@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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    January 4th, 2019mardixonCulture, International

    Recently, I’ve seen a bunch of articles promoting the best exhibitions to see in 2019 but it seemed most of them were around London (see Londonist and Maxwell’s list) so I decided to crowdsource ideas and promised to share here. I posted this question on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin. Surpringly, no responses on Instagram….

    While I’m not doubting that London has a lot of create exhibitions (because they do) I always want to see what else is happening in the world and I know I’m not alone with this.  We seem to have the Top 10 in the world, which are usually nationals but nice to see some local museums on some list also.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    November 27th, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    As 2018 is almost over, there have been a few hot topics for museums this year I’d thought I highlight. Now some of these issues have been going on for years/decades but were brought to the limelight again thanks to social media and media being forced to acknowledge the issues. Hopefully, they can be resolved in 2019…

    Museums Need to Change Their Hours

    Once again, there were a few articles related to museums needing to stay open late. We know this. Museums that stay open ‘late’ (and I mean until 8pm on a Thursday) find an impact. Lets face it, when you work 9–5 the last thing you want to do is spend your weekend at a museum or art gallery. Museums run the risk of becoming just for school trips and corporate hire if they are not careful.

    There are some simple solutions such as opening later on a Tuesday (say 11.30 instead of 10) and staying opening until 8pm on a Thursday to help shift the workload for staff.

    It was also mentioned on Twitter that staff has to have their well being looked after and can’t change too much from 9–5 hours. I understand the sentiment there but honestly, every sector has had to change with society to fit in. Even the majority of banks have Saturday hours and one late night.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/mag3737/6087462178

    Yes there are a lot of late night events but they are usually once a month and run around bigger activities which are great! I absolutely love them. But sometimes, people just want to pop into a museum for a bit of culture on the way home after work. There has to be a better balance than what is available right now. And that is going to be probably more complicated for council-run museums however I truly feel a compromise is out there. Monday closure and late Thursday (as mentioned before) works for some but you need to look at your community/demographic and see if maybe early mornings might be better. Read the rest of this entry »

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    November 12th, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    I really want to write up about the who conference but this is vital for everyone going to any conference – BE SOCIAL and take a risk to explore new areas! Thank you so much Ann Vanrolleghem for letting me explore @8500Kortrijk

    From Ann:
    I never felt the urge to write a blog post. No, that’s not 100% true. I already felt the urge before, but this time, I feel I really have to do it. I have to write this down. I have to share this. This is my story of how one tweet at a conference can make a difference.

    ***

    Last Friday I attended a conference about participation in Brussels organized by FARO, the Flemish interface centre for cultural heritage. In the afternoon I attended the workshop “yes, you can, participation through social media” by Mar Dixon, a well-known social media star within the cultural world. For us, museum people, she is divine. Trust me. It was an inspirational and hands-on session and I left Brussels to head back home to Kortrijk with great enthusiasm.

    The following morning, I checked Twitter. Part of my morning routine as a social media lover I suppose and there I saw a tweet of Mar Dixon. Saying she wanted to visit some museums and if anyone hanging around #faronet wanted to join her…

    Me, being more impulsive than I thought, replied, saying she should come over to Kortrijk to visit Texture, the museum of flax and river Lys where we have a great temporarily exhibition called BIOLACE. And also to sniff the ambiance of the last weekend of our city festival PLAY. I suggested to come play in confetti…

    And I don’t know if it was the confetti that pulled her over, or that is was something else… but she quickly replied… and in just mere minutes we talked about how she could come to Kortrijk by train and how to organize it all. It was just one tweet that started a rollercoaster of events.

    ***

    In the afternoon Mar arrived by train in Kortrijk. And you are not gonna believe this. But she stepped out of the doors of the train, exactly where I was waiting for her. It was surreal… and that was just the beginning of a great afternoon! Read the rest of this entry »

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    October 26th, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    Recently I was able to do another whirlwind international tour and something was highlighted once again – people love museums. And people who work in museums love museums.

    So why do you keep working against us?

    The issues are usually very similar:

    • Lack of money
    • Lack of resources
    • Lack of management support
    • Low Morale

    While these issues might possibly always be there, some things you can change to help elevate these issues.

    Lack of money: For argument’s sake, we’ll take money off the table because lets be honest, it’s a common denominator worldwide. If we can sort the other issues, the money issues might actually be less of an issue. Read the rest of this entry »

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    September 16th, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    During #AskACurator 2018 I tried to capture some of the different conversations.  This is more for me than for anyone to think this is an overall statement of the day (because I am not the one that can or will ever capture everything!)

    Highlights: 

    Museums talking to each – Australia and New Zealand really set the tone for 2018 as there weren’t a lot of questions at first so they took the bull by the horns and starting asking questions amongst themselves – then the public got involved and next thing you know it’s trending 2nd in all of Australia.

    First Tweet from @MOTAT_NZ 9:13pm 11-09-2018

     

    By the time I jumped back Russia and Europe were in full swing (not so much UK at that point) and the tone remain positive, light, inquisitive, fun, interesting and most importantly educational.

    Questions:

    I usually try to ask a few general questions to get things going.  This year they were mostly ignored which to me is AMAZING because that meant there were so many other questions being asked mine weren’t needed!

    https://twitter.com/MarDixon/status/1039646722090303488

    What do you Wear?

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    September 2nd, 2018mardixonCulture, International

    On August 22, @CultureThemes ran #MusMeme for the monthly hashtag.  As I often talk about, finding a hashtag once a month isn’t always easy and there is a balance of finding a hashtag that works with the public and culture venues alike.  For August, I usually try to find a hashtag that will be quirky-ish but light as September is always busy with #AskACurator Day (September 12th 2018)…. did I get that one wrong!

    All I put was:

    Our next CultureThemes is going to be #MusMeme – a day to share memes all about museums, galleries, art, collections, etc. on August 22!

    The general idea is to let the public and museums have a bit of creative license and fun with collections.

    Simple, right? If people got involved, great! If not, that was ok to!

    They got involved.  A LOT.  By 11am it was trending in the UK and pretty much stayed there all day almost into the evening. This screenshot is from 2.30pm

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    June 1st, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Lately I’ve been busy talking at conferences about social media and running workshops on the same. Why? Because I think many places have now started to realize giving marketing departments or people full time control over social media wasn’t, in many cases, the best move.

    The most important aspect of social media – no matter what subject – is to be social. Constantly telling people of events and not responding to them, or, perish the thought, actually reaching out to people who are tagging you is all one way, and it gets old. Let’s be honest, there is a lot of content out there that people can be sharing, it’s a buyers’ market for the social media user and we should therefore treat those who do tag us with enough respect to acknowledge them or at least some of them (ok for those who get 1000s of tags it might be hard, but one or two responses a day isn’t difficult). It’s another aspect of customer service, we wouldn’t totally ignore someone who came up to the counter, or visitor information desk would we? Yet we think its ok for those who reach out to us on Social media to be ignored. Read the rest of this entry »

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    May 6th, 2018mardixonCulture, International

    Recently, I seen a post about Murder at the Mütter® from Gillian Ladley Media & Marketing Manager @CollegeofPhys, home of @MutterMuseum pointing to an Instagram Story.  As someone who loves Mütter Museum I was really intrigued.  How could an Instagram Story be integrated in a fun, unique way, participatory way? I clicked on the link and was truly blown away so contacted Gillian and asked her for a bit more information to be able to share.

    Guest Blog Gillian Ladley:

    Murder at the Mütter® (it’s a registered trademark) is an event that we have hosted since 2011. Every year the “Murder team” create a new scenario, collaborating with scientists to include tasks that involve real crime scene and forensic analysis. Tickets to the event are very limited and sell out in minutes, so every year we have discussions about how to expand the reach and impact of the event and all the work that goes into it. We’ve talked about video, web content, digital exhibits etc… but like many nonprofits, struggle to get the time and resources to make something happen. Read the rest of this entry »

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    April 18th, 2018mardixonCulture, Personal

    Back in December, I was looking at loads of things: my 2018 schedule, the museum sector, London, etc etc.  I noticed the museum sector was looking a bit – well there are a lot of changes happening (some for the good, some not so good) and wanted to inject some energy back into the sector.  So I took to social media:

    I decided to run a #MuseumMarathon – where anyone who signed up would walk to 26+ museums on the day to raise money for charity.  I didn’t know what museums or what charity but shared the idea anyway.  There was over 70 people who showed interest that week!

    Within a few weeks (ok maybe it was February?) things started to take a bit more shape.  Original charities such as raising money for Gay Pride and Arts Emergency (both great causes) were put aside for Autism in Museums – it’s not a charity but a very worth cause! (For the record, Gay Pride would be to raise money for museum people walking in the parade but found out that is sorted.) Read the rest of this entry »

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    February 26th, 2018mardixonCulture, Personal

    If you haven’t heard there will be another #MuseumMarathon in London on April 15th 2018.  We will be raising funds for Autism in Museum run by Claire Madge.  Here she explains why – and if you’d like to donate please see our Go Fund Me Page

    It was back in the mists of time, 2013 to be exact, I had barely gotten sucked into the museum world when I took part in the first Museum Marathon. I met Mar Dixon for the first time, along with a lot of other museum devotees.

    We walked to 26 London museums in one day, many of those museums I never even knew existed and we raised money for Guide Dogs for the Blind a charity chosen by the organiser David Mentiply. It was a tiring, fun filled, sore footed day and luckily for all you who missed out the first time we are going to do it all over again! 

    On the 15th April 2018 we will be visiting another 26-31 museums in one day (shout out to Mikaela Webb for working on the map!). Mar has decided to raise money for Autism in Museums which is fantastic. But since I am not actually a charity this has raised a few problems. After much careful thought and consideration any money raised will purchase sensory equipment that museums can apply for to either supplement their existing autism offer or support a more inclusive approach to welcoming autistic visitors. The money will also go towards supporting work experience placements for young autistic adults in museums.

    I will be putting together a panel of young autistic people aged 18-25 who will help decide how the money should be spent and where. I hope this will foster some long-lasting relationships between the autism community and the museum community.

    For those who know me this is a very important issue to my family. I have two autistic children and we visited museums for the first time because of the supportive autism programmes they run. I wrote a blog about our first visit to the Science Museum Early Birds Autism event – you can read it here, I hope it shows why autism in museums is so vital.

    Museum Marathon is going to be a great opportunity to meet new people, reacquaint yourself with old friends, visit a whole load of museums and have a truly amazing (tiring) day. If you are museum obsessed then this is the ultimate experience for you. If you do want to raise money for Autism in Museums please see the link Mar has set up, if you just want to join us on the day please don’t feel you have to donate money to be a part of Museum Marathon.

    I have spent the last five years working really hard to raise awareness of Autism in Museums because I can see the difference it makes to families who often feel isolated. I will be writing a series of blogs about how to apply for sensory equipment and how the money will be spent. If you are interested in getting involved in any way please get in touch with Mar or you can email me at TinctureofMuseum@gmail.com

     Thank you so much and see you on the 15th!!!!

     Claire Madge, Tincture of Museum

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