@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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    July 24th, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Personal, Tech

    As Charlotte finally had a summer where she didn’t have to study for anything, we decided a few days in Paris was long overdue. (a huge thanks to Aube and family for letting us stay in the gorgeous flat near Notre Dame!)

    Day One:

    Walking Paris. We had a little idea of what we wanted to do in Paris but seeing Eiffel Tower was of course on the list. As it was so sunny out, and the best way to see any city is to walk, we decided a stroll through Paris would be perfect. And it was even if it was a day with almost 16kms… Seeing all the cute side streets that we would have missed on the bus (or the newest fun mode of transport is the electric scooters) was a bonus.

    Have to say there was a huge difference from the last time we went to see Eiffel Tower as not as many pushy sellers. They also changed the way you access it if you wanted to go up (we’ve been up a few times so just wanted to see it).

    Day Two:

    Another full on day with walking but Charlotte was saved as we had to get back to watch the World Cup. We started at Notre Dame which is free to enter and the queue moves rather quickly.

    We then headed to Saint Chapelle, a Holy Chapel that was intended to house Christian relics including Christ’s crown of thorns. The stained glass have 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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    November 19th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Personal
    At the end of October I ran a poll on twitter (but shared publicly on my Facebook page also asking a simple (so I thought) question:
    The options on the poll (which is limited to 4 on Twitter Polls):
    • Watch Netflix
    • Go to a museum/gallery
    • See a play/opera
    • Other (Please comment)
    Hindsight is beautiful as we all know as I really should have put something about reading in there but felt ‘Other’ would provide a catchall.
    Surprisingly on Twitter alone there were 501 votes.  Mainly felt originally that ‘my followers’ would skew the results to be (obviously) museums but I have to say a) my followers are diverse from museums/galleries, digital/tech, theatre/opera, publishing/book/libraries, and loads of just fun people that like to chat. Same goes for my Facebook (although add in family, friends and school mates who some I don’t even remember but our school was so small I am sure I know them).

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    April 13th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Lately I noticed something on social media that I didn’t really like seeing.  I had hoped I was wrong but decided to ask others their thoughts:

     

    I felt I should share a few of the responses here.  What is important to remember is I was not talking about all museums or in one area.  It seems to be an international issue and I’m pretty sure it’s not because the social media managers like this either!  Maybe management feels social media managers have everything scheduled so can do 25 other things that really aren’t under their remit.  Social media managers rock and we shouldn’t at all blame them – most I spoke to privately hate it as much as we do!

    However, brands (and museums are a brand) do sometimes forget that numbers aren’t the answer – loyalty also plays a role and can’t always be quantified. Does that mean it doesn’t matter?  Of course not!  And does it mean that museums, especially larger, more popular museums should respond to every one who tags them?  Of course not.  But it does mean they need to at least be shown to make an effort – even just once a day to engage with visitors and non-visitors.  It doesn’t hurt to ask someone who tags you how they are doing….

    I also asked on Facebook and LinkedIn and the responses were an eye opener. What are your thoughts? What can be done to make social media more social and get us back to having conversations instead on constant marketing and pr jammed down our throats?

    And for clarification, I need to add that this is the same on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – so it’s not a platform issue.

    LinkedIn

    Mät King
    It’s a common problem with social media. People and companies tend to spend more time trying to engage with celebrities/bigger brands/more popular museums etc than actually engaging with those who follow or engage with them. This hierarchy is a very odd consequence of class structure/knowing your place and a general insecurity common to many who have been part of an organised education system. It’s very similar to how people will listen to those with no qualifications or , indeed, abilities in a subject because they are famous or are born with a title.

    Facebook

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts!  

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    April 4th, 2017mardixonCulture, International

    I was incredibly fortunate enough to get a look at Sir John Soane’s Museum latest exhibition Marc Quinn: Drawn from Life whilst recently in London.

    Each of the twelve sculptures is created from casts of Quinn and his muse, the dancer Jenny Bastet, in a series of embraces. Their interlinked arms appear to be fighting, loving, holding or supporting – or even all at once – reflecting Quinn’s recurring fascination with the physical ambiguities of human emotion.

    Marc Quinn marries together the architecture beauty of the Soane’s Museum with contemporary art in a very sympathetic way.  I personally loved how each piece seem to have been at the location for years.  As I was there, some people walked right by without even recognizing it was a different piece.  That to me is a great sign of fitting in.

     

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    January 25th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    This is a guest post from Fabio Viola.  

    Sometimes dreams come true. For a guy grew up in the ’80s with a game pad in his hands and history in his mind, the co-presence in the same space of astonishing Farnese’s collection statues and displays showing a videogame has been a “connecting the dots” moment.

    Yesterday the Archeological Museum of Naples showcased “Father and Son”, a coming soon videogame that set a first time, in Italy and worldwide, of a museum acting as a pure game publisher.  Since the’90s, cultural institutions has experienced videogames mainly as an educational platform with the aim to spread the message among a young audience (k6 target).  With Videogames entered in the adulthood and videogamers almost equally split among men and women  aged 35 years old, I strongly believe it is the right time to connect this young art form with the “established” cultural forms creating an intangible thread between on-site and online experience. A useful tool to bring the museum outside the museum and shift from the “traditional “storytelling to what I call storydoing.

    “This game helps us to achieve one of the museum’s new Strategic Plan objectives activating a new way to connect with the audiences. From anywhere around the world, you can interact with our Institute and the city of Naples. We want to be perceived in the world as an innovative hub, a place where the cultural vision is pursued without barriers”, says museum’s director Paolo Giulierini

    Father and Son is a 2D side scrolling narrative game that explores the feelings of love, dreams, fear and the passing of time through the story of an archaeologist and the son he never knew. Throughout the game, the main character crosses the lives of people from different historical eras: Ancient Rome, Egypt and Bourbon Naples. What begins as a personal experience, becomes a universal and timeless story where the present and the past are a set of meaningful choices. Players will assume the role of Michael: after receiving a letter from his archaeologist father he never knew, the protagonist goes to MANN to find out more. From here a journey through the ages begins, from ancient Rome to Egypt, passing through the Bourbon age and coming up to the Naples of today. The player will thus be able to explore the streets of Naples, along the halls of the museum and interact with the stories through the ages.

    Ludovico Solima, associate professor of Management of Cultural Organizations, Second University of Naples: 

    “With ‘Father and Son’ the museum aims to reach and engage new worldwide audiences in an unexplored way.  We’ll evaluate carefully the qualitative and quantitative results of this first time approach to the gaming”.

    In Father and Son, each player’s choice will affect the story and lead to different endings. Michael will interact with different characters and will have to make important decisions that can influence the entire narrative. The aim is to fill in gaps not only about his father’s life, but also the characters he meets along the way. And only at the end, will Michael be able to rediscover himself, thanks to meetings with characters from the past and present.

    All this would not be possibile without TuoMuseo, a no profit organization active in the intersection between cultural heritage and videogames/gamification made up of a team with years of experience in the industry: Fabio Viola (Electronic Arts Mobile, Vivendi Games Mobile,), Sean Wenham (Ubisoft, Sony), Alessandro Salvati, Arkadiusz Reikowski, Salvatore Savino, Vitalba Morelli, Massimiliano Elia, Fabio Sarracino.


    The free game will be downloadable on mobile devices, via App Store and Google Play, with furthers platform under evaluation during the 2017.

    Thanks again Mar Dixon for your hospitality and for your vision of a museum as a “wonderful playground”.

    Follow the game on the official website or feel free to reach us out on Facebook or Twitter or info[at]tuomuseo.it.

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    December 20th, 2016mardixonCulture, International

    I realise I haven’t updated my website in a bit but it’s not lack of thoughts to share (more of a lack of time from travelling).  This issue has been brewing for awhile as it’s an international issue that not many seem to speak about.  The current ‘hot topic’ is inclusion which I 100% support but only if it’s done with respect and not like the Young People in museum topic (when funding left, the young people were left with nothing to see for their work). However, this topic is even better IMO as without good people, nothing we do it going to matter! 

    Credit: Tijana Tasich

    As a cultural sector we leave 2016 with even more uncertainty than when it started. Lots of events have happened this year that we had no control of, decisions made we might not agree with and the impact of some of those decisions still relatively unknown. 2017 will give us some answers, but will it give us any more security? Doubtful.

    With that in mind as a sector what can we do for the year ahead? Do we just brace ourselves for impact or do we steer ourselves to where we might be in a better position to survive?

    One thing is for sure, we are getting used to being battered. Our sector has taken some of the biggest hits of austerity compared to any other sector of equal size. Each year we deal with less funding, less resources and less staff and I’m pretty sure 2017 won’t be any different.

    The bigger question for 2017 is what have we learnt?

    If we are now so bruised from a tidal wave of cuts, what have we done to prevent absolute catastrophe, (most of you reading this are survivors, still working in the sector and many of you in museums that have not closed) what have we learnt from each other to prevent the next wave hitting us even harder? Hmmmmm

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    August 5th, 2016mardixonCulture, Tech

    IMG_3299This week, Charlotte and I managed to do The Lost Palace experience. I’ve known about The Lost Palace since Timothy Powell told me about the idea back in late 2014/2015.

    The concept: Bring Europe’s largest palace ‘back to life’ 300 years after it burnt to the ground. Hear, touch and feel the past using new immersive technology.

    The technology is what I was most interested in. The Lost Palace started with an open call for proposals from makers, creators, dreamers, technologist and more. There were 5 £10,000 proposals available. Their remit was relatively lose: 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.

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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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