@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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    July 28th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    Recently, I went to Edinburgh with a few friends (Mark and Linda) as our friend Silvia was in the city with her mom. Silvia lives in the states so we don’t get to see her often (I’m giving the reason why we gate-crashed her time with her mom…).

    We had a few ideas of things we wanted to see and do while in Edinburgh but I decided to tweet to get a few more ideas:

    What happened after was truly inspiring and spoke volumes for Edinburgh as a city but also the way more can be done on social media. Every business was recommending another business – some that were the same! It was about raising the city, not themselves and it was so beautiful to read. And yes, we did take a few suggestions on our limited time but we will definitely be going back to Edinburgh! Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 19th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Personal, Tech

    Since the advent of the world wide web the planet has gone through immense changes, its transformed the way we communicate, read, buy our clothes, pay our bills, watch TV, purchase our food and find our news. No facet of our day to day lives has remained unchanged, this has been made more apparent in the last decade through the increase in portable tablets and smart phones. Not only now do we want information instantly we can have it wherever we are and via multiple sources.

    So how has this change in how people obtain knowledge and entertainment affected Museums? Well initially some might say not much. Many museums still have entrance fees, most still have exhibits and many have the same basic layout that they did since their conception – some since 1879. Does this matter? For some, who can weather the storm and guarantee good footfall and wealthy philanthropists, then no it doesn’t. For others, it matters greatly. Read the rest of this entry »

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    March 27th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    It’s something we’re all too used to – funding cuts & threats in the culture sector.  Whether it’s museums, libraries, art galleries or theatres (and everything in between), culture seems to have been the easy hit for most of the people with the purse strings.

    It’s been happening globally for more years than necessary and recently the new American administration has threaten NEA, PBS and other vital funding streams many of the museums and art galleries in the states rely on to survive. [NB See #ThankyouIMLS #StandUpForMuseums #SaveTheNEA #SaveTheNEH and #ThankyouNEH]

    As many may or may not know @CultureThemes was created purely out of the funding cuts that happened in the UK.  While it was great for many museums (and social media managers) to discuss what this meant, it was vital that the conversations were open for all (eg young people and other ‘groups’ that are hard to reach, etc).  The first hashtag with CultureThemes was ‘WhyILoveMuseums’ and went world trending – why?  Because people do love museums and art galleries but we need to ASK THEM every once in awhile WHY.  This goes for staff also!

    Recently I decided to do the same thing in a subtle way.  (Any sadly the day I asked it my phone broke so apologies for the delay in getting this shared).

    For the Twitter & Instagram responses I was able to do a Storify which you can find at the bottom of this article or link is here.  For those that prefer infographics, there’s a free site for that …

    The over-arching ideas is for museums to share stories from past, present and the future.  Being there for the next generation to learn from is also highlighted.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    February 1st, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    Almost on a daily basis I’m being contacted about a hashtag for culture to show they care about what is going on in the world. #RefugeesMakeCulture #dayoffacts #thankyouNEA #thankyouIMLS and more.

    My concern is we are going to dilute the message and overwhelm the same people we want to support. We also have to remember that not everyone wants to campaign and just want to escape to visit to see art, parks, museums etc.

    Being international I’m also fully aware that not everyone can (or should) get involved in some of these campaigns – either it just doesn’t make sense politically or with their collection.

    So while my personal account will support many, I am not sure I feel comfortable using Culturetheme, MuseumSelfieDay or AskACurator for all these events. I hope I don’t sound old and cranky! I’m just trying to respect the diversity of followers that have come to follow for fun, weirdness and escape the norm of how culture is perceived. Hope that makes sense.

    And don’t forget #Museum101 is Feb 15 🙂 a bit of fun for people to say what they’d add to their ‘Room 101’

    For more information, this is from CultureThemes:

    For February, we’re shifting gears just a bit for #Museum101 theme on February 15th.  What is #Museum101?  Well if you ever heard of George Orwell’s book 1984 he talks about Room 101 where you can put things you fear or don’t like/understand in the room (ok it’s more about torture but we’re not getting into that for our theme). 

    Lets remember that CultureThemes exists to highlight and spotlight the need for culture in our society, internationally. 

     

     

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    January 23rd, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    Re-sharing from MuseumCamp.org: Welcome to Museumcamp – the home of the museums unconference.  With a passion for cake! If you’ve previously attended one of our Museumcamp unconferences you’ll be pleased to know we’re planning more. And if you haven’t – good timing, you will get the chance soon.

    We haven’t had a Museumcamp unconference for a while, although it isn’t for the want of trying. Despite the huge success of the Museumcamps in Birmingham it has been difficult to obtain funding, and unfortunately due to the economic climate we can’t get the same level of sponsorship as in the past. However, funding issues aren’t what I’m blogging about today, rather it is about some thoughts on unconferences that came from a recent Unconference conference and my own experiences at unconferences.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 11th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Personal, Tech

    I was interviewed for the Creative Review magazine July’s edition – go buy a copy 🙂

    How self-styled trouble maker Mar Dixon makes museums more people friendly

    Mar Dixon has been at the forefront of museums’ engagement with social media. She tells Mark Sinclair about how museums can use such platforms to broaden audiences, learn from their peers and excite people about culture

    Mar dixon portrait

    The idea of the museum as a dusty old repository of long-forgotten and obscure objects is an outdated concept that itself belongs in a glass case. Many institutions have brought both innovation and technology to the design of their collections, while in recent years opening them up to millions via the internet, further encouraging discovery and interaction through a variety of social media channels.

    Museums have embraced platforms like Twitter and Instagram as a way of sharing their content – enticing visitors to experience it first-hand of course – and the sector has become particularly adept at engaging with its audiences in this way, with initiatives such as @52Museums and #MuseumWeekreceiving a level of traction that many companies can only dream of.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    June 13th, 2016mardixonCulture, Personal

    ‘But museums are free!’  I hear you say. 

    Yes, but many nationals and mostly in London (with exceptions). I live in lovely Shropshire where the story is very different. And my experience is the same in many rural areas.

    While this has been a topic for quite awhile the recent decision by the Field Museum in Chicago has made the topic come to light again.

    Why don’t museums/galleries give free entrance to local people?

    museums_free-for-allThis is a question I kept asking when Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery opened in April 2014 after being closed for 5 years for renovations and costing £10.7 million (£200,000 more than originally budgeted and delayed by 3 years) and then (after tax payers monies contributing to the renovation) they had the gall to charge an entrance fee – something they had said they would not do when asking for votes of approval.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    May 8th, 2016mardixonHealth, Personal, Tech

    Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 09.19.40A very good friend wrote this piece and with permission I’m sharing here as find it’s importance critical.

    Dom Cushnan is part of the Open Community Lab/MuseomixUK community.  He gets how collaboration between sectors breathes creativity and real changes.  He gets that private sectors have a role in these changes also – sometimes through action and other times through lessons.

    Our community (OCL_Community) is currently planning a remix at an NHS hospital for this summer.  Let us know if you’re interested! 

    Read this and let me (and Dom!) know your thoughts:

    Uberisation of health services

     

    The abundance of ever-cheaper, more powerful technology allows small teams with the right approach to accomplish feats previously only achieved within the province of governments and major companies — and to do so faster and more effectively than their bigger competitors.” Nabyl Charania (@nabylc)

    There are times in every industry when processes become stagnant even oppressive and if this is not addressed then current attempts at change no longer have the desired effect.

    Uber is a prime example of disrupting an industry. By leveraging the abundance of available drivers and the power of algorithmic pricing software, the low-cost vehicle service is replacing traditional taxi fleets, with their endless costs and liabilities. And Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is doubling down on the “urban logistics fabric” that Uber is spinning across the globe, hinting at disrupting logistics across all industries, and launching food delivery pilot programs in Chicago and New York City

    But exponential companies aren’t simply more competitive. They’re also, in many cases, the only types of organisations set up for long-term survival.

    In today’s world, as products and services are becoming more and commoditised and software is eating the world, entire industries are being disrupted by organisations that are growing at exponential rates. Software algorithms are controlling the on-demand needs of its users.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    March 21st, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Literacy, Personal, Tech

    Today is the 10th anniversary of @Jack’s first tweet ‘just setting up Twttr’. A lot has happened since then. I would love to say my first tweet was profound but like so many, it wasn’t (you can find your #FirstTweet here).

    Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 09.45.14

    To say Twitter has changed my life is NOT an understatement. I started off local, chatting mainly to people who were in Bridgnorth or Shropshire then started exploring museums, libraries, publishing and of course tech.  While I’ve loved Twitter from the start, it wasn’t until January 16th 2011 when I fully understood it’s power. That was the day I tweeted:

    “I Love Libraries because ______” Fill in the blank and RT! #savelibraries

    And they did. They filled in the blank and shared so much it went world trending. My first experience at seeing the power of social media. From big names (Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood) to local libraries to people on the street, I was being thanked for highlighting the plight of libraries world wide. (If you ever want to know *why* I tweeted it, just ask.)

    At this point I’d love to say I remember what the next world trending was but I honestly can’t remember the order.   I do know that thanks to @CultureThemes our community these hashtags have gone world trending multiple times including:

    But we’ve created communities along the way with Open Community Lab (a spin off from MuseomixUK) and @52Museums.

    twitterWe’ve worked together as a (sometimes dysfunctional) family/society. No we don’t always agree, politics are a bear, but in the end we keep coming back to this platform that makes us express ourselves in 140 tiny little characters.

    And we wouldn’t change it for the world.

    THANK YOU TWITTER!!

     

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    February 5th, 2016mardixonInternational, Personal, Tech
    Credit: Paul Clarke https://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_clarke

    Credit: Paul Clarke https://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_clarke

    NHS Hackday has been going for 3 years but this was their 12th hack. The concept is simple enough: bring people together that care about the NHS and want to make changes. Like most hacks, the difficulty is finding the balance of techy and developers vs people who have ideas.

    As Open Community Lab is trying to expand outside of a museum focus (but still have our museum remixes), Mark Macleod and I went along to learn. This was the first time I was a participant and what an eye opener!

    The format is similar:

    • You mingle
    • You pitch (if you want to)
    • You decide what team you want to be on
    • You work your butt off all weekend to create something.

    That was the easy part. What I didn’t appreciate was the amount of NHS staff that would come with very specific issues they deal with on a daily basis and changes they want to make but don’t know how to go about it. Without a medical background (other than a frequent visitor due to being blessed with clumsiness) I thought I’d be out of my depth. However, each prototype or team needs a person that can help ground the ideas with ‘people experience’.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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