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: October 28th, 2012 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Inspiration | Tags: amsterdam, conference, david fleming, inspiration, marsha semmel, panel, presentation, sydney, tips | No Comments »
Panel discussion at MuseumNext 2011 in Edinburgh. Photo: MuseumNext.
Simply put I get my energy and inspiration to do the work I do from three things: long distance running, sumptuous dining and attending conferences. Regarding conferences there are two great opportunities that need action right now that I think you should know of:
- Intercom 2012. From 26-28 November in Sydney some of the world’s brightest museum innovators will discuss the challenges museums face nowadays. Amongst many, many others my idol David Fleming of Museum Liverpool will talk about museums and human rights, and Marsha Semmel of the Institute for Museum and Library Services will discuss the 21st century skills for museum professionals. I’ll be part of a panel and running a masterclass on digital strategy. Add great social events in a beautiful city and this is an event not to be missed!
- Proposals for MuseumNext 2013. The biggest European museum innovation conference is coming to Amsterdam, my hometown, on 13-14 May 2013. MuseumNext’s programme is participatory, which means you can tell the world about your very best project, idea or experiment and have feedback from 100s of professionals. From experience I can tell that MuseumNext can be a turning point in a career and project. The deadline for submissions is 1 November, so make sure you’re in!
Nothing beats spending some time away from a computer and if – as with conferences – this time is shared with bright and friendly people, this time might be more productive than office time as well. If you want me to convince your boss of this, drop me a line, I’d love to see you in Sydney or Amsterdam!
Posted: October 7th, 2012 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Inspiration | Tags: australia, conference, examples, future, sydney, videos | 1 Comment »
Photo by Dave Griffith on Flickr.
When I started working in museums, some three and half year ago, one of the first things I discovered was Sydney. A significant number of the cool things going on in the world of cultural innovation come from the not-even-capital of a tiny nation lightyears away from ‘the old continent’. In November this year I’l finally get to see the magic of Sydney with my own eyes, and hopefully meet many of the great people whose work has inspired me, at Intercom 2012.
Now I don’t know the magic of Sydney, yet, but I’d like to share some of the products of it with you, and maybe you can tell me what it is!
- The Sydney Opera House, of course, is more than world famous. What had me fall in love, however, is not its signature architecture, but the Ship Song project. I still use this beautiful video to encourage participants in my workshops to think about the strengths of culture and (performing) arts.
- The driving force behind much of Sydney’s innovative museum force for a long time has been Seb Chan, who (un)fortunately left to turn Cooper-Hewitt into an intergalactic example. I can wait to see ‘his’ Powerhouse Museum. If you have no idea who he is (which, surprisingly, sometimes happens), see his TedxSydney talk from 2 years ago. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 28th, 2012 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Inspiration | Tags: barcelona, conference, ideas, museumnext, projects, wrap-up | No Comments »
Photo by MuseumNext on Flickr.
MuseumNext is certainly one of my favourite events of the year. With a killer line-up of speakers, three streams and set in beautiful Barcelona, this year’s edition really lifted the conference to a new level. Even the food and drinks were world-class! Jim and his team definitely deserve a big round of applause for putting MuseumNext together again.
Every conference can be summarised in one key idea and mine for MuseumNext was “don’t think, do”. It was first coined in my unconference session and later echoed by Koven Smith as “stop studying, start doing” in his talk about the kinetic museum.
Museum technology and media is a small field. Far too small for lengthy philosophical discussions. At the same time it’s big enough for cool projects that really make a change, such as Walker Art Center’s new website, Palazzo Strozzi’s Follow Your Florins game and CCA’s 404 exposition, just to name a few presented this year.
The field is comfortably small, the tools well-known and most of the big issues either tackled somewhere on the world in a project you can Google or as of yet undiscovered. There’s still some room to do cool stuff in ever smaller budgets. It’s time to start doing and showing the world that it was (and is!) worth investing in innovation in culture.
Next year at MuseumNext 2013 in Amsterdam another set of great projects will be presented that reached out to new target groups, made expositions successful, helped education and generally made life better. There’s no reason why the project you have been thinking about cannot be one of these. Don’t think anymore: do!
Posted: May 15th, 2011 | Author: Jasper Visser | Filed under: Inspiration | Tags: conference, innovation, kulturwebb, new media, quote, wrap-up | 1 Comment »
Innovation can be painful, in my translation of what Johan Ronnestam said.
Last week I presented at a #kulturwebb conference in the Nordiska Museet, Stockholm. My presentation opened with an 1888 quote from Strindberg, from his preface to Miss Julie (translated by Michael Robinson).
(…) people have believed in the possibility of creating a new drama by filling the old forms with new content; but this approach has failed, partly because there has not yet been time to popularize the new ideas (…) and partly because we have not yet found the new form for the new content, and the new wine has burst the old bottles.
Apparently, the debate about innovation in content and medium in culture is nothing new. Of course, I would like to add. When we talk about innovating cultural institutions, it’s not about starting to use Twitter or Facebook. We talk about continuously reinventing ourselves to stay meaningful in a changing world. Change and innovation are an on-going process. As the adage goes, change is the only constant (Heraclitus?). Read the rest of this entry »