Tickets on sale and first keynote announced for MCG’s Museums+Tech 2016: Sharing our Stories

Tickets are now on sale for this year’s annual MCG conference – formerly known as UKMW16 and newly rebranded as the Museums+Tech conference.

The 2016 Museums Computer Group Museums+Tech Conference will be held at the Wellcome Collection, London on 19 October 2016.

Book now to attend our one-day Museums+Tech conference, and hear from a diverse range of speakers about what works, who they worked with and how, and most importantly – what they learned along the way.

Eventbrite - Museums+Tech 2016: Sharing our Stories

Join us for a packed day of talks, networking and knowledge exchange. The conference features two fantastic keynotes from internationally recognised digital innovators. You’ll also learn from experts from Culture24; Deeson; Estonian Photographic Heritage Society; Imperial War Museums; Leeds Museums and Galleries; Museum of London; National Library of Wales; National Museums Scotland; SMARTIFY; The University of Cambridge Museums; TIME/IMAGE , Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums; Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology; Wellcome Collection and York Museums Trust.

First keynote announcement!

Our opening keynote, Sebastian Deterding

Our opening keynote, Sebastian Deterding

Sebastian Deterding is a designer and researcher working on playful and motivational design for human flourishing. Founder and principal designer of the design agency coding conduct, he has created engaging experiences touching millions of users for clients including the BBC, BMW, Deutsche Telekom, and KLM. He is a senior research fellow at the Digital Creativity Labs at the University of York. Sebastian will share his expertise on ‘Designing for Curiosity’. We think his wide, international perspective and deep expertise in design is the perfect opening to the day.

Speaking of curiosity, you’ll instantly recognise the name of our closing keynote speaker, but we’re keeping the secret for a little while yet :)

Sneak peek programme announcement!

Our morning conference session will look at user-focussed approaches to digital storytelling with compelling examples from National Museums Scotland, Museum of London and Culture 24. In the afternoon you’ll be spoilt for choice with parallel sessions where you can learn the best ways to work in a digital world with speakers from York Museums Trust, Imperial War Museums and the Estonian Photographic Heritage Society, or discuss working with collections with speakers from the University of Cambridge, Leeds Museums and Galleries, and National Museums Scotland.

Of course there will also be our regular round of stimulating and provoking Lightning Talks and plenty of opportunities to network and share ideas with colleagues.

Don’t miss out – book your ticket now to avoid disappointment.
Early bird discounts are only available until 19 September.

Eventbrite - Museums+Tech 2016: Sharing our Stories

Some of our fabulous 2016 speakers

Some of our fabulous 2016 speakers

This year’s theme: Sharing our Stories

Museums have a range of ways to tell stories to (and with) a wide and diverse audience. This conference will explore how digital technology supports museum storytelling, from the cutting edge (games, augmented and virtual reality) to the mainstream (social media and audio guides), at the audience interface (websites and in gallery installations) and behind the scenes (audience research and infrastructure).

About MCG events

The Museums Computer Group is a practitioner-led group, founded in 1982. Our first UK Museums on the Web (UKMW) conference was held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2001 and quickly became an important annual event for the digital museum sector. These days our ‘museums + technology’ conference has moved beyond the web to include any technologies museums use to reach audiences. Our events have an excellent track record for featuring a range of emerging and eminent speakers presenting on topics that matter to you now. Come prepared to challenge speakers, ask questions and network in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

Posted in Current Events, Current Events, Event-Category, Events, UKMW

Call for new MCG Committee members – 2016

photo of committee members


Joining the MCG Committee is a great way to support your peers and help the sector. It’s also an opportunity to meet people, gain valuable skills and experience, and enhance your CV. We’re an active group, putting together events and projects that have a real impact on the heritage sector. If you are motivated to help and have a few hours free each month, please read on!

This year we are seeking candidates for three vacancies on the Committee ahead of the election at our Annual General Meeting on 19 October 2016. Terms are for three years, with an option to seek re-election for a second term. One of these roles, Treasurer, is part of the Executive and works closely with the Chair. The other areas of responsibility we’re recruiting for include:

  • Marketing – working with the Events and Communications teams, you’ll help plan and run the marketing and outreach campaigns for our events and other work
  • Event organisation – ideal for someone who wants to take the lead as event manager, or learn the ropes by helping put on our next events
  • Sponsorship and fundraising – liaise with past and potential sponsors, work with the Events team to manage our sponsorship offers or establish partnerships.

We’d love to see nominations from people with ideas and energy. We always welcome volunteers with communication skills, whether you’re interested in optimising our WordPress site or writing content for events or projects. We’re also interested in supporting our members through discussions with funders and developing strategic partnerships that can help the whole sector.

There’s more information on volunteering for the Committee and a summary of the roles at Volunteering as an MCG Committee Member. In each role you’d be working with established Committee members, with a wealth of existing material and experience to draw upon, and will work with past post holders to handover information about the roles. If you have any questions about committee work or nominations, please contact the Chair, Mia Ridge (

Nominations should be sent to by midday on 18 October 2016. Please include your contact details, an indication of which role(s) you’re interested in, and a brief biography (for previous examples, check out the current Committee bios). Self-nominations are welcome.

photo of committee members

Some MCG Committee members in 2012

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Notice of the MCG Annual General Meeting 2016


This year’s Museums Computer Group AGM will take place at Museums + Tech 2016 (19 October 2016 at the Wellcome Collection).

Full details of the AGM can be found below.

The AGM will include the election of nominees to the Committee. Joining the Committee is a great way to support your peers and help the sector. It’s also an opportunity to meet people, gain valuable skills and experience, and enhance your CV. If you are motivated to help and have a few hours free each month, please see the call for new committee members. If you are interested in being nominated, or to find out more, please email


Annual General Meeting

Wednesday 19 October 2016, 12:45-1:30pm

Wellcome Collection, Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE


1. Apologies for absence
2. Minutes of the last AGM: The British Museum, 26 October 2015
3. Committee Reports:

Chair – Mia Ridge
Accounts – Ivan Teage (Treasurer)
Membership – Katherine Biggs (Secretary)

4. Operational Reports including Events, Communications and website.
5. Committee Elections. Nominations are invited for the following committee vacancies:

Treasurer – 1 vacancy
Members – 2 vacancies
6. Handover: the chair invites existing and new committee members onto the stage to introduce them
7. Any other urgent business
8. Close of meeting

Posted in Uncategorized

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear Shelley Bernstein speak in London

Meet Keynote Speaker Shelley Bernstein
Museum Computer Group’s 2016 Conference: Museums+Tech

19 October 2016
Wellcome Collection, London

Eventbrite - MCG's Museums+Tech 2016: Sharing our Stories

Joining our opening keynote speaker Sebastian Deterding, the Museums Computer Group are delighted to announce the final keynote speaker for the Museums+Tech Conference on 19 October: international museums expert Shelley Bernstein.

Renowned for her commitment to radical transparency and her mission to make museums open and accessible to their communities, Shelley is a specialist in the world of culture and engagement. You’ll know her work at Brooklyn Museum including the mobile live Q&A app ASK Brooklyn Museum, crowd-curation projects Split Second, Click! and GO and more. She’ll talk about the challenges of moving between two very different museums, deploying short-term solutions while working towards institutional change and longer-level strategies, and her shift from ‘digital’ to Chief Experience Officer.

If you’ve read her writings (Why a Chief Experience Officer mattersHow to change the tires on a moving truck), or watched her influential talks online (Exploring Ask at Brooklyn Museum) – you’ll know why we’re expecting tickets to sell out. Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity to hear her speak on this rare visit to the UK – book now!

Meet Shelley Bernstein

Keynote speaker Shelley Bernstein

Keynote speaker Shelley Bernstein

Shelley Bernstein is the Deputy Director of Digital Initiatives and Chief Experience Officer at the Barnes Foundation, a fine arts and horticulture museum, where she joined the staff in 2016. In this newly created role, she aims to embed visitor-centered thinking throughout every aspect of the organization with the goal to deepen a visitor’s engagement before, during, and after a visit to the Barnes. In her former position at the Brooklyn Museum she spearheaded digital projects with public participation at their center. Shelley is an award-winning technologist, was named one of the 40 Under 40 in Crain’s New York Business, and her work has been featured in the New York Times.

MCG Chair Mia Ridge says:

“Where Shelley leads, others follow. She’s at the leading edge of public engagement with culture, and I’m delighted delegates from the UK digital and heritage sectors will be able to learn from her closing keynote at our conference!”

Culture24 CEO Jane Finnis, who has already bought her Museums+Tech conference ticket, admires Bernstein’s integrity and transparency.

“Lots of people talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, as all the things you have to confront to be that open, collaborative and iterative are too much of a risk. Shelley starts with the problem, embraces failure and is totally up for the truth.”

Eventbrite - MCG's Museums+Tech 2016: Sharing our Stories

About Museums+Tech 2016 theme: Sharing our Stories

This conference will explore how digital technology supports museum storytelling, from the cutting edge to the mainstream, at the audience interface and behind the scenes. Our innovative practitioners will share their expertise on topics including: audience research, collaboration, open data, digital communication, education, reimagining collections, 3D modelling, audio guides, crowdsourcing, artificial intelligence, A/B testing, agile software development.

Join colleagues from the Tate, British Museum, English Heritage, the V&A and the National Portrait Gallery for an unmissable day of talks, networking and knowledge exchange which will send you away inspired, with new ideas and strategies to deliver them.

With thanks to the Wellcome Collection for their support. Please note that our events have a Code of Conduct designed to let everyone have a great day.

Don’t miss out – book your ticket now to avoid disappointment.

Early bird tickets for only £75 available until 19 September.

About the MCG’s events

The Museums Computer Group exists to connect, support and inspire people working with technology in museums. Our first UK Museums on the Web (UKMW) conference was held at the V&A in 2001 and quickly became an important annual event for the digital museum sector.
Eventbrite - MCG's Museums+Tech 2016: Sharing our Stories
Posted in Current Events, Current Events, Events, UKMW

What will you learn from our Museums+Tech 2016 speakers?


Delegates at our events are often experts in their own right, and their questions are often a great chance to learn even more from our world-class speakers. To get your creative juices flowing, we asked our Museums+Tech 2016 speakers for a sneak peek at what you’ll learn from their presentation at October’s conference. We hope you enjoy their answers!

Don’t forget, early bird tickets are only on sale until September 19 – don’t miss out!


From Culture24’s Rosie Clarke:

You’ll learn tips on reorganising and simplifying complicated email lists; how to integrate a JustGiving appeal into your website and communications; and the benefits and challenges of rolling out live chat on your website.

From Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ Sarah Younas:

Attendees will gain an insight into practical initiatives undertaken by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums to positively influence organisational practice in order to create new, authentic experiences for our audiences. The presentation will share best practice and will open up a debate with attendees on ways to embed non-traditional thinking and practices into everyday activity.

From Robert Cawston of National Museums Scotland:

Using a specific project as a case study, the paper will touch on a range of topics involved in the creation of an innovative digital experience. These include: the importance of audience research, how to create open and creative tender documents, and the benefits of working with agile methodology in a museum environment.

From the Wellcome Collections’ Russell Dornan:

I hope people are inspired to ask audiences for their own stories relating to a topic in order to inform/support it. I also hope people are moved to explore new and interesting ways that those stories can be manifested and shared whilst understanding the challenges that can involve.

From National Museums Scotland’s Elaine Macintyre, Hugh Wallace and Rob Cawston:

Attendees will learn how to use audience research and external trends to help build an internal case for change, and how to make decisions that balance user experience with implementation of technology.

From Jason Evans, Wikimedian in Residence at the National Library of Wales:

Attendees will learn about the advantages of combining open data with open images (and of being ‘open’ in general) and how the marriage of data and images can tell stories which have waited hundreds of years to be told.

From Wellcome Collections’ Chloe Roberts:

An idea of how to set up and start A/B testing (using Optimizely), while understanding that it’s absolutely crucial to have identified a weakness, and a specific measurable goal for improving it. Delegates will be shown our A/B testing structure and learn from anecdotes of tests we’ve performed. From our case studies they will also get an idea of how to identify weak points along a user journey and how to come up with proactive solutions to test, evaluate, iterate and improve.

From Anna Lowe, founder of SMARTIFY:

Sharing Economy’ ‘Platform Society’ ‘Crowdsourcing Content’ are terms we hear a lot in reference to the changing role of the museum in a digital age. SMARTIFY was founded in December 2015 to enhance ‘in-museum’ art viewing experience by allowing everyone – curators, critics, visitors, artists themselves to uncover and share stories about art.

From Sarah Cole, Creative Entrepreneur-in-Residence, British Library:

Attendees will see that you don’t need lots of resources to make a successful app, that context is key, and learn how collaboration was essential to the project.

From Kate Noble, The University of Cambridge Museums:

Questions we will ask include: how can we re-imagine collections based narratives within a classroom context? How are digital technologies being used in classrooms and how does this differ as pupils move through primary and into secondary school? What barriers do teachers face using and accessing collections based resources in the classroom and how might these be overcome?

From Martin Fell, York Museums Trust:

Attendees will learn what it takes institutionally to make working with Wikipedia meaningful and sustainable, both from a digital perspective and a curatorial perspective.

From Imperial War Museums’ Katharine Alston:

We’re going agile… But what is this like for the team who have to adapt and support the change? Hear how IWM digital learning group implemented service design, and used Google Analytics to develop their online offer. Furthermore learn how embedding these skills and methodology actually works when you put them into practice.

From Lucy Moore of Leeds Museums and Galleries:

How to make under-used collections more accessible and engaging to new audiences. Tips for developing an online interactive.

From Deeson’s Andrew Larking:

How Artificial intelligence (AI) should be seen as the most powerful tool in the curator’s arsenal. And how it’s already here, for free.

From Rhiannon Looseley and Josh Blair from the Museum of London:

We will discuss the management of two large scale digital projects which employ identical and related material for different audiences and how we approached this. We’ll speak to the shifting landscape of relationships with digital partners and companies, which may sometimes challenge typical museum working practice.

From Vahur Puik of the Estonian Photographic Heritage Society:

Crowdsourcing is great in principle but in reality it’s hard work to keep a crowdsourcing initiative going.

From the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology’s James Lloyd:

The results of a student-led project into the possibilities of 3D modelling for education and outreach. A jargon-free introduction to creating 3D models via photogrammetry on a minimal budget.

Audience questions photo

Audience Q&A at MCG’s Spring 2016 conference


Posted in Current Events, Current Events, Events, UKMW

WE NEED YOU! Volunteer Positions for Museums+Tech 2016

The Museums Computer Group (MCG) has been running events about museums and technology, such as UK Museums and the Web (UKMW), for a couple of decades. The sector changes constantly, and we want to reach new audiences and share the messages from our 2016 ‘Museums+Tech’ conference. To help us achieve this we have a small number of volunteer positions available.

In return for your assistance, you will be provided with free entry to Museum+Tech 2016 and an additional £150 to cover travel and other expenses – plus it looks great on the CV!

Through these volunteer positions we hope to specifically support individuals  who may otherwise be unable to attend. In particular, we would greatly welcome applications from unwaged/low-waged individuals, those in small museums, early career professionals and students.

Apply by completing the short application form by 9th September:

We are interested in hearing how you can help us reach new audiences and help everyone learn from our speakers. You can be as creative or as traditional as you like, as we hope to reach as broad an audience as possible. In the past we have had volunteers use social media and blogs,  submit reports to specialist publications and share information with colleagues. In addition, if you can contribute skills such as photography, social media, or anything else you think would be relevant on the day, then please let us know in the application.

We will respond to successful applicants by 16th September.

If you have any questions about volunteering please email Brian (

The full programme for Museum+Tech2016 is available at

For a sense of what to expect, reports from two volunteers at our Spring Event are on our website: ‘Life with Digital Projects’ Spring Event– Bursary recipient, Maribel Hidalgo Urbaneja, shares her experience; Nicole Friedman, a bursary recipient from our ‘Life with Digital Projects’ event, shares her experience of the day.

Earlier reports include or


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The MCG is for technologists, curators, educators, marketers and more in and around museums. Posts and event news by Mia (Chair) and the Comms team