This week was super packed and organised around several major events. I have my head in our web strategy so here are the highlights.
- Planned and delivered a communicating on the web mini 90min workshop which essentially said that Google is our homepage and content strategy is key.
- Met a critical friend from the Arts Council and waxed lyrical about innovation and digital engagement
- Discussed in more detail the digital requirements for next years Moved by Conflict exhibition
- Progressed with 1 of our student project teams
- Attended the private view for the launch of the refurbished galleries five and six
- Learned about budget forecasting
- Attended the private view for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year which included our experiment with motion tracking and ghost slugs which I urge you to see for yourself and THANK YOU to Stef Goodchild
If I had to use one word to describe this week it would be Choices. I have choices, you have choices and 2014 is ready for us to start making choices. This was how I kicked off my team meeting on Monday. We have much to accomplish next year and at the moment the calendar is pretty empty. Yes we could just copy out the 2013 calendar and get back to work, doing all the things we did this year but I don’t think that 2014 should be the same. Yes there is plenty of work that will be similar – temporary exhibitions to build and destroy (i mean take down but that hip hop reference stays!), repairing computers, shooting objects, digitising moving image collections, reacting and a gang of other expected tasks. But we also need to evolve our team, our Team Digital. Our team not only needs to cope with the expectations from 2013 but also to grow with our audiences, funders and peer demands for the next 5 years or so. This means making dozens of tiny changes to how we work and importantly what we work on. Change is largely incremental and we can work to that tune or pretend things are the same until they are not and drown at the shock. What this really means for me and the team is that we may have to say no to current activities in order to find time for new fledgling activity such as Bring Your Own Device, sensors, user experience design, revenue generation, refreshing setup and working more closely with other organisations. To that end, I sent a request to all managers asking them to submit their requests for Team Digital and some have started to roll in. Once we have these requests we can make those choices we always put off.
- The City Council Budget review was made public for consultation
- Advised on several databases that are pretty fundamental to teams that need more than a few plasters
- Introduced Stefan Goodchild to the audio visual team. Stef has kindly offered to produce a demo at the private view for Wildlife Photographer of the year. The interactive will use an xbox kinnect to motion track people as they walk pass it and draw a trail on the wall using a projector. My hope is that this will demo the usefulness of the technology to various teams and can be used next year.
- Began to write our web strategy for 2014
- Took a tour of the University interaction and graphics lab with Peter Bennet. It was like being a kid in sweet shop and I really hope we can work together on the future of interaction design in a museum space.
- Talked to the Records Office about their storify project for The Dreadnought journal and hopes for wikipedia.
On 28th October 2013 the Bristol vision institute hosted the annual Richard Gregory lecture in the Wills Building, University of Bristol. The talk was titled ‘Better than being there – Being there better, How technology is shaping the future of media’.
Matthew Postgate has the job of shaping and leading research and development for the BBC. His talk covered the approach the BBC is taking to embracing emerging technologies, practices and coping with the challenges that brings for a global organisation. Here are my notes:
- Evaluation of tools to educate and entertain which is the mission of the BBC
- Broadcast is considered a system of creation, delivery and consumption which hasn’t changed much since 1922
- Key theme of change is now we are in the information age
- IP end to end
- Data centric
- New devices and new interfaces
- This has led to a change in how we create media to deal with the shift
- The new broadcast system is split between create, deliver, consume and the BBC have four themes as a framework: immersive, pervasive, data rich and interactive (personal and adaptive)
- IMMERSIVE: trying to get to the halo deck from star trek
- 2012 Olympics used super hi vision
- 8k cameras which are 16 times quality of current HD and uses 22 surround sound – sound not only left to right but also up and down
- Showed an example of using the oculus rift VR headset and a 360 camera to film music practice
- PERVASIVE: Ability to be everywhere and showing live events on mobile to complement
- Designing for four screens: TV, desktop/Laptop, tablets and mobile are considered for all design
- Hewlett Packard say ‘information as a utility’
- We expect to arrive and be able to use and consume immediately
- Wallpaper thin television using tablet control is coming in the next 20 years
- Friends and family can join you from their location to watch things remotely together
- Different surfaces emerging
- Media will become more contextual as there is already more media than we can possibly consume
- Media will begin to seek you out based on what systems know you consume using software agents
- DATA RICH: no longer sealed, more akin to datasets
- Will be commonplace to overlay data to your screen, even during live events
- INTERACTIVE, PERSONAL, ADAPTIVE
- You’ll be able to zoom into the screen
- Interactive to become personal
- Adaptive abilities enabling previously fixed programmes to change, such as using your location to alter the activity live, such as using your local weather during a radio show
- We shouldn’t lose sight of the storytelling
- If we can take the traditional broadcast skills and add new science and then combine we’ll have even better broadcasting
- We should be brave in re-inventing broadcasting
- The use of contextual media will mean that your device knows your activity and will deliver the right type and length of content based on expected location, calendar entries etc
This week, in between three days out at events, my mind began to wander towards our team and service activity for 2014. In short I have been thinking about the scope of the work, embedding digital into our daily activity (hat tip to Michael Edson) and getting things done. After a few months to settle in, I now have clean air to run in with a better sense of some actionable work. I must focus and ensure we ‘DO’ now. Here at the highlights of the week:
- I attended the local tedx event, Tedxbristol 2013. Lots of students in attendance who I enjoyed earwigging
- World usability Day hosted at the M Shed and a great 1 track affair with a diverse agenda
- Disaster planning
- Team catch ups and progress meetings
- Reviewed the student as producer project requirements before their deadline
- Uk Museums on the web 2013 hosted at Tate Modern in London. 120 or so of my peers in a 1 track informal series of talks about work recently done and plans for 2014. I met a very friendly and supportive bunch who I look forward to working with in the near future. The 5:30am bus to London I enjoyed less!
- Discovered youtube tv which enables you to send videos to your TV from any device on the same network.
- Released v1 of our service Digital Principles into the wild. These will really help us in the coming months and support the digital strategy which is coming soon. The 8 principles began life as over 150 scraps of paper that I collected from conversations with my team, other groups in the sector, the service, funders and partners.
This week was a mixed bag of different activity with the biggest excitement meeting three groups of students from the University of Bristol.
I kicked off the week attending Digital Bristol workshop at the Colston Hall for the morning sessions. We got to hear from local business such as Aardman animations who are working with Rolls-royce to see how Aardman ‘bottle’ creativity. Taking 15 years to produce a new engine is too long! We heard from local funding pots about the various flavours of borrowing and grant available. After the kickoff session I sat in on the ‘playable City’ strand to hear from the Watershed, Council and ibm about projects they have been doing to get the public involved. I made a comment about strangers not wanting to play with other complete strangers but rather the people they are with, which most folk didn’t agree with.
A service wide review of our current budget position took a large amount of my energy carrying on from the previous week. Enough said.
I met with the retail manager to explore our online shop options including ebay and amazon as options. I vaguely recall a few museums selling via these channels so will be doing a bit more discovery around this. Get to the people without re-inventing the wheel was the general vibe.
I completed my final Health and safety workshop
I attended an evening ‘debate’ about profit in the heritage sector. It was less of a debate and more storytelling from the speakers. A few useful views were made by the audience.
We will be showing an exhibition next October called ‘Moved by Conflict’ at the M Shed Museum around World War 1 and the involvement of people from Bristol. I got to sit with one of our in-house designers to see how these get planned and executed. I will be exploring the digital engagement aspect and had to submit some thoughts. We’ll be looking at sensors, RFID, motion tracking and displaying stories in new ways for the service rather than passive projection and iPads.
I saw some great work by our collection team who are working on migration of data from an old system to our collections management system.
Heard about an idea for crowd funding.
During a meeting with two different UWE factions I mentioned my 2014 idea for ‘bringing the museum out into the City’ which was very positively received. I MUST put these ideas on the blog as I think this thread of an idea has legs.
I have been on call to support the 3 day MuseomixUK event up at Iron bridge, thought the one time I could of been of use I didn’t have my laptop with me!
Cleared up some confusion around our intentions for a website plan for 2014. If anybody can point to helpful material on ‘cases for museums to have their own non-council website’ that would be most welcome.
My personal highlight of the week was meeting three groups of students who will each be producing a digital outcome for the service. Each group is from the University of Bristol Computer Science department on their second year and working with us as part of their course. I canvassed the service for problems that needed solving and three were selected. The kickoff meetings went well and I have great hopes for the outcomes in due course. Partnership working that is working!
Stepped on a few toes…