@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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    April 27th, 2018mardixonCulture

    I just moved to London, so when Mar pings me asking if I’d like to head along to The Courtauld Institute’s #ResFest on Wednesday 25th April, I jump at the chance to mingle with some like-minded culture lovers.

    The programme promises discussion on how the London Fatberg is a metaphor for Brexit, a free G&T on arrival and an evening jam-packed with interesting talks on the future of art history. I’m intrigued.

    #ResFest is a night festival celebrating the connection and the collaboration between The Courtauld Institute and The Courtauld Gallery, both of which are part of Somerset House. The program includes lightning talks, performances, exhibits, bars and food trucks, and the overall goal of the event is to demonstrate how crucial art history is today. It’s a night where some of the best and brightest in the academic and cultural sectors ask big questions about the state of play in the art world, and how the future health of culture and society hinges on our ability to address and confront these questions head-on. Read the rest of this entry »

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    April 18th, 2018mardixonCulture, Personal

    Back in December, I was looking at loads of things: my 2018 schedule, the museum sector, London, etc etc.  I noticed the museum sector was looking a bit – well there are a lot of changes happening (some for the good, some not so good) and wanted to inject some energy back into the sector.  So I took to social media:

    I decided to run a #MuseumMarathon – where anyone who signed up would walk to 26+ museums on the day to raise money for charity.  I didn’t know what museums or what charity but shared the idea anyway.  There was over 70 people who showed interest that week!

    Within a few weeks (ok maybe it was February?) things started to take a bit more shape.  Original charities such as raising money for Gay Pride and Arts Emergency (both great causes) were put aside for Autism in Museums – it’s not a charity but a very worth cause! (For the record, Gay Pride would be to raise money for museum people walking in the parade but found out that is sorted.) 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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    February 26th, 2018mardixonCulture, Personal

    If you haven’t heard there will be another #MuseumMarathon in London on April 15th 2018.  We will be raising funds for Autism in Museum run by Claire Madge.  Here she explains why – and if you’d like to donate please see our Go Fund Me Page

    It was back in the mists of time, 2013 to be exact, I had barely gotten sucked into the museum world when I took part in the first Museum Marathon. I met Mar Dixon for the first time, along with a lot of other museum devotees.

    We walked to 26 London museums in one day, many of those museums I never even knew existed and we raised money for Guide Dogs for the Blind a charity chosen by the organiser David Mentiply. It was a tiring, fun filled, sore footed day and luckily for all you who missed out the first time we are going to do it all over again! 

    On the 15th April 2018 we will be visiting another 26-31 museums in one day (shout out to Mikaela Webb for working on the map!). Mar has decided to raise money for Autism in Museums which is fantastic. But since I am not actually a charity this has raised a few problems. After much careful thought and consideration any money raised will purchase sensory equipment that museums can apply for to either supplement their existing autism offer or support a more inclusive approach to welcoming autistic visitors. The money will also go towards supporting work experience placements for young autistic adults in museums.

    I will be putting together a panel of young autistic people aged 18-25 who will help decide how the money should be spent and where. I hope this will foster some long-lasting relationships between the autism community and the museum community.

    For those who know me this is a very important issue to my family. I have two autistic children and we visited museums for the first time because of the supportive autism programmes they run. I wrote a blog about our first visit to the Science Museum Early Birds Autism event – you can read it here, I hope it shows why autism in museums is so vital.

    Museum Marathon is going to be a great opportunity to meet new people, reacquaint yourself with old friends, visit a whole load of museums and have a truly amazing (tiring) day. If you are museum obsessed then this is the ultimate experience for you. If you do want to raise money for Autism in Museums please see the link Mar has set up, if you just want to join us on the day please don’t feel you have to donate money to be a part of Museum Marathon.

    I have spent the last five years working really hard to raise awareness of Autism in Museums because I can see the difference it makes to families who often feel isolated. I will be writing a series of blogs about how to apply for sensory equipment and how the money will be spent. If you are interested in getting involved in any way please get in touch with Mar or you can email me at TinctureofMuseum@gmail.com

     Thank you so much and see you on the 15th!!!!

     Claire Madge, Tincture of Museum

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    January 2nd, 2018mardixonCulture, International

    Thank you to everyone who took part, followed, liked, and got involved with @52Museums on Instagram and Twitter in 2017.  It grew bigger than anyone could have expected.  The report for 2017 can be found here.

    You can find more information about what it is and how it works here.

    The 2018 schedule (and yes this is draft as changes throughout the year does happen):

    Please note: if you would like to be on the waiting list, please sign up here.

     

    January Country Museum Name Instagram Type of Museum
    1-7 USA Better World Museum betterworldmuseum social action, edible garden, creative tech
    8-14 Canada Mackin House Museum @coquitlam_heritage Historis Edwardian House
    USA Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion @GA_OGM Historic House
    15-21 UK Horniman Museum and Gardens https://www.instagram.com/hornimanmuseumgardens/ Natural World, Anthropology, Musical Instruments
    22-28 USA The Children’s Museum of Evansville @cmoekids Children’s Museum
    29-4 Germany Jüdisches Museum FFM @jmfrankfurt Jewish museum
    February
    5-11 Spain Museu de la Música de Barcelona https://www.instagram.com/museumusicabcn/ Music Museum
    USA New Orleans Jazz Museum @nolajazzmuseum History / Music Museum
    12-18 Canada McMaster Museum of Art macmuseum Art
    19-25 Israel Yad Vashem yadvashem The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
    26-4 England Royal College of Nursing Library and Archives Rcnlibraries history of nursing library, heritage Centre and archive
    March
    5-11 Germany Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen @k_sammlungnrw Modern and contemporary art
    12-18 Poland Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow MOCAK @mocak_krakow Contemporary Art
    19-25 UK Victoria and Albert Museum https://www.instagram.com/vamuseum/ Art and Design Museum
    26-1 USA Baseball Hall of Fame @baseballhall Sports Museum
    April
    2-8 Catalonia, Spain Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya museunacional ART
    9-15 Sweden IKEA Museum ikeamuseum Design/Entrepreneurship/History
    16-22 Argentina Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires @modernoba Art Museum
    23-29 USA Chemical Heritage Foundation @chemheritage History of Science
    Catalonia, Spain National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia – Museu Nacional de la Ciència i de la Tècnica de Catalunya @mnactec Science and Technology
    May
    1-6 Germany Städel Museum staedelmuseum art
    Germany Marta Herford https://www.instagram.com/martaherford/ Contemporary art, design and architecture
    7-13 Belgium DIVA. Home of Diamonds @divaantwerp Diamond, jewelry & gold- and silversmithing museum
    14-20 UK Brooklands Museum brooklandsmuseum Motorsport and Aviation
    NZ MOTAT https://www.instagram.com/motatnz/ Transport & Technology
    21-27 UK Bronte Parsonage Museum @bronteparsonagemuseum Literary house with contemporary art programme
    28-3 USA Philbrook Museum of Art philbrookmuseum Art
    June
    4-10 USA Cincinnati Museum Center @cincymuseum History, Science, Children’s Museum
    11-17 UK Fulham Palace @fulhampalace Historic house and botanical garden
    18-24 Denmark Storm P. Museet @stormpmuseet Art Museum
    25-1 Sweden National Museums of World Culture, Sweden @etnografiska, @medelhavsmuseet, @ostasiatiska, @varldskulturmuseet enthographic
    July
    2-8 USA National Museum of American Jewish History @AmericanJewishMuseum History
    Israel The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot https://www.instagram.com/beithatfutsot/ Ethnographic
    9-15 Germany Nazi Forced Labor Documentation Centre @doku.ns_zwangsarbeit historic place and history museum
    16-22 Poland Museum of Art in Łódź https://www.instagram.com/muzeumsztuki/ Modern Art
    23-29 Canada Royal BC Museum royalbcmuseum Natural and human history
    August
    20-5 Scotland Surgeons’ Hall Museums @surgeonshall Anatomy and Medical
    6-12 USA Walker Art Center walkerartcenter Art Museum
    13-19 Catalonia, Spain National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia – Museu Nacional de la Ciència i de la Tècnica de Catalunya @mnactec Science and Technology
    20-26 USA The Fabric Workshop and Museum fabricworkshop Contemporary
    27-2 USA NC Museum of History @ncmuseumhistory History
    Canada Canadian Museum of History @CanMusHistory History
    September
    3-9 Switzerland Museum Tinguely Basel museumtinguely Art
    10-16 USA Wilbur D. May Museum @renomaycenter Ethnographic/biographical
    17-23 Germany Historische Museen Hamburg histmuseenhh Historic Museums Hamburg
    24-30 Canada Secrets of Radar Museum secretsofradarmuseum History
    October
    1-7
    8-14 Scotland Dubdee V&A
    15-21 Australia Bundanon Trust @bundanontrust Nationally significant Bundanon Trust collection features works by the Boyd family presented in heritage Homestead and grounds.
    22-28 Australia Bendigo Art Gallery https://www.instagram.com/bendigoartgallery/ Art
    29-4 Spain Museu del Disseny de Barcelona museudeldisseny Design and Arts Decoratives Museum
    November
    5-11
    12-18
    19-25
    26-2
    December
    3-9
    10-16
    17-23 UK The National Gallery @national_gallery Art
    24-30

     

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    December 31st, 2017mardixonCulture, International

    80 Museums – 21 different countries – 52 weeks

    Our second 52 Museums Instagram project has wrapped up for this 2017 and overall it has been another huge success! At the end of each week all participants are asked to complete a survey, give us their thoughts on how it went, what went well and what could be done better in the future. We had 36 respondents to this, which is amazing, thank you to everyone who took the time to send in their feedback it really does help us to make it even better for everyone each year.

    Finally, a big thank you to all of you who took part and made 52 Museums 2017 such a success, and now with over 17,400 followers on the account here’s to an even bigger and better 2018!

     

    For the 2017 list and sign up information please see this link.

    Increase in 52 Museums Instagram followers: 3,700 (correct as of Dec 2017)

    Average increase in followers on Museums personal accounts after their week: 68 (based on those that responded to feedback)

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    December 23rd, 2017mardixonCulture

    Surprisingly I recent hear that the Museum of Cambridge (UK) was going from a supported museum to a volunteer led museum (and all staff were let go right before Christmas…).  Having seen this for years in the library sector, and reading yet another article on Museum of Cambridge I decided to ask the following question on Facebook and Twitter:

    https://twitter.com/MarDixon/status/944200337921138688

    This brought a few conversations around the use of volunteers (which also relates to libraries), the responsibility of the council/government all the way to the future of museums.

    With Storify closing, I wanted to capture the conversations so here are the tweets:

    NB:  There were only 7 votes on Facebook – all saying it was a bad idea.

     

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    December 2nd, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Literacy

    In the market for books for children this Christmas season?  I’ve a few recommendations.  I’ve also reached out (via Twitter) and received some recommendations so it’s a variety of solutions!

    Just a friendly reminder that museum memberships for children is also a wonderful gift to receive!  Most if not all museums and galleries internationally have some for of yearly plan which are usually really inexpensive and provide newsletters and updates throughout the year along with discounts when you do visit the museums!

     

    The British Museum – Mummy!
    Publisher Nosy Crow
    Hardback/cardboard
    Age: Pre-school
    Description: Dig in and discover ancient Egypt!  Full of artefacts to spot and name, this friendly story uncovers all kinds of mummies – perfect ancient fun for little ones.

    Very colourful book with activities such as flap ups to look under and and ‘eye spy’ at to use throughout the book.

    The British Museum – 123
    Publisher Nosy Crow
    Hardback/cardboard
    Age: Pre-school
    Description: Discover amazing objects and simple first words in this brilliant country book for curious little ones.

    Very colourful book with a QR code for when the little ones want more information on the objects used in the book.  There is also an index at the back of the book.

    The Sixty-Eight Rooms – Marianne Malone
    Publisher: [Recommended by Seema Rao]
    Paperback
    Age: Children
    Description: [Taken from author’s website]
    Almost everybody who has grown up in Chicago knows about the Thorne Rooms. Housed deep within the Art Institute of Chicago, they are a collection of sixty-eight exquisite – almost eerily realistic miniature rooms. Each of the rooms is designed in the style of a different time and place, and every detail is perfect, from the knobs on the doors to the candles in the candlesticks. Some might even say the rooms are magical.

    Imagine… what if, on a field trip, you discovered a key that allowed you to shrink so that you were small enough to sneak inside and explore the rooms’ secrets? What if you discovered that others had done so before you? And that someone had left something important behind?

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    November 28th, 2017mardixonCulture, theatre

    Thank you to Sue Hillman from It’s Your London for writing this Guest Blog for our DrinksThing evening!

    DrinksThing outings are famous for being in top places combining fun networking with a great experience. I’ve been to Twitter HQ and the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy with them to give you an idea of what I mean. So when the chance to meet new folk and go to the opera came up, I jumped at the chance.

    We met in a nearby pub for a chance to chat to fellow DrinksThing folk and find out what interesting people they are with great jobs in the arts, heritage and museum world. Then we swept across to the Royal Opera House, stopping briefly to enjoy its imposing facade.

    Once in our seats in the Amphitheatre section, we settled in to enjoy a brilliant view of the stage, ceiling and orchestra for Lucia di Lammermoor.

    Donizetti’s tragic opera was given extra punch by the innovative staging but I need to make a slight digression here for those who don’t know the story (spoiler alert) and here is how this production plays it. Loosely based on a novel by Sir Walter Scott, Lucia di Lammermoor is the story of a doomed love affair between Lucia and Edgardo who is the sworn enemy of her brother Enrico. The lovers meet in secret but are discovered by Enrico who is outraged. Edgardo has gone to war but not before the lovers have pledged to marry when he returns. We see Lucia experiencing morning sickness so it seems more than letters were exchanged. Enrico arranges a marriage for Lucia to Arturo and persuades her that Edgardo has been unfaithful . Enrico claims he will be ruined and killed if she does not marry and disregards her feelings completely. She marries Arturo just as Edgardo returns and, enraged, he demands his ring back. On her wedding night Lucia kills Arturo, has a miscarriage and descends to madness, imagining she is marrying Edgardo. Edgardo decides he will die in a duel with Enrico but then learns that Lucia is dying, realises what’s happened, and kills himself to join her in heaven. Phew!

    The staging was brilliant in my view but has split opinions within the RoH going public. The opera is played out in a split screen format so we had 2 rooms, or a room and a graveyard, each taking up half of the stage with action happening simultaneously on both halves throughout This took some concentrating along with reading the very useful surtitles so no drifting off allowed For me this added a rich complexity to the storytelling and more visual entertainment but having looked at a thread about this, some found it distracting and unnecessary – go with it I say!

    The star of the show was Lisette Oropesa playing Lucia, her singing was powerful and had amazing range, especially with those really high notes. This is considered one of opera’s most challenging roles for its technical demands and emotional intensity, particularly during the descent into madness She managed to sing at full emotional power even when laying on the bed and her acting was wonderful. She brought life to every scene she was in and even when she was in the side of the split screen where the singing was not happening, I still wanted to follow what she was doing.

    So, thanks to DrinksThing for a memorable evening: drinks, great networking and world class opera in this iconic venue!

    [Edit to Add:  Huge shout out to Royal Opera House for hosting us and making opera fun!]

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    November 21st, 2017mardixonCulture, International, theatre

    First a massive thank you to Kazi Ruksana Begum from A season of Bangla Drama for hosting the first every #LoveTheatreDay Unconference!  What a day!

    Second, thank you to Zsofia Szendrei for this guest blog on the day:

    What a day of insights!

    From marketing managers, to university professors and “explainers”; from actors and directors to museum curators and museum leaders (and us, aspiring events managers); we were lucky to have a great meeting of diverse backgrounds attend #LoveTheatreDay’s #unconference at the Art Pavillion in association with  Banghra Drama.

    At the heart of it; however, we were all merely a group of theatre enthusiasts, theatre explorers and those who, just so, happened to find themselves seduced by this sector of dreamers at one point and haven’t glanced back since (Mar, I’m looking at you ;P). What brought us together was the openness to go down a path of unknown territory: asking questions that may have no answers (yet). Something perhaps as terrifying as it is thrilling.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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