@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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    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.

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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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    May 5th, 2019mardixonCulture, Tech

    There is a wonderful (and free!) line-up of speakers for Museums and Heritage Show Trends stream this year on May 15th (followed by DrinksThing at the pub). I know it’s wonderful as I curated it 🙂 Seriously the speakers are brilliant and to prove it, I asked all of them to answer two questions:

    • What one (or several) thing(s) would someone learn from your talk?
    • What trend are you excited about for 2020?
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    April 28th, 2019mardixonCulture


    For years, I have supported Bletchley Park on social media and felt I knew enough about the place without ever visiting.  I was a moron. 

    They recently launched a new film D-Day: Interception, Intelligence, Invasion film which received a lot of press and spurred my interest to make a visit which I finally did this week. 

    The visit started with a train ride to Bletchley – which is very easy to get to from London and New Street (Birmingham) so the excuse that it’s not easy to get to was taken away.  The train station is literally 2-minute walk to Bletchley Park.  The ticket to Bletchley Park is a season pass as even though we stayed 5 hours, we still didn’t get to see everything.

    When we arrived at Block C which is the entrance, shop, exhibition and café area, we were met by Rosie Burke (Media Manager) who introduced us to David Kenyon (Research Historian) who took us on a guided tour.  David is one of these people who has the perfect position and personality for his knowledge. 

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    April 3rd, 2019mardixonCulture, International


    Guest blog by Ann Vanrolleghem who runs social media for Texture, museum of flax and river Lys in Kortrijk, Belgium. About how she experienced the Instagram takeover @52museums.

    Previously

    Who could have known that meeting Mar Dixon at a FARO conference in Brussels would result in an amazing social media adventure? When Mar talked in November ’18 about her initiative @52museums, a weekly international Instagram takeover for museums, all my alarm bells went off. Would this not be a great opportunity for our small museum Texture to show ourselves to the big world, an international community of museum lovers? Yes, I was immediately won over by the idea, so I jumped right in (yes, I’m impulsive… read my previous guest blog) and I’ve put Texture, museum of flax and river Lys, on the waiting list for 2019. And it felt like a Christmas gift when I heard the news we got accepted! And then the big fun started…

    Episode one: OMG, having an identity crisis

    It is one thing to apply in all your enthusiasm, it is another thing to actually do it! My first reaction was total excitement, but then I started to have some doubts… The account @52museums is not a small account and I didn’t want to embarrass myself nor the museum. I wanted to do a great job (who doesn’t?), so I started to think how I was going to structure the week of the takeover. Content planning like the experts call it. What would I tell? How would I tell it? What pictures would be great? And in this process of thinking… I had an identity crisis (OMG)… Do I know enough about the museum I work for to tell both interesting as well as fun stories? So, step one for me was to dig deeper into our collection. I digested a lot of info in a small period of time and also took the time to wander off into the museum. Yes, you really should do that! Armed with all the extra intel, I felt more confident and started to put up a schedule for the takeover. In seven days I would build up a story, starting from what is flax and how we use it in everyday life. It was an important lesson for me to find a way to tell our story to people who don’t know us, but who would hopefully like us. And that is a lesson I will keep in mind when writing posts for our own museum account.

    Episode two: Relax, just do it and have fun!

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    February 4th, 2019mardixonCulture

    The much anticipated Christian Diors exhibtion recently opened at the V&A but I was unable to attend the press preview so asked the lovely Josephine Walsh to go for me.  Thanks for the write up Josephine and can’t wait to see it myself!

    A guest blog by Josephine Walsh / @_girl_in_red

    The launch of Christian Dior’s first collection in 1947 was marked by freezing temperatures and soaring expectations.

    After the rations and austerity of the Second World War, the fashion world was hungry for something new. Guests at the premiere lined the walls, and women peered eagerly over the staircase to get a glimpse of Dior’s sublime floaty dresses and cinched-in waists. The spectacular entrance of Dior into the fashion world heralded a new era of in fashion and redefined how generations of women saw and presented themselves.

    Carmel Snow, editor of American Harper’s Bazaar christened the new style when she commented, ‘It’s quite a revolution Christian. Your dresses have such a new look!’ Read the rest of this entry »

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