Posted: May 15th, 2013 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Thoughts about museums | Tags: future, museumnext, organisational change, social media, social museum, value | 6 Comments »
Photo by eldeeem on Flickr.
One of the most exciting developments in ‘business’ at the moment, if you ask me, is the renewed attention to the idea of ‘social business’. Running a museum in this context is most definitely a business. For the sake of clarity I call a museum run as a social business a social museum, although there are many possible other names.
A social museum is a museum that has the strategies, processes and technologies in place to maximise the value created by all individual involved, from directors and curators to visitors and passers-by and everyone in between. Recently I wrote an essay with some early thoughts about the social museum and how to get there using social media thinking, which gives some more background.
The social museum was the idea lingering throughout many sessions and conversations at this week’s MuseumNext. The conference traditionally focuses on new media and technology, but has grown to look beyond the digital teams at education, overall strategy and even recruiting and training. “We should have invited our director,” one colleague said, “because this [digital strategy] is something that will change the entire organisation.” I cannot agree more. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 2nd, 2013 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Thoughts about museums | Tags: communities, conference, development, projects, sarajevo, work | No Comments »
At the Learning Museum Conference in Riga in April 2012 I was introduced to the work of Cultural Heritage Without Borders and especially of Diana Walters in using culture and heritage as a binding and empowering force in post-conflict areas. CHWB’s motto ‘we restore and build communities’ appeals to my background in international development work as well as to my work building relationships between people, and people and culture. You can imagine how thrilled I was when earlier this year I received an invitation from Diana to participate in a conference of CHWB and the Balkan Museum Network in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The conference was last week and it was a convincing display of the strengths and opportunities of culture and heritage under even the harshest conditions. From all over the (western) Balkans culture and heritage professionals had come together to see, meet, do (the title of the conference) and learn from each other’s projects and ideas. I was part of an international team of consultants who facilitated hands-on sessions and worked with the participants to design better projects and exchange knowledge and experiences.
It was enlightening to see how small institutions in countries like Albania, Kosovo and Serbia worked on incredibly powerful projects with shoestring budgets. The ambition and creativity of most participants easily matched that of the world’s largest institutions, while their ingenuity and willingness to cooperate I only remember from working with really professional NGOs. So much can be done with so little.
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Posted: April 17th, 2013 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: People | Tags: culture, ideas, innovation, leaders, museums, professionals, work | 14 Comments »
Photo by Stefano Corso on Flickr.
Update 1 May 2013: Added new names and removed numbering (this is not a ranking!)
Update 19 April 2013: Added 8 names from email & comments. Many more to come once I’ve gone through the tweets. I’ve received many comments and suggestions about other demographics which are all great people as well (many of whom I know personally). For now I’ll stick to this list which is enough work already, but feel free to email me about suggestions and recommendations if you’re looking for somebody to do a project or speak at a conference, etc!
Some tweets spark more than retweets and replies and some questions deserve more than 140-character answers. Over email a leader in a cultural institution asked me if I knew inspirational, forward-thinking young women working in or with museums and culture, a question I forwarded to Twitter. The response was overwhelming and inspiring.
After frantically clicking through 100+ replies and e-meeting some of the most inspirational people I’ve met in years, I’ve decided to attempt to list some really great people and the work they’re doing. There is no order, no intention to be conclusive and definitely no good reason why you are not yet on the list, so please please please add your favourites (or yourself) to the comments.
Apart from being the response to the original question, maybe this list can serve to conference organisers around the world, organisations seeking extra hands or locations seeking projects as a source of inspiration. I’ve tried to give credits where possible for future reference. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 27th, 2013 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Thoughts about museums | Tags: collections, curating, de gulle ekster, ideas, information, innovation, projects | 3 Comments »
Photo by Suresh Eswaran on Flickr.
One of the primary trends for museums I’ve been researching and discussing lately is their potential renewed role as curators of information in the digital age. The amount of online information approximately doubles every two years and when the 4+ billion people without internet access will start contributing, it will become ever harder to find the stuff that is worth your while online.
Google and Facebook are designed to tell you mostly what you or your friends already know, not to help you discover new things you didn’t even know existed. Museums often play this role in the real world and could do so in the digital world as well.
This means rather than digitise millions of objects for the rare geek googling his obscure interest, museums should use their unique knowledge about the collection to curate highly engaging stories that appeal to larger numbers of people. (Compare the excitement of the Wikipedia article about the Big Bang with a 60-second video.) Their curatorial function unbiased by commercial interests (such as Amazon, Booking.com and most blogs/online magazines) could fill an important void in the current web landscape.
I like how the Rijksstudio of the Rijksmuseum enables such behaviour (Holland’s best moustaches!) although it’s still too passive, too noncommittal. It’s still a collection, not a story. Another good example is the Facebook page of the Saatchi Gallery in London. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: March 21st, 2013 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Inspiration, Technology | Tags: behaviour, DEF, digital, mindset, projects, question | 6 Comments »
Photo by J Brew on Flickr.
1. Yesterday I hosted the return day of a DEF workshop at the Danish Museum Association in Copenhagen. After enjoying an insightful presentation about the digital strategy of SMK and a thoughtful presentation about digital at the National Museum, we discussed some of the most pressing issues that hindered the digital potential of Danish museums. Number one among these issues: the digital mindset (or lack thereof) with colleagues in the museums.
We carefully broke the idea of a ‘digital mindset’ down to its core behaviours: what does a person do when he or she has a digital mindset? The answers varied widely between people and institutions: A colleague with a digital mindset shares ideas, uses the right tools for the right challenges, is present on social networks, asks and answers questions, etc. etc. For most participants, a digital mindset had little to do with digital tools and much more with a 21st century way of working: open, collaborative, lean, proactive…
Breaking down a complex idea like ‘digital mindset’ into simple behaviour you can observe helps to find opportunities towards this idea that address understandable things, rather than abstract concepts. One of the things we figured out in Copenhagen was that talking about a ‘digital mindset’ might be the wrong way to get your colleagues to develop the desired mindset. ‘Digital’ causes resistance, while the ideas behind it may be easier accepted.
2. Which brings me to an important question I need your help with (which is why I emphasised it so outrageously): Read the rest of this entry »