Join the MCN 2016 Program Planning Committee!

MCN is looking to add Program Co-Chairs for 2016-2017

Position Title: Program Co-Chair (2 positions)
Period: 1 year, with the possibility of a 2nd term
Start: Mid-December 2015
Commitment: 1-3 hours/week throughout the year, increasing as the conference nears; full time during the conference. The 2016 Co-Chair must be available one weekend in January for a site visit to New Orleans (paid for by MCN).
Fee: Program Co-Chair is a volunteer role and is not compensated. MCN does however offer complimentary registration to the annual conference during the year(s) you serve.
Location: MCN’s Annual Conference is a North American based-conference that supports global involvement and has an emerging international following. The successful candidate is required to attend the Conference in person, as well as participating in regular phone or online meetings.

MCN2016 will take place in New Orleans, November 1-4, 2016.

MCN is looking for two thoughtful, motivated and dynamic museum professionals to join us as MCN Program Co-Chairs. This is an opportunity to help shape the future of a major museum technology conference, immerse yourself in cutting edge developments in the sector, broaden your networks on a national level, and to gain experience and professional development in event programming.

Program Co-Chairs provide leadership for the annual MCN Conference, creating the program through the conception and organisation of panels, presentations, paper sessions, readings, performances, exhibitions, installations, workshops, and special events. With current Co-Chair Suse Cairns, the newly appointed Co-Chairs will work together to develop an innovative conference program that serves the evolving needs of the MCN community as it approaches its 50th anniversary in 2017, with one Appointee focussed on the 2016 conference with the current Co-Chair, and one looking forward to the 2017 conference.

The ideal candidate will be passionate about the intersection of museums and technology, and interested in developing an innovative conference program, ideally having attended MCN at least once in the previous five years. They will have existing networks within the sector, and a strong understanding of the issues facing museums with regards to technology. They will be active in the museum or cultural technology community (museums, archives, libraries, etc.) and knowledgeable of trusted sources of information; a proactive self-starter; have excellent oral and written communication skills; be a creative, big thinker; and be diplomatic under pressure.

About MCN
MCN is a nonprofit organization whose core purpose is to foster innovation and excellence by supporting professionals who seek to transform the way their cultural organizations reach, engage, and educate their audiences using digital technologies. We do this by building a community that attracts, nurtures, inspires and sustains exceptional professionals.

For further information and a full overview of responsibilities, please email 

To apply, please send an email articulating why you think you’d be a good fit for this position, and noting any relevant experience to: Please include a CV or link to your LinkedIn profile. DEADLINE – DECEMBER 4th


The Intersection between Social Innovation, Museums and Digital

Reflections on the MCN 2015 keynote speech by Haitham EidAssistant Professor/Interim Director, Master of Arts in Museum Studies Program, Southern University at New Orleans.

I have just returned from Minneapolis after attending the MCN conference for the first time. It was a very rewarding experience and I had the chance to meet with some wonderful and intelligent people. What excited me the most was the topic of the keynote speech by Liz Ogbu. Liz spoke about social innovation and her work to provide more effective and sustainable solutions to social problems hereLiz Ogbu Portrait in the United States and abroad. The term social innovation is not very familiar (but not totally alien, as will be explained) to the museum sector. However, I must say that the decision made by the conference organizers to address the concept of social innovation in the keynote speech is brave and visionary on many different levels. I was particularly thrilled about the speech because it added another layer of confidence and assurance to my three years of research, in which, as part of my Ph.D. research at the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK, I have studied the concept of social innovation along with two other concepts (social enterprise and open innovation). The research provides conceptual and practical evidences that the three concepts together can form a model for innovation in museums. Since the keynote speech of the MCN2015 addressed social innovation, this blog will try to contribute to what I hope is the start of a fruitful discussion about the intersection between social innovation, museums and digital.

Liz is an amazing speaker, and, like all social innovators, is passionate about her work. But what is social innovation in the first place? The Center for Social Innovation at Stanford University defines social innovation as “a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than present solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals.” Social innovation, as we can see from the definition, is about improving and empowering communities through creativity and ingenuity. It goes beyond disciplinary boundaries to create sustainable social value. Social innovators include architects, engineers, health care professionals, artists, entrepreneurs and many others looking at social innovation and trying to discover ways within their professions to advance the social innovation agenda. When Liz spoke at the MCN2015 on November 5th, she gave her perspective as an architect and designer. She showed in her presentation how she designed innovative and affordable cook stoves in Tanzania. The new design improves the lives of millions of Tanzanians by adopting a cooking style that is both healthier and better for the environment. She also uncovered how her talent as an architect and social innovator led her to turn an empty tract of land in the poor neighborhood of Hunters Point in San Francisco into a community center and recording studio for the community to come together and share their stories. It was a small and inexpensive piece of architecture but created a new and positive energy in the community.

Museums recognize themselves as social and cultural organizations and the notion of creating social value is a core objective for any museum. Therefore, for me, museums and social innovation seem to be a perfect match. Museologists like Bob Janes (Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, Museum Management and Curatorship Journal), Richard Sandell (Professor of Museum Studies at University of Leicester), the late Stephen Weil and many others have devoted a huge amount of their intellectual work advocating for the museum as enhappabler of social justice and environmental awareness. Janes calls it the “mindful museum,” a museum that is aware of its surrounding and consciously works to improve society and the environment. But how can museums approach social innovation? The quest for answers to this question needs contributions from everyone in the sector: museum directors, curators, conservators, researchers, technologists, etc. It is, however, exciting that some museums have already started exploring the concept of social innova
tion. For example, in the UK context, the work of Tony Butler at the Happy Museum project
, Derby Museums, and previously at the Museum of Anglian Life, revolves around social innovation and social enterprise. Here in the US, The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA, established a special program (The Tech Awards) to recognize:

10 international innovators who are applying technology to confront humanity’s most urgent challenges. The Tech Awards honors individuals, non-profit organizations and for-profit companies who are using technology to significantly improve human conditions in five award categories. The technology used can be either a new invention or an innovative use of an existing technology (The Tech Museum of Innovation website).

The Tech Award Gala (2014), and the Social Innovation Workshop at the Tech Museum of Innovation, lead to my final point, which is identifying the intersection between social innovation and digital innovation. Many of the social problems facing humanity right now can be fought and probably defeated through digital innovation. Jeremy Millard and Gwendolyn Carpenter from the Danish Technological Institute state:

Digital technology can also be transformational and open new perspectives on social innovation, such as the use of so-called ‘big data’ to collect and analyse data of what social needs are being experienced by which people in different places at different times. Using new digital technologies can also open new perspectives for locally manufactured and very cheap products for people who otherwise have no chance of being helped.

Using digital can maximize impact, cut costs, and make social innovation more effective. Museums are full of talented and passionate individuals who are very eager to improve their communities and contribute to resolving social issues. No one expects museums alone to find solutions to all the social challenges that face humanity, or to approach them the same way other sectors tend to do, but I believe museums are positioned to make a great contribution. Can social innovation be a framework that inspires museums to take progressive steps on social and environmental issues? Can digital teams in museums around the world push the social innovation agenda in the museum sector? Please share your thoughts and let me know what you think.


Haitham Eid

Assistant Professor/Interim Director, 

Master of Arts in Museum Studies Program, 

Southern University at New Orleans.

Twitter: @HaithamEid | Email:


MCN Scholars to Share Their Conference Experiences

Each year, MCN offers scholarships to qualified applicants from the cultural sector to attend the annual conference. The scholarship includes free registration and hotel stay for the duration of the conference, participation in a free workshop, and a stipend to defray travel costs. Scholarships are made possible by the generous support of our sponsors and provide the recipients with valuable career-building and networking experiences.

This year we received over 130 applications from over 35 U.S. states and 13 countries, making it extremely difficult to narrow down to just 15 awardees. Scholarship recipients are encouraged to assist MCN in sharing their conference experiences with the wider cultural sector by capturing important ideas and themes that they see develop during sessions and events. Stay tuned for blog posts and #MCN2015 tweets for insights from this year’s scholarship recipients:

Tracey Berg-Fulton, Database Associate, Carnegie Museum of Art Collections

Daniel Caulfield-Sriklad, Fulbright Visiting Researcher, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University

Laura Hoffman, Manager of Digital Engagement, National Museum of Women in the Arts

Mikkel Kirkedahl Nielsen, Curator, Sydvestjyske Museer Museumsinspektør

Nicole Lovenjak, Library Practicum, Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives, The Banff Centre

Samip Mallick, Executive Director, SAADA

Diana Marques, Digital Media PhD Candidate & Doctoral Fellow, College of Engineering, University of Porto, Portugal &
National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Hana Maruyama, Multimedia Producer, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

Lesley Parilla, Field Book Project cataloger, Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Phillippa Pitts, Associate Educator for Gallery Learning, Portland Museum of Art

Rachel Ropeik, Manager of Public Engagement / Teacher Services Coordinator,
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum / Brooklyn Museum

Cristina Salvador, Collections Manager, Santa Fe Botanical Garden (SFBG)

Jessica Suess, Digital Partnership Officer, Oxford University Museums (UK)

Jocelyn Wehr, Digitization Services Coordinator, University of Kansas

Shari Winard, Social Media Coordinator, Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum


#MCN2015 Proposal Selections by May 31

Thanks to everyone who submitted a proposal for the MCN 2015 conference in Minneapolis, MN Nov 4-7. The Program Committee has already begun reviewing abstracts and will let authors know if their proposal was selected by May 31.


MCN 2014 Recordings On YouTube

If you weren’t able to join us in Dallas for the MCN 2014 Conference, want to hear those great sessions you missed, or just want to relive every exciting moment, check out the recordings of MCN 2014 sessions on our YouTube Channel. Full video is available for each Ignite MCN presentation and our wonderful Keynote speaker, Lance Weiler. Sessions are available as audio recordings with synchronized slides. More sessions will continue to be added, so check back!


Welcome to Dallas!

Welcome to Dallas, MCN 2014 attendees! If you’re looking for local restaurants, museums, or things to see, here is a handy map:

Workshops begin today. Please note that the following workshops have moved to State Room: Making Pixels with OSCI Toolkit and Vine Vs. Instagram: Throwdown! Hotel maps are located by the elevators and most rooms are on the terrace or banquet level.

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