@MarDixon

Passionate about culture. Champion for the next generation of Cultural visitors. Defender of Libraries. Digital, Wearable Tech Enthusiast. Sharing knowledge. Troublemaker and/or advocate, depending on what you need.
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    August 20th, 2015mardixonCulture, Tech

    IMG_7692Back in January, our community went to Birmingham to see Birmingham Open Media and Impact Hub.  We didn’t know what they did or if they were anything of importance but we’d figured a day out to find out wouldn’t hurt.

    During our meeting with Karen from BOM somehow we decided on a Kids Remix for August.  In January August seems so far away.

    We didn’t know what it was going to look like or what would happen but we had a date, venue and brilliant creative people in our community so I never worried.  One conversation led to another and eventually we came up with the idea of remixing traditional games to digital and visa versa.  We contacted Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to see if we could use their collection for inspiration.  Slowly things were building and morphing.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    August 8th, 2015mardixonInternational, Tech

    IMG_7434Really hate starting off with such a cliché title but I can’t think of any other words that explains what I witnessed last week at Young Rewired State in Birmingham UK.

    For those who don’t know, Young Rewired State Festival of Code is:

    Young Rewired State is a worldwide community of digital makers aged 18 and under. We introduce them to like-minded peers, and expert mentors, at free events around the world, where they use freely available open data to build apps, websites and algorithms to solve real world challenges.

    Young Rewired State aims are to (from their website):

    • Find and foster a community of young coders and digital makers
    • Get them ‘civic hacking’ together: using their skills, to improve their communities
    • Promote peer to peer learning
    • Provide a fun, inclusive and supportive environment
    • Equip these young people with the skills to become the tech stars of tomorrow

    IMG_7414I’ve heard and followed YRS for a few years but it always seemed like I was travelling during the events. But this year Emma and Ruth caught me early in the planning and I was able to put it pride and place in my calendar. I was honoured to be asked to be a judge even though I had no idea what that meant….

    When I arrived at ICC in Birmingham, a place I have been to many times, I felt an electric vibe I have never felt before. I walked up the to the main floor of the event and BAM! The explosion of excitement hit an elevation I didn’t know possible. Kids coding, excitedly, happily – with a splash of annoyance when it wasn’t working. Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 19th, 2015mardixonCulture

    Full disclosure: I’m working on the social media for the ILoveMuseums.com campaign.

    ilovemuseumsThe concept behind the campaign is to get enough signatures on a petitions to show government that we care about museums and can’t afford any more cuts to funding and budgets and still survive. I Love Museums is a campaign led by the National Museum Directors’ Council with support from: Arts Council EnglandAssociation of Independent MuseumsCulture24Museums Association, The Art FundUniversity Museums Group, Army Museums Ogilby Trust.

    I Love Museums launched in June, after the elections with a day of trending and people worldwide filling in the statement #ILoveMuseums because _______. There were over 1200 signatures in one day.

    Since then, not much.  We’ve have had people sharing visits with #ILoveMuseums but the support has seemed to wean off.

    Last week I attended a debate at Parliament as MP Robert Jenrick asked for a ballot on Regional support for the arts.  I went representing I Love Museums to live tweet (see Storify here). The #artsfunding debate is similar to #ILoveMuseums:  stop the cuts and support museums and galleries outside of London as much as those in London.

    Much of the public money that goes into the arts is channelled through Arts Council England (ACE), which receives a direct grant from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), as well as distributing Lottery grants. As part of the general squeeze on public finances, the last Parliament saw significant reductions in the funds set aside for the arts. Some people feel that ‘prestige’, London-based organisations – galleries and museums, theatre, opera and ballet companies, orchestras, etc – continue to get preferential treatment from funders.
    With the launch of its investment plans for 2015-18 in July 2014, ACE signalled its determination to rectify historic imbalances between London and the rest of England. There were specific initiatives to build capacity outside London, to encourage cultural communities to grow and to encourage touring.

    After struggling to get the I Love Museums petition to 1500 sign ups, I tweeted this morning:

    Some of the answers:

     

    My question to you:  What can we do to get you to take #ILoveMuseums and the #ArtsFunding debate seriously?  Why do we constantly have to wait until we have a fight on our hands to show the love and respect we have for our culture? 

    As a strong supporter of NHS, libraries, young people and more, I know how tiring it is to always seem like we’re signing one petition over the other.  I get it.  But I also get we can NOT stop letting our voices heard.  I Love Museums has the right partners and right people behind it – we just need the public to know this is about their access to culture for all! 

    Actions:

    Further Reading:

    Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 09.08.35

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    June 24th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    periscopeI’ve been using Periscope before it came out (I was a beta tester back in March).  I have to be honest, I was a bit confused with the concept.  Having not used Meerkat or really care about filming before, I didn’t see the need for live streaming. Why would anyone use it that wasn’t at a conference?

    Then I started to play with it. First around my town, then on my travels and you know what? It’s a game changer. Why? Because although I live-tweet, blog and over-share, this allowed a two-conversation to happen between the viewers and myself in real-time. I am able to Periscope and have a dialogue in a way that is quicker and more efficient than Twitter or blogging. The conversations from Periscope have lead to a few blogs.

    I can’t remember my first live stream from a museum or art gallery but do know the first time I saw a great response was at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and (thanks to free wifi) was able to have a bit of fun with live streaming. I didn’t save the first one but did upload the live stream I did with a conservator fixing art in the middle of the gallery.

    With each periscope I’m learning more. For example, on my first attempt I was really confused how I was suppose to type a response to the questions popping up on the screen. (Answer: You don’t type, you talk – they can hear everything you’re saying! NB This led to one of my tips: don’t swear).

    Please note: Periscope is available for ios and Android now.  Read the rest of this entry »

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    June 19th, 2015mardixonCulture, International

    IMG_5842CultureGeek Conference is run by Sumo – the same people who run MuseumNext conference.  The emphasis is on digital media in the cultural sector and their one-day line included:

    Jiajia Fie – Associate Director Digital Marketing – Guggenheim
    Sarah Ellis – Head of Digital Development – Sarah Ellis
    Rob Gethen Smith – CIO – Southbank Centre
    Conrad Bodman – Head of International Relationships – British Film Institute
    Stella Eisdom – Digital Curator – British Library
    Alice Rawsthorn – Design critic and author
    Chris Michaels – Head of Digital and Publishing – British Museum

    The conference started the evening before with DrinksThing at Southbank hosting a Behind the Scenes Tour.  For those that managed to attend, I’m sure they’ll agree that Neil the tour guide was a gem in bringing the story of the building alive.  And those on my tour all fell in love with Ivan (see periscope/YouTube for that story)

    I’ve storied my tweets here if you want the bite-size version. Read the rest of this entry »

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    June 14th, 2015mardixonCulture, International

    This year We Are Museums was held in Berlin and hosting at the amazing Jewish Museum. For those that don’t know, WAM has been running for 3 years and has a very meaningful mission:

    We Are Museums is a human adventure at the intersection of culture and innovation. During two days, it gathers an active and creative community of professionals who meet, exchange and build together to open art institutions to the people. We Are Museums is a self-sufficient, vibrant platform which promotes smart and forward thinking ideas as well as sustainable benefits for our participants.

    An overall of highlights:

    Sree Streenivasan ran a Social Media Workshop the evening before. His Storify is here. I’ve been to a few of Sree’s workshops and it’s great that he allows interaction from the audience. This audience was open to Berlin so the delegates were from museums, journalism, makers and everything in between.

    IMG_5104 Read the rest of this entry »

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    June 7th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 11.19.21I must admit – I never see myself as a museum blogger.  Then again I don’t see myself as a museum person but labels have never been my thing.  My ‘crappy website’ (seriously I am embarrassed about the theme but don’t have the skills to change it) is a brain dump area for me to try and share past the social media sharing.  Thank you for those that read it and to Paolo for the nomination to #MuseumTwitterati.

    #MuseumTwitterati is a new tag to help new people on twitter identify museum bloggers.  The idea started as #TwitteratiChallenge by @TeacherToolkit to “recognise your most supportive colleagues in a simple blogpost shout-out. Whatever your reason, these 5 educators [museologists] should be your 5 go-to people in times of challenge and critique, or for verification and support“.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    May 12th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    voteOk, I admit. I was mad/angry about the elections. Mad because I spent over a year trying to encourage people, young/old and everything in between to vote. Saying how important their vote was. Saying how valuable their opinion was. Then the Tories got in and it was like collectively we all threw the towel in – or the other extreme was we got our pitchforks at the ready.

    Then I noticed that I actually didn’t know enough about those in office to have an opinion. Yes I know what social media was telling me but I had to stop and read things myself to get a bigger picture. And one thing I learned is I still don’t know but maybe, just maybe, we’re not dealing with the Devil here. Maybe we are dealing with people we need to work with to understand us. Naive maybe but really what is there to lose?

    One thing that I do know is as a society we are incredibly incredibly strong. We are survivors. I have seen so many examples of those who have been going without helping those who don’t understand this new way of life. Bartering is common place with many communities. Do we prefer money? Absolutely! But we also get that our skills, our talents are worthy of more than just ‘green backs’. And in-kind (used appropriately) helps build stronger relationships.

    I’m not advocating that no one should get paid – I’m advocating that we look to make positives changes while letting ‘those is power’ that we’re not going to being played a fool.

    We’re creative (or so I’m told) so lets put the pitchforks down and be creative about our approach.   Let’s not be reactionary but strategic in working towards a sustainable plan/journey. Let’s include museums, theatres, NHS, libraries, etc because all these resources are important for our society – and not just the UK.

    My sister recently reminded me that we were brought up (like so many) without much. But we didn’t know any better because my mom didn’t let us be defeatist. Even though we didn’t have much, we gave what we did have to those who had less. It’s about leaving the world a better place than when we got here. We can NOT do that if we’re fighting and bickering and claiming one resources is more valuable then the other.

    Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 21.21.22

    via Darlene Cavalier to our mom on Mother’s Day

    I don’t have many answers – but do know we need to change our anger and our negative words into positives actions. Sooner rather than later.

    I’d also encourage everyone to follow @ILoveMuseums / I Love Museums if you’re not already.

    ilovemuseums

     

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    April 26th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    JimFirst – a huge thank you to Jim Richadson and his team for pulling off another amazing MuseumNext conference. Every year I say it’s the best and while I know it has to grow I worry that it’ll lose that special je ne sais quoi. Not a worry at all. Jim brought in Kala Preston as new Director of MuseumNext and between them they managed to create a very large-scale international museum conference with a familiar and home-y feel about it. THANK YOU! (And bring on MuseumNext USA at Indianapolis Museum of Art this September!)

    hotdogsI have to mention the people. From registration to closing talks – so many familiar AND new faces this year but what was brilliant to see was the connections. Yes the regulars talked to each other but ‘newbies’ we’re encouraged and folded into the conversation. I don’t recall seeing anyone stand by themselves for too long unless they wanted to. You don’t get that at any other conference the way MuseumNext manages to do it. It’s wonderful to watch from the side-lines and see so many new connections and relationship start at MuseumNext. The key is to keep the conversations going! Read the rest of this entry »

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    April 24th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    IMG_1606Just throwing a quick post on a few topics before I do #MuseumNext takeway piece.

    Graveyard of Directors:  We are haemorrhaging museum and art directors left, right and center and NO ONE seems to be asking ‘Why?’.  It’s not just one or two who have left – to be honest, I’ve lost track of the number which is a red flag in itself.  However, it’s also the demographic of these directors who are leaving. This is an international issue.

    For me, it’s almost like rats jump ship.  It’s a clear sign of something major is about to happen but they never say what.

    And it’s not just that they are leaving to retire, most are leaving for other sectors (academia or placement in other cultural venues but not necessarily a museum).

    WHY?

    Graveyard of Social/Digital Media Platforms: The other event / trend I’ve noticed is the retirement of many social media/digital platforms in favor of others.  I recently spoke at the Indianapolis Museum of Art Innovative Museum Leaders Speaker Series and mentioned that the sector has been burnt with putting all their eggs in one social/digital basket before (web site only, then shifted to one or two social media platform).  Now we’ve learned to not look at what is best for us but what is best for the people who will be using it.

    Each institution/venue/museum needs to ensure they evaluate their platforms and ensure that they are still right for what their visitors want.  AND BE HONEST.  

    Graveyard of Mission Statements: Ok, that’s a bit strong but really – the sector really needs to re-evalute their mission statements as so many are outdated and are keeping them from progress.  If they aren’t careful, they are going to outdate themselves so much they won’t be able to recover.

    Our society needs to be entertained.  We can look at amusement parks, Netflix, or even airports (as Shelly Bernstein suggests) but whatever is being looked at needs to be achievable and that requires an appropriate Mission statement that everyone in the museum/venue can work with.

    What are your thoughts?

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