@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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    March 3rd, 2016mardixonCulture, Tech

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    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!)

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    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’.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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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.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    December 30th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    trend_cventI was desperately trying to avoid the cliché 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.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    December 8th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 19.20.19As many know, I was asked to be Artists-in-residence at MuseumQuartiers thanks to the invite from eSel. While I had to do a few conferences in Budapest, Spain, etc, I managed to have a very good time ­­learning, explore and meeting people in Vienna.

    ESEL – do tremendous work promoting culture not just in MuseumQuartiers where they are based but for Vienna. If you’re not following them already – do it now!

    I talked to many directors, PR/Marketing and social media museum people to try to encourage them to try to get a dialog going once a month (like DrinksThing). The importance of meeting at a café and pub was stressed but they’ll have to determine what works best for them.

    The other concept was for them to get on social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to allow the international tourist a platform to be able to share (many only have Facebook).

    I’ve addressed other questions on this MuseumQuartiers Blog with Margit Moer

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    November 22nd, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    MuseumCampPoster6Today I held MuseumCamp as part of the Vienna Art Week. While it was a small, intimate group we managed to cover many topics and eat A LOT of cupcakes! First and foremost I have to thank eSel (in particular eSeLat) for the invite to be Artists in Residence and showcase MuseumCamp during Vienna Art Week.

    Topics:

    Social Media: In Vienna – the uptake to social media is slow. While the public may or may not be using it, the museums seem to be using it for PR/marketing many and to chat to other museums. Not sure where the public comes in but the good news is they seem to recognize it and want to change! For example, as stated by Jennie Carvill ‘engagement in twitter initiatives like #Askacurator or the like is still also largely lacking.’ Is that due to the museums or the public? I’m still not sure.

    Hashtags: Another topic was the use of signage in museums to encourage sharing. While at Albertina Museum and Leopold Museum I saw they are great with the signage, but not everyone is sharing. In some museum the reasons are similar – no wifi due to signal issues in the thick (or metal!) walls. But we discussed ways to encourage more participation. I shared Andrew Lewis’ newest case study as an example. And talked about Pompidou #KoonSelfie signage (and the use of a book competition to encourage sharing).

    QR Codes: When the topic of new technology came up, it was mentioned that some museums tried 3 years ago with QR codes but many of the public had no idea what they were or how to use. However, now that the advertisers are using them more on posters/signs in the streets, it might be worthwhile to try again on a small exhibition.

    Periscope: We discussed how many museums / galleries allow for pictures that maybe they can start to implement Periscope into their sharing. As someone who uses Periscope, I was glad to learn that perhaps there is a way to capture the comments and hearts also which is a great benefit!

    IMG_2932Building Communities: One of the difficulties I’ve personally seen in Vienna is the struggle to gain trust with communities. As Vienna is small, many people attend events as a group. It’s hard for an individual to ‘break that cycle’. This spills over to museum/art gallery people. They don’t tend to attend events or conferences to network. I’ve visited museums (and shared along the way) and attended many Vienna Art Week events and tried to introduce myself to new people and while they were always polite the conversation never led anywhere. To be honest, it was a bit frustrating as I probably attended more events that weren’t related to my work but the social integration was closed.

    I talked about DrinksThing and as a way to break the communication barriers. As Will Stanley and I know, it isn’t always a first time success but over time, if they are consistent I’m sure it’ll grow. While there were a few examples mentioned of Tweetups for museum people – they seem to give up a bit too earlier. DrinksThings did not take off over night and some nights it was only 3 people who showed. But we were consistent in a monthly event and soon gained the trust of others. However, it’s vital that people in Vienna find the right platform for communications (DrinksThing is twitter and Attending.io based but perhaps Facebook group is more practical here). I noticed that newsletter were stronger in their way to communicate.

    We also discussed stARTcamp Wien which happens in Vienna on December 10. It’s a barcamp like MuseumCamp. They to have the issues of people to attend and know why/how it’s important. I’m hoping to be able to support them more in furture.

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    October 13th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    For the first time ever MuseumNext moved from Europe to the states with wonderful host the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I always knew this was going to be something special but both MuseumNext and IMA outdid even my expectations!  A very special thank you to Scott StulenSilvia Filippini Fantoni from IMA and Jim Richardson and Kala Preston for managing to pull off the best conference to date!

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    As always, MuseumNext is more than ‘just a conference’. The fringe, networking and fun around the one (but really two days…) conference. Am I bias about MuseumNext? Of course! But it’s like a family to me – even though the delegates change there is always a warmth and familiarness with MuseumNext.

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    August 20th, 2015mardixonCulture, Tech

    IMG_7692Back in January, our community went to Birmingham to see Birmingham Open Media and Impact Hub.  We didn’t know what they did or if they were anything of importance but we’d figured a day out to find out wouldn’t hurt.

    During our meeting with Karen from BOM somehow we decided on a Kids Remix for August.  In January August seems so far away.

    We didn’t know what it was going to look like or what would happen but we had a date, venue and brilliant creative people in our community so I never worried.  One conversation led to another and eventually we came up with the idea of remixing traditional games to digital and visa versa.  We contacted Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to see if we could use their collection for inspiration.  Slowly things were building and morphing.

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    August 8th, 2015mardixonInternational, Tech

    IMG_7434Really hate starting off with such a cliché title but I can’t think of any other words that explains what I witnessed last week at Young Rewired State in Birmingham UK.

    For those who don’t know, Young Rewired State Festival of Code is:

    Young Rewired State is a worldwide community of digital makers aged 18 and under. We introduce them to like-minded peers, and expert mentors, at free events around the world, where they use freely available open data to build apps, websites and algorithms to solve real world challenges.

    Young Rewired State aims are to (from their website):

    • Find and foster a community of young coders and digital makers
    • Get them ‘civic hacking’ together: using their skills, to improve their communities
    • Promote peer to peer learning
    • Provide a fun, inclusive and supportive environment
    • Equip these young people with the skills to become the tech stars of tomorrow

    IMG_7414I’ve heard and followed YRS for a few years but it always seemed like I was travelling during the events. But this year Emma and Ruth caught me early in the planning and I was able to put it pride and place in my calendar. I was honoured to be asked to be a judge even though I had no idea what that meant….

    When I arrived at ICC in Birmingham, a place I have been to many times, I felt an electric vibe I have never felt before. I walked up the to the main floor of the event and BAM! The explosion of excitement hit an elevation I didn’t know possible. Kids coding, excitedly, happily – with a splash of annoyance when it wasn’t working. Read the rest of this entry »

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    June 24th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    periscopeI’ve been using Periscope before it came out (I was a beta tester back in March).  I have to be honest, I was a bit confused with the concept.  Having not used Meerkat or really care about filming before, I didn’t see the need for live streaming. Why would anyone use it that wasn’t at a conference?

    Then I started to play with it. First around my town, then on my travels and you know what? It’s a game changer. Why? Because although I live-tweet, blog and over-share, this allowed a two-conversation to happen between the viewers and myself in real-time. I am able to Periscope and have a dialogue in a way that is quicker and more efficient than Twitter or blogging. The conversations from Periscope have lead to a few blogs.

    I can’t remember my first live stream from a museum or art gallery but do know the first time I saw a great response was at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and (thanks to free wifi) was able to have a bit of fun with live streaming. I didn’t save the first one but did upload the live stream I did with a conservator fixing art in the middle of the gallery.

    With each periscope I’m learning more. For example, on my first attempt I was really confused how I was suppose to type a response to the questions popping up on the screen. (Answer: You don’t type, you talk – they can hear everything you’re saying! NB This led to one of my tips: don’t swear).

    Please note: Periscope is available for ios and Android now.  Read the rest of this entry »

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