SAM master class has been set up as an itinerant appointment among experts of the cultural system, drawing a “learning trajectory” across Europe, with multiple destination points. Starting from Italy and crossing Spain “Tools for Culture” aims at linking the main cultural production poles.
Tools for Culture, in collaboration with Monti&Taft and Impact Hub Barcelona, launches the first international edition of the SAM - Strategic Arts Management Master Class that will be held on October 23rd and 24th, 2014 at Impact Hub Barcelona.
"Crafting International Strategies"
It will address the issues of international strategy and action of Creative and Cultural Industries providing participants with the needed views, skills and tools to plan and implement an effective strategy.
SAM master class is a training proposal mainly addressed to: professionals of cultural and creative organizations, cultural managers and experts active in cultural project designing, cultural and creative entrepreneurs involved in internationalization processes, scholars, researchers and academics.
Intuitions, ideas and experiences related to existing and new projects will be shared and analyzed from various perspectives: from the critical exploration of the emerging cultural markets to the European Union programme framework, from the managerial strategies and choices to marketing and communication.
The Strategic Arts Management master class represents a unique opportunity to examine the technical features of projects, to create networks among professionals, to exchange ideas and evaluations with experts active in project building, in a knowledge sharing approach where action prevails upon theory.
SAM master class Barcelona’s experts possess a background of international experience and represent excellence in the design and cultural management.
The team is composed by: Ventura Barba (Executive director Advanced Music - Sonar); Lluis Bonet (Professor at University Of Barcelona); Ana García López (GlocaFineArt Dissemination Board Coordinator); Mercedes Giovinazzo (Culture Action Europe and Interarts); Monica Grau Sarabia (Expert in Cultural Projects); David Loscos (Global Music Industry Consultant and Lecturer); Juan Pedregosa (Trànsit projectes and Cultural-ceps projectes social-Itd); Ricard Ruiz de Querol (President of Impact HUB Barcelona); Michele Trimarchi (Tools for Culture).
Download the SAM Barcelona Programme
The maximum inscription term is 22th october 2014
SAM - Strategic Arts Management Master Class and Tafter Journal invite abstract submissions which offer new and challenging research on culture between site-specific creativity and international markets.
The SAM’s Scientific Committee will select 1 candidate who will have the possibility to get 100% off of the SAM registration fee, and 2 candidates who will have the possibility to get 50% off of the SAM registration fee.
The deadline for the submission form expired the 15th of September 2015.
For further information about the Call for Papers, please visit the official web page
Strategic Arts Management is a project of Tools for Culture, an organization linked to Monti&Taft and active in the fields of cultural management, research, education, and training.
The SAM Barcelona is a training course developed by Tools for Culture in collaboration with Monti&Taft and Impact HUB Barcelona, and promoted by Tafter Journal and Tafter
“Artigianato e Design: il valore del brand culturale” è il tema della V edizione di Strategic Arts Management master class che si terrà il 14 e 15 Novembre a Palazzo Franchetti, in collaborazione con l’Istituto Europeo di Design e con Arte Artigiana.
SAM master class intende rispondere alla domanda di nuove esigenze, approcci e strumenti emersi nel sistema dell’artigianato e design esplorando in modo efficace e sostenibile i mercati dell’arte e della produzione creativa.
La master class è rivolta ad artigiani, designer, imprese, makers, fablab, studenti e apprendisti dei mestieri creativi.
La nuova edizione di SAM master class è un percorso interattivo di esperienze e scambi su comunicazione, tecnologie e networking per l’artigianato e il design: per conoscere i mercati, scoprire come proteggere e valorizzare la produzione, ottimizzare processi, strumenti e risorse, arrivando a comprendere come questo cluster sia decisivo per la realizzazione di un brand culturale legato ai territori di riferimento.
Idee e progetti innovativi possono diventare lo snodo di un sistema dinamico. Economia e società si trasformano e collocano l’artigianato e il design al centro di una nuova scala di valori.
Strategic Arts Management facilita l’approccio al nuovo ecosistema promuovendo l’incontro tra intuizioni creative (soft skills) e competenze progettuali (hard skills) in una cornice imprenditoriale.
Il format proposto supera la logica dell’aula e sceglie un luogo non convenzionale, spazio di knowledge and experience sharing, per favorire un nuovo stile di management aperto, creativo e orientato alla condivisione e crescita del capitale intellettuale, valorizzando idee e talenti.
Gli esperti che interverranno rappresentano l’eccellenza nell’ambito della progettazione e del management culturale e garantiranno un approccio multidisciplinare, invitando i partecipanti al pensiero trasversale.
Il team è composto da: Gilda Zaffagnini (Nexa), Paolo Fontana (Signaletic), Alessia Panella (Avvocato studio legale Panella), Federica Preto (Arte Artigiana),Gaetano Di Gregorio (Coordinatore corso di Interior Design IED Venezia), Stefano Micelli (Google Cultural Institute), Gaetano di Gregorio (Coordinatore Interior Design IED Venezia), Michele Trimarchi (Tools for Culture).
Consulta il programma: SAM Venezia
Un’esclusiva per tutti: SAM Venezia in promo dal 22 settembre al 13 ottobre 2014!
Novità della V edizione è la quota Comfort che comprende la partecipazione a SAM master class “Artigianato e Design: il valore del brand culturale”, i pernottamenti per venerdì e sabato, un aperitivo al bacaro, una cena di prodotti tipici veneziani e l’educational visit presso il laboratorio “I Fratelli Toso”.
A tutti i partecipanti verrà rilasciato un attestato di partecipazione.
La deadline per iscriversi è martedì 11 Novembre.
Per le modalità di iscrizione e ulteriori informazioni visita la pagina ufficiale
Strategic Arts Management è un prodotto formativo ideato da Tools for Culture, organizzazione collegata al gruppo Monti&Taft, attiva nel campo della ricerca e dell’alta formazione per il management culturale, in collaborazione con
con il supporto di
by Lindsey Green | The Guardian
Back in June I co-wrote a piece in this very spot arguing for a greater focus on audiences in the development of mobile tools for the cultural sector. Even then, the unbridled optimism around mobile was fading. Certain organisations were having great success with very specialised, site-specific products (the oft-cited Museum of London StreetMuseum for example) but there was broad acceptance that this success wasn’t easily reproduced. "Mobile" wasn’t a product you could simply replicate and drop into any museum; to be successful it was necessary to design strategically with specific, well-researched audiences in mind.
Months on, this focus on audiences looks like it’s gathering momentum. There’s been a surge in the number of organisations taking a more proactive approach to understanding their audiences by gathering data and testing their digital products.
However, doubts around mobile remain and we can all see that we haven’t explored fully the true potential of what mobile can do. In part, this is down to a lack of funding, internal skills and resources. But to a certain degree, it’s because projects all too often start in the wrong place; time and time again, mobile products are built because a decision was taken to create mobile.
There’s a tendency among cultural organisations to think of mobile as a “thing” – a tangible product, desirable for audiences whether it meets their needs or not and worth using simply because it is mobile. This totally misses the point of the visitor-focused service that most museums aim to offer and a principle that, from my experience, tends to be held dear by most museum professionals.
However, when you start from this point, even if you carry out research and collect data to support design, what you end up asking of that data is: what mobile product should I make? Often when a museum mobile product is designed, little time or money is given to how it will fit into the overall service the museum delivers. But adding a totally new platform on top of an existing service and integrating it across an (often siloed) organisation is difficult. If a mobile product doesn’t meet user needs and there’s no organisational support surrounding it, how can it be expected to thrive?
Unsurprisingly, the cultural sector isn’t unique in having to deal with this problem. Over the past couple of years I’ve learned a lot by watching the Government Digital Service (GDS) respond to the mammoth task of “leading the digital transformation of government”. Like museums, the GDS is striving to develop digital services that make sense as part of, and respond to, real world experiences – in this case, pretty much every aspect of a citizen’s life.
I’m a big fan of the approach, and one of GDS’ seven principles is increasingly relevant to the challenge museums face: design services not websites.
Our service doesn’t begin and end at our website; it might start with a search engine and end at the post office. We need to design for that, even if we can’t control it. We also need to recognise that some day, before we know it, it’ll be about different digital services again.
At the core of what GDS is doing is a recognition that platform and product should not be the start of good service design. Instead, what there should be is a determination to serve a user as and when they encounter a need. It’s this kind of thinking that has challenged our consultancy to focus and experiment with new tools to help that process along.
Over the last year, we’ve been collaborating with organisations as diverse as the Imperial War Museum, Van Gogh Museum and Lincoln County Council to see what happens when we shift the start of the design process and treat mobile in new terms; not as a product, but as a tool, and as part of a broader service.
by Lauren Martin | Learning Lift Off
Where have the arts in education gone? Over the past several years we’ve all seen the trend of schools cutting the arts from their curriculum. Music, art, theater—gone for so many.
There’s no doubt that the arts are fun for kids. Diving into those finger paints and making a beautiful picture to hang on the fridge is awesome. Acting in a play is exhilarating. But the arts also help kids develop on many fundamental levels.
Here are the top 10 ways that the arts help kids learn and grow:
1. Creativity. This may seem like a no-brainer, but the arts will inspire kids to express themselves better than math or science. As the Washington Post says, In an arts program, your child will be asked to recite a monologue in 6 different ways, create a painting that represents a memory, or compose a new rhythm to enhance a piece of music. If children have practice thinking creatively, it will come naturally to them now and in their future career.
2. Improved Academic Performance. The arts don’t just develop a child’s creativity—the skills they learn because of them spill over into academic achievement. PBS says, A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.
3. Motor Skills. This applies mostly to younger kids who do art or play an instrument. Simple things like holding a paintbrush and scribbling with a crayon are an important element to developing a child’s fine motor skills. As PBS tells us, According to the National Institutes of Health, developmental milestones around age three should include drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors. Around age four, children may be able to draw a square and begin cutting straight lines with scissors.
4. Confidence. While mastering a subject certainly builds a student’s confidence, there is something special about participating in the arts. Getting up on a stage and singing gives kids a chance to step outside their comfort zone. As they improve and see their own progress, their self-confidence will continue to grow.
5. Visual Learning. Especially for young kids, drawing, painting, and sculpting in art class helps develop visual-spatial skills. Dr. Kerry Freedman, Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University says, Children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it.
6. Decision Making. The arts strengthen problem solving and critical thinking skills. How do I express this feeling through my dance? How should I play this character? Learning how to make choices and decisions will certainly carry over into their education and other parts of life—as this is certainly a valuable skill in adulthood.
7. Perseverance. I know from personal experience that the arts can be challenging. When I was trying to learn and master the clarinet, there were many times when I became so frustrated that I wanted to quit. But I didn’t. After practicing hard, I learned that hard work and perseverance pay off. This mindset will certainly matter as they grow—especially during their career where they will likely be asked to continually develop new skills and work through difficult projects.
8. Focus. As you persevere through painting or singing or learning a part in a play, focus is imperative. And certainly focus is vital for studying and learning in class as well as doing a job later in life.
9. Collaboration. Many of the arts such as band, choir, and theater require kids to work together. They must share responsibility and compromise to achieve their common goal. Kids learn that their contribution to the group is integral to its success—even if they don’t have the solo or lead role.
10. Accountability. Just like collaboration, kids in the arts learn that they are accountable for their contributions to the group. If they drop the ball or mess up, they realize that it’s important to take responsibility for what they did. Mistakes are a part of life, and learning to accept them, fix them, and move on will serve kids well as they get older
by Fred Deakin | The Guardian
Arts education in the UK is at a crossroads. Our creative industries are still the envy of the world and are possibly the last area where we can still genuinely claim to be undisputed market leaders. As Sir Christopher Frayling said last year, this sector contributes almost as much as financial services to the UK’s economy but with a fraction of the support. These creative industries depend on our art schools to supply them with the fresh talent that will keep them in their position as global pioneers.
However, the introduction of huge amounts of bureaucracy and administration over the past couple of decades alongside the inevitable cuts has left talented staff and practitioners inside art schools struggling to cope. The creative, maverick spark that inspired Alexander McQueen, Tracey Emin, Jonathan Ive and Jarvis Cocker is in danger of being extinguished.
Add to that the introduction of fees, a major psychological shift that has yet to fully land with students and staff, plus the paradigm shift the rise of the internet has brought about, and there is a very real danger that our graduates will not be equipped to enter the 21st century work space with the same confidence as their predecessors.
What we need is a bridge into industry. Being the maker of a wide range of creative projects over the past 25 years has led me to believe that the best work is created by multi-disciplinary teams working collaboratively to tight deadlines. This should come as no surprise to anyone. Whether it’s clients, colleagues or bosses, in the real world we are not the sole authors of our work but join with others to deliver what we’re unable to alone.
These days almost all young people are polymaths by nature: they have downloaded all the necessary software onto their laptops and can (and should) explore any medium they choose. However, in general this approach is very hard to teach inside traditional educational institutions, where students are paying a lot of money to be individually assessed and are taught within a single discipline such as fine art or communication design – subjects that have most likely had their resources cut, leaving little room for experimentation.
We need new models to bridge the gap between industry and education. At the University of the Arts London (UAL) we have created a collaborative workshop to explore creativity, positive change and innovation. Modual is a pop-up design studio embedded in the heart of industry where students can experience a taste of a more innovative way of working.
Over two weeks, 20 participants have been picked from a range of colleges and courses across UAL and dropped into a space generously hosted by creative agency Mother. They have been removed from their everyday academic environments, thrown together somewhat brutally and then taken through a range of exercises to discover their skills and passions. They have been asked to come up with a range of project ideas to bring about positive change and innovation, focusing on the four they feel are truly worth developing.
The stakes are high. The intention is that they should leave the workshop empowered to continue to work in a similar way with their peers, preparing them to enter the creative industries with more understanding of the practical skills, approaches and attitudes necessary to succeed.
I’ve heard the phrase “education is about to reach its Napster moment”; looking at iTunesU and the Khan Academy there’s no doubt that major disruption is about to happen: partnering with industry leaders in appropriately agile ways is an attempt to ensure that our creative community continues to be enriched by an influx of talented graduates that can bring their natural affinity with the digital world into today’s workplace.
I want the incredible arts culture of the UK to continue to thrive, despite the palpable lack of support from government. Taking my own advice, collaborating on projects such as these seems to be the way to do that.
by Geoff Edgers | The Boston Globe
Yes, in a perfect world, we would all donate our time to nonprofits as a collective show of public service. But that’s a subject for another column. Giving, in this case, pays. Docents at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum get free admission, a museum store discount, and free admission to more than a dozen other museums and attractions (like the New England Aquarium). Boston Symphony Orchestra volunteers are guaranteed at least a pair of tickets for six BSO concerts at Symphony Hall throughout the season. (You do have to make a donation of at least $75 and volunteer 20 hours or more over the year.)
Sure, it’s work. So is trying to score a ticket for the latest, hottest, straight-to-Broadway show at the American Repertory Theater. Grab a program, throw on a smile, and work the crowd. Ushers always get in for free because they’re working. That can save you money and make otherwise sold-out shows accessible, whether at the ART, Huntington Theatre Company, or a range of other houses.
3. Be Flexible
Most museums offer free hours. In fact, if you keep an eye on the calendar, you can walk through a different gallery for free most days of the week, including the MFA on Wednesday nights and the Institute of Contemporary Art on Thursday nights. There are also free hours at the Worcester Art Museum (the first Saturday morning of each month) and the Harvard Museum of Natural History (Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons). Those are just a few examples — check websites for more.
4. Use the Library
I know. You’ve got a Kindle and don’t spend much time scouring the stacks. But there’s one thing Jeff Bezos can’t offer: Your public library likely has a collection of museum passes; the deals vary by town. In Boston, for example, library card holders can get a family of four into the Museum of Science for free and discounts at a range of other museums. You can even get into a Pawtucket Red Sox game for $4 a ticket or six for $21.
5. Live for the Rush
I know you like to plan. But if you’re willing to take a slight risk and wait until the last minute, you can save significantly. Almost everybody sells rush tickets. The idea is that for an arts organization, nothing is as painful as an empty seat. So for students (and sometimes for seniors), the Celebrity Series, ArtsEmerson, and Boston Ballet are among the presenters offering cheap rush tickets in the hours leading up to a performance. The BSO keeps $9 seats available to everyone regardless of age. One minor detail: Bring cash.
6. Pick up Your Smartphone
This is the catchall category. There are simply quirky, unexpected ways to experience culture for less that you can only track down by asking. Did you know, for example, that the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum lets cyclists in for free and takes $2 off an admission if you drive into the campus with a Zipcar? Or that if your name is Isabella, there’s at least one place you won’t have to pay for admission: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum? Staying in touch, whether via phone or Facebook, can lead to big savings.
I giovani sviluppatori e le piccole e medie imprese possono partecipare a questo bando per sviluppare nuove piattaforme e applicazioni per Smartphone e Tablet per favorire il turismo e l’economia. I progetti vengono finanziati fino a 40 mila euro.
Promuovere la progettazione e lo sviluppo di piattaforme ed applicativi per Smartphone e Tablet proposti da giovani sviluppatori, attraverso il finanziamento dei costi di realizzazione di un prototipo di “App” in fase beta.
Ogni progetto potrà ricevere un contributo massimo di 40 mila euro.
Le idee-progetto dovranno essere originali, quindi non una semplice riproposizione o una variante di “App” con funzionalità ampiamente disponibili negli store; e dovranno essere innovative in termini di sperimentazione di nuove modalità di interazione e utilizzo, come:
Le App dovranno essere commerciabili/disponibili e avere una roadmap di sviluppo compatibile con la tempistica prevista dal bando.
Stanziamento complessivo: 2 milioni di euro
Modalità di presentazione:
Fase 1 (fino al 31 maggio 2014):
Progetti finanziabili: sono finanziabili i progetti che potranno essere dedicati alla realizzazione di “App” per Tablet o Smartphone dedicati a:
Tipologia delle agevolazioni: il contributo massimo per ogni progetto è di 40mila euro.
Le agevolazioni saranno erogate in un’unica soluzione.
Durata massima del progetto: 6 mesi
Le idee-progetto dei giovani sviluppatori, le manifestazioni d’interesse delle Pmi incubatrici e quelle dei Coach dovranno essere inoltrate alla Filas mediante raccomandata fino al 31 maggio 2014.
Il bando e tutti i moduli possono essere scaricati cliccando qui
by Henry Doss | Forbes
"There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." – Winnie the Pooh
Leading an innovation culture can be a messy business. Or, maybe that should be: Leading an innovation business can be a messy culture. However the notion is phrased, the point is the same. Innovation is not a tidy process.
By its very nature, innovation is unpredictable, even though your business requires predictability. It is full of surprises, even when you believe your biggest enemy is surprise. And, frequently, innovation delivers more failure than success, even when your future (both your organization’s and yours as an individual!) demands a track record of success. Innovation is intrinsically a contradiction, offering significant improvement to your business, just as it offers up disruption and change. It can dramatically enhance your competitive advantage, while at the same time putting your existing market advantage at risk. It can create sustainable growth, while at the same time threatening known, existing growth elements.
It seems axiomatic that positioning innovation as a core value or business model is a high-reward, high-risk proposition. And that means that creating an innovation culture may very well require a different approach to leadership, a different way of thinking about yourself, and a different way of being mindful of your own development as a leader.
One way to conceptualize the leadership of innovation is to think of yourself as a single ecosystem, operating inside of a larger ecosystem. You have an accountability to develop yourself as an innovation ecosystem as much as you have an accountability to your organization. It follows, then, that just as you work to develop certain organizational features to align toward innovation, you would also work to develop the same features in your own leadership, and in your own thinking. For example, if you are working to create a culture of trust in your organization, you would want to devote equally as much time to developing trust as a core way of thinking and being for yourself. For every value, system or attribute you wish to develop in your organization, you would want to make sure you develop the same in yourself.
As you think of yourself as an ecosystem, apply the same tools and systems to yourself that you apply to your organization. Where you are demanding that metrics be used to drive innovation conversations, ask yourself what metrics you use to measure your own leadership. When you are building out a systematic approach to designing solutions, ask yourself how you incorporate the same design principles into fostering your own leadership development. Whatever thinking, tools, or strategies you are deploying into building an innovation ecosystem, deploy the same equally toward yourself as a leader; then ask yourself if you as an individual measure up to the demands being made of the organizational ecosystem.
A foundational element of innovation is always risk and failure – how they are perceived, how they are contextualized in systems, how they are viewed culturally. As an innovation leader, you will want to make the same demand for risk on yourself as you do on others. You will be making evaluations and judgments constantly about your organization’s risk culture and how it is, or is not, supportive of innovation; it will be equally as important, and perhaps more important, that you evaluate your own internal ecosystem of risk. You cannot ask others to take risk, if you are not willing to take risks yourself.
Just as your organizational ecosystem is made up of complex relationships, connections and networks, you as an individual ecosystem operate inside of relationships and networks, too. Your leadership success is in great measure dependent on the functional effectiveness of your own network, and this merits reflection and overt, intentional evaluation. No doubt you are concerned with how connectivity operates inside your organization; it is equally important that you understand the nature of your own relationships.
In particular, innovation leaders need to be consciously aware of their connection to brokers, risk-takers and role models. These three ways of being and acting are especially important to innovation culture sustainability, and to fostering effective networks. You as an innovation leader need to be mindful of how and to what degree you cultivate and nurture these roles in your organization, and how well you as an individual are connected to them. But it is equally important that you evaluate yourself, too. How well do you as an individual function as a broker? What is your tolerance for and approach to risk-taking, and failure? Are you, in fact, a role model for innovation in your organization, and how exactly do you know and confirm this? Unless you mindfully evaluate your own ability to take on and be these roles, you will run the risk of demanding from others something you cannot give yourself.
Being an innovation leader requires both an intentional, outward-focused attentiveness, and a strong, objective, inward-focused self-evaluation. Devoting time, energy and work to both worlds can create an alignment between the conditions you wish to cause in the external world of an organizational ecosystem and the internal world of your own thinking and being. This is as simple as thinking that you should expect of yourself precisely what you are expecting of others. Not only will this improve your leadership, and increase the contribution you can make to your organization, it carries a very special bonus: it is simply the right thing to do.
by Adam Toren | Entrepreneur
There are always two sides to the coin when it comes to getting investment capital or going public for entrepreneurs. While some like the angel investor or capital funding route, others prefer to keep their business private so they maintain 100 percent control.
If you fall into the latter camp, but need help growing your business, one great idea is to form an advisory board. The benefits of an advisory board are that you get the expertise and vested mentoring you need without giving up any ownership control of your company.
There are plenty of factors to consider, but if you think an advisory board might be right for you, here are three factors to consider when creating your own:
Determine your business’s greatest area of need. Ideally, an advisory board will help lend their knowledge and expertise to your company on a consistent basis. So it makes the most sense to create a board that covers the areas of your business where you have the greatest need and also that you know the least about. If you’re a whiz at sales and marketing, but have no legal or financial expertise, you will want to create a board with a strong background in finance and law to make sure you’re covering your weakest areas.
Set the expectations of what you’ll need from board members. Like any new professional arrangement, you’ll want to devote some serious time to outlining what your advisory board will be responsible for and what powers they have. Do they vote on the senior management team? Do they have a say in financial or business decisions?
You need to decide what the board’s structure, power and terms of service are before you go out and find its members. It’s helpful to research other businesses similar to yours with advisory boards to see how they’re structured.
It may also be beneficial to ask current advisory board members what they think has worked well from their experience or even seek to serve on another company’s advisory board yourself to learn first-hand what works and what doesn’t. Whatever you decide, clearly outline the expectations and powers of the board members beforehand.
Devise what you will offer board members in return. A great advisory board will make a huge and lasting positive impact on your business. They’re vested in your success and should have terrific insight and experience to help you succeed. They’re also highly skilled and in-demand people with plenty on their own plate already. So what’s in it for them?
After you’ve set out what you expect from your board, approach what you and your business are going to do for them in return. Why should they give their time and energy to your cause? How will being on this board enhance their lives and careers?
Again, by asking other current advisory board members or serving on a board yourself, you may better be able to answer these questions and come up with a win-win situation. Once you know what you want and what you’re giving them, define it and approach the board members you desire to create your own advisory dream team.
by Seth Porges | Forbes
Museums are depositories of history’s treasures, a key indicator of how a culture defines itself, and a much-appreciated field trip for kids in school.
They also tend to be woefully outdated in how they appeal to young people. With so much cool stuff at their disposal, our great museums feel like they can and should be far more fun than they are—attractions that appeal to locals as much as tourists.
To figure out how to fix our hallowed halls, I spoke to Nick Gray, founder of Museum Hack, a company that offers high-energy tours of New York museums that emphasize the institutions’ hidden gems and secret histories. He also happens to be the single most passionate person I’ve ever met when it comes to his love of museums in general. With the disclaimer that some do quite well in some of these areas, he offered five relatively easy fixes that most museums can adopt to broaden their appeal:
Fix 1) Update The Photo Policies
These days, if something isn’t photographed, it may as well have not happened. Yet some museums remain stubbornly stuck to antiquated policies that forbid photography—and with them, the natural word of mouth that comes from social media spread.
“I was at an amazing museum recently that had a strict no photography policy,” Gray says. “It made me so sad that I wasn’t able to easily share images and visual memories from my experience with my friends online. A no photography policy kills any word of mouth, especially in the younger demographics that museums are having such trouble reaching.”
Fix 2) Add More Onsite Cafes (Or Bars)
Many large museums have a pitifully small number of pit stops. And if you do stumble across the lone cafe, you’re likely to wait in line for far too long. “Staying hydrated and caffeinated helps maintain energy and focus,” Gray says. “On Museum Hack’s night tours, we even encourage our guests to drink wine. This helps people to loosen up and be more comfortable in the intimidating museum space.”
Fix 3) Add More Evening Hours
There’s something special about spending a night at a museum. Still, many institutions close their doors at early hours that make it difficult for day-jobbers to drop by, and keep visits from ever becoming a part of an evening out on the town. By adding more night hours, museums make their halls more appealing to younger folks—especially those who are looking for a relative respite from the families that tend to drop in during the day.
Fix 4) Install Nap Rooms
If you’re not exhausted after a visit to the Met, you’re doing it wrong. Gray suggests that adding sleeping spaces would encourage visitors to stay longer. ”Looking at art can be tiring—it’s known as Gallery Fatigue,” Gray says. “I would love a little space to snooze and recharge my batteries.”
Fix 5) Offer Premium Guided Tours
“I believe that some of the best learning and exploration happens with a live human guide,” Gray says. “Visitors get what they pay for when it comes to a free museum tour. There are a lot of docents who are not good tour guides for discerning visitors. But museums rely so much on volunteer labor, so they stick the volunteers on tour duty. A premium tour model, like what my company does as an outside vendor, gives paying visitors a rewarding museum experience.”
by Dea Birkett | The Telegraph
The wagging finger continues to waggle back and forth, as the debate over children’s right to access and enjoy a museum – first launched in the Telegraph last month – tuts on. On the one side are those, like me, who say museums should be for the under-aged just as much as the middle-aged. No one age group should have a monopoly on our masterpieces. On the other are those who want children to be shrunken adults, only appreciating art in the most restrained and scholarly way, if at all. It would really be better if they stayed at home being babysat by their Xbox, rather than wander aimlessly (and probably noisily) around a room of high art.
One thoughtful voice amid the fray was Sarah Crompton, the Telegraph’s Arts Editor-in-Chief, who argues it isn’t our little darlings’ fault that they can’t appreciate Constable with constraint, but their parents’. Kids mightn’t know any better, but their adults ought to. “Middle-class parents make excuses for the shocking behavior of their children,” Crompton writes. They need to be taught about “good and civilized behaviour”.
I couldn’t agree more. Parents should be empowered to let their children know what is right and wrong. But where Crompton and I disagree is on what precisely counts as “good and civilized”. I don’t believe there’s a ‘code of behaviour to which you must adhere’ in a museum, as Crompton does. There may be a list of ‘don’ts’ pinned up at the door – banning buggies and mobile phones, for example. But there is no fixed set of rules on how to appreciate art and artefacts.
So what “code of behaviour” is Crompton referring to? It seems to come from a manual of Victorian manners, such as the 19th-century bestseller The Habits of Good Society: A Handbook of Etiquette for Ladies and Gentleman. In such serious tomes, children are required to be seen but never heard. On another page, “good behavior” for women is not letting your conversation “shine too brightly” for fear of appearing clever, and never to go out without gloves.
My point is that what counts as good behavior isn’t set in concrete. It depends upon what era you’re living in, where you’re from, which faith you hold and how old you are. (Teenagers have very different etiquette rules to adults, but they do have rules.) In short, it depends upon your perspective.
This is especially true of the rules surrounding appreciating an artistic experience. Today we’re asked to keep quiet and sit on our hands at highbrow concerts. But this wasn’t always the case. Mozart reported in a letter to his father that there was wild applause throughout his symphonies; the composer judged the success of a new work by the continual comments of the crowd. By all accounts, the original Globe theatre was also a raucous place, even when Juliet was in the midst of her gentle balcony speech.
The code of behaviour doesn’t only vary with time, but with cultures. I went to see a performance in sign language by Deafinitely Theatre. I was one of the few non hearing-impaired people there. It was the noisiest play I’ve ever been to. The audience chatted and muttered throughout. But the audience’s continual squeals only bothered me. Then, at the finale, everything fell silent. The audience waved their hands in the air instead of clapping. It was the quietest moment of the whole evening.
Because it can be time, culture and age specific, an effective code of behavior isn’t enforced. It’s arrived at through consultation and compromise, leading to consensus. That we haven’t arrived at a clear code for how children should behave in museums is because it’s only been relatively recently that they’ve been welcomed in at all.
This doesn’t mean we can’t work out a way forward. The Kids in Museums Manifesto is one method of doing this. Among the 20 ways it lists to make a museum more family friendly are “Don’t say ssshhhush! If kids are being noisy ask ‘Why?’ and then capture that excitement”, and “Say ‘Please touch!’ as often as you can. Everyone finds real objects awesome. Direct kids to things that can be handled, teach respect and explain why others can’t.” The Manifesto, compiled by charity Kids in Museums from thousands of visitors’ comments, is a dynamic document. It can change to reflect our changing expectations of good behaviour. Over 500 museums have already pledged to put it into practice.
So let’s bring an end to all this finger wagging. Let’s find a code of behavior in museums that suits everyone, not just children – and not just the middle-aged few.
by Yannis Ioannidis,Olivier Balet, Dimitrios Pandermalis | The Guardian
The Night at the Museum is a children’s picture book by Milan Trenc – later, a Hollywood blockbuster – that told the story of a New York museum nightwatchman discovering, to his horror, that at night the building’s exhibits came to life. The basic premise of the story, however far-fetched, is that this dusty museum suddenly became even more interesting if the exhibits were telling their own story, although it did still involve being chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Museums around the world today face the challenge of increasing and maintaining visitor numbers, especially with younger audiences. A fall in visitors is seen by most as a negative outcome, both financially and in terms of wider social and educational impact. It can happen due to a range of factors, but one of the most important is that museums can often find themselves competing with the products of the entertainment industry, which at its heart is in the business of telling a good story.
Don’t get us wrong, storytelling is certainly not absent from museums. It’s one of the most important factors behind the emergence of the so-called new museology doctrine, which brought storytelling to the forefront of the museum experience through audio guides, video and by placing more emphasis on thematic organisation and different perspectives, such as varying cultural interpretations.
Taking this trend further is the emergence of interactive digital storytelling, which combines participation with automatic story generation and narration to focus in on making storytelling more personal and mobile. It’s edutainment – something that both educates and entertains for a more engaging, adaptive and fundamentally enjoyable visitor experience.
One of the most successful real world uses of interactive digital storytelling is augmented reality (AR), such as that employed to great effect at the British Museum. The technology transformed the museum experience for a child into a story puzzle using a dedicated tablet app. The app sets up a game, A Gift for Athena, which rewards the visitor for finding certain statues from their outlines by telling them more about the exhibit and directing them into the next stage of the game.
The EU-funded Chess project (a shorter name for the much longer Cultural Heritage Experiences through Socio-personal interactions and Storytelling) takes digital storytelling much further and plans to make interactive content such as games and augmented reality available to the entire museum sector.
The project relies on visitor profiling, matching visitors to pre-determined “personas” – which are designed as a representative description of the various people that constitute a given museum’s visitor base. These are created through data from surveys, visitor studies and ethnographic observations. A given visitor is matched initially through a visitor survey to one of several representative personas, which in turn influences fundamentally the experience delivered by the Chess system.
Doing this makes the visitor experience non-linear. The system constantly adapts to a visitor’s preferences. For example, if a visitor fails in a game or stays longer in front of certain artefacts, the system can adapt the storyline. It makes the experience more dynamic and relevant, so instead of sending the visitor to X exhibit, the system might instead choose to send you to Y exhibit, where you will get more information that’s relevant to what you’ve shown an interest in.
Interactive tours can be created by the museum curators themselves rather than by IT programmers. It gives museums the chance to constantly create new experiences to try to get people to visit more than once.
We’ve been testing the project at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece, where the team used the technology to bring a collection of architectural and sculptural remains to life by using AR to restore colours and lost features. Similarly, at the Cité de l’Espace in Toulouse, France, the project has been used to bring space flight and the layout of the universe to life.
Our next step is to commercialise the Chess project via an app and alongside the results of other EU cultural heritage projects, it will hopefully constitute an important step in implementing the digital agenda for Europe.
Storytelling is at the heart of an engaging experience and this is a recognition that has been at the core of many a successful museum over the past decade. Hopefully, as projects such as ours come closer to final development, we will see a continued digital renaissance in the European museum sector, making our cultural past interesting, engaging and relevant for the visitor of the future.
by Yvonne Cawkwell | The Guardian
Last month, Oxford Aspire hosted its second annual What’s in Store conference, focused on improving income in museum and heritage shops. This free session sold out immediately with a large waiting list, which aside from being great for the conference also revealed the appetite of smaller museum and heritage shops to share experiences and gain knowledge. With cuts across the sector board, commercial activities have become increasingly important for arts, culture and heritage.
As delegates arrived, the lively chatter of retailers filled the lecture theatre. It’s a sound that always warms my heart, and isn’t always what you hear when you’re talking hard business in the heritage sector. If retail is in your blood, making an income is a consequence of doing your job properly – it’s what you do. (Soft) selling is part of a service; it’s about creating sustainable and ethical businesses that enhance the visitor experience.
So I took to the stand to talk about some of the tools that can be used to generate more income and increase the professional profile of smaller museum shops. But who am I?
My career started 30 years ago with the Marks & Spencer graduate scheme, which provided a strict regime of understanding numbers, retail spaces, products and customer service. At the time it seemed like boot camp, but it provided a lifelong understanding of how retail worked. I then moved to Burton group’s buying and merchandising departments, working in ladies’ knitwear and men’s accessories (did you know men’s boxer shorts came into existence only in the 80s?) before a move into supply, product design and development.
I’ve travelled extensively throughout the Far East in the early days of manufacturing and spent time in the US and Europe with some of the key designers who would influence the current markets. But how has this background helped me in my current role, where the numbers are much smaller yet the stakes more important?
First, I believe it’s essential to establish a simple infrastructure to understand the numbers. By using demographic data about your visitors – and most smaller institutions don’t have this data on their retail customers – your current and historical sales can tell you everything about your consumers that you need to know: average transaction values, best sellers, price points, colours and designs. The numbers also highlight the gaps and provide solutions and formulas for filling them.
The two museum shops I manage have very different spaces, turnovers and customer profiles. For each shop, in order to understand their individual trading patterns, we utilise the analysis tools that larger retail organisations use. This includes WSSI (weekly sales stock and intake), a system used to plan and monitor sales and stock on a weekly basis; OTB (open to buy), a method of planning and controlling retail inventory; and range planning documents. You can download a sample of these documents from our resources page.
The numbers then give you hard evidence to talk to stakeholders; you’ve created an easy-to-understand language that shows how your business is performing financially, and provides the figures for buying and budget presentation.
Armed with your figures, the next key stage is how you apply this strategy to product development. This, for me, has to be the second most essential factor. My time with designers and high street stores confirmed that this is the only way to keep any retail business fresh and sustainable. All of our venues are unique: they themselves are their own brands, their own unique selling points; they sit in the very objects and nature of their collections.
The public visits heritage sites more than any other time in this century. We can and should capitalise on this. It used to be that you could develop own-brand lines only if you could place volume quantities, but with digital technology and greater supplier flexibility you can now buy 50 or 100 of most types of product or test lines, then back them up quickly when they work.
The Oxford University Museum of Natural History reopened to the public on 15 February this year, and 40,000 visitors walked through the doors in the first 10 days. Visitor numbers, sales numbers and income broke all records. How did we plan? We used the numbers to forecast, and now the real development starts.
Professional retailing in the heritage sector is still young in most of the smaller sites. But by applying just a few of the fundamentals, you can evaluate where you are now and develop a vision for not only maximising income potential but also enhancing the unique ethos of your venue.