@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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    July 11th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Personal, Tech

    I was interviewed for the Creative Review magazine July’s edition – go buy a copy 🙂

    How self-styled trouble maker Mar Dixon makes museums more people friendly

    Mar Dixon has been at the forefront of museums’ engagement with social media. She tells Mark Sinclair about how museums can use such platforms to broaden audiences, learn from their peers and excite people about culture

    Mar dixon portrait

    The idea of the museum as a dusty old repository of long-forgotten and obscure objects is an outdated concept that itself belongs in a glass case. Many institutions have brought both innovation and technology to the design of their collections, while in recent years opening them up to millions via the internet, further encouraging discovery and interaction through a variety of social media channels.

    Museums have embraced platforms like Twitter and Instagram as a way of sharing their content – enticing visitors to experience it first-hand of course – and the sector has become particularly adept at engaging with its audiences in this way, with initiatives such as @52Museums and #MuseumWeekreceiving a level of traction that many companies can only dream of.

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    May 8th, 2012mardixonCulture

    House of Beasts is a fun, playful, quirky and very well-thought out family friendly contemporary art exhibition funded by Meadow Arts set in the gorgeous Attingham Park, National Trust site.

    I’ve been to see the exhibition once before and although I was armed with my very informative House of Beasts booklet on that visit, this time, we had Meadow Arts curator Mandy Fowler to guide us through the exhibition.

    Our tour and interview with the curator, which you can see here, allowed us to get behind the thought process that went behind this unique exhibition.

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    September 8th, 2011mardixonCulture

    Anyone who has read my website knows how passionate I am about  Wolverhampton Art Gallery (see examples here and here) so having an opportunity to interview the curators was a real treat for me.  Wolverhampton has the second biggest pop collection outside of London but also embraces local and social history in addition to Georgian and Victorian art.  It’s a delicate balance to combine all of these under one roof but they have never disappointed.

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    September 4th, 2011mardixonCulture

    Bantock House was built in 1730’s for Bantock family who made their money as a canal and railway agent after moving to Wolverhampton from Scotland.  The house was left to Wolverhampton in 1938 but, as that was world time, it was used for the home guard until 1948.  It wasn’t until 1999 that this Grade II listed building took it’s current, and most impressive, stance as a social history museum.

    I was able to have a chat with three of curators:

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    August 29th, 2011mardixonCulture

    Anyone who knows me, knows my passion and love for the Natural History Museum.  Through the power of social media, I’ve been able to build my relationship with the internationally renowned museum.

    I had arranged to interview Ian as Charlotte and I were in London to attend our first proms together.  Ian was kind enough to make time with short notice.

    How long have you been Manager?
    Five years, but been at the museum for 14 years

    What is your biggest achievement?
    It may seem strange, but putting the accessibility toilets and baby changing facility in (located by Exhibition Road).  It was 2004 and the Disability was passed and although we met the guidelines, I wanted to do more.

    What is your proudest moment?
    The Launch of the Darwin Centre in September 2005.  Seeing all the different elements of Natural History Museum come together – visitor services, tours, presenting, etc.

    What is the vision for the future?
    Our focus for the next 2-3 years is to increase visitor focus within our organization.

    How many visitors did you have last year?
    4.2 million and another 120,000 that visiting Tring.

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    August 17th, 2011mardixonCulture

    If you never been to the Ikon Gallery, you’re missing a real treat.  The building itself is a piece of art that never fails to fascinate.  Originally built in 1878 for an infant school, it has had a few other responsibilities before its current (and hopefully permanent) position as home of the gallery.  The artist journey begins as you walk in and see this very prominent but non-busy sign:

    I met Director and Jonathan Watkins, a busy man who’s passion for Ikon was evident from the start along with Kate Self who is the essentially their Educational Officer (although it’s technically Ikon Youth Programme (IYP)).

    After explaining the many hats and angles this interview was going to take (blog, AskACurator.com, Kids in Museums), I quickly got into the questions as I knew time was precious for both.

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    August 10th, 2011mardixonCulture

    A few weeks ago, during one of my many Tweets about AskACurator one tweet led to another and I was soon making arrangements to go to Birmingham Art Gallery.  After another few emails and tweets, it was narrowed down to me meeting the Fine Art’s Curator Victoria Osborne.

    I was told that Victoria had a few questions ready for our meeting.  Upon meeting Victoria, she also explained that she had read my blog on the French AskACurator (herehere and here).  Victoria was clearly well prepared.  But unfortunately for her, she soon found out I don’t really work that way.

    We started with a few general questions which I was hoping led to the right Ask A Curator question – and I wasn’t disappointed.  My journey with these interviews has been fascinating as each one is different so no template can be used.

    Victoria has been at Birmingham Art Gallery for ten years. She is clearly very knowledgeable which was evident from our conversation.   We agreed the best approach for this interview would be for Victoria to speak for herself as role of Fine Arts Curator, and not representing all of BMAG as their collections are numerous and diverse.

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