Visitors looking at a painting in the National Gallery

Please note that this is an archived event

MCG’s Museums+Tech 2018: the collaborative museum

Friday October 19 2018

National Gallery, London

Eventbrite - MCG's Museums+Tech 2018

2018 has heralded the #CultureisDigital report from DCMS which highlights how digital can work within the cultural sector as a springboard for wider engagement, and an expansion of museums’ potential as a tool to effect change. It identifies the cultural sector and technology as “the ultimate power couple”. With this remit in mind, our 2018 conference is asking whether digital in museums can open up our institutions to collaboration and democratisation.

How can a collaborative and participatory approach to projects, whether from within your institution, or partnered with external agencies or local communities, invite new audiences, bring higher quality content, and provide museums with important learning experiences for the future?

Can museums and technology help to create a progressively universalised museum with better access and broader audiences? Can it be the catalyst for active as opposed to passive participants?

What is the role of digital technologies and platforms, whether social media, mobile apps, websites, gallery guides, publications, podcasts, videos, or virtual or augmented reality experiences in creating a collaborative museum?

Lead image: ©The National Gallery, London. Photograph taken by James Ross.

Use of the National Gallery is by kind permission of the Trustees and Director of the National Gallery


09.00 – Registration

Please arrive at the National Gallery, via the Sainsbury Wing Entrance, and head to the National Dining Rooms on floor +1 from 9am to register. The conference will start in the lecture theatre on floor -1, but there’s a large number of delegates attending this year, so please do give yourself plenty of time to register. You can find a floorplan of the Sainsbury Wing on their website. If you are arriving after 10:15am, please make your way directly to the lecture theatre for registration.

10.00 – Chair’s Welcome: Dafydd James

10.05 – Venue Welcome

10:10 – Opening Keynote

Rhythm, Attention, Collaboration
Matt Locke – Founder and Director of Storythings

We live in a hybrid world, with analogue and digital experiences working side by side, sometimes in harmony, sometimes in opposition. This keynote will look at how digital has changed the rhythms of cultural production and audience’s attention patterns, illustrated with insights from a diverse range of projects in the cultural, broadcast and non-profit sectors. These insights will give practical advice about how understanding these changed rhythms and attention patterns can help you develop more effective collaborations across sectors.


10.50 – Session 1: External Collaborations
Session chair: Liz McCarthy

English Heritage and Google Arts and Culture
Elizabeth Bullock – Senior Digital Manager (Curatorial) (English Heritage)

In November 2017, English Heritage and Google launched a major partnership with Google Arts and Culture. This was Google’s first single-partner project, the first time that they had worked with a heritage organisation and their first time working with a multi-site organisation.

This session will look at how English Heritage pulled off the delivery of such a huge volume of content in a very short space of time, what to consider when embarking on this kind of project, what large tech companies can enable that you can’t do yourselves, and how such a project has extra complications for heritage and multi-site organisations.

Lost at Sea of Wikipedia: how cultural organisations navigate the impact of working with open knowledge
Daria Cybulska – Head of Programmes (Wikimedia UK)

The Wikimedian in Residence programme in the UK is about five years old. In 2017 they conducted research into the kinds of impact that can be expected from setting up residencies and how to maximise that impact over the short and long term.

This session will explore how to collaborate with open knowledge via Wikimedia projects, and what sort of impact is possible after running a Wikimedian in Residence project. The dimensions of impact are increased reach of collections, change of internal and external perspective on the museum, and scalability across the cultural sector.

11.30 – Coffee break and networking

MusePros Get Coffee
Fancy meeting some new people over coffee at Museums + Tech 2018? Take part in MusePros Get Coffee with Lindsey Green! Sign up and Lindsey will randomly allocate two other conference attendees for you to meet during the first coffee break of the conference. Lindsey will even give you a few questions or topics to get you kicked off. A great chance for first timers who want to meet new people or experienced conferences go-ers to add a little serendipity into things and share a bit of wisdom.
Sign up for MusePros Get Coffee

12.15 – Session 2: Creative Collaborations
Session chair: Alec Ward

Exploring the Potential of Digital Making: a collaborative project at the University of Cambridge Museums
Kate Noble – Education Officer and Ina Pruegel – Digital Engagement Specialist (both University of Cambridge Museums)

The digital maker residency enabled the University Of Cambridge Museums to rethink how they approached the use of technology in their museums and to re-position audiences and staff from passive consumers to active creators.

This session will explore how this project provided opportunities to explore and test new ideas and workshops in collaboration with audiences and members of local Makerspaces, and to reflect on the role of technology in the museum of the future.

Democratising Data: How RE·THINK Digital will generate a collaborative approach to decision making with our visitors at the helm
Joanna Salter – Senior Manager, Participation (Royal Museums Greenwich)

RE·THINK Digital is an honest and informative account of the transformation of a physical participatory space to a digital platform and database. Why is this important and who is it for? How will Royal Museums Greenwich maintain this and ensure it lives up to expectations?

This session will address the concept of the collaborative museum, exploring how RMGs approach can ensure that new audiences feel their contributions and opinions are valued, as well as informing ‘behind the scenes’ decision making.

Soundwalking the Museum: from UK to SK
Michal Čudrnák – Head of Digital Collections and Services (Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava) and Jonathan Prior – Lecturer in Human Geography (School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University)

The practice of soundwalking, involving active listening and recording while walking through place(s) is mostly deployed in the research and soundart field. This session will focus on the process and decisions behind bringing this idea to a museum context.

It will explore aspects of collaboration between actors from different fields (research/art, museum tech, radio/tv scriptwriting), discussing the possibilities and limitations of what a soundwalk in a museum context can offer.

13.15 – Lunch and AGM

14.15 – Session 3: Lightning Talks – 7 for 7
Session chair: Sarah Cole

The People Have Spoken
Katherine Biggs – Lead Digital Project Manager and Navjot Mangat – Communities Interpretation and Research Advocate (both Royal Museums Greenwich)

How do you make sure that your digital design is right for your intended audience? Design it with them.

Royal Museums Greenwich have had an opportunity to really embed user-centred, collaborative design in the development of four new galleries, opening at the National Maritime Museum in September 2018. This session will look at how collaboration has been used to shape all of the digital interventions within the galleries, and explain how this has become an integral part of the development process for the museum.

Generous Interfaces Evaluated
Aron Ambrosiani – Digital Media Producer (The Nordic Museum) and Albin Larsson – Operations Developer (Swedish National Heritage Board)

Generous interfaces for museum’s collections are ways to explore a museum collection without having to rely on a search box. Are they successful and for whom?

This session will explore the do’s and don’ts of constructing a generous interface and help you jump-start your transition from search box to a generous interface.

Digital Commemoration: IWM and the First World War Centenary
Charlotte Czyzyk – Project Manager, Lives of the First World War and Katie Childs – Head of Partnerships and Strategic Relations (both Imperial War Museums)

This session will explore how Imperial War Museums is taking its ambitious mission into the digital age.

Through two successful participatory initiatives – Lives of the First World War and the First World War Centenary Partnership – IWM aims to represent every individual who was involved in the First World War.

Disrupting the Archive: the @lgbt_history project and the co-opting of Instagram as an archival space
Lauren Bassam – Assistant Curator (V&A Dundee)

This session will explore concepts of online communities and crowd-sourced material. Looking at what makes these practices possible and popular, it will aim to drill down into what lessons can be learnt by the museum sector and how they can democratise content or archiving making in a similar way.

Clash or collaboration? Letting game designers into the museum
Owen Gower – Museum Manager (The Jenner Trust; Dr Jenner’s House, Museum and Garden)

This session will explore the development of ‘The Chantry’, an interactive virtual reality game set in an accurate historical recreation of Dr Jenner’s House, a museum in Gloucestershire.

Whilst there have been clashes along the way, ultimately the game’s creation has challenged existing perceptions of how people see the museum, highlighting how much we can achieve when we open up our collections to other industries.

Connecting Collections: exposing objects in a Linked Data search engine
Rebecca Kahn – Director of Collections (Pelagios Commons and Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin)

Pelagios Commons is a Linked Open Data project, which connects historical materials, such as texts, images (including maps) and objects to each other using Linked Open Data and Geodata specifically.

This session will highlight how decentralised collaborative models, (which have become increasingly common in larger museum tech communities) can be used to the of benefit smaller institutions by helping to expose their collections, without the need for high levels of technical skills among staff or large datasets.


Doing us the Power of Good? Ethics, sustainability, and continuing GLAM reliance on Google and Facebook
Jon Pratty – PhD Candidate (University of Sussex)

This session will surface academic research about ethics and political philosophy that will begin to make sense of current debates about whether GLAMs should have websites, social media sites, or both.

It will explore historic examples of how innovative platforms quickly become obsolete, indicating how we could possibly go forwards making better digital strategies within GLAMs that will be better value for money, and which will have longer lasting legacy value.

15.30 – Coffee break and networking

16.00 – Session 4: In-House Collaboration and the State of the Sector
Session chair: Dafydd James

How the Serpentine Galleries Mobile Tours have helped bring about internal collaboration and organisational change
Rosie Cardiff – Senior Digital Producer (Serpentine Galleries)

The session will look at in-house collaboration and how digital skills can be embedded throughout the organisation to bring about real change. It will also examine the challenges to this in terms of resistance to change, fear of digital technology, breaking down internal barriers and shifting job roles.

Seeding A Culture of Collaboration
Sarah Younas – Digital Programmes Officer (Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)

This session will explore the initiatives undertaken by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums to inspire new public engagement with collections and encourage cross-departmental collaboration.

It will address the challenges we face in being truly open and generous with collections access, including raising awareness, tackling limited and frustrating collections data and banishing silo working.

Structuring for Digital Success
Kati Price – Head of Digital Media and Publishing (Victoria and Albert Museum)

How do museums and other cultural organizations identify exactly how big their digital teams should be, how they should be structured, and where they should sit in the organization? And how do they define and measure digital success?

In this session we examine how GLAM organizations are re-configuring their digital teams to define and drive success, and identify the patterns that are beginning to emerge.

Democratic innovation? Diversifying museum audiences through participatory digital practice
Jennifer Wexler – Digital Research Project Producer (British Museum) and Chiara Bonacchi – Lecturer in Heritage (University of Stirling)

This session will look at how we can use digital technology to democratise access to archaeological and museum collections, as well as increase public awareness and knowledge of these collections using innovative tools such as 3D modelling and AR/VR experiences.

17.00 – Closing Panel: What are the Barriers to Collaboration?

Daniel Pett – Head of IT & Digital (Fitzwilliam Museum); Kati Price – Head of Digital Media and Publishing (Victoria and Albert Museum); Rosie Cardiff – Senior Digital Producer (Serpentine Galleries), and Sarah Younas – Digital Programmes Officer (Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)

17.30 – Conference ends

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