This event is now over. Catch up with #MCGInnovation as it happened.

14 May 2015, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge

Join us to hear about how innovation has shaped museums’ digital exploration, and what future innovations might look like. Find our what other people are up to and take away some inspiring, practical ideas.

‘Often it feels like museums make decisions about the appropriate use of technology based upon short term internal needs – the need to have something ‘newsworthy’, the need to have something to keep their funders happy, and occasionally to meet the assumed needs of a specific audience coming to a specific exhibition.’ Seb Chan and Aaron Cope, MW2015: Museums and the Web 2015

Museums are often told that digital projects need to be ground breaking in order to secure funding or capture the attention of the public and press. But what does this focus on the need for ‘innovation’ mean for the museums, and does it provide the best outcomes for organisations, funders or audiences?

MCG will take on this debate at its Spring event – challenging assumptions about innovative practice in museums; examining how some museums are achieving innovation and incorporating innovative practices into their ways of working; and exploring what funders mean when they use the term ‘innovation’ and how museums can engage with this agenda.


Full Programme

Doors open at 9.00am, registration from 9.30

10.00-10.15 – Welcome and introductions

10.15-11.00 – A history of media innovation in museums – Peter Pavement, Surface Impression
Peter will provide an overview by exploring museums’ long track record of experimenting with media technology and what this can teach us today about what innovation is and how it can be managed in order to improve the “hit rate” of initiatives.

11.00-11.10 – Comfort Break

11.10-11.40 – Innovation from the ground up – a new form of R&D – Sejul Malde, Culture 24
Sejul draws on his previous experience in the corporate sector and offers a different perspective on innovation in the cultural sector.  He will invite practitioners to look at their assets and content, and think how to repurpose to find innovative ways of reaching audiences, and to change their processes, rhythms and ways of working.

11.40-12.10 – Raise the Curtain: Revealing Collections in Edinburgh – Scott Renton & Claire Knowles, University of Edinburgh
This case study focuses on a project using a crowdsourced metadata ‘game’ to develop collections, and shows that once you have a process in place, it is not too creating engagement with your collections.   The public can help solve your problem, provided you have coffee and somewhere for them to sit.

12.10-13.00 – Lunch (included)

13.00-13.30 – Prototyping ‘Innovation Lab’ – Lizzie Edwards, Samsung Digital Discovery Centre 
Digital tools such as tablets and smartphones were once considered innovative, but are now everyday technologies that guide peoples’ learning, experience and understanding of the world.  In this practical session led by Lizzie Edwards, the education manager of the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre at the British Museum, delegates explore how we can use technology to be innovative.

13.30-14.00 – Enabling Innovation – Jessica Suess, Oxford University Museums
Jess will speak about a programme activity at Oxford University Museums known as the ‘Innovation Fund’, which offers colleagues the space and modest funding to experiment with new ways of working. Jess will share how the programme was established and managed, and how participants are encouraged to come up with new ideas and form new collaborations. She will mention some successful digital projects, and lessons learned.

14.00-14.30 – Coffee Break

14.30-15.00 – Lightning Talks
A call for proposals will be released soon!!

15.00-16.00 – Q&A Session with Funders
In this panel discussion, representatives from key funders will address questions on innovation and other aspects of funding digital and other projects.

16.00 – Close, followed by…

Drinking about museums!!! in a local pub: come unwind and chat about the points that caught your attention during the day.


Attendees chatting at UKMW15