@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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    March 27th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    It’s something we’re all too used to – funding cuts & threats in the culture sector.  Whether it’s museums, libraries, art galleries or theatres (and everything in between), culture seems to have been the easy hit for most of the people with the purse strings.

    It’s been happening globally for more years than necessary and recently the new American administration has threaten NEA, PBS and other vital funding streams many of the museums and art galleries in the states rely on to survive. [NB See #ThankyouIMLS #StandUpForMuseums #SaveTheNEA #SaveTheNEH and #ThankyouNEH]

    As many may or may not know @CultureThemes was created purely out of the funding cuts that happened in the UK.  While it was great for many museums (and social media managers) to discuss what this meant, it was vital that the conversations were open for all (eg young people and other ‘groups’ that are hard to reach, etc).  The first hashtag with CultureThemes was ‘WhyILoveMuseums’ and went world trending – why?  Because people do love museums and art galleries but we need to ASK THEM every once in awhile WHY.  This goes for staff also!

    Recently I decided to do the same thing in a subtle way.  (Any sadly the day I asked it my phone broke so apologies for the delay in getting this shared).

    For the Twitter & Instagram responses I was able to do a Storify which you can find at the bottom of this article or link is here.  For those that prefer infographics, there’s a free site for that …

    The over-arching ideas is for museums to share stories from past, present and the future.  Being there for the next generation to learn from is also highlighted.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    February 16th, 2017mardixonCulture, International

    February 15th – the day after Valentine’s Day.  The perfect day to ask the public,  museums and culture venues internationally to share items they would like to see go into #Museum101 (like George Orwell’s 1984 book and Room 101).

    The idea came when I mentioned to Linda Spurdle I was trying to think of a hashtag that would acknowledge the current issues *cough politics cough* but didn’t create a platform that could be turned into something personal. #Museum101 was a perfect solution.

    With every CultureThemes, I try to keep the ‘this is what it is/mean’ statement to a minimum to allow people to make it what they want.

    Who knew that for over 8+ hours #museum101 would be trending?

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    February 1st, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    Almost on a daily basis I’m being contacted about a hashtag for culture to show they care about what is going on in the world. #RefugeesMakeCulture #dayoffacts #thankyouNEA #thankyouIMLS and more.

    My concern is we are going to dilute the message and overwhelm the same people we want to support. We also have to remember that not everyone wants to campaign and just want to escape to visit to see art, parks, museums etc.

    Being international I’m also fully aware that not everyone can (or should) get involved in some of these campaigns – either it just doesn’t make sense politically or with their collection.

    So while my personal account will support many, I am not sure I feel comfortable using Culturetheme, MuseumSelfieDay or AskACurator for all these events. I hope I don’t sound old and cranky! I’m just trying to respect the diversity of followers that have come to follow for fun, weirdness and escape the norm of how culture is perceived. Hope that makes sense.

    And don’t forget #Museum101 is Feb 15 🙂 a bit of fun for people to say what they’d add to their ‘Room 101’

    For more information, this is from CultureThemes:

    For February, we’re shifting gears just a bit for #Museum101 theme on February 15th.  What is #Museum101?  Well if you ever heard of George Orwell’s book 1984 he talks about Room 101 where you can put things you fear or don’t like/understand in the room (ok it’s more about torture but we’re not getting into that for our theme). 

    Lets remember that CultureThemes exists to highlight and spotlight the need for culture in our society, internationally. 

     

     

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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 12th, 2017mardixonCulture, Tech

    Really enjoyed Actually Reality at Royal Academy. It’s opening to the public January 12-14 (yes, a very short run) but if you want to experience art in a virtual world (instead of just walking around it as most platforms allow), this is the perfect exhibition.  I also like the fact that RA worked with graduates – how inspiring!

    From Royal Academy website:

    We’re starting 2017 with Virtually Real, a collaborative pop-up project between the virtual reality platform HTC Vive and our contemporary art school, the Royal Academy Schools.

    Graduates Adham Faramawy and Elliot Dodd, together with third-year student Jessy Jetpacks, have been selected to create works of art using HTC Vive. This virtual reality technology lets you experience hundreds of simulated worlds, where the normal rules of gravity don’t apply. The artists will be using software like Kodon and Tilt Brush by Google, a palette that lets you paint in virtual 3D space to produce installations that you, the visitor, will be able to move through and interact with. You’ll also be able to see their creative processes from start to finish with HTC Vive’s playback technology. As a world-first, we’ll be 3D printing these artworks and exhibiting them, so you will have the chance to interact with them both virtually and in real life. You’ll also be able to try your hand at creating a virtual reality masterpiece of your own.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    January 3rd, 2017mardixonCulture, International

    Our first 52 Museums Instagram project has wrapped up for this year and overall it has been a huge success, far better than even expected. At the end of each we ask all participants to complete a survey, give us their thoughts on how it went; what went well and what could be done better in the future. We had 44 respondents to this, which is amazing, thank you to everyone who took the time to send in their feedback it really does help us to make it even better for everyone each year.

    Finally, a big thank you to everyone who took part and made 52 Museums 2016 such a success, and now with over 13,700 followers on the account here’s to an even bigger and better 2017!

    [For the 2016 list and sign up information please see this link.]

    Please Note:  I took out the names for the quotes to ensure anonymity.

    52 Museums – Participant Feedback

    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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    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

    Read the rest of this entry »

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