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GAF Fellowship

#MCN2020 Day 3

We are halfway through! Can you believe it!

Bring Your Own Device and In-Hand Interactives: How Covid-19 Forced Innovation in Our Interactives

We heard from David Zlatic from the Cincinnati Museum Centre about their redevelopment and pivot post-COVID. It was interesting to hear about their flip from touch screens to BYOD. They are using Digimarc, a kind of image-based QR code, to allow visitors to engage with their digital interactives. They are not using the uptake as a measure of success, but around 30% of visitors are using them at this point.

Next Aaron Cope presented about his work at the Cooper Hewitt Museum and his current work at the SFO Museum. It was really interesting to hear about his role on the Pen and see him explain how the NFC chips work. 

A Flexible, Touchfree Interactive Platform for Exhibiting Physical and Digital Student Works in a University Library

This session was pre-recorded. I enjoyed seeing the way that the North Carolina State University Library was able to transform a multi-purpose space. They said that they used it for exhibits mostly, and workshops sometimes, and it kind of reminded me of our Lecture Gallery at MOD., down to the columns in the middle of the room. It was interesting to see a full technical explanation of what they utilised to help them display both digital and physical works from students and faculty on campus.

Making ‘The Digital Future of Museums’

Finally, we heard from Keir Winesmith and Suse Anderson about the making of their recently released book The Digital Future of Museums. This talk was presented in a similar format as the book, with a discussion between Keir, LaTanya Autry, and Lauren Vargas in the middle. This was great. 

The chat followed the following kind of topics, themes, and questions:

  • Museums perpetuate violence, they always have and they continue to. We need to work to create institutions that are safe for all people.
  • Care as practice, in terms of collective care for communities. You can’t fight anti-Blackness, racism, or sexism without focussing on structural issues and taking care for the people we’re fighting for and with.
  • Care as a leadership skill, and in particular as leadership skills. Care and emotional skills are not taught, but they are some of the most important parts of leadership, business, and research.
  • Building relationships with communities is not just using them, it’s having a proper relationship that’s developed over time. Don’t expect anything from anyone otherwise. Community is not a commodity we can just use. We need to ensure that communities can see themselves reflected on the walls, in the staff, on the board.
  • PEOPLE. FIRST.
  • The importance of teaching digital skills, in terms of the One by One initiative, and considering how we define digital skills beyond competency? And asking how we build them?
  • We need a revolution in our museums! 
  • The “return to normal” is a fallacy. Normal was never good, it was broken and repressive. We can and should aim higher than “normal”.

COVID has brought what they considered the future into the present, and museums are doing what they said would be impossible a year ago. What else can we change that they’ve always said was impossible?

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