@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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    August 31st, 2016mardixonCulture, International

    Participation

    It’s a word we tend to use a lot but never really define as we also spend a lot of time pretending to think like the ‘user’ or ‘visitor’ – mapping out ways for the them to see the exhibition/collection with a sprinkle of ‘entertaining’ activities.

    However, us humans, we’re a funny lot. We don’t always behave as we’re expected. That could be due to translation (language barriers), rebelliousness (raises hand), miscommunication or boredom. Actually, feel free to insert your reason as I’m sure I haven’t covered them all.

    As someone fortunate enough to travel internationally and to visit a lot of museums, art galleries, national houses/parks, I get to see a lot of different ways the sector tries to interact with the visitors. Traditionally, we often see:

    • Family Backpacks
    • Maps
    • Audio Guides
    • Trails
    • Signage

    There are more but that’s to give you an idea. (Signage is one of the biggest areas I feel we are failing. Often walking through the front door is a big step but the journey to the front of house or reception is not always as obvious as we like to believe but we’ll leave that for another post.)

    anthropologyI love a bit of anthropology in a museum. Sometimes I’ll stand outside with my headphones in giving the impression I’m waiting for someone. Than I’ll go inside and continue to have my headphones on as I wander around – basically I am listening in on conversations but they don’t know that. It’s amazing how people will talk freely when they don’t think anyone is listening…

    A typical scenario is a family (of various size, for this I also mean grandparents, friends with kids, etc) that enter and try to figure out where the starting point is. Or a map. In fairness to museums, often there are wonderful Front of House that try to assist and breakdown any barriers but it’s often the family that are feeling to awkward to ask for help.

    The HAM Way

    When I was in Helsinki I noticed Helsinki Art Museum (HAM) had post-it notes for visitors to take when they enter. They were in the middle of the room on a standalone pedestal (and yes there are front of house people there also).  No barriers, no awkwardness.  People knew to go and take one.  They were also in 4 languages (Finnish, Russian, Chinese and English as they are the top visitors).

    It was such a genius concept on it’s own but the notes are so clever I had to share! I’m sure HAM wouldn’t mind anyone using these ideas (always best to credit them) or better yet – reach out to them and tell them how awesome they are!

    ham all notes

    ham don't look at the artworkDon’t Look at the Art Works: Look at the frames of the artworks. What would an artwork look like if the frames were different? Or if you’d take the frame off completely? Is the frame part of the piece of not? Read the rest of this entry »

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  • scissors
    August 27th, 2013mardixonCulture, International

    askacuratorUPDATE: CHANGED TITLE TO REFLECT 2014 DATE SEPTEMBER 17th

     

    What time is it?  It’s #AskaCurator time!  Yes, September is more than Back to School time – it’s Ask a Curator Time!

    When is Ask a Curator?

    It’s an all day event on September 18th 

    What is Ask a Curator?

    It’s a way to talk to curators and people who work in cultural venues you normally don’t have access to.  #Askacurator is open to everyone: Museums, galleries, National Trust, Theatres, and more. You can ask anything that you’re curious about or want more information on. 

    • What’s it’ like to be a curator?
    • How do you decide what to display?
    • What is the most unique object in your collection?

    As some curators won’t know *all* the answers straight away, it might be they have to get back to you if it is a specific question about the museum/gallery.  However, if it is a general question, you might find another museum’s curator could answer it.

    How to get involved?

    Use the hashtag #AskaCurator on Twitter.  You can ask questions to specific museums using the @MUSEUMNAME or you can ask general questions using #AskaCurator.

    Museums/Galleries 

    Please fill out this simple form which will export your information to a spreadsheet to share.   On the day you can schedule the time you are going to be there or you can dip in and out and answer questions when you get them.  Others also decide to spend the day asking questions not just to their Museum but the general questions that are asked (last year, Bears in Museums asked who had Bears in Museums…. it was one of the top questions!)

    In other words, curators spend as much or as little time as they want.

    It’s also a good idea to let your followers know you’re taking part.  Some curators will write a blog or tweet they are taking part in #askacurator.

    Audience/Visitors

    Just come to twitter on the day and ask the questions.  What I like to do is keep an eye on the countries and museums taking part and find a few unique ones that I want to know more about.  You can set yourself a goal of asking a question to every country even!

    Who can get involved?

    EVERYONE!  You just need to sign up for Twitter account if you haven’t yet.  Curators can answer questions to other museums and/or general questions (how to questions, etc).  Everyone is allowed to interrupt – this is Twitter after all! 🙂

    Where

    Go to Twitter and search for #AskACurator

    I find using Tweetdeck or HootSuite makes following the conversation easier.

    Hope this write up helps with some of the questions about what Ask A Curator is.  If you still have questions please ask away or you can tweet using the tag 🙂

    Why should you take part? 

    Many museums and art galleries who took part back in 2010 will testify to the great platform it gave them and large exposure that they would not have been able to achieve without #AskACurator.  This is true for both large and smaller venues.

     

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  • scissors
    September 1st, 2012mardixonCulture, International

    askacuratorWhat time is it?  It’s #AskaCurator time!  Yes, September brings kids going back to school,

    When is Ask a Curator?

    It’s an all day event on September 18th

    What is Ask a Curator?

    It’s a way to talk to curators and people who work in cultural venues you normally don’t have access to.  You can ask anything that you’re curious about or want more information on.  Read the rest of this entry »

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  • scissors
    August 22nd, 2011mardixonCulture, International

    From July 27th until August 1th, I ran a simple 8 question survey called Does Social Media work for Cultural Sector.  Why?  Because I was working on a blog post and Tweeted to find out if anyone could point me to any research that would prove, or disprove, whether Social media does indeed work within the Culture sector.  To my surprise, it seemed that this question hadn’t been posed and there certainly didn’t seem to be any research or analysis to answer my question.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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