@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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    May 26th, 2017mardixonCulture

    As Hull is City of Culture for UK, Linda Spurdle, Mark Macleod and I decided a few days there was needed. We arrived on Monday and left Thursday and took in so much culture!

    When we first arrived in the train station the first thing you notice is all the signage of how proud they are to be City of Culture. The next thing I noticed was all the volunteers – they were brightly colour uniforms and are so friendly!

    After dropping our bags off, we went down to see Spurn Lightship and walked around the Old Town. There are so many places to eat, drink, explore. Read the rest of this entry »

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    May 8th, 2017mardixonCulture, International

    Recently I was able to attend #SharingisCaring in Hamburg to run a workshop on using social media and being social about it.  I had a great time and challenge people to create social media content from random items I placed on their table.

    The brilliant thing about the timing of the conference is it fell in line with their Long Night in Museums program. I’ve been to a few Late Museums nights (in Europe and Russia) and what I really love about them is they are open ALL.  NIGHT.  Not just until 10 or 11pm – but 3-4-5 am.  In Hamburg the added bonus was the ticket price of €15 includes public transport – how amazing and inclusive is that?  Read the rest of this entry »

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    January 23rd, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    Re-sharing from MuseumCamp.org: Welcome to Museumcamp – the home of the museums unconference.  With a passion for cake! If you’ve previously attended one of our Museumcamp unconferences you’ll be pleased to know we’re planning more. And if you haven’t – good timing, you will get the chance soon.

    We haven’t had a Museumcamp unconference for a while, although it isn’t for the want of trying. Despite the huge success of the Museumcamps in Birmingham it has been difficult to obtain funding, and unfortunately due to the economic climate we can’t get the same level of sponsorship as in the past. However, funding issues aren’t what I’m blogging about today, rather it is about some thoughts on unconferences that came from a recent Unconference conference and my own experiences at unconferences.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    January 1st, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    For the past few months (cough 2016 cough) I’ve been observing the lack of conversations and rise of marketing on ALL social media (I know Twitter gets blame a lot for this but really Facebook and Instagram aren’t much better and Snapchat isn’t really known in the museum world yet and most young people prefer it that way).

    Yes most cultural venues will get involved with hashtags and things like @52Museums but on a daily basis it seems social media has turned into one massive scheduled marketing job and quite frankly it’s doing the sector a dis-justice. If you don’t have the time to spend a few minutes a day being SOCIAL then why should we (the public) find the time to visit? As I said before, I feel the visitors are looking for an emotive experience now (as oppose to academia) and marketing is NOT emotive.

    Yes we understand the burden. You have to tell people what is available so that they visit (and hopefully spend money) but there are ways of marketing in a social tone. The public can smell scheduled updates.

    In fairness, I feel I’m also at fault in this. I’ve been so busy in 2016 that I seem to only post when sharing events for others or hashtags. So I’m putting my money where my mouth is an I’m going to try to chat to at least 3 people a day on social media and respond to as many as I can.

    Sounds simple but like most comms people, traveling, life and hectic schedule sometimes gets in the way but really it shouldn’t be hard for me to reach out and engage.

    Cultural Sector can easily pick three people to say:

    • ‘Did you enjoy your visit?’
    • ‘What was your favourite item/piece?’
    • ‘Thanks for visiting!’

    Even better they can share some of the experience of what is happening in the venue at the time – for example share a few overheard conversations from visitors or staff.

    Stephen Fry once said Twitter is like falling leaves, you catch a few as the come down and admire the beauty of those on the ground. We need to do more of this.

    So who is up for the challenge to #BringSocialBacktoSocialMedia?

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    October 21st, 2016mardixonCulture, International

    ltd-2#LoveTheatreDay is Back November 16th 2016!  
    –>>>SIGN UP FORM IS HERE<<–

    Please know although this is #LoveTheatreDay we’re asking Museums, art galleries, national trust and ALL cultural venues to get involved and share your theatre collection with us! For more information on how it worked last couple of years, see this article.

    If you choose to share a live video broadcast on Periscope, please send an email to asultan@twitter.com to let the editorial team at Periscope know, as they will be looking for content to feature in the app. 

    How #LoveTheatre Day Works

    Throughout the day, we encourage everyone to tweet using #LoveTheatre and say why they love theatres.  This is open for the general public of course but I want people who have been (or are in) am dram productions to also tweet.  I also asked museums and galleries to share their collection that is theatre related and publishers to share books related to theatres. Read the rest of this entry »

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    August 15th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    IMG_3696Something I’ve been thinking about lately is stories.  No not intellectual novels (although I do love a good book!) but stories on Snapchat and Instagram.  I’m the first to admit I’m not a strong Snapchat user but Instagram I get.

    However, since Instagram brought out Stories I’ve been trying to get my head around why… I mean yes I know it’s trying to compete with Snapchat but why do platforms feel the need to morph into it’s ‘competition’ instead of just letting it be? [Edit to add this article Snapchat is acquiring mobile search app Vurb for $110M+  Aug 15]

    I took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram today to ask the simple question:

    What are your thoughts on @instagram Stories vs @Snapchat Stories? Do you use either? Trying to get more of an idea about them. Which do you prefer and why? #socialmedia

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 13th, 2016mardixonCulture, Tech

    Hi, my name’s Chris and I am a Pokémon addict.

    pokemon-team-mystic-01-2016If you’ve been out in any major city over the past week or so you will no doubt have noticed gangs of 20-30 year olds huddled round monuments, churches and landmarks, madly swiping at smartphones. No, gang culture isn’t on the rise (not to this extent anyway). It’s the return of a 20-year-old craze, which didn’t really go away properly. Pokémon is back and it’s taking over lives in the form of a new smarphone app from Nintendo and Niantic Labs.

    Pokémon Go is a “real world adventure” which uses GPS and augmented reality to allow users to track down, catch and train their favourite little monsters in a bid to become the best trainer in the land. Although only available in a handful of countries at the moment, fans of the franchise have been using all means possible to obtain a copy of the game.

    I am one of those fans.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    April 24th, 2016mardixonCulture, International
    A ban on pencils … the V&A now forbids sketching in its temporary exhibitions. Photograph: Oliver Wainwright/Guardian

    Credit Photograph: Oliver Wainwright/Guardian

    Ok, I’m sure everyone at this point saw the sign with the article ”No sketching’: V&A signs betray everything the museum stands for‘ by Oliver Wainwright

    I was with Mark Macleod (from The Infirmary Museum) and Silvia Filippini Fantoni (from the IMA) when Silvia first saw the picture but held off on sharing it until I read the article. I then tweeted it.

    And the storm was started. (See Storify here.)

    First of all, as Oliver probably wanted, it was total click bait worth title but honestly many of the people responding didn’t read the whole article. I soon spent my day almost defending the Victoria and Albert as it turns out, it’s not the WHOLE of V&A being asked not to sketch, but instead a temporary exhibition.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 19th, 2015mardixonCulture

    Full disclosure: I’m working on the social media for the ILoveMuseums.com campaign.

    ilovemuseumsThe concept behind the campaign is to get enough signatures on a petitions to show government that we care about museums and can’t afford any more cuts to funding and budgets and still survive. I Love Museums is a campaign led by the National Museum Directors’ Council with support from: Arts Council EnglandAssociation of Independent MuseumsCulture24Museums Association, The Art FundUniversity Museums Group, Army Museums Ogilby Trust.

    I Love Museums launched in June, after the elections with a day of trending and people worldwide filling in the statement #ILoveMuseums because _______. There were over 1200 signatures in one day.

    Since then, not much.  We’ve have had people sharing visits with #ILoveMuseums but the support has seemed to wean off.

    Last week I attended a debate at Parliament as MP Robert Jenrick asked for a ballot on Regional support for the arts.  I went representing I Love Museums to live tweet (see Storify here). The #artsfunding debate is similar to #ILoveMuseums:  stop the cuts and support museums and galleries outside of London as much as those in London.

    Much of the public money that goes into the arts is channelled through Arts Council England (ACE), which receives a direct grant from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), as well as distributing Lottery grants. As part of the general squeeze on public finances, the last Parliament saw significant reductions in the funds set aside for the arts. Some people feel that ‘prestige’, London-based organisations – galleries and museums, theatre, opera and ballet companies, orchestras, etc – continue to get preferential treatment from funders.
    With the launch of its investment plans for 2015-18 in July 2014, ACE signalled its determination to rectify historic imbalances between London and the rest of England. There were specific initiatives to build capacity outside London, to encourage cultural communities to grow and to encourage touring.

    After struggling to get the I Love Museums petition to 1500 sign ups, I tweeted this morning:

    Some of the answers:

     

    My question to you:  What can we do to get you to take #ILoveMuseums and the #ArtsFunding debate seriously?  Why do we constantly have to wait until we have a fight on our hands to show the love and respect we have for our culture? 

    As a strong supporter of NHS, libraries, young people and more, I know how tiring it is to always seem like we’re signing one petition over the other.  I get it.  But I also get we can NOT stop letting our voices heard.  I Love Museums has the right partners and right people behind it – we just need the public to know this is about their access to culture for all! 

    Actions:

    Further Reading:

    Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 09.08.35

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    May 12th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    voteOk, I admit. I was mad/angry about the elections. Mad because I spent over a year trying to encourage people, young/old and everything in between to vote. Saying how important their vote was. Saying how valuable their opinion was. Then the Tories got in and it was like collectively we all threw the towel in – or the other extreme was we got our pitchforks at the ready.

    Then I noticed that I actually didn’t know enough about those in office to have an opinion. Yes I know what social media was telling me but I had to stop and read things myself to get a bigger picture. And one thing I learned is I still don’t know but maybe, just maybe, we’re not dealing with the Devil here. Maybe we are dealing with people we need to work with to understand us. Naive maybe but really what is there to lose?

    One thing that I do know is as a society we are incredibly incredibly strong. We are survivors. I have seen so many examples of those who have been going without helping those who don’t understand this new way of life. Bartering is common place with many communities. Do we prefer money? Absolutely! But we also get that our skills, our talents are worthy of more than just ‘green backs’. And in-kind (used appropriately) helps build stronger relationships.

    I’m not advocating that no one should get paid – I’m advocating that we look to make positives changes while letting ‘those is power’ that we’re not going to being played a fool.

    We’re creative (or so I’m told) so lets put the pitchforks down and be creative about our approach.   Let’s not be reactionary but strategic in working towards a sustainable plan/journey. Let’s include museums, theatres, NHS, libraries, etc because all these resources are important for our society – and not just the UK.

    My sister recently reminded me that we were brought up (like so many) without much. But we didn’t know any better because my mom didn’t let us be defeatist. Even though we didn’t have much, we gave what we did have to those who had less. It’s about leaving the world a better place than when we got here. We can NOT do that if we’re fighting and bickering and claiming one resources is more valuable then the other.

    Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 21.21.22

    via Darlene Cavalier to our mom on Mother’s Day

    I don’t have many answers – but do know we need to change our anger and our negative words into positives actions. Sooner rather than later.

    I’d also encourage everyone to follow @ILoveMuseums / I Love Museums if you’re not already.

    ilovemuseums

     

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