We (Harriet and Catherine) attended the Museums Computer Group Conference, UK Museums on the Web 2013 on 15 November 2013 at Tate Modern. The evening before we boarded the bridge of the Tattershall Castle and presented an Ignite-style lightning session about Play Your Part. We had 20 seconds for each of our 20 slides to condense the main findings of the project so far. ON A BOAT!!! The slides sped past, but we had a great time and it was great to start disseminating some of the work we’ve been doing to colleagues from across the UK. It also meant we could then relax for the rest of the conference!
The conference itself was very interesting, and fortunately steered away from overly technical presentations that we feared would go over our heads. The theme, ‘Power to the people’ ensured that the focus was on communication, communities and crowdsourcing, topics which have given us food for thought for Play Your Part.
A full list of speakers and presentations (with slides) can be found on the MCG website however highlights for us included:
– The Curate a Fact game where delegates had to create collections out of cards we were given. This gave us an opportunity to talk to more people than you would usually approach at a conference tea break and we met lots of interesting colleagues!
– Hannah Freeman from the Guardian speaking about Open Journalism and the importance of asking your audiences direct questions to encourage good quality contributions. This is something we’ve discovered during Play Your Part – specific questions get more engaged answers.
– Nicole Cama from the Australian National Maritime Museum explaining how they’ve used Flickr Commons to encourage their digital communities to research their photograph collections and some surprising success stories. She stressed the value of nurturing your online communities.
One slight criticism of the day was that it needed to be more practical. We would have appreciated a more workshop style approach that would have allowed us to delve deeper into some of the themes and apply findings from the informative case studies to our own practice. There was a lot of sitting and listening, which doesn’t suit every learning style and we felt that this could have been mixed up more in some really creative ways. The talks were however broken up by a plethora of tea breaks and we were definitely spoilt by the catering on offer! An added bonus was getting to sneak up into the Tate Modern at the lunch break and see some favourite paintings (Rothko’s Seagram Murals). Allan Sekula’s Waiting for Tear Gas was another highlight and featured powerful images of protest.