@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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    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    The idea of the museum as a dusty old repository of long-forgotten and obscure objects is an outdated concept that itself belongs in a glass case.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.

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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.

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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.

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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’.

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    January 27th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Personal, Tech

    SAFETY-ZONEThere have been a few conversations that keep repeating themselves over the past few months (in some cases years) on social media.  What are your thoughts on these topics?

    Remix
    I’m involved with a fabulous community that loves to remix. But what does remix mean? For Open Community Lab and MuseomixUK it means creating prototypes to bridge the gap between museums vs everywhere else. At the heart though is real change in thinking. It’s much more than prototypes.

    We as a sector have to believe that the powers to be want meaningful changes that the general public is going to appreciate and want to support.

    Hours
    closedI’m on record several times with my feeling of the trend of museums moving from academia to emotive. What does that mean? There’s the obvious one that museums as a research center is skewed a bit now that we have powerful computers on our smartphones. We (the public) want more storytelling (emotive). You know what else we want? Access to visit when we’re not working.

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    June 7th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 11.19.21I must admit – I never see myself as a museum blogger.  Then again I don’t see myself as a museum person but labels have never been my thing.  My ‘crappy website’ (seriously I am embarrassed about the theme but don’t have the skills to change it) is a brain dump area for me to try and share past the social media sharing.  Thank you for those that read it and to Paolo for the nomination to #MuseumTwitterati.

    #MuseumTwitterati is a new tag to help new people on twitter identify museum bloggers.  The idea started as #TwitteratiChallenge by @TeacherToolkit to “recognise your most supportive colleagues in a simple blogpost shout-out. Whatever your reason, these 5 educators [museologists] should be your 5 go-to people in times of challenge and critique, or for verification and support“.

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    May 12th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    voteOk, I admit. I was mad/angry about the elections. Mad because I spent over a year trying to encourage people, young/old and everything in between to vote. Saying how important their vote was. Saying how valuable their opinion was. Then the Tories got in and it was like collectively we all threw the towel in – or the other extreme was we got our pitchforks at the ready.

    Then I noticed that I actually didn’t know enough about those in office to have an opinion. Yes I know what social media was telling me but I had to stop and read things myself to get a bigger picture. And one thing I learned is I still don’t know but maybe, just maybe, we’re not dealing with the Devil here. Maybe we are dealing with people we need to work with to understand us. Naive maybe but really what is there to lose?

    One thing that I do know is as a society we are incredibly incredibly strong. We are survivors. I have seen so many examples of those who have been going without helping those who don’t understand this new way of life. Bartering is common place with many communities. Do we prefer money? Absolutely! But we also get that our skills, our talents are worthy of more than just ‘green backs’. And in-kind (used appropriately) helps build stronger relationships.

    I’m not advocating that no one should get paid – I’m advocating that we look to make positives changes while letting ‘those is power’ that we’re not going to being played a fool.

    We’re creative (or so I’m told) so lets put the pitchforks down and be creative about our approach.   Let’s not be reactionary but strategic in working towards a sustainable plan/journey. Let’s include museums, theatres, NHS, libraries, etc because all these resources are important for our society – and not just the UK.

    My sister recently reminded me that we were brought up (like so many) without much. But we didn’t know any better because my mom didn’t let us be defeatist. Even though we didn’t have much, we gave what we did have to those who had less. It’s about leaving the world a better place than when we got here. We can NOT do that if we’re fighting and bickering and claiming one resources is more valuable then the other.

    Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 21.21.22

    via Darlene Cavalier to our mom on Mother’s Day

    I don’t have many answers – but do know we need to change our anger and our negative words into positives actions. Sooner rather than later.

    I’d also encourage everyone to follow @ILoveMuseums / I Love Museums if you’re not already.

    ilovemuseums

     

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    December 15th, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    This post is a combination of a ‘year in review’ and a ‘brain dump of thoughts’.  It’s a good and positive – well that’s how I see it, I’m sure one or two might find a fault or two and that’ ok!

    #MuseumSelfie & Other World Trending Things
    AskACurator-until_Sept14-lowresYes, I realize the irony of this but who knew it was going to be so popular?  It’s been requested that I run it again so mark your calendar for January 21 2015! There was A LOT of press about going viral.  And recently had a shoutout in this New York Times article.  Follow @CultureThemes and @MuseumSelfieDay

    On the same page, see #AskACurator, #MuseumWeek & #LoveTheatre which also went world trending and will be repeated again in 2015.  Never under-estimate the importance of social media in this fast pace digital/tech world. Read the rest of this entry »

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    October 31st, 2014mardixonPersonal

    IMG_6023I’m currently in Madrid for Europeana conference and a few meetings.  Yesterday I went to Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (highly recommend!) when disaster happen – I dropped my iphone on the hard floor which sent a lovely spider crack through the screen.  This was made even worse when the screen didn’t work.

    I was due at Europeana conference in half hour so couldn’t really worry about it – until I realize I had no idea how to get anywhere without the information stored on my phone… including how to locate my AirB&B flat! I’m not afraid to say I starting to worry.

    Leaving Europeana after the speakers, I headed straight to Apple Store. I look the directions up on my laptop before leaving wifi area and managed to make it almost the whole way, stopping at a hotel to guide me the last of the way.  Now I’m starting to realize how hard life without CityMapper really is.

    When I reached the Apple Store I explained the situation and how I was in Madrid until Saturday but have no idea how to get to my flat or access the information as I stored it on my phone (some such as flight and Stansted Express were text to me).

    I was told they had no appointments and I could use their Macbooks to locate another store.  I went to the Macbook and soon noticed all were in Spanish.  I fumbled my way through and thought I located another Apple store but couldn’t be sure so asked another Apple employee to help.  It was at this point I was told the nearest store is half hour away … by train!  I pleaded for an emergency appointment as I was in a different country by myself and couldn’t get to my flat or anything.

    There was apparently nothing they could do and no offer of options for me were provided.  Thanks.

    IMG_6090My only option was to try and figure out where my flat was (I couldn’t remember the address to look up).  As I was walking around aimlessly, I ran into a very tiny mobile place selling second hand phones and covers.  I went in trying not to cry and asked if they knew where I could get my phone fixed – waiting for him to say he doesn’t speak English.

    The very kind spoke incredible English and said ‘I can help!’  I almost cried from joy!  He took my information, tested a few things and said come back in an hour.  I said I had nowhere to go, he said ‘if you get lost, we’re open until 11 but I will stay.’

    IMG_6089In that moment it was everything not to hug this stranger!

    Even better when I returned to a fixed phone, him and his colleague helped me with a new sim card (don’t ask).  They made sure I was happy and everything working before I left the store.

    Complete opposite of Apple.   I never caught their names but they restored my faith in humanity.

    And I found my flat 🙂

     

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