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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    November 22nd, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    MuseumCampPoster6Today I held MuseumCamp as part of the Vienna Art Week. While it was a small, intimate group we managed to cover many topics and eat A LOT of cupcakes! First and foremost I have to thank eSel (in particular eSeLat) for the invite to be Artists in Residence and showcase MuseumCamp during Vienna Art Week.


    Social Media: In Vienna – the uptake to social media is slow. While the public may or may not be using it, the museums seem to be using it for PR/marketing many and to chat to other museums. Not sure where the public comes in but the good news is they seem to recognize it and want to change! For example, as stated by Jennie Carvill ‘engagement in twitter initiatives like #Askacurator or the like is still also largely lacking.’ Is that due to the museums or the public? I’m still not sure.

    Hashtags: Another topic was the use of signage in museums to encourage sharing. While at Albertina Museum and Leopold Museum I saw they are great with the signage, but not everyone is sharing. In some museum the reasons are similar – no wifi due to signal issues in the thick (or metal!) walls. But we discussed ways to encourage more participation. I shared Andrew Lewis’ newest case study as an example. And talked about Pompidou #KoonSelfie signage (and the use of a book competition to encourage sharing).

    QR Codes: When the topic of new technology came up, it was mentioned that some museums tried 3 years ago with QR codes but many of the public had no idea what they were or how to use. However, now that the advertisers are using them more on posters/signs in the streets, it might be worthwhile to try again on a small exhibition.

    Periscope: We discussed how many museums / galleries allow for pictures that maybe they can start to implement Periscope into their sharing. As someone who uses Periscope, I was glad to learn that perhaps there is a way to capture the comments and hearts also which is a great benefit!

    IMG_2932Building Communities: One of the difficulties I’ve personally seen in Vienna is the struggle to gain trust with communities. As Vienna is small, many people attend events as a group. It’s hard for an individual to ‘break that cycle’. This spills over to museum/art gallery people. They don’t tend to attend events or conferences to network. I’ve visited museums (and shared along the way) and attended many Vienna Art Week events and tried to introduce myself to new people and while they were always polite the conversation never led anywhere. To be honest, it was a bit frustrating as I probably attended more events that weren’t related to my work but the social integration was closed.

    I talked about DrinksThing and as a way to break the communication barriers. As Will Stanley and I know, it isn’t always a first time success but over time, if they are consistent I’m sure it’ll grow. While there were a few examples mentioned of Tweetups for museum people – they seem to give up a bit too earlier. DrinksThings did not take off over night and some nights it was only 3 people who showed. But we were consistent in a monthly event and soon gained the trust of others. However, it’s vital that people in Vienna find the right platform for communications (DrinksThing is twitter and Attending.io based but perhaps Facebook group is more practical here). I noticed that newsletter were stronger in their way to communicate.

    We also discussed stARTcamp Wien which happens in Vienna on December 10. It’s a barcamp like MuseumCamp. They to have the issues of people to attend and know why/how it’s important. I’m hoping to be able to support them more in furture.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    November 19th, 2015mardixonCulture, International

    Love Theatre Day 2.0Just a quick update to thank everyone who took part in #LoveTheatreDay.  Here are some stats shared by TwitterUK (our – CultureThemes – partner along with Guardian Culture Professional Network).

    — 90K total Tweets mentioning #LoveTheatreDay related terms, in the 24 hour period. (Note this is more than double last year where there were 40K).

    Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 11.58.34— Trended top in the UK all day, and was in the top 10 worldwide all day (as high as 2nd). Also trended in France, USA, Italy.

    — More than 500 theatres, venues, amateur groups, industry bodies etc from 10+ countries worldwide took part.

    — Highest share of conversation about the day was in:

    1) UK
    2) USA
    3) France
    4) Canada
    5) Phillipines

    While there were many ‘favorite’ moments – I was personally touched by @ComedieFR (Comédie Française) in France who tweeted to discuss the recent events and illustrate how important it is to keep enjoying theatre and why/how the show must go on. Thank you.

    There were also many touching moments when theatres were talking to each other – many from different countries.

    The use of periscope grew a lot this year also. I managed to catch a few and it made me feel like I was there (and not in a flat in Vienna).

    Below is are new items shared from TwitterUK: Reverb and Twitter Moments (not in UK yet but coming soon!)

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    October 19th, 2015mardixonCulture, International

    lovetheatreScreen Shot 2015-10-19 at 16.52.14This year #LoveTheatreDay is going to be bigger and better – how do I know? From the amazing response we had last year going World Trending.

    How #LoveTheatreDay Works

    Throughout the day, we encourage everyone to tweet using #LoveTheatreDay and say why they love theatres.  This is open for the general public of course but we want people who have been (or are in) am dram productions to also tweet and share.  I also asked museums and galleries to share their collection that is theatre related and publishers to share books related to theatres.

    During the day, we have 3 sub-hashtags (please note, it’s more important to have #LoveTheatreDay then the sub-hashtags):

    • #BackStage (10am-12pm) will offer audiences and other arts professionals a glimpse into how a production comes together in the weeks and months leading up to the big night.
    • #AskATheatre (3-5pm) will offer a unique opportunity for theatre aficionados and aspiring actors to hear first-hand from the individuals and groups that make the magic happen.
    • #Showtime (7-10pm) will give those who can’t make it to a theatre the chance to sit in the “virtual stalls” to experience the a performance, or several, via Twitter.

    The most important message for me is, like museums, theatres do SO much within their community that goes un-noticed.  With further cuts looming, lets highlight all the brilliant work that is done outside of the 2 hours show.  Theatres worldwide work with kids, teens, adults and older generation. The community outreach is amazing.

    rscdream2016We’d also like to spotlight the amateur dramatic groups that help facilitate the love and joy of theatre to so many people. For example, The Royal Shakespeare Company in Strafford-Upon-Avon is currently working on an exciting project with 14 amateur groups. Their website states:

    A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation sees the Royal Shakespeare Company working with 13 partner theatres, 84 amateur performers and 580 schoolchildren, alongside 18 professional actors and the creative team for a major tour of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream.

    How wonderful to see a connection from amateurs to professionals!

    We’d love to hear from everyone involved in theatre – whether it’s with the 3 hashtags or general #LoveTheatreDay tag. To sign up please see our form here on this Guardian Cultural Pro article. And don’t forget to follow #LoveTheatreday, @CultureThemes, @GdnCulturePros, and @TwitterUK!

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    October 13th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    For the first time ever MuseumNext moved from Europe to the states with wonderful host the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I always knew this was going to be something special but both MuseumNext and IMA outdid even my expectations!  A very special thank you to Scott StulenSilvia Filippini Fantoni from IMA and Jim Richardson and Kala Preston for managing to pull off the best conference to date!









    As always, MuseumNext is more than ‘just a conference’. The fringe, networking and fun around the one (but really two days…) conference. Am I bias about MuseumNext? Of course! But it’s like a family to me – even though the delegates change there is always a warmth and familiarness with MuseumNext.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    September 7th, 2015mardixonCulture, International

    When I was invited to be on a panel for a conference in Bueconferencenos Aires, I thought ‘This could be interesting.’

    I can not explain what an understatement that was.

    Although Buenos Aires was the host, this conference was for all of Latin America and the people who work/live there. But really it  was for everyone to listen, watch and learn from.

    Takeaways are always difficult in conference but for me, it was easy: the people. The people who came to make a difference. There is a sense of oppression but not defeat. They want to move forward, grow and make differences for the next generation without ever forgetting their past. It was almost spiritual in that regard.

    There were many fringe events around the talks – I and many others made new life-long friends thanks to this conference.

    The speakers where diverse: by country, age, topic and message but all inspired. I struggled with my wifi (my fault) but I took notes. I don’t often share my notes word for word but for this conference there is an exception: Read the rest of this entry »

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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! 


    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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