@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 26th, 2014mardixonCulture, Tech

    IMG_1699Charlotte and I recently attended the preview of Royal Childhood Exhibition at Buckingham Palace.  While we ‘often’ (few times) have been to the Queen’s Gallery for exhibitions, this was only the second time we were invited to tour Buckingham Palace.  And let me tell you, it doesn’t get old.

    Most of the reviews I’ve read have rightfully said how brilliant the Royal Childhood exhibition is so while I’ll go into some of the pieces, I’m going to concentrate on the other items I find important:  the tech and the family friendliness.

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    July 20th, 2014mardixonTech

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    Hands up – who knows about Digital Democracy Commission happening right now?

    Yep, that is what I thought.  That’s ok that you didn’t know – nor did I.  But it’s not ok if you try to ignore it now.

    Digital Democracy Commission is a commission to try to make positive changes to help bridge the huge gap between what IS happening versus what could/should be happening to make people like us more interesting in politics and what is happening in government (and what government politicians can do to meet us half way).

    photo1 (5) Background
    I saw a tweet from Emma Mulqueeny opening her house to anyone interested in getting involved.  To be honest, it said cake in her tweet but when I read it properly, I was still wanting to get involved.  I must admit, when we went around introducing ourselves, I felt a bit like a fraud (and I said so to the group).  Yes my background is computer science/network admin but that was a lifetime ago.  Yes I do A LOT on digital platforms. Yes I organize cross-sector dialogue.  But Democracy Commission?  I’m the first to admit I’m allergic to political discussions.

    But after we got going, I started to realize – * I am * the type of person they are talking about.  The ones that are passionate, advocates, interesting in communities – ok I might be missing the ‘young’ part but do enough work with them to feel permitted to talk for them.  But really, Digital Democracy Commission is about EVERYONE regardless of background, hobbies, status in community. Read the rest of this entry »

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    June 22nd, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    IMG_0340Once again, MuseumNext ends and I get this horrible sinking feeling of knowing that I need to wait another year for it to happen again.

    In my opinion, MuseumNext is the best conference for anyone who cares about museums. It’s international and in the past four years has been to Edinburgh, Barcelona, Amsterdam and this year it was held in Newcastle. Technically it’s a 2-day conference however it always kicks off the day before with a Welcome event, tour/workshop and evening reception.

    I’m going to start with my takeaways just because it’s the things I have to get off my chest the most.

    Apps Are Dead! Long live the App!
    Let’s get this out of the way: Apps aren’t dead. Museums just, bluntly, are crap at them. We only need to look at iTunes who has had 65 billion apps downloaded as reported on their first quarter report for 2014.

    ChartOfTheDay_1474_Global_App_Downloads_n65 BILLION people. Apps aren’t dead.

    Here is my take. Museums, in their adorable fashion, was a bit late to the game when it came to smartphones and tablets. It essentially took the public bringing them into the venues to make the shift happen. Even then, most apps just took what was on the web or in the family pack (eg trails).

    There are exceptions of course: Magic Tate Ball and Second Canvas that integrates gigapixel into the app and Twnkls AR.

    But overall, meh.  And I’m not alone with this, ask any museum person how many museum apps they have on their device and watch them shift uncomfortably as they say none. Read the rest of this entry »

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    June 16th, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    IMG_6244I have been back from Russia now just over a week. It was an experience that allowed me a real insight into the Russian museum community (albeit primarily on the western  side).   From running workshops, speaking at a conference,  being a guest to many museums, and speaking with numerous people (museum, digital, tech and more) I came away with a solid knowledge of their current cultural position (and quite frankly, a thirst to go back!).

    Firstly a little background on this trip.  I first encountered Anna Mikhaylova via social media (of course) then in person at ‘Museums on the Web’ in Portland, Oregon.  I can’t remember when or how the idea of me going to Russia happened, but soon we (more like Anna) had formulated a detailed plan for 20 days in St Petersburg, Vyborg, Peterhof and Moscow.

    My itinerary was hectic and diverse but allowed me to truly see the museum community in a holistic (and hands on) view. Read the rest of this entry »

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    May 9th, 2014mardixonInternational, Tech

    On May 8th, I was invited to the Southbank Centre Web We Want Festival launch where Sir Tim Berners-Lee was the keynote speaker. I filmed as much as I could on my Google Glass. It’s not the best quality as I was busy listening, taking pictures and being mindful of the surroundings but hope it’s of interest to a few at least.

    Net neutrality, getting 60% not on the internet access, and creating a magna carter were main topics.  Students from various schools were invited also.  It was interesting to hear how privacy is such a hot topic with the younger generation (I wonder if this is because that is what they are taught in school – online identify / security is a main/only outcome for many schools.)

    I, and many in the room, was impressed with the incredibly articulate point(s) made by one student (whose name I didn’t get).  She said that ‘my generation does not need to know how we feel, we have hashtags for that.’  She went on to make many many more points to backup her argument.  She received a round of applause from everyone in that room.  I spoke to her and her teacher afterwards and asked them to get those thoughts on a post or newsletter somewhere so that those that didn’t have the honor of hearing it first hand could at least read the powerful words.

    The whole event was incredibly inspiring and I urge everyone to start taking action and get involved.  See SouthBank Centre website for more information but also just ask your local community if there are ways to help people not online to get access.

    And yes, I asked for a Selfie.

    And yes, I asked for a Selfie.

    I also had the honor of speaking to the Alan Bishop, CEO of Southbank a few times during the day.  He is one down-to-earth guy!

    PS Forgot to add I met Rory Cellan-Jones with his Google Glass.  Not sure if it helped that we sat next to each other (filming…)

    Rory Cellan-Jones @ruskin147

    Rory Cellan-Jones @ruskin147

     

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    February 28th, 2014mardixonInternational, Tech
    How to go outside with this strange looking glass, on top of my prescription glasses? How to answer people’s questions? How to do it? Can I really chat with people wearing this? How to go outside with this Glass?

    hedphonThat’s really a question I started to battle with in the end of December 2013, when I received my Google Glasses, in London (UK)!

    Of course, I could have been thinking about health implications of the device, or the actual safety of going outside with a $1500 gadget but my main worry was this one.

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    February 13th, 2014mardixonCulture, Tech

    [Please note: I actually have a lot more to say on this topic but decided to keep it short and sweet for your sanity and mine… mainly mine.]

    answerI’ve been involved with a few research projects lately.  Each project is interesting and worthwhile in their own right.  However, I’ve noticed there has been a two-part theme that has run throughout all of them:

    a)    Is tech the solution or the problem?
    b)   How much influence does funding have in that answer?

    We live in this wonderful society where tech and digital is plentiful.  As a Google Explorer and someone who has my iPhone pretty much attached to my hand at all times, I’m constantly connected.  I’m the type of person that gets the shakes when the power goes out.

    However, I’m also the first to ask:  are we using tech for the right reason?  Are we trying to fit that square into a circle because we should or because it’s there?

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    January 6th, 2014mardixonTech

    “It’s an emotional luxury product,” Stuart Miles of gadget site Pocket Lint  “One that you do not need but once you have it you will find ways to use it.”

    Surprisingly, this quote is not about Glass but was said at the launch of iPads back in 2010. Now (2014) there are hundreds of example of iPads changing lives for students and those with disabilities.

    Since posting that I’ve a pair of Glass, I’ve been asked a lot of questions and somehow been involved with several debates. Hopefully, I can address some of the replies here: Read the rest of this entry »

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    January 2nd, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    googleglassFor the past couple of months, I’ve been asked a lot about Google Glass and where they fit in with the big picture (museums, galleries, teens, kids, innovation, etc).  I’ve been reading up as much as possible but knew the only real way for me to be honest with my response would be to own a pair.  After arranging to receive a pair of Google Glass I started researching things – like what to do when I open the box.

    I will admit that I was a tad intimidated at the thought of having a developers pair of Glass.  Did that mean I would need to program them to turn them on? How complex would it be to work them? What level of skill would be required? Would I have the patience to deal with this learning curve?

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