WE ARE MUSEUMS 2017 (DAY 2)

Day 2 started with excited chatter about the talks and social events from the day before, reminiscing about the fantastic social hosted by the Latvian National Museum of Art and speculating on the talks to come.

The day kicked off with a session on the Emphatic Museum.

Talk 1

Desi Gonzalez from Warhol Museum

Desi talked about developing an audio guide for blind and partially sighted people, using agile methodology, design thinking, and co-design. The blind communities were the experts and the end users, and they participated in the research and in the creation of the app.agile methodology, design thinking, and co-design. The blind communities were the experts and the end users, and they participated in the research and in the creation of the app.agile methodology, design thinking, and co-design. The blind communities were the experts and the end users, and they participated in the research and in the creation of the app.agile methodology, design thinking, and co-design. The blind communities were the experts and the end users, and they participated in the research and in the creation of the app.

You can watch a short video about the making of the app here

And if you and your museum is thinking of doing something similar, the source code can be found on github!

Talk 2

Julie Rokkjær Birch from Women’s Museum

Julie talk about the Women’s Museum was filled with inspirational stories sometimes about women, sometimes about men, but always challenging the binary understanding of gender.

For example, there was one story about a little boy Herbert who donated his dress to the museum. Another about a gay Muslim Elias who was outcast by his family after coming out. These dialogues about gender, says Julie, follow the ethos the museum was founded on that gender should be empowering rather than debilitating. They did not rename the museum in order to honour its roots, but their entire mission became about being a museum of gender.

The conversation then took a twist to the museum’s successful experimentation with tongue-in-cheek branding.

The museum also pushed the bar on its event programming by hosting unusual events like men only nights, which some may find surprising for a museum of women.

All in all the talk proved that with creativity even limited budgets can go a long way to draw audiences and build outreach.

Talk 3

Anna Balandina from Latvian National Museum of Art

The rebranding of the LNMA focused on making a building and museum that was already known and loved, relevant again. To announce the end of the reconstruction (it was closed for 3 years) they kept the museum open for free for 5 days before the art was rehung, with 125,000 visitors in 5 days! Considering that the population of Riga is around 639,630 people this means that almost 20% of the residents visited the museum in this period even before there was any content on the walls!

Also, one of the museum’s windows became known on Instagram as #thefirstwindowoflatvia

This museum demonstrated that a good marketing strategy and comprehensive social media presence are necessary when you set out to reintroduce a national icon to its audience.  

Talk 4

Kristaps Silins from White Label

Are ‘millennials’ are no longer the only generation worth talking about? In this talk we discovered that museums are moving on to examine ways of how to entice “Generation Z” into attending museums and getting involved in programming.talk we discovered that museums are moving on to examine ways of how to entice “Generation Z” into attending museums and getting involved in programming.talk we discovered that museums are moving on to examine ways of how to entice “Generation Z” into attending museums and getting involved in programming.talk we discovered that museums are moving on to examine ways of how to entice “Generation Z” into attending museums and getting involved in programming.

Who are GenZ? The definition of Gen Z is blurry, it’s people who were born at the turn of the century and in 2000’s. Age wise they range from university students (late teens and early 20ies) to pre-teens (10-12 years old). The common unifier within this generation is that they grew up in a post -digital age, they were born into the world where almost every family has a computer and most of these kids got their first mobile phone before they knew how to ride a bike.

This talk got a round of applause and made everyone relax with the knowledge that Gen Z are the saviours of the Human Race that we were waiting for.

The best advice, of course, came at the end, when thinking about how to communicate with Gen Z in museums stick to smart content in a concise format - basically ask yourself “what would John Oliver do?”

PANEL about Gen Z

Leyla Tahir (Tate Collectives) and Kristaps Silins (White Label) were joined on the panel about Generation Z by Niko Melissano (Louvreand Linda Vigdorčika (KiM? (Kas ir Maksla? What is Art?)).

Niko Melissano from Louvre. Talked about Louvre’s brilliant strategy of creating video content, with big name celebrities such as Will I am, as well as Youtube influencers such as Tom Scott.

Linda Vigdorčika talked about being inspired by Tate Collectives in setting up an educational programme at Kim? Her talk and comments were inspirational as they encouraged people to work with what you’ve got. Get inspired by what your peers are doing and then recreate it using the materials available.

Talk 5

Barbara Thiele from Jewish Museum Berlin

Barbara’s talk asked the complicated question ‘Is user generated content an opportunity or a challenge?’ As she tackled the issues of working on interdisciplinary projects and reaching out to new audiences.

Her talk finished on a very positive and inspirational note: “Don’t be afraid of mistakes, stay curious and embrace change.”

Talk 6

Rosie Stanbury from Wellcome Collection

Rosie’s talk started with a fairly uncomfortable line of questioning. She asked the simple question of 'When was the last time you spoke to a stranger?’ And just before I could smugly think 'well that’s a silly question to ask at a conference’ she elaborated on the question.

'When was the last time you talked to a stranger, not a colleague, or someone in your industry, not a friend of a friend but an actual stranger? Not about the weather or asking for direction but about something you believe in, something that matters. Was it a week ago, a month ago, a year ago? Where you drunk? If you were drunk it does not count.’

It turned out that the majority of attendees are pretty unsocial. Rosie introduced the Long Table format that Welcome uses to facilitate discussion amongst strangers. Do have a look at it here.

wam-panel

Final Panel

The conference wrapped up with a very diverse panel that included Martijn Pronk (Van Gogh Museum), Tony Guillan (Imperial War Museums), Bernadine Bröcker (Vastari), Mirjam Wenzel (Jewish Museum Frankfurt). Of course, current political turmoil was touched upon however the conversation tended to look into the future focusing on the challenges and opportunities to come, like the gig economy and museum professionals having to be Jack-of-all-trades. Another challenge outlined was competition for talent, since salaries in the museum sector are lower than those offered by private companies and in other industries.

 

Finally, the conversation rolled back to content and technology introducing Tech Loves Culture conference happening the next day.