It has been an incredible year of activities and I want to thank all of my colleagues, networks, co-creatives and makers for their support. This is a snapshot of the highlights.
Arts Manager’s Lives
The year kicked off with a reflective talk for students of the MA Cultural Policy group in University College Dublin. My path has been one of exploration, ‘accidents’ i.e. I fell in to museum education and now have progressed to creative collaborations with partners outside the sector and look at what it has materialised….
Webinar for European teachers – intercultural dialogue, creativity and innovation in museums
In March I presented my first webinar on intercultural dialogue, creativity and innovation in museums for teachers based right across Europe. It was organised by the School Education Gateway EU portal for teachers. What a great way to reach so many educators, some of whom did not realise museums can provide places for a wide range of resources and inspiration for their teaching and learning.
Museums and Makers Inspiring Each Other workshop
I think this was a definite highlight for 2018 and it was a great opportunity to work with Don Undeen and TOG Hackerspace Dublin (aka Jeffrey Roe). It was the first time the museum opened its doors after 5pm to creative professionals and use digital/social media. Watch the film and see co-creation in action. It was a true inspiration to see how creativity can be a lot of fun and productive at the same time. Supported by the Making Museum project (EU Erasmus + 2017-2019).
Making Museum project in Norway (MiST, Trondheim)
Our partners convened for its first meeting of 2018 with a spectacular view of the Trondheim fjord, the Coastal Heritage Museum, Rockheim Museum (museum for popular music) for a 1-day conference on Museums, Science Centres and Makers. The meeting included a site visit to the Science Centre where we visited their maker space and planetarium (if you are in the neighbourhood this is not to be missed). I presented a talk on A Creative Lab for Teens, What Museums, Science Centres, Creative Industries & Makers Can Learn from Each Other.
One-by-One Digital Literacy Lab, Brighton
I returned to a familiar topic faced by numerous museums and their audiences – digital engagement and literacy recent research project One by One and related event organised by Culture24 and the University of Leicester. The course provided me with much-needed insight and know-how when addressing how to engage with audiences when developing content. You can read more about this on my blog post
Museums & Participation Network, Access through Language, London
If ever there was a time for museums to collaborate, exchange ideas and support, it is now. I flew to London and back, experienced a typical day of UK commuters with a delay thrown in for good mix. This is a voluntary support group of museum professionals based in the UK to promote and build stronger collaborations between organisations across the heritage sector and the audiences they serve. Their theme for July 2018 explored language, interpretation, access and communities. It was a well-attended, dynamic programme of events in the British Museum and provided hands-on opportunities as well as a space to discuss, exchange ideas and network. I presented on the importance of community ambassadors and the use of languages to build bridges between museums and communities.
National Geographic Biodiversity workshop, Festival of Curiosity
This year truly proved that there are no limits to the work of a museum professional. The Festival of Curiosity held a one-day event on science and media Future Story National Geographic professor of biodiversity TH Culhane joined families in my museum to create biodigestors.
Museums and Makers: Museomix Zagreb, NEMO conference & Maker Space Study visit
To finish off the year I co-facilitated my first Museomix in the Nikola Tesla Museum Zagreb organised by Radiona. This 3-day programme invites museums to open up their spaces to groups of selected designers, coders, gamers, makers, museum professionals, artists and more. They work in teams, interpret aspects of collections, build a prototype and present to the general public. The museum may/not decide to keep the prototype for development.
I presented what it is like to work with makers within the museum sector and the benefits of such creative collaborations at the Network of European Museums General Conference, Valletta, Malta (NEMO).
Other highlights of the year include a study visit organised by the National Youth Council of Ireland to maker spaces; an exploration of a sensory garden for visitors with dementia; launch of a multi-lingual learning resource for children and teachers with Mother Tongues Ireland ; a NEMO webinar for museum professionals about how museums and makers can collaborate through residencies; filmed a cooking demo for UN World Arabic Language Day for social media.
With all of these highlights under my belt, the most important thing is the willingness to collaborate with an open mind and the support of fantastic colleagues.
See you all in 2019.