@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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    January 25th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    This is a guest post from Fabio Viola.  

    Sometimes dreams come true. For a guy grew up in the ’80s with a game pad in his hands and history in his mind, the co-presence in the same space of astonishing Farnese’s collection statues and displays showing a videogame has been a “connecting the dots” moment.

    Yesterday the Archeological Museum of Naples showcased “Father and Son”, a coming soon videogame that set a first time, in Italy and worldwide, of a museum acting as a pure game publisher.  Since the’90s, cultural institutions has experienced videogames mainly as an educational platform with the aim to spread the message among a young audience (k6 target).  With Videogames entered in the adulthood and videogamers almost equally split among men and women  aged 35 years old, I strongly believe it is the right time to connect this young art form with the “established” cultural forms creating an intangible thread between on-site and online experience. A useful tool to bring the museum outside the museum and shift from the “traditional “storytelling to what I call storydoing.

    “This game helps us to achieve one of the museum’s new Strategic Plan objectives activating a new way to connect with the audiences. From anywhere around the world, you can interact with our Institute and the city of Naples. We want to be perceived in the world as an innovative hub, a place where the cultural vision is pursued without barriers”, says museum’s director Paolo Giulierini

    Father and Son is a 2D side scrolling narrative game that explores the feelings of love, dreams, fear and the passing of time through the story of an archaeologist and the son he never knew. Throughout the game, the main character crosses the lives of people from different historical eras: Ancient Rome, Egypt and Bourbon Naples. What begins as a personal experience, becomes a universal and timeless story where the present and the past are a set of meaningful choices. Players will assume the role of Michael: after receiving a letter from his archaeologist father he never knew, the protagonist goes to MANN to find out more. From here a journey through the ages begins, from ancient Rome to Egypt, passing through the Bourbon age and coming up to the Naples of today. The player will thus be able to explore the streets of Naples, along the halls of the museum and interact with the stories through the ages.

    Ludovico Solima, associate professor of Management of Cultural Organizations, Second University of Naples: 

    “With ‘Father and Son’ the museum aims to reach and engage new worldwide audiences in an unexplored way.  We’ll evaluate carefully the qualitative and quantitative results of this first time approach to the gaming”.

    In Father and Son, each player’s choice will affect the story and lead to different endings. Michael will interact with different characters and will have to make important decisions that can influence the entire narrative. The aim is to fill in gaps not only about his father’s life, but also the characters he meets along the way. And only at the end, will Michael be able to rediscover himself, thanks to meetings with characters from the past and present.

    All this would not be possibile without TuoMuseo, a no profit organization active in the intersection between cultural heritage and videogames/gamification made up of a team with years of experience in the industry: Fabio Viola (Electronic Arts Mobile, Vivendi Games Mobile,), Sean Wenham (Ubisoft, Sony), Alessandro Salvati, Arkadiusz Reikowski, Salvatore Savino, Vitalba Morelli, Massimiliano Elia, Fabio Sarracino.


    The free game will be downloadable on mobile devices, via App Store and Google Play, with furthers platform under evaluation during the 2017.

    Thanks again Mar Dixon for your hospitality and for your vision of a museum as a “wonderful playground”.

    Follow the game on the official website or feel free to reach us out on Facebook or Twitter or info[at]tuomuseo.it.

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    January 12th, 2017mardixonCulture, Tech

    Really enjoyed Actually Reality at Royal Academy. It’s opening to the public January 12-14 (yes, a very short run) but if you want to experience art in a virtual world (instead of just walking around it as most platforms allow), this is the perfect exhibition.  I also like the fact that RA worked with graduates – how inspiring!

    From Royal Academy website:

    We’re starting 2017 with Virtually Real, a collaborative pop-up project between the virtual reality platform HTC Vive and our contemporary art school, the Royal Academy Schools.

    Graduates Adham Faramawy and Elliot Dodd, together with third-year student Jessy Jetpacks, have been selected to create works of art using HTC Vive. This virtual reality technology lets you experience hundreds of simulated worlds, where the normal rules of gravity don’t apply. The artists will be using software like Kodon and Tilt Brush by Google, a palette that lets you paint in virtual 3D space to produce installations that you, the visitor, will be able to move through and interact with. You’ll also be able to see their creative processes from start to finish with HTC Vive’s playback technology. As a world-first, we’ll be 3D printing these artworks and exhibiting them, so you will have the chance to interact with them both virtually and in real life. You’ll also be able to try your hand at creating a virtual reality masterpiece of your own.

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    January 1st, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    For the past few months (cough 2016 cough) I’ve been observing the lack of conversations and rise of marketing on ALL social media (I know Twitter gets blame a lot for this but really Facebook and Instagram aren’t much better and Snapchat isn’t really known in the museum world yet and most young people prefer it that way).

    Yes most cultural venues will get involved with hashtags and things like @52Museums but on a daily basis it seems social media has turned into one massive scheduled marketing job and quite frankly it’s doing the sector a dis-justice. If you don’t have the time to spend a few minutes a day being SOCIAL then why should we (the public) find the time to visit? As I said before, I feel the visitors are looking for an emotive experience now (as oppose to academia) and marketing is NOT emotive.

    Yes we understand the burden. You have to tell people what is available so that they visit (and hopefully spend money) but there are ways of marketing in a social tone. The public can smell scheduled updates.

    In fairness, I feel I’m also at fault in this. I’ve been so busy in 2016 that I seem to only post when sharing events for others or hashtags. So I’m putting my money where my mouth is an I’m going to try to chat to at least 3 people a day on social media and respond to as many as I can.

    Sounds simple but like most comms people, traveling, life and hectic schedule sometimes gets in the way but really it shouldn’t be hard for me to reach out and engage.

    Cultural Sector can easily pick three people to say:

    • ‘Did you enjoy your visit?’
    • ‘What was your favourite item/piece?’
    • ‘Thanks for visiting!’

    Even better they can share some of the experience of what is happening in the venue at the time – for example share a few overheard conversations from visitors or staff.

    Stephen Fry once said Twitter is like falling leaves, you catch a few as the come down and admire the beauty of those on the ground. We need to do more of this.

    So who is up for the challenge to #BringSocialBacktoSocialMedia?

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    September 8th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    instagram-1Since launching @52Museums I’ve been amazed to see the growth of museums on Instagram (yes it was happening before but this is my point of view). As the project has been running, more and more museums have contacted me to join in on the list and to say they are starting an Instagram account just because of @52Museums which is brilliant!

    Every museum who host @52Museums is asked to fill out an exit form at the end of their week. I will share the complete findings after we have a year in but the feedback has been very positive. All said they would do it again and all said they felt it was worthwhile. With this account they get the open instructions:

    • If you can post a few for LA time, East coast and Europe time that makes a difference.
    • Post 7-10 times a day – it sounds like a lot but really works with our current audience.
    • Try  things you can’t do on your own account.
    • HAVE FUN!

    Another project I run is @AskACurator Day (September 14th 2016 – eek!). There are over 1200 museums on the list to take part (with more signing up each day). It got me thinking that I should combine the @52Museums list with the @AskACurator list to make a ‘Master List’. Sounds simple enough, right?

    How wrong I was. But it has led to some insight that I’d like to share:

    Please note,Museums on Instagram form with link to list is here (I need to get over AskaCurator day before I have time to combine everything).

     

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    August 15th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    IMG_3696Something I’ve been thinking about lately is stories.  No not intellectual novels (although I do love a good book!) but stories on Snapchat and Instagram.  I’m the first to admit I’m not a strong Snapchat user but Instagram I get.

    However, since Instagram brought out Stories I’ve been trying to get my head around why… I mean yes I know it’s trying to compete with Snapchat but why do platforms feel the need to morph into it’s ‘competition’ instead of just letting it be? [Edit to add this article Snapchat is acquiring mobile search app Vurb for $110M+  Aug 15]

    I took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram today to ask the simple question:

    What are your thoughts on @instagram Stories vs @Snapchat Stories? Do you use either? Trying to get more of an idea about them. Which do you prefer and why? #socialmedia

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    August 12th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Thank you to Adrienne Luce, Digital Engagement for the Getty Museum, for sharing this guest blog after posting about her experience on Facebook.  

    On Monday April 4, 2016 the Getty Center hosted its annual College Night event. Two Getty interns, Abby Keene and Ashley Medina, were on hand to help with the event. A few hours before the festivities began, Abby suggested that we try a Facebook Live broadcast and I thought, why not. So The Getty Museum’s first foray into the world of Facebook Live was completely spontaneous and done without any advance planning.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 16.09.26Our interns press the “Go Live” button and just like that we were broadcasting live from the Getty Center. The first Facebook Live video was a short 6-minute clip. After the broadcast was done, our Getty interns show me the stats. We had reached more than 30,000 Facebook feeds and the broadcast generated 258 reactions, comments and shares . Amazed by these impressive figures we decided to do more. Next up, our interns did a Facebook Live broadcast, about 7 minutes in length of one of our Museum educators talking about Van Gogh’s “Irises”. After the broadcast was finished, we saw that our reach had doubled. This time the broadcast reached 58,000+ Facebook feeds and had 1,429 reactions, comments and shares. We did a few more broadcasts from Getty College Night with each one, the numbers amazed us and we quickly realized the potential of this powerful platform. Read the rest of this entry »

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    August 5th, 2016mardixonCulture, Tech

    IMG_3299This week, Charlotte and I managed to do The Lost Palace experience. I’ve known about The Lost Palace since Timothy Powell told me about the idea back in late 2014/2015.

    The concept: Bring Europe’s largest palace ‘back to life’ 300 years after it burnt to the ground. Hear, touch and feel the past using new immersive technology.

    The technology is what I was most interested in. The Lost Palace started with an open call for proposals from makers, creators, dreamers, technologist and more. There were 5 £10,000 proposals available. Their remit was relatively lose: Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 13th, 2016mardixonCulture, Tech

    Hi, my name’s Chris and I am a Pokémon addict.

    pokemon-team-mystic-01-2016If you’ve been out in any major city over the past week or so you will no doubt have noticed gangs of 20-30 year olds huddled round monuments, churches and landmarks, madly swiping at smartphones. No, gang culture isn’t on the rise (not to this extent anyway). It’s the return of a 20-year-old craze, which didn’t really go away properly. Pokémon is back and it’s taking over lives in the form of a new smarphone app from Nintendo and Niantic Labs.

    Pokémon Go is a “real world adventure” which uses GPS and augmented reality to allow users to track down, catch and train their favourite little monsters in a bid to become the best trainer in the land. Although only available in a handful of countries at the moment, fans of the franchise have been using all means possible to obtain a copy of the game.

    I am one of those fans.

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    July 11th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Well this was a weekend and ½ – I thought most of the social media world would be consumed with sports – either Euro2016, Wimbledon or Grand Prix – but then I started seeing lots of PokemonGo sharing.

    Wait, what?

    Pokemon for those that don’t remember are characters from the 1985 tv show. As a Muppet Fan, I don’t judge those who are older and still in love with characters from their youth.

    This morning I asked:

    How long before museums feel they have to hop on the #PokemonGO bandwagon? 🙂

    UPDATE July 15:

    • Privacy issues have been resolved
    • It’s now available in the UK
    • It’s bringing new people to historic sites (I personally know this as heard young people -teens- walking around my historic town saying they never knew Bridgnorth had so much history!),
    • Museums are still trying to engage without being creepy
    • Everyone is trying to research why PokemonGo is so hot (my answer:  right timing, right place – AR tech is there -ok a little buggy- Pokemon is a great storyline and those who grew up with it are now at that ‘it’s cool again stage’ [as a Muppet fan I can totally relate!].
    • Some visitors are complaining but they are the ones that hate MuseumSelfie and other fun so no sympathy here 🙂
    • This is going to have other museums look to AR for solutions and I’m not convinced they should right now – at least not on their own (for their own app)
    • Martha Henson is doing a great round up of post – see here
    • You can now add a request stop (and presumably take a site off?) – see here
    • Now available in Italy, Spain and Portugal! 

    PokemonGo is the number one app and even though it’s not officially available (only in US, Australia & New Zealand) but other countries have managed work arounds (aren’t we’re a  clever society). [Edit to add: rumours are UK will be available this week.] [UPDATE IT’S AVAILABLE IN UK and boy do we know it!]

    My original question about museums using PokemanGO still goes unanswered. For me, I feel if your collection is relevant then yes! But please please please don’t force a fad into your museum if your visitors won’t appreciate it. There is a difference between jumping on a bandwagon and being ahead of a trend – know the difference.  But do know the faster the bubble grows the harder it will burst (aka security and stranger danger concerns coming up now.) 

    Should all museums do this? Of course not! This is almost tailored made for some museums though and by all means they should jump on the fun and go! Or be more like VAM and ask your visitors what they want:

    Pokémon just did museums a huge favor (maybe) from VAM

    Pokémon just did museums a huge favor (maybe) from VAM

    Is your collection right for this?  Would your visitors mind? Do you normally cater to families, young people?  The public can smell if you’re doing this for legit reasons or just to be in the media.  Please do encourage PokemonGo if you or your visitors finds one though!

    Credit: Brooklyn Museum Instagram

    Credit: Brooklyn Museum Instagram

    Just don’t be one of these museums if you’re going to do it:

    Not sure who to credit with this but thank you!

    Not sure who to credit with this but thank you!

    I’ll probably add more to this as this grow, but for now, I’ll leave you with this:

    When you’re thinking about adding PokemonGO to your museum or venue, remember you might find yourself explaining why the app is asking for a lot of permissions (camera, all contacts, etc). It’s all relevant to the game of course but people are more astute with permissions these days. (It’s more for demographics than stalking but still.) [Credit: Pokemon Go wants to catch (almost) all your permissions]

    Edit to add: I already mentioned the security which seems to be growing as a concern.  As the app is only available in NZ, Australia and US other countries are downloading the app … in creative ways.  Before as there have been reports of malware on several. 

    Additionally, be sure you’re aware of what you’re clicking when you give the app privacy permissions – it’s quite a lot! 

    And not that it’s totally relevant to museums and PokemonGo, but I just loved the title of this article:

    The numbers prove it: People would rather catch Pokémon than catch a date

    Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 11.15.11

     

    Edit to add:

    Said I would update and remarkable how much can happen in one day!

    Additionally there has been a lot of discussion on museums finding PokemonGo in their venues – that is great!  My concern isn’t about museums having fun (and if you know anything about me you shouldn’t have asked that) but that some will look into how to force this hot news to fit a remit that just isn’t the museums personality.

    What are your thoughts? 

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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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