@MarDixon

Passionate about culture internationally. Run remixing events, workshops, create solutions, and an international speaker. Over sharer and Mom who loses arguments to a teen. Projects created: @CultureThemes @lovetheatreday @AskaCurator @MuseumSelfieDay @TeensInMuseums @52museums
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    September 26th, 2019mardixonCulture

    First, a huge thank you to everyone who took part and kept the spirit of #AskaCurator going for another year. I truly hope everyone had as much fun on #AskACurator Day as I did – it was really positive and active for 36 hours (thanks to New Zealand and Australia for always kicking things off and setting the fun, active tone for the day!).

    I didn’t care much about the signups or countries because lets face it, they are just numbers that mean nothing. The real stats that matter is if people were happy and overall I received only one or two negative responses next to the 1000s of positives. (And yes, once again the tired conversation of ‘A curator isn’t the most important and this day doesn’t represent people who work in a museum’ was brought up again which my reply is – start your own hashtag. The @Askacurator name has been going for 9 years and everyone pretty much knows that they can talk to any staff and they do. I have worked the people behind @AskAnArchivst and @AskAnArcheologist to help build their days up as I would help anyone doing things for free.

    Before I share a selection of topics and quotes, a friendly reminder that next year AskACurator will be on September 16 2020 and it’ll be the 10th anniversary! Also one last big thank you to Jim Richardson for trusting me with this campaign after he created it in 2010 and Jamie (@okayjamie) for creating the new logo and banner for the social media channels.

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    August 4th, 2019mardixonCulture

    Recently, I ran a quick survey on Twitter related to museums and social media. I think it’s good that we look at these questions on a regular basis as social media, like all technologies is fast pace.

    There was a bit of an issue with the survey (I did it as a thread but for some reason, the first try only tweet 1/2 the questions) but I managed to find out the results.

    https://twitter.com/MarDixon/status/1155014534337302529
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    July 21st, 2019mardixonCulture

    This year, Buckingham Palace is opening their doors again for a special summer exhibition to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria.  We were able to visit before the doors officially opened and really enjoyed the story of Queen Victoria, her family and Buckingham Palace.  I asked my daughter, Charlotte Dixon, to write this review:

    To enter you have to go through airport security but it wasn’t that bad and I recommend getting the multi-media guide (created by ATS). I set mine to family-friendly as it has more options than that of the adult version.

    No pictures are allowed except in certain areas but they will let you know (and you can buy postcards and books from the shop after).

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    June 24th, 2019mardixonCulture

    Every few years, a question reappears on social media regarding museums and young people in museums by themselves and just like clockwork, the Scotsman ran another article title: Why we need to give kids the freedom to learn for themselves by Cameron Wylie was published.  The issue was around allowing a 10 year old into a museum on their own. 

    There is always much debate around this so I ran a Twitter Poll

    https://twitter.com/MarDixon/status/1140515156906205184

    Now two things:

    1. I’m an idiot.  I said I was going to run the poll for 5 hours and ran it for 5 days.
    2. I knew it was going to be contentious so decided to not get involved in discussions as I didn’t want to sway any opinions.
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    June 23rd, 2019mardixonCulture

    The current exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery in London is all about Leonardo da Vinci this summer.  Having been to a few da Vinci exhibitions over the years, I wasn’t sure what this one would bring that I haven’t seen before but I was utterly surprised.  

    Curator Martin Clayton, the Head of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust pulled together the largest exhibition of da Vinci’s work in over 65 years.  There are more than 200 drawings and the exhibition explores Leonardo’s interest (in both chronologically and thematically order): painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, engineering and more.  There were also pieces by Leonardo’s contemporaries which was exciting to see.

    I was fortunate to go first thing in the morning and whilst there was a queue to get in (you have to go through security) there is so much to see the crowd soon thins out.  I was sharing on Twitter as there were so many key items I really appreciated.

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    June 21st, 2019mardixonCulture

    There are currently exhibitions running at Wellcome Collection which I was able to see on different days

    Smoke and Mirrors The Psychology of Magic on from 11 April 2019—15 September 2019

    I popped into this exhibition on my way to the train station and was so glad I did! It’s a fabulous exhibition that researches the history dating back to the 19th century on human psychology that is used with magicians. 

    As soon as you walk into the exhibition there is a dark playfulness that hits you.  Maybe it’s the large Carter The Great Banner or the variety of unique objects such a Wheatstone’s portable ABC Telegraph from 1858 (to send telegraphs to the deceased) or a homemade Ouija board.

    The first room was centered around The Medium which seems to have started during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when war and disease caused a lot of deaths.  Mediums seems to have started during the late 19th and early 20thcenturies when war and disease caused a lot of deaths.  Many people started to believe other people could communicate with the dead and this was exploited by a lot of people (mainly trying to make a quick buck or two).  

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    June 21st, 2019mardixonCulture

    London always has so much to offer and most people stick with the bigger culture venues but the reality is you get so much more out of the small and medium museums. Take Science Gallery London for example, which is located right next to the Shard, has an incredibly interesting exhibition (their motto is ‘Where Science and Art Collide’) and is FREE (plus they have a wonderful cafe).

    I popped in to see Dark Matter, their latest exhibition that holds the tagline ‘95% of the Universe is Missing: Imagining the unseen and questioning the invisible through art, physics and philosophy.’ But don’t let that fool you, when I was there the demographics were young to old, and lots of diversity. Even had a laugh with some young people who were doing the best selfie so told them to use #museumselfie 🙂

    There were a lot of interactives including this short video that had sound and 3D glasses to see a computer generated galleries and figures.

    https://twitter.com/MarDixon/status/1138431377358168064
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    June 20th, 2019mardixonCulture, International

    The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is a difficult one to follow after the breaking numbers from last year which was curated by Grayson Perry on their 250th anniversary however I was impressed with the variety and diversity that Jock McFayden pulled together.  In fairness, last year RA opened their new building with a lot of free exhibition.  I feel I need to emphasise again: The RA is made by and run by artists – it doesn’t get government funding as many assume due to the Royal name. 

    The exhibition actually always starts outside in the courtyard which this year features Thomas Houseago and large sculptures that are a fantastic backdrop for the neoclassical RA building.  And it’s always great to see Joshua Reynolds statute used -this year he sports an arrangement of flowers garland.

    When you enter the exhibition, you’re provided with a booklet with the list of works but this year this is a fabulous website that compliments the booklet in which you can search a piece of art in (artists, artwork, medium or catalogue number) and it’ll bring the catalogue information up but also suggest other art you might like on that search: https://se.royalacademy.org.uk/

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    June 7th, 2019mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Well it’s one day after I’ve been home from another brilliant MuseumNext conference – it’s the time when I feel sad for saying goodbye to the new friends I met and old friends I get to see again. The talks this year were absolutely brilliant, poignant, relevant and in some cases hard to hear (but it need to be said).

    We as a sector are going through another transitional period. A few years ago there so much excitement about the future of museums and how social/digital was being embedded into the collections. Now it’s about survival. Surviving to keep staff, surviving to understand what the public needs and make real changes that allow them to see themselves in the museum. Surviving so they are relevant in the next 10-20 years.

    View Post

    (All Tweets I did are here and All Pictures are in this Facebook album)

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    May 19th, 2019mardixonCulture, Tech

    On May 15th, I curated the New Trends Stream at Museums and Heritage Show.  The title used to be New Technology but we changed it to reflect the shift in less technology and more behaviour of what was important for the sector to recognize as worthy to know.

    A huge thank you to all the Museums and Heritage Show New Trends speakers – each session was filled to the brim and there was nothing but positive feedback all day.  I am also grateful that each of the speaker took the spirit of the lineup and engaged before the talks, during the talks and even after at DrinksThing.  I threw a couple of the speakers together (mainly Joy Drury/Matthew Cock and Sacha Coward/John Sear) and they worked together beautifully together in making their talk seamless.

    I asked each of the speakers to share their presentation (link with each title) and a statement on ‘what you enjoyed/hated/got out of it’:

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