sector however at that point NO museum had taken me up on the offer.

    Joseph PadfieldFrom that initial discussion a few museums contacted me, one of which was Joseph Padfield from the National Gallery.  Joseph was interested in Glass and its possibilities within the National Gallery from the museum aspect but also conservation. We decided on a visit the National Gallery and we would run a two-day research project to see if Glass really did have potential there.

    Initially we arranged for a brief ‘consultation’.  I came in, demonstrated Google Glass and let a few of the staff members have a go, albeit briefly.  We covered in this initial meeting;

    • What Google Glass looks like
    • How it works (physically)
    • How to operate it
    • Some of examples of accessibility that it could be used with.

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    August 4th, 2014mardixonCulture, International

    CultureThemes was looking for a theme for July and put the idea of cats out to people.

    Cats and the Internet and Museums… what could possibly happen? 

    I reached out to Curatorial Cats who run a few cat related tags every week to see if they would like be part of it.  We decided to use #MuseumCats as that is something Curatorial Cat already used and it would be less confusing for people (and hopefully help build their profile up a bit).

    Well.  On July 30th 2014 CATS RULED!  We had over 14,500 tweets and trended worldwide.

    Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 15.50.39

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    July 29th, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

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    July 26th, 2014mardixonCulture, Tech

    IMG_1699Charlotte and I recently attended the preview of Royal Childhood Exhibition at Buckingham Palace.  While we ‘often’ (few times) have been to the Queen’s Gallery for exhibitions, this was only the second time we were invited to tour Buckingham Palace.  And let me tell you, it doesn’t get old.

    Most of the reviews I’ve read have rightfully said how brilliant the Royal Childhood exhibition is so while I’ll go into some of the pieces, I’m going to concentrate on the other items I find important:  the tech and the family friendliness.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 20th, 2014mardixonTech


    Hands up – who knows about Digital Democracy Commission happening right now?

    Yep, that is what I thought.  That’s ok that you didn’t know – nor did I.  But it’s not ok if you try to ignore it now.

    Digital Democracy Commission is a commission to try to make positive changes to help bridge the huge gap between what IS happening versus what could/should be happening to make people like us more interesting in politics and what is happening in government (and what government politicians can do to meet us half way).

    photo1 (5) Background
    I saw a tweet from Emma Mulqueeny opening her house to anyone interested in getting involved.  To be honest, it said cake in her tweet but when I read it properly, I was still wanting to get involved.  I must admit, when we went around introducing ourselves, I felt a bit like a fraud (and I said so to the group).  Yes my background is computer science/network admin but that was a lifetime ago.  Yes I do A LOT on digital platforms. Yes I organize cross-sector dialogue.  But Democracy Commission?  I’m the first to admit I’m allergic to political discussions.

    But after we got going, I started to realize – * I am * the type of person they are talking about.  The ones that are passionate, advocates, interesting in communities – ok I might be missing the ‘young’ part but do enough work with them to feel permitted to talk for them.  But really, Digital Democracy Commission is about EVERYONE regardless of background, hobbies, status in community. Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 1st, 2014mardixonCulture

    I was not going to write about ACE Funding / NPO Day but I’ve been following the stream on Twitter since 7.30am and can’t believe some of the emotions coming out in 140 characters.

    Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 09.55.50As someone who has a major hate/hate relationship with ACE, it’s easy for me to spend my time bashing them and their work.  [For the record, my issue is to do with their forms, not the people!] But this isn’t about that.

    Starting at about 8.30, I started to see congratulatory tweets – mainly theater based companies.  By 9.30 the hashtag was overrun with … really don’t want to say winners and losers.  How about we say successful and unsuccessful applicants.


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    June 22nd, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    IMG_0340Once again, MuseumNext ends and I get this horrible sinking feeling of knowing that I need to wait another year for it to happen again.

    In my opinion, MuseumNext is the best conference for anyone who cares about museums. It’s international and in the past four years has been to Edinburgh, Barcelona, Amsterdam and this year it was held in Newcastle. Technically it’s a 2-day conference however it always kicks off the day before with a Welcome event, tour/workshop and evening reception.

    I’m going to start with my takeaways just because it’s the things I have to get off my chest the most.

    Apps Are Dead! Long live the App!
    Let’s get this out of the way: Apps aren’t dead. Museums just, bluntly, are crap at them. We only need to look at iTunes who has had 65 billion apps downloaded as reported on their first quarter report for 2014.

    ChartOfTheDay_1474_Global_App_Downloads_n65 BILLION people. Apps aren’t dead.

    Here is my take. Museums, in their adorable fashion, was a bit late to the game when it came to smartphones and tablets. It essentially took the public bringing them into the venues to make the shift happen. Even then, most apps just took what was on the web or in the family pack (eg trails).

    There are exceptions of course: Magic Tate Ball and Second Canvas that integrates gigapixel into the app and Twnkls AR.

    But overall, meh.  And I’m not alone with this, ask any museum person how many museum apps they have on their device and watch them shift uncomfortably as they say none. Read the rest of this entry »

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