What did you miss at UKMW15, ‘Bridging Gaps, Making Connections’?

Even if you were at our 2015 conference, it was such a busy day that it was easy to miss a gem. We’ve compiled these event reports that captured some of the flavour of the day.

If you attended UKMW15, you can help make UKMW16 better by filling in our short survey. We take your feedback seriously, and feed it into our future events and project plans.

Explore or search tweets from #UKMW15

Let us know (contact form, @ukmcg on twitter) if we’ve missed your event notes or images!

With many thanks to the MCG Committee Members, particularly Ina Pruegel and Jennifer Ross, who coordinated the event. We’d also like to thank other Committee members who did lots of work on the event (Andrew, Dafydd, Danny, Ivan, Jess, Kath, Mia, Rebecca, Rosie), and the Programme Committee members who reviewed presentation proposals sent in. They were: co-chairs: Danny Birchall and Mia Ridge, with Chris Michaels (British Museum), Claire Bailey Ross (Durham University), Gill Greaves (Arts Council England), Jenny Kidd (Cardiff University), Jessica Suess (Oxford University Museums), John Stack (Science Museum Group), Kim Plowright (Mildly Diverting), Matthew Cock (Vocal Eyes), Rachel Coldicutt (Friday), Sara Wajid (National Maritime Museum), Sharna Jackson (Hopster), Suse Cairns (Baltimore Museum of Art), Zak Mensah (Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives). Finally, thanks to the speakers and session chairs, the British Museum (particularly Alice Valner-White) and Matt Caines at the Guardian.

Committee members helping out at an event

Posted in Event-Category, Events, Meeting report, UKMW

‘Life with Digital Projects’ Spring Event– Bursary recipient, Maribel, shares her experience

By Maribel Hidalgo Urbaneja

I made the decision to attend the MCG spring event based on my personal and professional curiosity about sustainability in digital projects, more specifically in relation to the subject of my PhD thesis: online exhibitions and publications. In the last months I also started to hear more frequently about sustainability in museums and digital humanities projects. The Johns Hopkins University Program in Digital Curation for example published a report on the Summit on Digital Curation in Art Museums and Martha Henson blogged about ‘Stop wasting money on digital projects if you aren’t prepared to promote them properly.’ The presentations at the event helped me to expand my vision of sustainability and rethink my views on digital publishing, audience research and user experience research. It highlighted that long-term digital sustainability is a goal that every cultural organisation, regardless of size, shares.

Charlotte Sexton's keynote at our last event

Charlotte Sexton delivers the keynote address

Almost every speaker covered a practice or issue I somehow was familiar with. Charlotte Sexton, the keynote speaker, provided a well-balanced overview of project production and all its associated components. The talk addressed areas such as management and how it should be considered in terms of sustainability, openness and accessibility of standards and much more. The rest of the talks covered some of these elements more in depth.

I found the presentation by Graham Davies, from the National Museum of Wales, particularly interesting as he described their smart approach to Google Analytics and users’ feedback to improve and sustain the museum website over time. Whilst, the study presented by Ivan Teage, from the Natural History Museum, shed some light about the production, sharing of documentation and maintenance of technologies in museums, offering some solutions for quite common problems in museums.

Gareth Beale, in relation to The DiNAR project, offered their thoughts about re-usability of software platforms and assets. As developing an open source publishing platform is becoming common practice for museums, it never occurred to me that open source could be beneficial for sustainability as well. The final debate about whether it is good or not to externalise services while developing a project was a highly relevant and good closing point.

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What you missed at our #MCGprojects conference

The calm before the conference began...

On 6 May 2016, over 50 museum technology professionals gathered to discuss ‘Life with digital projects‘. We heard from consultants, senior museum and agency staff, academics, developers and producers over a day that began in style with Charlotte Sexton’s keynote and ended with a debate on ‘outsourcing digital heritage projects is more harm than help’.

If you were there, we’d love your feedback. We review feedback from each event so we can make the next conference even better. And speaking of the next conference, UKMW16 will be in London on October 19 and the first call for proposals is open until May 31.

You can check out and add photos to our Flickr pool or just tag them MCGprojects.

We’ll update this page with links to event reports and more… If you’re curious, the original call for papers provides earlier context.

MCG Chair Mia Ridge wrote a report for the Museums + Heritage Advisor blog: How can museums avoid unsustainable, unmaintainable digital projects and reduce the ‘digital hangover’? (The short answer: there’s no magic wand: ‘making sustainable digital projects depends on good communication, mutual respect, and understanding the context and long-term goals of an organisation before making realistic decisions about budgets, technology and team structure’.)

Lauren Romijn, who’s studying at the University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies, has written an event report, #MCGprojects Conference York.

‘Life with Digital Projects’ Spring Event– Bursary recipient, Maribel Hidalgo Urbaneja, shares her experience.

Harald Fredheim has created a great storify: MCG 2016 Spring Workshop Life Support – Living with Digital Projects, embedded below:


Mia Ridge also created a storify of tweets about the conference: Storify from MCG’s Life with Digital Projects Spring 2016 conference.


Speaker slides are available online

Graham Davies @gd76 York's Hospitium.  Gorgeous venue for today's @ukmcg #mcgprojects

Graham Davies @gd76 York’s Hospitium. Gorgeous venue for today’s @ukmcg #mcgprojects

The calm before the conference began...

The calm before the conference began…

Posted in Events, Meeting report

Storify from MCG’s Life with Digital Projects Spring 2016 conference

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MCG’s UKMW16 (museums + technology conference) Call for Proposals

Speakers at our 2015 conference

UKMW16 will be held at the Wellcome Collection in London on 19 October 2016. Tickets will go on sale over summer. In the meantime, you can find out what people loved about our past conferences and sign up for our events newsletter.


MCG’s UKMW16 theme: Sharing our stories

Speakers at our 2015 conference

Speakers at our 2015 conference (British Museum)

Museums have a range of interesting ways to tell stories for (and with) the public – games; virtual and augmented reality; in-gallery interpretation; social media; transmedia storytelling; chat bots; apps; in-person theatre; broadcasts and even plain old websites… We want to hear what works, who you worked with and how, and most importantly – what you learned along the way.


We also want to share stories for the sector, especially small stories about successes. What have you learnt that’ll help others working with technology, museums or cultural heritage? You’ve may already know what others struggle with and ideas that they find helpful, but some suggestions are:

  • Solutions for financially self-sustaining products and projects
  • Moving from ‘projects’ to ‘programmes’
  • Figuring out and applying techniques like service design, agile projects, A/B testing
  • Productivity tools and tips that work in your organisation
  • ‘Robots and digital curation will eat our jobs!’ What does this mean in reality?
  • Managing up – helping trustees, directors and funders understand ‘digital’
  • Finding ways to keep up with news of constantly changing technology
  • Balancing ethics with the lure of ‘big data’
  • Making tendering processes work for you
  • Getting beyond the catalogue in sharing collections online and making digital collections meaningful
  • Making infrastructure and accessibility sexy (at least sexy enough to get funding)
  • All museum jobs are digital. Now what?


Short presentations are a great way for you to share one or two useful ideas you’ve learnt – simple suggestions that others in the sector can try. Longer presentations let you provide a more nuanced explanation.

UKMW attracts speakers from some of the most innovative museums, agencies and university programmes in the world. We’re keen to hear from practitioners, researchers, funders, and more. The conference programme will include long and short presentations, and you can suggest a length to suit your topic in the proposal form below. All submitted papers will be reviewed by experts in the field.

We’re keen to have a mixture of old and new voices, and have a great track record in presenting a diverse range of speakers. We’ve started a profit-sharing scheme in acknowledgement of the resources required to attend and present at events, and can provide some bursaries for speakers who would benefit from assistance with funds for travel, childcare etc.


This call for proposals closes at midnight (London time) on 31 May 2016. Our Programme Committee will review proposals in June and you should hear from us in early July. If you have any questions please email us.


Please also read our Guidance for Speakers before submitting your proposal. Our events have a code of conduct.


Ready to share your stories? Fill in our Call for Proposals form


About the Museums Computer Group

Since its founding in 1982, the Museums Computer Group’s events have been an important part of the UK heritage sector. MCG events are an opportunity to learn from experts and peers, and like many others, this event’s theme was partly inspired by discussion on our practitioners’ list. 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. We will also host an evening event open to all so you can continue the conversations started during the day.

Charlotte Sexton's keynote at our last event

Charlotte Sexton’s keynote at our last event

Posted in UKMW

Bursaries available for Spring workshop 2016 – ‘Life Support: living with digital projects’


The Museum Computer Group is pleased to offer a small number of bursaries to enable a broad range of people to attend our Spring workshop 2016 – ‘Life Support: living with digital projects’ in the Hospititum, York on 6th May.

The bursary provides free entry to the event and an additional £100 to cover travel and other expenses. Winning a bursary looks great on a CV, and gives us a way to foster diverse voices in the sector.

We would especially like to hear from those in small museums, unwaged/low-waged individuals, early career professionals and students who would benefit from support to attend the conference. Our goal with these bursaries is to both reach the wider museum community and to support individuals who may otherwise be unable to attend. As part of our mission to support the museum sector, we are particularly interested in hearing how recipients of the bursaries can disseminate the messages of the event to others, whether through blogging or writing for specialist publications, forwarding information to colleagues etc. We’re as interested in reaching specialist and local groups as broad audiences, and you can be as creative or traditional as you like in your approach to sharing ideas from the day.

You can apply by emailing Brian (contact@museumscomputergroup.org.uk) by 1st April 2016 with the following information:

  • A brief note of your current position (e.g. volunteer, student, staff at a small museum) and how attending will benefit you and/or related organisations
  • Your ideas for disseminating the presentations and ideas at the conference.
  • Any other information relevant to your application. For example, links to social media accounts, blog posts, other publications or affiliations.

We will respond to successful applicants by 8th April 2016.

The full programme for the event is available on the MCG Website: http://museumscomputergroup.org.uk/meetings/mcg-spring-event/

Remaining tickets, including concession tickets, for the event can also be purchased through Eventbrite: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mcg-spring-workshop-2016-life-support-living-with-digital-projects-tickets-22239111782

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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