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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    October 14th, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Personal, Tech

    keep-calm-and-if-you-want-my-advice-pay-for-itFor the past few years I have been non-stop learning and sharing internationally. I’ve set up multiple participatory events both on and offline and I’m pretty sure if I did a shout out for people who had a collaboration through these events lots of hands would go up. I love that this happens.

    What I don’t love is people assuming they can use my ideas or ask me for advice without offering money for what I offer. Or people who ask me to use my contacts/network to introduce them to people without offering me a ‘finders’ fee. Especially when these people are in paid positions and connecting to make more money.

    Whether it be a ‘quick coffee’ (which I’ve actually had to pay for many of times as they don’t put their hand in their pockets) to review a proposal, or a ‘quick email’ to see if I have suggestions on how to help with a campaign – no one ever follows up with ‘How much will this cost?’

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    October 3rd, 2014mardixonCulture, International

    Yesterday I attended Museums Ideas conference in London and it although I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, it sort of confirmed things:

    We’re having a movement. Years from now we’re going to look back at this time and say ‘Remember the Maker Movement?’ Or maybe we need to come up with a better collective name for this move to digital, social open, participatory in museums era.  Wait – let’s crowd-source what the label should be!

    And that is what I’m referring to.

    communityI’m part of the maker community.
    I’m part of the wearable tech community.
    I’m part of the museum community.
    I’m part of the library community.
    I’m part of … you get the point.

    We seem to be really cognizant of making everyone feel part of something these days. That’s a good thing! However, as it is early days for this movement, we’re all being ever so polite about it.  Everyone is allowed into ALL communities.

    I’m Project Coordinator (and Founder) of MuseomixUK. This is a movement that started in France 2011 and has grown and grown. As I write this I’m in Paris at a meeting with all the communities to discuss progress, plans and issues. I firmly believe that we should listen to the public and allow different sectors to help rethinking, redesign, remake and remix museums. I also believe museums should be more open to using digital, social, wearable tech. when appropriate.


    I don’t believe this is right for ALL museums or cultural venues. And this is the issue I have right now with this movement of museums to give ownership to collection and exhibitions to the public.

    While it’s fun, neat and participatory, it’s dangerous. MuseomixUK is a year long production. We communicate and work with the museum and everyone involved has to apply. This is not a weekend drop-in hack where anyone can show.  Curators and content experts are involved in the whole process. 

    And that difference matters.

    We know who we are working with and talking to. We know what the museums would like. We facilitate these conversations but don’t allow barriers.

    Today’s Movement:
    Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 12.35.21

    Everyone has the right answer. But wait, what is the question?

    Please don’t get me wrong, I think it is brilliant what we are doing.  I am just afraid of what is going to happen when this bubble burst and we hit our plateau.  We need to be thinking beyond today (not trying to guess the next tech or wearable but embracing them) and remember the core mission of each museum.

    There will never be a one-size fits all to these things. 

    I’ll write more on the digital/tech thing later but I wrote about some of that already here


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    September 27th, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    IMG_4497Happy 25th birthday World Wide Web!

    Can you believe it’s been 25 years since the incredibly humble Sir Tim Berners-Lee created this wonderful platform?  To celebrate, Soutbank Centre in London has a whole programe around the web and its importance.

    More importantly, about why we should care about web democracy.  Now I know it sounds scary/intimidating and certainly falls under ‘eesch, sounds too techy so not for me’ but this is about much more than coding and digital.

    ‘This is about human rights for the web. That simple. Can’t be assumed someone is doing it’.
    – Sir Tim Berners-Lee


    Global Net Neutrality Coalition website http://thisisnetneutrality.org/

    This is about ALL of us – around the world who can and do benefit from the world wide web.

    Net Neutrality is for ALL of us. 

    IMG_4545This is the second time I’ve had the honor of listening to Sir Tim Berners-Lee speak about why it’s so important that we – collectively – come together as a society to crowd-source a magna carta for everyone to follow when using the WWW.  This includes people, businesses, government, politicians and any other category I didn’t mention.  In other words, we need to protect ourselves from ourselves because we’ve proven we can’t handle it.

    Think about it – we talk about equality and how the web is for everyone but then we build platforms that only run on certain machines with certain software. How is that equality? It’s not.  And we’re lucky that we have very strong advocates at Southbank’s Web We Want Festival.

    The Glass Box And What It Means

    IMG_4547Today I noticed there was something called the Glass Box. It was mentioned once or twice but I didn’t quite get what they were referring to at first (my fault, probably multi-tasking at the time).  However, during the day, I kept walking by this hub that look open, exciting, tad confusing but buzzing.

    The Glass Box.


    • Southbank Centre are hosting Web We Want Festival which is all about the web.
    • Southbank Centre’s website is, er, needing a bit (a lot) of TLC.
    • The awesome people at Southbank Centre put 2 + 2 together and came up with what I consider a genius plan – use the festival to crowdsource the new website!

    The Glass Box is located smack dab on the ground floor entrance and as the name implies, it’s glass = transparent.  The digital/coding team have been moved from their offices ‘upstairs’ and are working in this transparent, very open environment.




    Ensuring the open data, crowd-source, transparency – Southbank is inviting you, me, us THE PUBLIC to help build their new website.  How awesome is that?!  To see the site go to digital.southbankcentre.co.uk

    Sir Tim Berners-Lee


    But it’s not just notes on a sticky note – oh no.  You’re actually also invited to come in and talk to them, test things, suggest things, even work on them should you want! Talk about taking transparent participatory to the next level!

    And they don’t stop there – this project (not sure if that is right word, want to put experience), takes things one step further by also taking the time to teach with drop-in workshops to show people what they are doing and how they are doing it.

    I couldn’t love this more if I tried.

    And the best part of this new website?  Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first line of the code.  SERIOUSLY!  Go to http://southbankcentre.org.uk/ to see it.



    Web We Want Festival is running until May 2015 – I strongly suggest everyone get involved, even just by asking questions.  I don’t have the answers but someone will – isn’t that the beauty of what the web has taught us? 

     Can’t wait to see what the rest of this festival brings! 

    Additional Reading:

    Southbank Centre: Digital at Southbank Centre: What does Open Web actually mean when it comes to building a new website.

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    September 19th, 2014mardixonCulture, International

    I started planning this event, well last year, but really in the past 3 months. I still worry no one will take part at first or get bored. Than closer to the event, I get all giddy with excitement like it’s Christmas!

    This year is no different.

    But here I am, technically the eve before and we have 41 countries and 634 museums signed up. I’ve been interviewed in 6 different languages (Wired.com article).  The sign up sheet continues to grow… [by end of play, 721 museums in 43 countries!]

    I’m often asked why I do it as I don’t get paid.  The stats from LaMagnetica are why:

    47,546 Tweets
    13,000 DIFFERENT users

    That is a HUGE community we have built together. How could I not do it? I’m seriously blown away by those numbers. These numbers represent the thirst from the #AskACurator Community for access to behind the scenes at museums/galleries.  The thirst for learning. The passion for our cultural sector. And most importantly, the yearning to share.

    Please Note: LaMagnetica will be sharing the report and I”ll update this page when it’s done.

    UPDATE:  I’ve a Feedback form and would love to hear your opinion Read the rest of this entry »

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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).



    Read the rest of this entry »

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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.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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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

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 29th, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

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