Archive for March, 2019

Humanizing the Digital: Unproceedings from the MCN 2018 Conference


Post by Suse Anderson

 

MCN’s 2018 conference, Humanizing the Digital, explored how museums can use technology to foster human connection and dialogue, advance accessibility and inclusion, and champion inquiry and knowledge. After witnessing the presentations and rich conversations that arose from them, a group of practitioners came together to explore how best to capture and disseminate the learnings that occurred at the conference. The outcome was a decision to solicit and publish a book inspired by the conference and its ideas.

A call went out in December requesting submissions from both conference attendees and presenters. Essays were encouraged to synthesize an idea that emerged over the week, dive deeper into a conference session, or speak broadly on the theme, including opportunities for non-traditional submissions.

The result, released this week, is Humanizing the Digital: Unproceedings from the MCN 2018 Conference. The book contains 17 conference-inspired responses to the state of museum technology in 2018, including essays, reflections, case studies, conversations, and an experimental in-book zine. The topics explore areas as diverse as calm technology, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, visitor-centered communication, interpretation and programming, empathy, inclusion and slow change.

It is worth noting that we were midway through the process before it occurred to us that it might be a good idea to notify MCN that we were doing this. Thankfully, MCN thought that this kind of community-driven effort was worth embracing. Though unofficial, it is definitely aligned with MCN’s mission of connecting people to ideas and each other. It is also a great example of the kind of community MCN has developed; one that is deeply collegial, true to its grassroots origins, geared toward action, and likely to ask for forgiveness before permission.

It is also worth noting that our editorial process followed (or, at least, tried to follow) those same principles. Editors and authors volunteered their time to this publication, which involved a social-media-based Call For Proposals that was open to anyone willing to put in the time and energy to turn something around within a matter of weeks. We did a bit of peer review for clarity, but relatively little editing of our submissions, so what you are about to read represents the varied voices and styles of the authors. While not every initial proposal ended up in this collection, we heartily thank all the members of the MCN community who shared their thoughts with us.

Humanizing the Digital: Unproceedings from the MCN 2018 Conference was produced using Quire™, a digital publishing platform created by Getty Publications and owned by the J. Paul Getty Trust. Thank you to our Production Editor, Greg Albers (also an MCN Board member), whose work was invaluable in turning our idea for a responsive unconference publication into reality.

Members of the Ad Hoc Museum Collective will be at Museums and the Web, the American Alliance of Museums conference and MCNx New Orleans and will have copies of the book available for purchase for a special price of $10. You can also buy the book from Amazon now. If you’re looking for another way to access the essays, we plan to make the full collection available online and for download for free in time for MCN 2019.

All proceeds from the sale of the book go to support the MCN scholarship program.

Ad Hoc Museum Collective Editorial Team

Suse Anderson, Isabella Bruno, Hannah Hethmon, Seema Rao, Ed Rodley, and Rachel Ropeik.

Production Editor

Greg Albers

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MCN 2019 Call for Proposals Submission Requirements

 

The Call for Proposals for the MCN 2019 annual conference will be open April 1-30. Given the various (and often quite substantial) changes we’re making to the overall process and more specifically to some session types, we thought we’d share the submission requirements ahead of April 1 so you have some time to familiarize yourself with what’s new.

We look forward to seeing your proposals!

If you have any questions, email program@mcn.edu. We will get back to you as soon as we can.

MCN 2019 Theme: Interface: Communities + Museums

For MCN 2019, we invite proposals that will explore the ways technology, platforms, and communities interface in museums. Often we create devices and design experiences to connect with audiences. We build networks with users and systems. We devise and revise channels to overcome obstacles. Bringing people, technology, and collections together, these interfaces are rich with challenges and opportunities that are worth exploring. Let’s look into the many ways communities and museums intertwine, face challenges, and adapt. What platforms—human and technological—have made museums more responsive? How does collaboration factor into innovation? What interfaces most impact your institution and benefit your community?

Interfacing—in all its forms—will anchor the general conversations at the conference; however, we welcome proposals on whatever topic is meaningful to you. Envisioning a world in which all museums are empowered digitally to achieve their missions, MCN wants to hear from you how making technology choices empowers you in your work.

That said, we also welcome proposals on whatever topic is meaningful to you at the moment.

Session Types

PLENARY PANELS — NEW!

Starting this year, in addition to the traditional Opening Plenary Keynote on Wednesday morning, we are adding two Panel discussions in plenary format on Thursday and Friday morning. Bringing everyone together at the start of the day will be an opportunity to listen, reflect, and participate in a moderated discussion around important sector-wide issues.

As organizer of the Plenary Panel, you serve as moderator, leading a discussion about your topic with three to five panelists. You will foster a dialogue by encouraging conversations and leading a Q&A with the audience.

Duration

60 or 75 minutes

Submission requirements

  • Description: A Plenary Panel proposal should describe the structure or format of the session and the underlying issues or themes to be discussed. Identify some key questions that will either be addressed by your panel or in feedback from the audience.
  • Topic/Theme: In selecting a theme, make sure that it’s broad enough to be of interest to the entire audience. Consider sector-wide issues that affect museums as whole or general technology trends.
  • Panelists: Panel organizers should have prior experience leading and moderating interactive group sessions. Diversity among panelists is important to the success of the session. Your proposal should demonstrate how your panelists bring different voices and multiple perspectives. You and your panelists should also recognize the need for advance preparation.
  • Outcomes: In a few words, outline the key outcomes you expect for attendees: “After attending this session, participants will be able to…”

DEEP DIVES — NEW!

Deep Dives are designed as “roll up your sleeves” experiences. They are an opportunity to brainstorm on challenges or specific issues affecting the sector or focus on particular practice areas from multiple perspectives. All Deep Dives should aim to explore novel approaches to a given topic and create a space that welcomes and amplifies a multitude of perspectives. They may or may not identify potential solutions to a given challenge. As Deep Dive organizer, you will design and facilitate the session.

Duration

90 or 120 minutes

Capacity

At least 20 participants, maximum 30.

Sign-up required & No extra fee

Due to limited capacity, attendees will be required to sign up for a Deep Dive when they register for the conference. Spots are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. All Deep Dives are included in the cost of registration. No additional fees will be charged to those who sign up.

Submission requirements

  • Description: A Deep Dive proposal should describe the topic, theme, issues or challenges that you intend to address, the overall structure of the session, and the types of activities you will use to engage attendees.
  • Presenters: Deep Dive organizers and co-presenter(s) should have prior experience leading and moderating interactive group sessions and recognize the need for advance preparation.
  • Outcomes: Brainstorming activities are the primary drivers for Deep Dives. Outline anticipated outcomes for your session and/or the learning objectives you have for participants. Detail the methods you intend to employ that will help your group investigate a topic, develop new understandings, and connect with each other.

30 & 60-MINUTE SESSIONS

30 and 60-minute sessions are the core of the conference program. They allow presenters and attendees alike to investigate issues related to and/or inspired by the conference theme.

30-minute sessions are best suited towards short presentations and case study on the field. They typically contain 20 minutes of content and 10 minutes of discussion or Q&A. Note that only three speakers may participate in a single 30-minute session, and the program may group sessions together to create an hour-long session around a common topic.

60-minute sessions can accommodate panels, professional forums, and hands-on demonstrations. Propose a 60-minute session if you have more to share about the project or lots to discuss with panelists. No more than five speakers may participate in a single 60-minute session.

Duration

30 or 60 minutes

Submission Requirements

  • Description: A 30 & 60-minute session proposal should describe the structure or format of the session, the underlying issues or themes to be discussed. Identify some key questions that will either be addressed by your panel or in additional questions from the audience.
  • Topic/Theme: In selecting a theme for the 30 & 60-Minute Session, make sure to describe the topic, theme, issues or challenges that you intend to address.
  • Panelists: Diversity among panelists is important to the success of the session. Your proposal should demonstrate how your panelists will offer different voices and multiple perspectives. When confirming your panelists, they must also recognize the need for advance preparation.  
  • Outcomes: In a few words, describe the key outcomes for attending this session: “After attending this session, participants will be able to…”

WORKSHOPS

Led by a presenter with specific knowledge on and expertise in a particular topic or practice area, Workshops are in-depth, hands-on sessions. They’re designed to impart a highly focused and defined “know-how,” such as a new methodologies, updates on specific content or practice areas, introductions to new techniques, or refreshers on one or more skill sets.

Duration

90 or 120 minutes

Note that this year, Workshops will be scheduled Tuesday, Thursday, and possibly Friday morning.

Sign up required & Additional fees

Workshops are optional sessions. Attendees must sign up for their workshop of choice at registration and pay an additional fee to participate.

Minimum enrollment requirement

For Workshops to run, we require a minimum enrollment of 3 attendees per workshop. We will monitor enrollment for all accepted workshops from July through October, promoting individual workshops to increase enrollment as needed. MCN reserves the right to cancel workshops that fail to meet the minimum enrollment requirement. If necessary, we will cancel workshops and notify organizers by mid-October.

Submission Requirements

  • Description: Workshop proposals should describe the topic you intend to cover, the overall structure of the session, as well as the types of activities or methodologies you will use to teach participants. Marketing pitches for commercial products or services are not allowed.
  • Organizers: Workshop organizers should have prior experience leading and moderating interactive group sessions and recognize the need for advance preparation.  
  • Learning objectives: Include 3 to 4 learning objectives for participants of your Workshop. Indicate the level of complexity and expertise of your workshop, i.e. whether it’s a beginner-level, intermediate, or advanced session.

FIELD  TRIPS

A conversation between museum technologists and local artists, Field Trips fuel critical dialogue and provocative conversations on art, ideas, and culture. They take attendees out of the conference bubble to explore local art spaces and engage with the artists and professionals from the host city’s robust creative community. Bring your brain and your voice!

Successful experiences are a synergy of four elements: the discussion topic; the venue in which it takes place; the participants drawn from the MCN museum technology community; the local cohort.

MCN will support organizers to reserve venues, draft schedules, contact local collaborators, and manage Field Trip groups.

Sign up required & Additional Fees

Field Trips are optional sessions. Attendees must sign up for their field trip of choice at registration and pay an additional fee to participate.

Duration

Half day

Submission Requirements

  • Discussion topic: What topic would be discussed? Hosts and attendees should expect to connect the conference with the projects and people at work in the host city. Proposals should include two prompts: a written prompt (with references as necessary) for participants to receive/review before the field trip and an “in-person” prompt for participants to discuss on site. The latter can be an adaption of the written prompt; both will frame the field trip experience.
  • Venue & Collaborators (Optional): Every trip is a site-specific opportunity to evolve perspectives and make connections across communities and disciplines. If you have ideas regarding collaboration with local practitioners and artists, as well as art spaces, or community organizations  please include them here. Otherwise, we’ll help you find a venue and partners for your field trip, if selected.
  • Intended Audience: Field Trips are community exchanges. Thinking of the museum technology community, what audience do you think will get the most out participating in the experience you are proposing? Please include information about practice area, experience/level, work role/function.
  • Session outcomes: In a few words, describe for the attendees the key outcomes for attending this session: “‘After attending this session, participants will be able to…”’

IGNITE TALKS

Ignite talks mark the start of the MCN conference. They are energizing and inventive,  thought-provoking and fast-paced. And we mean fast—presenters have five minutes to run through 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. A signature MCN experience since 2012, Ignite talks take place on Tuesday during the Ignite reception. All speakers must participate in a Tuesday afternoon rehearsal as well as the opening night reception.

Watch the MCN 2018 Ignite Presentations

This year marks an evolution of Ignite MCN. We invite presenters to offer their perspective on a central question. Additionally, MCN will enroll all Ignite presenters in the “MCN Ignite Academy”—a structured, mentoring process in the run up to the conference in which first timer presenters will be connected with past Ignite presenters and other seasoned professionals to offer encouragement, support, and feedback.

Duration

5 minutes, Tuesday, November 5

Submission Requirements

The MCN 2019 Ignite theme is: “Imagine the future of…” Your proposal should include:

  • Description: Describe the topic or provide a narrative summary of your talk. You can provide this as a bulleted list outlining your high-level talking points.
  • Commitment: Presenters agree to participate in the “MCN Ignite Academy” and attend four 1-hour virtual video conference calls over the summer to develop and refine their ideas and talks.

For questions or ideas about an Ignite proposal, please contact: Nik Honeysett at: nhoneysett@bpoc.org.

OTHER SESSION TYPES

Have an idea for something completely different? The MCN community is endlessly creative, and this is your opportunity to propose something outside of the box. While most presentations will fit into one of the formats above, we encourage innovative ideas.

Sessions submitted under the “Other” category in the past included but are not limited to:

  • Drop-in skillshare and DIY sessions to learn new skills for designing digital experiences (“DIY Digital Playground”)
  • Peer-advising sessions to collectively problem-solves workplace dilemmas and common issues in our field (“#MCNergy”)
  • Lounges to consult on projects and get a new perspective on collections (“UX Lounge” and “Slow looking room”)

All we ask is that you don’t just submit a proposal for a longer version of a typical session. Marketing pitches for commercial products or services are not allowed.

Submission Requirements

  • Description:  Other session proposals should describe the overall structure of the session, the topic you intend to cover, as well as the types of activities or methodologies you will use to teach and/or involve participants.
  • Session outcomes: In a few words, describe for the attendees the key outcomes for attending this session: “After attending this session, participants will be able to…”

You can also contact us at program@mcn.edu before submitting a proposal. We’d be happy to talk through your idea, considering space requirements, special equipment, participant capacity, and other details to help you put everything together.

Presenter Guidelines

Before you submit a proposal for any session type, please familiarize yourself with our Presenters Guidelines. This includes information about confirming your presentation, requesting program changes, registering for the conference, and more.

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Proposal Selection Criteria

When reviewing submissions, the Program Committee will evaluate them based on the following criteria:

  • Session purpose, intended objectives and learning ­outcomes are clearly stated.
  • The session has potential to be a significant contribution to MCN and the museum sector.
  • Organizer’s commitment to stimulate discussion at the conference is evident.
  • Overall relevance to what’s currently being talked about in the sector.
  • Relevance to the conference theme, although proposals not specifically anchored in the theme will be equally reviewed.

Proposals with the following characteristics will be favored:

  • Those invested in cross-collaborations.
  • Variety of presenters in various roles and seniority levels.
  • Diversity of voices and perspectives.
  • Presenters from traditionally underrepresented groups and/or minority or marginalized backgrounds.
  • Variety of institution types.
  • Engaging formats that encourage dialogue among participants.
  • New and unique takes on familiar topics.
  • For-profit firms and vendors paired with museum partners.
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March SIG Corner: Media Production & Branding

 

DSLR Camera stock image with Media Production and Branding overlaid text

The Media Production and Branding Special Interest Group supports museum professionals through discussions on methods for digital media production (video, audio, text, etc.) as a storytelling and audience engagement device to manifest an organization’s identity and mission. We also maintain a technical focus on production methodology as well as developing brand identity through creation and distribution of digital content.

Our group led a presentation and discussion March 13th about branding in video content. Watch the recorded presentation here on Basecamp. For our next discussion, we are pairing with the Social Media SIG to discuss how to share your video content across multiple platforms, and strategies for repurposing a video to work on different channels.

Join our SIG to ask questions, share your projects, and collaborate on topics from branding decision-making to production techniques to media evaluation.

 

Kelsey Cvach, Chair

 

Ryan Waggoner headshot

Ryan Waggoner, co-Chair

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MCN 2019 Preview: Towards a new Conference Experience

 

No two MCN annual conferences are ever the same. Year after year, we review the feedback from the last conference to shape the next one. The changes we make are always important but not necessarily noticeable to most attendees. This year however, the suggestions led us to rethink the standard blueprint of the schedule, resulting in some significant alterations to what you’ve been accustomed to in past conferences.

In planning for MCN 2019, we prioritized the following takeaways as they emerged at the top of the list from last year’s conference feedback:

  • Too many concurrent and conflicting sessions left many feeling overwhelmed and frustrated that they couldn’t make sessions they really wanted to be at (we’ve been hearing this for a long time);
  • A desire to consider fewer but stronger and more varied sessions overall;
  • More shared experiences, more participatory and interactive conversations;
  • More hands-on, ‘How-to’ type sessions as well as workshops throughout the week;
  • A user-friendly program schedule to make it easier for attendees to select what they want to attend;
  • More time for socializing and networking, as always;
  • A need to reconsider Friday, as attendance tends to erode fast translating into very low turnouts in sessions scheduled that day, which is unfair to these presenters.

We heard you. We’re making important changes to the program as a result. But first, the theme.

“Interface: Communities + Museums”

The first order of business for the Program Committee is to look for predominant issues affecting the sector to define a theme. Following a vigorous debate among all the members of the Program Committee, Melissa Mair and Seema Rao distilled the various viewpoints into a simple formula: “Interface: Communities + Museums”.

For MCN 2019, we invite proposals that will explore the ways technology, platforms, and communities interface in museums. Often we create devices and design experiences to connect with audiences. We build networks with users and systems. We devise and revise channels to overcome obstacles. Bringing people, technology, and collections together, these interfaces are rich with challenges and opportunities that are worth exploring. Let’s look into the many ways communities and museums intertwine, face challenges, and adapt. What platforms—human and technological—have made museums more responsive? How does collaboration factor into innovation? What interfaces most impact your institution and benefit your community?

Interfacing—in all its forms—will anchor the general conversations at the conference; however, we welcome proposals on whatever topic is meaningful to you. Envisioning a world in which all museums are empowered digitally to achieve their missions, MCN wants to hear from you how making technology choices empowers you in your work.

However, we also welcome proposals on whatever topic is meaningful to you at the moment.

What’s new?

Arrive early, leave earlier!

This year, we’re starting the conference slightly earlier, offering more experiences on Tuesday afternoon. The conference will also end at lunchtime on Friday, giving you plenty of time to make your flight home, or extend your stay in San Diego 🏖.

New session types and a more diverse schedule

Perhaps the most dramatic change—you’ll notice a more varied program schedule. We are mixing session types to stimulate conversations and create more networking opportunities. While Tuesday will still play host to a number of tours and workshops, we’ll spread out more workshops over 3 days. Find one to attend, even if you can’t get there on Tuesday morning.

Let’s start each day together: Plenary Panels

In addition to the traditional Keynote address on Wednesday morning, we’ll start Thursday and Friday morning with panel discussions and Q&As in a plenary format, and a morning brief to update attendees of the days’ events. By gathering all the attendees together at the start of each day, we look to get everyone on the same page and generate discussions about topics affecting the sector at large.

Improved, user-friendly program schedule

To help you navigate sessions, all sessions will be 1) assigned a primary and a secondary track (out of five: Content, Experience, Strategy, Systems, Evaluation), and 2) labeled with several tags. These tags include practice related tags (e.g. AI, interpretation, social media, DAM, etc.) and event ones (e.g. Chatham House Rule, SIG-sponsored, etc.). You’ll also find ‘Session Outcomes’ listed on the program. Together we hope these changes help you curate your own conference schedule.

You asked for it—get ready for Deep Dives

You asked for more hands-on, interactive and participatory experiences. So we’re prototyping a new session type called ‘Deep Dive’. Deep Dives are facilitated extended sessions designed to be stimulating, interactive, and hands-on and are open to call for proposals. They offer an opportunity for attendees to think and learn more deeply about a particular topic or skill with your peers. All Deep Dive sessions are scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Space is limited and requires advance sign-up (but at no extra charge!). Deep Dives will take place onsite at the hotel and we’re working on making one happen at a local museum (More to come on that).

Social and networking events

The new program will also feature a number of new opportunities for attendees to catch-up and connect. Tuesday afternoon will host the traditional Welcome Session, as well as other open-house type sessions for attendees to learn more about MCN and network with others in the field. Vendors can also join the conversation. We’re moving the Museum Reception to Thursday evening instead of Tuesday, so we can spend more time in the Sponsor Hall to connect with vendors and colleagues during the ‘Vendors’ Happy Hour’.

Enhanced DEAI accommodations

Given MCN’s strategic commitment to embed Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion in everything it does, we’ll continue to expand accommodations around DEAI at the conference. These include gender neutral bathrooms, pronoun options, acknowledgements of local tribes, improved accessibility guidelines, ensuring our Friendly Space Policy is conspicuously displayed, and more.

The Classics

The program will continue to feature many of your favorite sessions: Workshops, Keynote and 30 and 60 minute sessions, as well as the ability to submit other session types.

And of course, Ignite MCN, a staple since 2012, though this year, we’ll be asking Ignite speakers to share their unique perspective around a central theme or question—one topic, multiple perspectives. We believe this approach will make for a more cohesive and engaging experience.

 

So there you are. We hope you’ll be as excited as we are about the changes we’re making for the November conference and that you’ll feel inspired to submit proposals. As always, Call for Proposals for MCN 2019 will be open from April 1 through April 30.

Stay tuned for a more comprehensive post to be published here by March 22, in which we will explain each session type and submission requirements for MCN 2019.

Lastly, join us in thanking the members of this year’s Conference Program Committee for their time, enthusiasm and invaluable contributions: we couldn’t pull this together without them.

 

Andrea Ledesma, Andrea Montiel de Shuman, and Eric Longo
Co-Chairs, MCN 2019 Conference Program Committee

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