@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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    October 21st, 2016mardixonCulture, International

    ltd-2#LoveTheatreDay is Back November 16th 2016!  
    –>>>SIGN UP FORM IS HERE<<–

    Please know although this is #LoveTheatreDay we’re asking Museums, art galleries, national trust and ALL cultural venues to get involved and share your theatre collection with us! For more information on how it worked last couple of years, see this article.

    If you choose to share a live video broadcast on Periscope, please send an email to asultan@twitter.com to let the editorial team at Periscope know, as they will be looking for content to feature in the app. 

    How #LoveTheatre Day Works

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

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    October 21st, 2016mardixonCulture, International

    I’ve always said this site was for when I had more to say in a tweet. I’ve never pressured myself to write as I know my limits. However, this past month so much has been going on that are worthy of articles on their own:

    iwwItalian Wonder Ways: I was invited at last minute to take a friend of a friend’s spot on a Cammino (which means pilgrimage). I wasn’t fully prepared but had the most amazing time! I’ve been to Italy many times but never ever explored the landscape or the people the way we did with Cammino di San Benedetto created by the inspiring Simone Frignani.  As this was a press trip we were met by mayors and lovely locals in each village we walked to – eating their lovely local products.  We even slept in a monastery!  Most who know me know exercise isn’t my thing but I truly loved walking and talking and meeting new friends.  I did things I would never imagine I’d do – including riding on top of a Landrover Defender down a steep dirt road with Simone and Paul (we survived….). And we ended in Rome listening to the Pope.  Truly magical and inspiring.

    top-of-roof

    Related articles from my group: Along Italy’s Cammino di San Benedetto via @AnitasFeast and Find your calling on the Italian Wonder Ways from Rachel Rigby.

    wonderlabScience Museum WonderLab opening: Went to the opening of WonderLab sort of expecting a lot as I’ve been hearing bits and pieces about it over the months/year. I absolutely wasn’t disappointed! The press night had a wonderful mixture of suits, kids and everything in between. The exhibition is totally hands on – lots of things to see, play, learn, do, and slide down – YES there is a slide! It’s all very related to teaching science through fun and it totally works!

    Related articles: Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery; Cabinet Gallery – review

    19princelet19 Princelet Street: A hidden gem in London as it is/was many things over the years but is now dedicated to becoming an immigration museum. I was privileged to have a private view to speak to Susie, one of a few volunteers that are working hard to get the building the monies it needs to be able to the public (the open to the public on very special occasions and ALWAYS has queues around the block when they are open!).

    Related website: 19princeletstreet.org.uk

    Credit: Tijana Tasich

    Credit: Tijana Tasich

    Victoria and Albert Museum Revolution Exhibition: Went to Revolution with friend Tijana. In similar vein to the David Bowie exhibition, we were provided headphones / guide to take into the exhibition. And like Bowie exhibition, RFID technology was used to guide us in the very large exhibition. Revolution is essentially about the swinging 60s to early 2000s and how transformational they were to our lives now. What did hit home was seeing how some protest from the 60s are VERY (sadly) similar to issues we still have today. It’s like we never learn.

    Related website: V&A Revolution

    MuseumID Conference: Attended MuseumID conference at the Science Museum. There was an impressive lineup of speakers from USA, Denmark, UK and Germany. Voting and immigration, fab labs and the need to be open to public ideas, social media and why less is more, and other topics were discussed. Tony Butler made for an exemplary chair for the day too!

    Related website: Museum ID

    Tomorrow I leave for Spain to speak at #MarketingArtes16 in Madrid and Barcelona before flying to New York in November for MuseumNext.  Meanwhile, we’re running #LoveTheatreDay again on November 16th so mark your calendars!

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    September 8th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    instagram-1Since launching @52Museums I’ve been amazed to see the growth of museums on Instagram (yes it was happening before but this is my point of view). As the project has been running, more and more museums have contacted me to join in on the list and to say they are starting an Instagram account just because of @52Museums which is brilliant!

    Every museum who host @52Museums is asked to fill out an exit form at the end of their week. I will share the complete findings after we have a year in but the feedback has been very positive. All said they would do it again and all said they felt it was worthwhile. With this account they get the open instructions:

    • If you can post a few for LA time, East coast and Europe time that makes a difference.
    • Post 7-10 times a day – it sounds like a lot but really works with our current audience.
    • Try  things you can’t do on your own account.
    • HAVE FUN!

    Another project I run is @AskACurator Day (September 14th 2016 – eek!). There are over 1200 museums on the list to take part (with more signing up each day). It got me thinking that I should combine the @52Museums list with the @AskACurator list to make a ‘Master List’. Sounds simple enough, right?

    How wrong I was. But it has led to some insight that I’d like to share:

    Please note,Museums on Instagram form with link to list is here (I need to get over AskaCurator day before I have time to combine everything).

     

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    August 31st, 2016mardixonCulture, International

    Participation

    It’s a word we tend to use a lot but never really define as we also spend a lot of time pretending to think like the ‘user’ or ‘visitor’ – mapping out ways for the them to see the exhibition/collection with a sprinkle of ‘entertaining’ activities.

    However, us humans, we’re a funny lot. We don’t always behave as we’re expected. That could be due to translation (language barriers), rebelliousness (raises hand), miscommunication or boredom. Actually, feel free to insert your reason as I’m sure I haven’t covered them all.

    As someone fortunate enough to travel internationally and to visit a lot of museums, art galleries, national houses/parks, I get to see a lot of different ways the sector tries to interact with the visitors. Traditionally, we often see:

    • Family Backpacks
    • Maps
    • Audio Guides
    • Trails
    • Signage

    There are more but that’s to give you an idea. (Signage is one of the biggest areas I feel we are failing. Often walking through the front door is a big step but the journey to the front of house or reception is not always as obvious as we like to believe but we’ll leave that for another post.)

    anthropologyI love a bit of anthropology in a museum. Sometimes I’ll stand outside with my headphones in giving the impression I’m waiting for someone. Than I’ll go inside and continue to have my headphones on as I wander around – basically I am listening in on conversations but they don’t know that. It’s amazing how people will talk freely when they don’t think anyone is listening…

    A typical scenario is a family (of various size, for this I also mean grandparents, friends with kids, etc) that enter and try to figure out where the starting point is. Or a map. In fairness to museums, often there are wonderful Front of House that try to assist and breakdown any barriers but it’s often the family that are feeling to awkward to ask for help.

    The HAM Way

    When I was in Helsinki I noticed Helsinki Art Museum (HAM) had post-it notes for visitors to take when they enter. They were in the middle of the room on a standalone pedestal (and yes there are front of house people there also).  No barriers, no awkwardness.  People knew to go and take one.  They were also in 4 languages (Finnish, Russian, Chinese and English as they are the top visitors).

    It was such a genius concept on it’s own but the notes are so clever I had to share! I’m sure HAM wouldn’t mind anyone using these ideas (always best to credit them) or better yet – reach out to them and tell them how awesome they are!

    ham all notes

    ham don't look at the artworkDon’t Look at the Art Works: Look at the frames of the artworks. What would an artwork look like if the frames were different? Or if you’d take the frame off completely? Is the frame part of the piece of not? Read the rest of this entry »

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    August 15th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    IMG_3696Something I’ve been thinking about lately is stories.  No not intellectual novels (although I do love a good book!) but stories on Snapchat and Instagram.  I’m the first to admit I’m not a strong Snapchat user but Instagram I get.

    However, since Instagram brought out Stories I’ve been trying to get my head around why… I mean yes I know it’s trying to compete with Snapchat but why do platforms feel the need to morph into it’s ‘competition’ instead of just letting it be? [Edit to add this article Snapchat is acquiring mobile search app Vurb for $110M+  Aug 15]

    I took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram today to ask the simple question:

    What are your thoughts on @instagram Stories vs @Snapchat Stories? Do you use either? Trying to get more of an idea about them. Which do you prefer and why? #socialmedia

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    August 12th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Thank you to Adrienne Luce, Digital Engagement for the Getty Museum, for sharing this guest blog after posting about her experience on Facebook.  

    On Monday April 4, 2016 the Getty Center hosted its annual College Night event. Two Getty interns, Abby Keene and Ashley Medina, were on hand to help with the event. A few hours before the festivities began, Abby suggested that we try a Facebook Live broadcast and I thought, why not. So The Getty Museum’s first foray into the world of Facebook Live was completely spontaneous and done without any advance planning.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 16.09.26Our interns press the “Go Live” button and just like that we were broadcasting live from the Getty Center. The first Facebook Live video was a short 6-minute clip. After the broadcast was done, our Getty interns show me the stats. We had reached more than 30,000 Facebook feeds and the broadcast generated 258 reactions, comments and shares . Amazed by these impressive figures we decided to do more. Next up, our interns did a Facebook Live broadcast, about 7 minutes in length of one of our Museum educators talking about Van Gogh’s “Irises”. After the broadcast was finished, we saw that our reach had doubled. This time the broadcast reached 58,000+ Facebook feeds and had 1,429 reactions, comments and shares. We did a few more broadcasts from Getty College Night with each one, the numbers amazed us and we quickly realized the potential of this powerful platform. Read the rest of this entry »

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    August 5th, 2016mardixonCulture, Tech

    IMG_3299This week, Charlotte and I managed to do The Lost Palace experience. I’ve known about The Lost Palace since Timothy Powell told me about the idea back in late 2014/2015.

    The concept: Bring Europe’s largest palace ‘back to life’ 300 years after it burnt to the ground. Hear, touch and feel the past using new immersive technology.

    The technology is what I was most interested in. The Lost Palace started with an open call for proposals from makers, creators, dreamers, technologist and more. There were 5 £10,000 proposals available. Their remit was relatively lose: Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 21st, 2016mardixonCulture, International

    First, thank you to everyone who took part in #QueerMuseum on July 20th. It’s a topic that has been on my radar for a while and when asked to run it (by the lovely folks at @QueeringMuseum – follow them!) I felt now was the right time. Why? Well since starting CultureThemes, the world has progress in so many ways.

    My first time with a related exhibition was back in 2011 at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with Matt Smith’s QueerMuseum exhibition. I admit, I didn’t know what it was about at first, I just remember Lucifer in green carnations and the WOW factor it had. Then I found out more and was so impressed with how Matt put on a Queer exhibition by selecting items in the collection that have always been on display.

    Last month was Gay Pride so July seemed the perfect time to run #QueerMuseum. Leeds had just ran a LGBT exhibition, BMAG has been a supporter and other museums had run LGBT exhibitions in the past so knew there’d be content.

    As always, I tried to leave interpretation to the sharer:

    Pride 2016 saw many museums take place (especially in London where the Museums Association (MA) team joined a host of other museum, archive and heritage professions to march at the London Pride parade)

    The idea, as ever, is open.

    • Have you had a LGBTQ+ exhibition or talk?
    • Do you feel there is something in your collection you feel could be #QueerMuseum related?
    • Are you part of a group is part of LGBTQ+ that wants to do more with museums and art galleries?
    • Or maybe you take Matt Smith’s approach and find ideas in a collection and explain why it looks like it could be in a #QueerMuseum exhibition.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 13th, 2016mardixonCulture, Tech

    Hi, my name’s Chris and I am a Pokémon addict.

    pokemon-team-mystic-01-2016If you’ve been out in any major city over the past week or so you will no doubt have noticed gangs of 20-30 year olds huddled round monuments, churches and landmarks, madly swiping at smartphones. No, gang culture isn’t on the rise (not to this extent anyway). It’s the return of a 20-year-old craze, which didn’t really go away properly. Pokémon is back and it’s taking over lives in the form of a new smarphone app from Nintendo and Niantic Labs.

    Pokémon Go is a “real world adventure” which uses GPS and augmented reality to allow users to track down, catch and train their favourite little monsters in a bid to become the best trainer in the land. Although only available in a handful of countries at the moment, fans of the franchise have been using all means possible to obtain a copy of the game.

    I am one of those fans.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 11th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Well this was a weekend and ½ – I thought most of the social media world would be consumed with sports – either Euro2016, Wimbledon or Grand Prix – but then I started seeing lots of PokemonGo sharing.

    Wait, what?

    Pokemon for those that don’t remember are characters from the 1985 tv show. As a Muppet Fan, I don’t judge those who are older and still in love with characters from their youth.

    This morning I asked:

    How long before museums feel they have to hop on the #PokemonGO bandwagon? 🙂

    UPDATE July 15:

    • Privacy issues have been resolved
    • It’s now available in the UK
    • It’s bringing new people to historic sites (I personally know this as heard young people -teens- walking around my historic town saying they never knew Bridgnorth had so much history!),
    • Museums are still trying to engage without being creepy
    • Everyone is trying to research why PokemonGo is so hot (my answer:  right timing, right place – AR tech is there -ok a little buggy- Pokemon is a great storyline and those who grew up with it are now at that ‘it’s cool again stage’ [as a Muppet fan I can totally relate!].
    • Some visitors are complaining but they are the ones that hate MuseumSelfie and other fun so no sympathy here 🙂
    • This is going to have other museums look to AR for solutions and I’m not convinced they should right now – at least not on their own (for their own app)
    • Martha Henson is doing a great round up of post – see here
    • You can now add a request stop (and presumably take a site off?) – see here
    • Now available in Italy, Spain and Portugal! 

    PokemonGo is the number one app and even though it’s not officially available (only in US, Australia & New Zealand) but other countries have managed work arounds (aren’t we’re a  clever society). [Edit to add: rumours are UK will be available this week.] [UPDATE IT’S AVAILABLE IN UK and boy do we know it!]

    My original question about museums using PokemanGO still goes unanswered. For me, I feel if your collection is relevant then yes! But please please please don’t force a fad into your museum if your visitors won’t appreciate it. There is a difference between jumping on a bandwagon and being ahead of a trend – know the difference.  But do know the faster the bubble grows the harder it will burst (aka security and stranger danger concerns coming up now.) 

    Should all museums do this? Of course not! This is almost tailored made for some museums though and by all means they should jump on the fun and go! Or be more like VAM and ask your visitors what they want:

    Pokémon just did museums a huge favor (maybe) from VAM

    Pokémon just did museums a huge favor (maybe) from VAM

    Is your collection right for this?  Would your visitors mind? Do you normally cater to families, young people?  The public can smell if you’re doing this for legit reasons or just to be in the media.  Please do encourage PokemonGo if you or your visitors finds one though!

    Credit: Brooklyn Museum Instagram

    Credit: Brooklyn Museum Instagram

    Just don’t be one of these museums if you’re going to do it:

    Not sure who to credit with this but thank you!

    Not sure who to credit with this but thank you!

    I’ll probably add more to this as this grow, but for now, I’ll leave you with this:

    When you’re thinking about adding PokemonGO to your museum or venue, remember you might find yourself explaining why the app is asking for a lot of permissions (camera, all contacts, etc). It’s all relevant to the game of course but people are more astute with permissions these days. (It’s more for demographics than stalking but still.) [Credit: Pokemon Go wants to catch (almost) all your permissions]

    Edit to add: I already mentioned the security which seems to be growing as a concern.  As the app is only available in NZ, Australia and US other countries are downloading the app … in creative ways.  Before as there have been reports of malware on several. 

    Additionally, be sure you’re aware of what you’re clicking when you give the app privacy permissions – it’s quite a lot! 

    And not that it’s totally relevant to museums and PokemonGo, but I just loved the title of this article:

    The numbers prove it: People would rather catch Pokémon than catch a date

    Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 11.15.11

     

    Edit to add:

    Said I would update and remarkable how much can happen in one day!

    Additionally there has been a lot of discussion on museums finding PokemonGo in their venues – that is great!  My concern isn’t about museums having fun (and if you know anything about me you shouldn’t have asked that) but that some will look into how to force this hot news to fit a remit that just isn’t the museums personality.

    What are your thoughts? 

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