@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 24th, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Personal, Tech

    As Charlotte finally had a summer where she didn’t have to study for anything, we decided a few days in Paris was long overdue. (a huge thanks to Aube and family for letting us stay in the gorgeous flat near Notre Dame!)

    Day One:

    Walking Paris. We had a little idea of what we wanted to do in Paris but seeing Eiffel Tower was of course on the list. As it was so sunny out, and the best way to see any city is to walk, we decided a stroll through Paris would be perfect. And it was even if it was a day with almost 16kms… Seeing all the cute side streets that we would have missed on the bus (or the newest fun mode of transport is the electric scooters) was a bonus.

    Have to say there was a huge difference from the last time we went to see Eiffel Tower as not as many pushy sellers. They also changed the way you access it if you wanted to go up (we’ve been up a few times so just wanted to see it).

    Day Two:

    Another full on day with walking but Charlotte was saved as we had to get back to watch the World Cup. We started at Notre Dame which is free to enter and the queue moves rather quickly.

    We then headed to Saint Chapelle, a Holy Chapel that was intended to house Christian relics including Christ’s crown of thorns. The stained glass have 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Read the rest of this entry »

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    June 1st, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Lately I’ve been busy talking at conferences about social media and running workshops on the same. Why? Because I think many places have now started to realize giving marketing departments or people full time control over social media wasn’t, in many cases, the best move.

    The most important aspect of social media – no matter what subject – is to be social. Constantly telling people of events and not responding to them, or, perish the thought, actually reaching out to people who are tagging you is all one way, and it gets old. Let’s be honest, there is a lot of content out there that people can be sharing, it’s a buyers’ market for the social media user and we should therefore treat those who do tag us with enough respect to acknowledge them or at least some of them (ok for those who get 1000s of tags it might be hard, but one or two responses a day isn’t difficult). It’s another aspect of customer service, we wouldn’t totally ignore someone who came up to the counter, or visitor information desk would we? Yet we think its ok for those who reach out to us on Social media to be ignored. Read the rest of this entry »

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    March 14th, 2018mardixonCulture, Tech

    Day 1 Round up has been written by Goldsmiths University of London, the MA Events and Experience Management student Zsofia Szendrei.

    Roll up, Roll up, the Remix has begun!

    Fresh faces, anticipation, enthusiasm and a great deal of curiosity greeted us on the first chilly morning of the #2017HullRemix! We definitely were in for an exciting process, witness to some great journeys in just one short, productive day and ready to tackle Day 2 with the panache only Hull, 2017 City of Culture could bring.

    A courageous group of stakeholders met each other ready to get into the nitty-gritty of the evaluation process. Starting off with a lively welcome by Mar Dixon and then an introduction by the City of Culture Team. We headed onto some exciting, unpublished data (shown for our eyes only) and a presentation on how the whole year panned out. It must be noted that considering the preparations and post-work efforts put into such a scheme the “year” does not actually start and end at 2017.

    “Once you’re the City of Culture, you’re always a City of Culture.”
    Phil Batty

    What is a Remix though, you may ask?
    We surely could sense some curiosity around the title. For those who have not attended one let us give you a quick overview. A Remix, unlike a hackathon, looks at taking datasets, analysing and translating it; finding a way to produce a creative output. This all revolves around topics that individuals are most interested in. As you might often find in life, the more passionate you are about a topic you’re exploring the better. Posters are great, but how else can you push the boundaries?

    After getting this little piece of “housekeeping” out of the way, and taking all the juicy information from Pippa Gardner’s and Phil Batty’s presentations on City of Culture the participants went onto forming groups.

    First they shared their main interests and then went onto forming groups. As their reflections will show everyone arrived with unique ideas and interests.

    REFLECTIONS:

    Stephen Grey: “It was good to get into different groups, finding out about what the task was, forming teams and then getting on with the task at hand. The best moment was our breakthrough, when we settled with an idea finally.”

    James Coatsworth: “It was great meeting and working with so many different people, it made me think of City of Culture in a new way, I had my own idea of it, but hearing from everyone that worked on it, from the volunteers, made me see it from a different perspective. Even though it’s over people are still thinking about it and incidentally making us think about it differently.”

    Alana Ennis: “It was good to get an overview of the evaluation data and to find out what everyone was interested in. Initially getting into teams, learning who everyone is, why people came and what people want to get out of the Remix. My group is looking at disability and it’s interesting because it’s not the focus of my research, so it’s a completely new land of inquiry.”

    Amy Finch: “The first thing that comes to my mind is our Eureka moment. The whole table came into the group, very open minded, not wanting to make an assertion about the data and what they would look at. We wanted to look at what the data said and where it would take us, which meant we had to throw out a few ideas and data that didn’t lead anywhere. So we changed our idea a lot. Our Eureka moment was finding a seemingly large difference between 2 wards, and finding what that difference was.”

    The teams formed and went from one idea to another, the initial four topics were:

    • Civic Pride
    • Legacy Hangover
    • Audiences
    • Young People

     

    And from these great ideas the groups went on their own versions of a roller coaster ride settling at:

    • Communities and how different wards were affected by the City of Culture
    • The impact of volunteer participation
    • The extent to which disability was present
    • Young People

    You may find the group exploring young people stuck to their theme, but not to worry they had their own version of multiple loop de loops while considering their final output.

    After a hard day’s work #2017HullRemix presented to each other how far they got and what their ideas cemented into. Revealing what their output of choice would be for the next day, let’s just say there was no worry of post-it-note posters with this lot!

    Let us leave you here by introducing the fantastic group members:

    ComX2017:
    Victoria Bissett
    Amy Finch
    Michael Howcroft
    Rich Morfitt
    Paul Tempest


    From COMFY to CONFIDENT:

    Alison Kathleen Boyes
    Stephen Grey
    Rachael Kerr
    Duncan Macintyre
    Syeda Nudrat
    Pamela Taylor

    Jellybeans:

    Alana Ennis
    Jade French
    Maria Kapsuli
    Matt Ralphson

    YOUNG- at the Heart of Hull:

    Erica Anderson
    James Coatsworth
    Belinda Garry
    Rose Jackson
    Victoria McDermott
    Paul Route

    If you want some suggestions on how to run a Remix, Mar Dixon is your lady, she has a sixth sense when it comes to working with people and events! She knows how to boost enthusiasm and bring her energy to everyone, between the two of us the secret is in the Jazz Hands! 

    Another tip we have is: music. Thank you Erica Anderson for that great idea! Your suggestion as we introduced everyone on slack last week made a huge difference these past two days. Having something to hum along to sure made -what may have seemed like- a hard day’s night pump up our jam!

    Of course, we have to give a shout to Mar’s lovely volunteers from Goldsmiths University of London. Referred to us by Sara Lindén, Lecturer in Tourism and Cultural Policy and Course Convenor of the MA Events and Experience Management. Veronica Di Claudio, Kristina Kratochvilova and Zsofia Szendrei ensured the smooth running of the event, captured the key moments of the Remix and oversaw our slack. To see their posts check out one of our social media platforms, browse through our Instagram and Twitter for some inspiration.

    And thank you Pippa for #2017HullRemix!! Day 1 was great! As you said:

    “There was a lot of information for the participants to get their heads round, but after lunch the creativity definitely started going!”

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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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    April 13th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Lately I noticed something on social media that I didn’t really like seeing.  I had hoped I was wrong but decided to ask others their thoughts:

     

    I felt I should share a few of the responses here.  What is important to remember is I was not talking about all museums or in one area.  It seems to be an international issue and I’m pretty sure it’s not because the social media managers like this either!  Maybe management feels social media managers have everything scheduled so can do 25 other things that really aren’t under their remit.  Social media managers rock and we shouldn’t at all blame them – most I spoke to privately hate it as much as we do!

    However, brands (and museums are a brand) do sometimes forget that numbers aren’t the answer – loyalty also plays a role and can’t always be quantified. Does that mean it doesn’t matter?  Of course not!  And does it mean that museums, especially larger, more popular museums should respond to every one who tags them?  Of course not.  But it does mean they need to at least be shown to make an effort – even just once a day to engage with visitors and non-visitors.  It doesn’t hurt to ask someone who tags you how they are doing….

    I also asked on Facebook and LinkedIn and the responses were an eye opener. What are your thoughts? What can be done to make social media more social and get us back to having conversations instead on constant marketing and pr jammed down our throats?

    And for clarification, I need to add that this is the same on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – so it’s not a platform issue.

    LinkedIn

    Mät King
    It’s a common problem with social media. People and companies tend to spend more time trying to engage with celebrities/bigger brands/more popular museums etc than actually engaging with those who follow or engage with them. This hierarchy is a very odd consequence of class structure/knowing your place and a general insecurity common to many who have been part of an organised education system. It’s very similar to how people will listen to those with no qualifications or , indeed, abilities in a subject because they are famous or are born with a title.

    Facebook

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts!  

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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.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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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).

     

    Read the rest of this entry »

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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

    Read the rest of this entry »

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