@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 24th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    IMG_0448On May 19th I hosted the New Technology stream at Museums and Heritage Show. The stream was hosted by Collider Case (which is amazing btw!) and consisted of a variety of great speakers (of course!) from Belfast, England and Paris sharing their experience with new technology that the sector could/should know about :

    Museums and bus stops: breaking down barriers
    Something new and different is happening in Paris – people waiting at bus stops are getting free wifi to play games about the museums local to that stop. CuturO’Game is successfully hooking visitors in with collections-related games, opening up new worlds to new audiences. Find out how it’s working and how you can use this tech to support and promote your own museum. – Aube Lebel, CEO, Clicmuse, Engage with Culture

    IMG_047221st century interpretation in a 19th century museum
    The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge offers one of the finest art and artefacts collections in the UK. As part of their bicentenary celebrations they commissioned a new digital guide, with Acoustiguide, to help visitors explore the museum. We will explore the challenges and successes of this exciting project. – Julie Dawson, Head of Conservation, The Fitzwilliam Museum and Caitlin Bain, Sales; Marketing Manager and Louisa Matthews, Managing Director, Acoustiguide

    IMG_0466Scaleable Tech
    Many of the challenges of adopting and piloting new technology apply to museums of all sizes. Finding the balance between new, interesting and innovative against solid, reliable and dependable technology can be difficult and potentially risky. How can we test and evaluate new products and services without compromising on the quality of experience we deliver to our visitors. – Will Robinson, Creative Technologist, British Museum and Catherine Jones, New Media Engineer, Science Museum Read the rest of this entry »

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    April 26th, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    JimFirst – a huge thank you to Jim Richadson and his team for pulling off another amazing MuseumNext conference. Every year I say it’s the best and while I know it has to grow I worry that it’ll lose that special je ne sais quoi. Not a worry at all. Jim brought in Kala Preston as new Director of MuseumNext and between them they managed to create a very large-scale international museum conference with a familiar and home-y feel about it. THANK YOU! (And bring on MuseumNext USA at Indianapolis Museum of Art this September!)

    hotdogsI have to mention the people. From registration to closing talks – so many familiar AND new faces this year but what was brilliant to see was the connections. Yes the regulars talked to each other but ‘newbies’ we’re encouraged and folded into the conversation. I don’t recall seeing anyone stand by themselves for too long unless they wanted to. You don’t get that at any other conference the way MuseumNext manages to do it. It’s wonderful to watch from the side-lines and see so many new connections and relationship start at MuseumNext. The key is to keep the conversations going! Read the rest of this entry »

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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 22nd, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    IMG_0340Once again, MuseumNext ends and I get this horrible sinking feeling of knowing that I need to wait another year for it to happen again.

    In my opinion, MuseumNext is the best conference for anyone who cares about museums. It’s international and in the past four years has been to Edinburgh, Barcelona, Amsterdam and this year it was held in Newcastle. Technically it’s a 2-day conference however it always kicks off the day before with a Welcome event, tour/workshop and evening reception.

    I’m going to start with my takeaways just because it’s the things I have to get off my chest the most.

    Apps Are Dead! Long live the App!
    Let’s get this out of the way: Apps aren’t dead. Museums just, bluntly, are crap at them. We only need to look at iTunes who has had 65 billion apps downloaded as reported on their first quarter report for 2014.

    ChartOfTheDay_1474_Global_App_Downloads_n65 BILLION people. Apps aren’t dead.

    Here is my take. Museums, in their adorable fashion, was a bit late to the game when it came to smartphones and tablets. It essentially took the public bringing them into the venues to make the shift happen. Even then, most apps just took what was on the web or in the family pack (eg trails).

    There are exceptions of course: Magic Tate Ball and Second Canvas that integrates gigapixel into the app and Twnkls AR.

    But overall, meh.  And I’m not alone with this, ask any museum person how many museum apps they have on their device and watch them shift uncomfortably as they say none. 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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