@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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    October 30th, 2011mardixonLiteracy

    Michael and I headed to Flip Animation Festival in Wolverhampton this weekend to attend events with Bill Plympton and the legends that are Cosgrove and Hall.

    First up, a Masterclass with the creative Oscar nominated American illustrator Bill Plympton.   Bill’s Masterclass was an insightful session for those trying to break in to the business and for people (like me) who are just interested in the sector.   Bill has three key elements for making successful illustration/animation projects:

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    October 26th, 2011mardixonCulture

    Guest blog by Peter Davies, Cultural Policy Advisor on Big Society, Private vs Public Sector and where he sees it going. 

    Despite what some people and commentators may say, the museum sector as a whole is relatively resilient, as a sector it has survived largely unscathed and unchanged through several recessions, world wars and political swings.  In fact, it is fair to say that the museum sector has been one of the more steady sectors, at least in the UK, over the last century or so.

    Maintaining this status quo of core values and beliefs that form the museum sector has long been the heart and soul of our institutions, and this is pretty much summed up in the 1998 Museum Association’s definition of a ‘museum’:

    Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society

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    October 23rd, 2011mardixonCulture

    Once again, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, together with ARTIST Rooms managed to secure a fabulous talk by American Artists Ed Ruscha.

    Ed’s art combines painting, drawing, photography and typography providing a unique flavor of works that is not limited to one medium.

    As Charlotte had a PD day, she invited friend Megan to come to the talk.  While I wasn’t exactly positive what age group the talk was aimed at, Wolverhampton Art Gallery’s fabulous Exhibition curator Zoe Lippett has always welcome Charlotte to these events since Charlotte was at the launch of ARTISTS Rooms in May 2009 when there was a talk with Anthony d’Offay regarding Andy Warhol.

    We arrived a bit early for the girls to have a look at the Ed Ruscha exhibition and also to see the BP Portrait Award exhibition as Michael said it was really impressive (and he wasn’t wrong!). Before entering the BP Portrait Award exhibition, there was a very Kids in Museums friendly warning about nudity.  I chatted with the girls about it and decided they were mature enough to handle it.

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    October 22nd, 2011mardixonCulture

    On Thursday, 20th of October I traveled to London for a packed Cultural-filled day which started at the Natural History Museum, moved to V&A, British Museum, Convent Garden and finally Royal Society of Artists.

    The day started with meeting Laura Porter, London Travel Guide (@AboutLondon) and very good friend who I was taking as a guest to the Natural History Museums Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year preview event. Simon Quicke (@Insidebooks) met us at the event.

    The exhibition is the top selection of International wildlife photographers from amateurs to professional.  The preview gave us an opportunity to see all the fabulous photographs before it opened to the public, and also discuss the works with some of the photographers.

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    October 16th, 2011mardixonCulture, International

    Kids in Museums is a wonderful charity that helps Museums, Galleries and Heritage Venues provide kid friendly environments for the whole family.  Established in 2003, they have a yearly Family Friendly Award which is more about recognizing good establishments rather than a competition.  I recently became a volunteer (and their social media manager) after years of supporting their very worthy cause.

    Kids in Museums hold workshops (such as the Family Fortune Workshop), events such as TakeOver Day and most important, provide a Manifesto.  The manifesto was the key for me a few years back.  It is one thing to have suggestion for venues to follow, but to collate these into a very easy to read and obtain 20-point document for venues to pledge to follow spoke volumes for me.

    I encourage all museum, galleries and Heritage Venues to sign up to pledge their support to the Manifesto.

    Although I wrote about this subject on a Guest blog Why we need to listen to kids for @unmuseum I’ve never specifically written about my passion here.

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    October 10th, 2011mardixonInternational, Literacy

    This is the time of the year when my tweets tend to shift from museums and miscellaneous to literary (and miscellaneous) as the Frankfurt Book Fair is one of THE literary events that most of my literary friends are either going to or part of.  Publishers, authors, agents all seem to flog to Germany for this International event.   At the same time, there are a lot of literary festivals this time of the year (such as the brilliant Cheltenham Festivals  which those who can’t get to Germany prefer to attend.

    I love books.  I love reading, I love going to libraries and book stores and searching new books I didn’t know existed.  I love the feeling of leaping into a book – becoming a bystander in the scenes that I’m reading.  Charlotte and I are fortunate to sometimes receive books from publishers  to review which has spurred her love of reading even further.  And recently, I even received an acknowledgement in L.A. Weatherly sequel Angel Fire. [Thank you!]

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    October 2nd, 2011mardixonCulture
    QR CODES AT ATTINGHAM PARK
    A Study of QR Code Use in Museum and Heritage Interpretation
    By, Caitlin Calhoon

    As a dissertation project for my MA in Archaeology for Screen Media at University of Bristol, I worked with Attingham Park, National Trust property in Shropshire, to incorporate QR code technology into their existing interpretation. Our goal was to explore how QR codes could fit into an established heritage institution such as the National Trust, as well as whether visitors would be willing and interested in using QR codes during their visit to the property. For the project I created ten short, 30 second YouTube videos and one Flickr album and linked them to the site using QR codes containing their web urls. The videos were short so visitors would continue to enjoy the actual property and the indoor videos were silent so as not to disrupt the other visitors. Additionally, visitors were invited to give feedback about the project by commenting on the YouTube videos or the Attingham Facebook page. We found that because not everyone has a smartphone, QR codes work best for extra information, but should not be relied on as a main source of interpretation. Rather than construct any complete picture of Attingham’s history, the Attingham QR code project is intended to add an extra level of engagement with the property for those who are capable of, and choose to, use it.

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    September 28th, 2011mardixonCulture, International, Literacy

    During the last few weeks, I’ve noticed peaks and troughs with the diverse industries I follow.   I contemplated how I could capture this data and felt the best way was to track Twitter for 12 hours over one day.

    I started tracking at 8:00 am on September 27th 2011.  My account (@MarDixon) currently stands:

    3,156 followers
    1,887 Following

    The key industries I follow could be broken into the following main sectors.  Other sectors are mentioned through the report.

    Literacy:  This includes publishers, writers/authors, marketing, eBook
    Museums: Including Art Galleries, Heritage Venues, people working within the industries.
    American Museums: As above
    Science: Groups or persons who promote the science industry
    Personal tweets: Tweets, while not exclusive of the above personnel, were clearly on a non-professional basis.
    Other: Tweets that didn’t fit into the main categories

    There were some obvious times to tweet and not tweet and it seems different industries have slotted themselves into times that work best for them.  I seen minimal clashes of tweets vying for audiences attention.   This was interesting as it pinpoints times throughout the day where tweeting is more effective for certain industries.

    This data is raw and obviously not scientific.  The notes were taken as and when I saw trends shifting and are only estimates.

    Click chart:

    I also tried to take notes along the way to help gauge where trends where leading.  Please see them here

     

     

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    September 25th, 2011mardixonCulture

    Recently, I’ve been noticing a lot of people asking me to join their BranchOut network. I signed up for it as I was curious to what it was after I received an invite.  It was easy to join as it was attached to my Facebook account and after a quick peek, I quickly forgot about it.  Fast-forward a few months and I’m noticing more people sending emails saying they joined my BranchOut ‘Professional network’.  Professional network’?  But that’s what LinkedIn is, right?  So what exactly is BranchOut?

    To find out, I asked on social media:
    Does anyone think BranchOut is a threat to LinkedIn? #socialmedia

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    September 23rd, 2011mardixonCulture

    Recently, Culture24 Action Research Project Let’s Get Real held a conference in Bristol where it launched the tremendously insightful report ‘How to Evaluate Online Success?’ Report, findings & recommendations.

    I’m still reading the in-depth report but a few things I’ve found so far:

    • Measure quality or value, rather than use usage online.
    • Some institutions outsource their Google Analytics to a third party.

    Future Trend:

    • Mobile traffic was, for every museum, growing rapidly.
    • Automated shortening of URLS to t.co in August 2011 will allow for better reports on Twitter-based traffic.
    • Very few organizations set up goals in GA.

    Analysis:

    • Search traffic was still the main avenue visitors used to find sites (another reminder of the importance of SEO).  This was picked up on when discussion lead to importance/useage of homepage in today’s society.
    • Mobile traffic is growing.  Institutions need to move this priority from back burner to front burner.

    Social media:

    • Social media should be renamed Engagement strategy – social media only works when you engage with the followers.
    • The formula for Facebook engagement, while looking like something out of Quantative Maths, really is a simple breakdown that is very easy to follow. (Kudos to the designer of the formula though!).
    • Simply having a social media strategy is not enough – strategy needs to be ‘targeted and effective’ eg not written with business hat on.

    As always, throughout the conference, there were a lot of tweets.  I pdf’d majority of them here with some of my favorites being:

    #c24lgr @tomux If you aim for the moon and only get half way that is still impressive (Love this statement).
    #c24lgr @tomux Be engaged and be involved in the community.
    #c24lgr You’re always in beta at best <~ so true! Need a working document but not many get to end goal.

    The following blogs and links are must reads:

    Thanks to all involved in the conference including the fabulous Jane Finnis, Rosie Clarke and the whole Culture24 team.

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