@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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    October 3rd, 2014mardixonCulture, International

    Yesterday I attended Museums Ideas conference in London and it although I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, it sort of confirmed things:

    We’re having a movement. Years from now we’re going to look back at this time and say ‘Remember the Maker Movement?’ Or maybe we need to come up with a better collective name for this move to digital, social open, participatory in museums era.  Wait – let’s crowd-source what the label should be!

    And that is what I’m referring to.

    communityI’m part of the maker community.
    I’m part of the wearable tech community.
    I’m part of the museum community.
    I’m part of the library community.
    I’m part of … you get the point.

    We seem to be really cognizant of making everyone feel part of something these days. That’s a good thing! However, as it is early days for this movement, we’re all being ever so polite about it.  Everyone is allowed into ALL communities.

    I’m Project Coordinator (and Founder) of MuseomixUK. This is a movement that started in France 2011 and has grown and grown. As I write this I’m in Paris at a meeting with all the communities to discuss progress, plans and issues. I firmly believe that we should listen to the public and allow different sectors to help rethinking, redesign, remake and remix museums. I also believe museums should be more open to using digital, social, wearable tech. when appropriate.

    However….

    I don’t believe this is right for ALL museums or cultural venues. And this is the issue I have right now with this movement of museums to give ownership to collection and exhibitions to the public.

    While it’s fun, neat and participatory, it’s dangerous. MuseomixUK is a year long production. We communicate and work with the museum and everyone involved has to apply. This is not a weekend drop-in hack where anyone can show.  Curators and content experts are involved in the whole process. 

    And that difference matters.

    We know who we are working with and talking to. We know what the museums would like. We facilitate these conversations but don’t allow barriers.

    Today’s Movement:
    Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 12.35.21

    Everyone has the right answer. But wait, what is the question?

    Please don’t get me wrong, I think it is brilliant what we are doing.  I am just afraid of what is going to happen when this bubble burst and we hit our plateau.  We need to be thinking beyond today (not trying to guess the next tech or wearable but embracing them) and remember the core mission of each museum.

    There will never be a one-size fits all to these things. 

    I’ll write more on the digital/tech thing later but I wrote about some of that already here

     

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    August 15th, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    The National Gallery LondonAs many of you know I’ve been a Google Explorer since December 2013.  My original focus was to see how Google Glass could work within the cultural sector.

    For months I used projects I was working on to share Glass – to instigate dialogue and consider how people would use Glass should they own a pair.  As time went on my focus shifted from the cultural sector in general to, more specifically, accessibility. It became apparent the more I experienced the use of Glass with others just how many of those experiences that Glass provided generated examples of how this new technology could impact on people’s lives for the better.

    It was during MuseumNext that my research came full circle back to Glass in museums.  There was a lot of discussion on innovation and technology at MuseumNext, but I challenged the discussion by suggesting that the word innovation is being used to loosely and freely, is what many Museums doing innovate? Is an App still ‘innovative work’ just because it’s….an App?  This initiated another discussion from a few follow up posts which lead to me mentioning that I’ve had Glass for a while now, making it very public and offering it for research or experimentation to the Museum sector however at that point NO museum had taken me up on the offer.

    Joseph PadfieldFrom that initial discussion a few museums contacted me, one of which was Joseph Padfield from the National Gallery.  Joseph was interested in Glass and its possibilities within the National Gallery from the museum aspect but also conservation. We decided on a visit the National Gallery and we would run a two-day research project to see if Glass really did have potential there.

    Initially we arranged for a brief ‘consultation’.  I came in, demonstrated Google Glass and let a few of the staff members have a go, albeit briefly.  We covered in this initial meeting;

    • What Google Glass looks like
    • How it works (physically)
    • How to operate it
    • Some of examples of accessibility that it could be used with.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 29th, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

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    June 16th, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    IMG_6244I have been back from Russia now just over a week. It was an experience that allowed me a real insight into the Russian museum community (albeit primarily on the western  side).   From running workshops, speaking at a conference,  being a guest to many museums, and speaking with numerous people (museum, digital, tech and more) I came away with a solid knowledge of their current cultural position (and quite frankly, a thirst to go back!).

    Firstly a little background on this trip.  I first encountered Anna Mikhaylova via social media (of course) then in person at ‘Museums on the Web’ in Portland, Oregon.  I can’t remember when or how the idea of me going to Russia happened, but soon we (more like Anna) had formulated a detailed plan for 20 days in St Petersburg, Vyborg, Peterhof and Moscow.

    My itinerary was hectic and diverse but allowed me to truly see the museum community in a holistic (and hands on) view. Read the rest of this entry »

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    February 28th, 2014mardixonInternational, Tech
    How to go outside with this strange looking glass, on top of my prescription glasses? How to answer people’s questions? How to do it? Can I really chat with people wearing this? How to go outside with this Glass?

    hedphonThat’s really a question I started to battle with in the end of December 2013, when I received my Google Glasses, in London (UK)!

    Of course, I could have been thinking about health implications of the device, or the actual safety of going outside with a $1500 gadget but my main worry was this one.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    February 13th, 2014mardixonCulture, Tech

    [Please note: I actually have a lot more to say on this topic but decided to keep it short and sweet for your sanity and mine… mainly mine.]

    answerI’ve been involved with a few research projects lately.  Each project is interesting and worthwhile in their own right.  However, I’ve noticed there has been a two-part theme that has run throughout all of them:

    a)    Is tech the solution or the problem?
    b)   How much influence does funding have in that answer?

    We live in this wonderful society where tech and digital is plentiful.  As a Google Explorer and someone who has my iPhone pretty much attached to my hand at all times, I’m constantly connected.  I’m the type of person that gets the shakes when the power goes out.

    However, I’m also the first to ask:  are we using tech for the right reason?  Are we trying to fit that square into a circle because we should or because it’s there?

    Read the rest of this entry »

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