@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.
  • scissors
    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?

    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.

    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.



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  • scissors
    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 🙂


  • scissors
    October 14th, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Personal, Tech

    keep-calm-and-if-you-want-my-advice-pay-for-itFor the past few years I have been non-stop learning and sharing internationally. I’ve set up multiple participatory events both on and offline and I’m pretty sure if I did a shout out for people who had a collaboration through these events lots of hands would go up. I love that this happens.

    What I don’t love is people assuming they can use my ideas or ask me for advice without offering money for what I offer. Or people who ask me to use my contacts/network to introduce them to people without offering me a ‘finders’ fee. Especially when these people are in paid positions and connecting to make more money.

    Whether it be a ‘quick coffee’ (which I’ve actually had to pay for many of times as they don’t put their hand in their pockets) to review a proposal, or a ‘quick email’ to see if I have suggestions on how to help with a campaign – no one ever follows up with ‘How much will this cost?’

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    August 5th, 2012mardixonPersonal

    Way back in September 2011, I found out I qualified as a London Ambassador after travelling to London for the recruitment interview.  I was very honored to be one of the 8000 chosen but felt perhaps everyone was invited to take part.

    I soon found out that wasn’t the case.

    Starting in March I had our first training module, followed up with module two in May  and then Module 3 was at our location (Leister Square for me). As Ambassadors, we had attend these three all -day training sessions going over everything from customer service from John Lewis to questions we might receive to how the hierarchy was going to work (line managers, area managers, etc).  But most importantly, we were getting to know each other.  We didn’t know at the time who was going to be working with whom but it didn’t matter – already we were bonding as London Ambassadors. Read the rest of this entry »

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    April 28th, 2012mardixonPersonal

    First, we need to address this assumption that ‘all kids have been brought up with technology.’ The truth is for only certain areas within our society is that true. Yes some kids might have SmartPhones (actually very few do) and laptops but this doesn’t equate to them knowing technology or ICT.  As for having PC’s in their home, I will question the research which stated 90% have access to broadband.  This is certainly not true of the pupils I teach, many of whom do not even have an email account. And does access translate into usage?  I highly doubt it.

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    April 26th, 2012mardixonCulture, Personal

    On Friday April 20th, Charlotte and three of her school friends travelled to London to sleep at the Natural History Museum’s DinoSnore as part of Charlotte’s 10th birthday (sponsored by KinderHotels).  We were entertained from the moment the doors opened until lights went out at midnight then from breakfast until the museum opened.  The fun (and learning!) never stopped.  There was about 150-200 children and occupying adults. Read the rest of this entry »

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