@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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    August 8th, 2015mardixonInternational, Tech

    IMG_7434Really hate starting off with such a cliché title but I can’t think of any other words that explains what I witnessed last week at Young Rewired State in Birmingham UK.

    For those who don’t know, Young Rewired State Festival of Code is:

    Young Rewired State is a worldwide community of digital makers aged 18 and under. We introduce them to like-minded peers, and expert mentors, at free events around the world, where they use freely available open data to build apps, websites and algorithms to solve real world challenges.

    Young Rewired State aims are to (from their website):

    • Find and foster a community of young coders and digital makers
    • Get them ‘civic hacking’ together: using their skills, to improve their communities
    • Promote peer to peer learning
    • Provide a fun, inclusive and supportive environment
    • Equip these young people with the skills to become the tech stars of tomorrow

    IMG_7414I’ve heard and followed YRS for a few years but it always seemed like I was travelling during the events. But this year Emma and Ruth caught me early in the planning and I was able to put it pride and place in my calendar. I was honoured to be asked to be a judge even though I had no idea what that meant….

    When I arrived at ICC in Birmingham, a place I have been to many times, I felt an electric vibe I have never felt before. I walked up the to the main floor of the event and BAM! The explosion of excitement hit an elevation I didn’t know possible. Kids coding, excitedly, happily – with a splash of annoyance when it wasn’t working. Read the rest of this entry »

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    July 19th, 2015mardixonCulture

    Full disclosure: I’m working on the social media for the ILoveMuseums.com campaign.

    ilovemuseumsThe concept behind the campaign is to get enough signatures on a petitions to show government that we care about museums and can’t afford any more cuts to funding and budgets and still survive. I Love Museums is a campaign led by the National Museum Directors’ Council with support from: Arts Council EnglandAssociation of Independent MuseumsCulture24Museums Association, The Art FundUniversity Museums Group, Army Museums Ogilby Trust.

    I Love Museums launched in June, after the elections with a day of trending and people worldwide filling in the statement #ILoveMuseums because _______. There were over 1200 signatures in one day.

    Since then, not much.  We’ve have had people sharing visits with #ILoveMuseums but the support has seemed to wean off.

    Last week I attended a debate at Parliament as MP Robert Jenrick asked for a ballot on Regional support for the arts.  I went representing I Love Museums to live tweet (see Storify here). The #artsfunding debate is similar to #ILoveMuseums:  stop the cuts and support museums and galleries outside of London as much as those in London.

    Much of the public money that goes into the arts is channelled through Arts Council England (ACE), which receives a direct grant from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), as well as distributing Lottery grants. As part of the general squeeze on public finances, the last Parliament saw significant reductions in the funds set aside for the arts. Some people feel that ‘prestige’, London-based organisations – galleries and museums, theatre, opera and ballet companies, orchestras, etc – continue to get preferential treatment from funders.
    With the launch of its investment plans for 2015-18 in July 2014, ACE signalled its determination to rectify historic imbalances between London and the rest of England. There were specific initiatives to build capacity outside London, to encourage cultural communities to grow and to encourage touring.

    After struggling to get the I Love Museums petition to 1500 sign ups, I tweeted this morning:

    Some of the answers:

     

    My question to you:  What can we do to get you to take #ILoveMuseums and the #ArtsFunding debate seriously?  Why do we constantly have to wait until we have a fight on our hands to show the love and respect we have for our culture? 

    As a strong supporter of NHS, libraries, young people and more, I know how tiring it is to always seem like we’re signing one petition over the other.  I get it.  But I also get we can NOT stop letting our voices heard.  I Love Museums has the right partners and right people behind it – we just need the public to know this is about their access to culture for all! 

    Actions:

    Further Reading:

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    July 1st, 2014mardixonCulture

    I was not going to write about ACE Funding / NPO Day but I’ve been following the stream on Twitter since 7.30am and can’t believe some of the emotions coming out in 140 characters.

    Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 09.55.50As someone who has a major hate/hate relationship with ACE, it’s easy for me to spend my time bashing them and their work.  [For the record, my issue is to do with their forms, not the people!] But this isn’t about that.

    Starting at about 8.30, I started to see congratulatory tweets – mainly theater based companies.  By 9.30 the hashtag was overrun with … really don’t want to say winners and losers.  How about we say successful and unsuccessful applicants.

     

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    June 12th, 2014mardixonCulture

    Background:  After the launch of the Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport  Sajid Javid, recent report, a few of us had a … healthy discussion on Twitter.  Whilst I love Twitter, sometimes the 140 characters really limit a good debate, hence this Guest Blog.  What are your thoughts? 

    Diversifying cultural audiences

    The nature of adversarial politics has changed dramatically over the past twenty years. Where once parties argued into the night over positions that were ideologically opposed, we now seem to operate in a consensus where the argument is just who is better able to fix the problem. It’s like we all secretly agreed a narrative overnight, and now there is just accepted wisdom on the environment, on the economy, on health, on welfare, and even on culture.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    January 6th, 2014mardixonTech

    “It’s an emotional luxury product,” Stuart Miles of gadget site Pocket Lint  “One that you do not need but once you have it you will find ways to use it.”

    Surprisingly, this quote is not about Glass but was said at the launch of iPads back in 2010. Now (2014) there are hundreds of example of iPads changing lives for students and those with disabilities.

    Since posting that I’ve a pair of Glass, I’ve been asked a lot of questions and somehow been involved with several debates. Hopefully, I can address some of the replies here: Read the rest of this entry »

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