@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
  • #AskACurator 2014: Building a Community and My TakeAways

    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

    Fun Stats

    • First to Sign Up: National Gallery – London
    • First to Tweet – Waikto Museum – New Zealand

    Take Aways:
    The #AskACurator Community is brilliant! And yes, we are a community. We are a diverse, multi-language, melting pot of a community that has one thing in common – a fascination with culture.

    #AskACurator provides a platform where everyone and anyone regardless of background, knowledge, skill set, etc. can have access to experts. Now I know not all questions got answered and I apologize for that. Maybe there is a better system than our current one and I am working on that. But for the most part, the majority seemed incredibly thrilled to have their question answered.

    Personally, I was thrilled to have my question from The Andy Warhol Museum  answered (ok, I might have squealed like a 5 year old). I also asked questions to all and specifically one museum in each country was asked:

    • Any thoughts on #wearabletech with collections? Would you be interested in trying or is it still too new?
    • What is the missing Holy Grail?
    • Do you visit museums when you’re on vacation?
    • Could digital/tech help keep museum/collections sustainable?

    Main Topics
    There were many many many interesting questions being asked.  The top topics that I could see were:

    #AskACurator Selection of questions:

    • Digital/tech
    • Favorite piece
    • Procedure for unwanted ‘gifts’
    • Training
    • Volunteers
    • Care
    • Decision making
    • Accessibility

    A selection of Tweets that I caught:

    • @NewRichlandMuse: Have you ever broken an item?#askacurator
    • @EssexMDO: Who is your favourite fictional curator & why? #AskACurator
    • @mark_carnall: Why do so few men work in museums #AskACurator
    • @1506_nobotox: If you could pick one – just one #workof art – to hang/put in your living room, what would it be? #AskACurator
    • @RussellDornan: What do you do with your deaccessioned material (that isn’t past it)? #AskACurator
    • @mark_carnall: What percentage of your collection is on display? #AskACurator

    I was asked questions also:

    • RT @Museum_Religion: @MarDixon Hi! we’ve a question for you on the #AskACurator Day! Are all new digital gadgets help you in your activities and projects?

    #AskACurator Digital is a common question. Can we break myth that curators are afraid of digital and agree it’s more a $$ issue? #musetech

    Clearing the Air
    For the most part, our community understands that although #AskACurator is a friendly and open event, with very few limits (other than 140 characters!). However, there are always a handful of people who use this opportunity to promote their own agenda. That’s fine and I’m not here to censor. It does amaze me when these people then cry foul and accuse museums as not answering ‘tough’ questions when they don’t get a reply. The fact is, we have 47,000+ tweets. 43 countries with diverse languages. There are bound to be a few questions that slip through the net. However, there are some questions that are being asked not to provoke thinking, but just rattle the snakes cage. C’est la vie.

    Moving Forward
    #AskACurator is firmly on the annual calendar.  2015 date is set for 16 September. The sign up form can be found here.

    As you can see, we’re expanding the sign up form to allow for other social media channels to be listed. This will be shared so people will know that other than Twitter, the venue might be answering questions about #AskACurator elsewhere.

    I also added the space for individual curators to sign up even if not associated with a museum.  I was asked for this last year and apologize for not providing the platform for it this year.

    If anyone has any solution to how we can make AskACurator a sustainable platform, please let me know. I am not aware of a way where the questions (and subsequent answers) can be tracked or a way for ‘Questions to All’ to be listed so those curators not receiving specific questions can go and answer.

    Final Words
    Thank you. Those words are not enough but the right words just don’t seem to want to come out.

    Never doubt how strong the #Museum community is:
    721 museums
    43 countries
    Diverse languages, cultures, differences – one hashtag #AskACurator


    Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 08.24.09




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1 responses to “#AskACurator 2014: Building a Community and My TakeAways” RSS icon

  • Judith Price (AKA @nature_jcp)

    Mar, I was surprised we weren’t swamped with spam as in previous years. In fact, thinking about it now, I’m seeing much less spam across the board. Either someone has figured out an excellent anti-spam algorithm or Twitter has been judged completely passé by the baddies. Hmm, good idea to include the other platforms for next year!

    Thanks for all your hard work.

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