@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 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    The idea of the museum as a dusty old repository of long-forgotten and obscure objects is an outdated concept that itself belongs in a glass case.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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    May 24th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    IMG_0448On May 19th I hosted the New Technology stream at Museums and Heritage Show. The stream was hosted by Collider Case (which is amazing btw!) and consisted of a variety of great speakers (of course!) from Belfast, England and Paris sharing their experience with new technology that the sector could/should know about :

    Museums and bus stops: breaking down barriers
    Something new and different is happening in Paris – people waiting at bus stops are getting free wifi to play games about the museums local to that stop. CuturO’Game is successfully hooking visitors in with collections-related games, opening up new worlds to new audiences. Find out how it’s working and how you can use this tech to support and promote your own museum. – Aube Lebel, CEO, Clicmuse, Engage with Culture

    IMG_047221st century interpretation in a 19th century museum
    The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge offers one of the finest art and artefacts collections in the UK. As part of their bicentenary celebrations they commissioned a new digital guide, with Acoustiguide, to help visitors explore the museum. We will explore the challenges and successes of this exciting project. – Julie Dawson, Head of Conservation, The Fitzwilliam Museum and Caitlin Bain, Sales; Marketing Manager and Louisa Matthews, Managing Director, Acoustiguide

    IMG_0466Scaleable Tech
    Many of the challenges of adopting and piloting new technology apply to museums of all sizes. Finding the balance between new, interesting and innovative against solid, reliable and dependable technology can be difficult and potentially risky. How can we test and evaluate new products and services without compromising on the quality of experience we deliver to our visitors. – Will Robinson, Creative Technologist, British Museum and Catherine Jones, New Media Engineer, Science Museum 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.

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    April 11th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Credit: ‎@creoconceptsgh

    This is a conversation that started when someone mentioned the routine questions received on social media when the answers are obviously on the website.  This took me by surprise as my first reaction is always to tweet/ask on social media as often I’m on my phone and don’t want to waste data clicking away on websites (especially bespoke ones where Contact Me isn’t where you find the address but a lovely form).

    What I did find funny was the fact that many of the social media people were annoyed by the same questions: directions, open times, cost but I wonder how many took the time to do something to streamline the information.  Maybe a pinned tweet for half term, link directing them to Most Asked Questions on their bio instead of a link to their next exhibition, etc.

    I started thinking more about it and took to twitter for my first ever poll and as you can see from the results, I’m in the minority!

    At least that is the impression the poll gives.  However, many (and I mean many) follow up conversations give light to the reason the poll might have been skewed.  Here’s a selection of responses:

    What is your opinion on this? 

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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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    March 13th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Cultural Tourism WorkshopThe second London Cultural Tourism workshop took place March 7th at City Hall in London. I was asked to facilitate the day by a great team including Creative Tourist and Mike Clewley from Greater London Authority office. The original idea was a traditional type of day – speakers, delegates listening and time for Q&A. However, the more we talked it was clear this wasn’t the right framework.

    The day needed to be a hybrid of speakers and time for delegates to speak – not just ask questions. The format was an awesome Keynote from You Me Bum Bum Train (whose name I spent ages trying to say without laughing) followed by a 4 person panel with each speaker speaking for 2-minutes (and yes, I did time it and glare if they went over) then breakout sessions that were run as an unconference.

    A LOT was going on but I’m a firm believer in creativity comes in all paces.

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    March 3rd, 2016mardixonCulture, Tech

    IMG_6570

    I managed to see Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius at the Science Museum and absolutely loved it. While everyone knows da Vinci is quite the artist, many don’t know the genius the man truly was. This exhibition is a delightful showing of his engineering talents which I have to be honest, I didn’t appreciate before.

    The exhibition starts with a small insight into the comparison from their last da Vinci exhibition in 1952 including a model of a ‘Boring Machine’ (my personal favourite as love the title!)

    IMG_6572

    The exhibition has 39 models of da Vinci’s inventions – some you need to see to believe (flying machine or webbed gloves for divers anyone?). The one main takeaway I learned was he looked to nature for his inspiration. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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    December 30th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    trend_cventI was desperately trying to avoid the clichĂ© of an end of the year post but more discussions and articles, such as this one from Wired has prompted me to ask on several social media channels (and as I write this, I’m watching yet another tv program on buying habits from 2015):

    Tis the season – let’s talk ‪#‎MuseumTrends.

    For me:

    • Better tech (see retail)
    • Seamless engagement 
    • Academia to emotive storytelling
    • More collaboration and sharing of collections (online/offline)
    • [Edit to add] Citizen Museums – with so many closures, will the general public start taking ownership of collections?

    You?

    Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 20.39.43Before I get into the responses it’s important for those that don’t know that I often speak about paying attention to trends in my talks at conferences. The museum sector might pay attention to tech but are ignoring rich resources like retail and publishing who also deal with ‘general’ public/audience. The reason I’m adding this is because while I’m doing this at the end of the year, it’s something we should pay attention to year round.  ‘

    What we’re *not* buying is just as important as what we are buying.’ – John Lewis Buyer.  

    The tv program I’m watching right now has mentioned the shift of traditional marketing and PR and how quickly it is changing. For example, one product that was featured on a top TV morning program received minimal sales increase but one tweet from a known celebrity meant sales went through the roof. This also shows the importance of social media as a trend we need to keep talking about and not assume everyone knows how to use it properly…

    I’d also like to preference that I feel some took the question of ‘trends’ to mean ‘what I personally want’ but that’s ok! It’s something we can all explore.

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