MCN 2017 Scholars look forward to Pittsburgh!

Our #MCN2017 Scholars are looking forward to the conference in Pittsburgh, get to know them below and find out what they are looking to learn about this year.

Ben Fast

Headshot of MCN 2017 Scholar Ben Fast

How did you learn about MCN?
I heard about MCN through Twitter first, but only really paid attention to it when two long-distance colleagues of mine got involved.  Luc Desmarais was an MCN Scholar in 2016 and Mairin Kerr was involved with the program committee.  I signed up for the program committee and was planning on attending but got a job on the other side of Canada so had to pull out.  I’m very glad to be back in 2017!

What are you looking forward to most at the conference?
I’m looking forward to the networking and informal conversations most.  I love meeting new people doing similar work to me and seeing how our paths/jobs/projects can overlap.  There are so many amazing projects to learn from, and people are always so passionate about them while at conferences.  The sessions are a close second for me, though.  I am particularly interested in the variety of types of sessions at this year’s conference, from the very formal to the rather informal.  It will be cool to see how they work and how people learn differently in them.  There were so many great topics that I had trouble choosing what I wanted to attend!

How do you feel about being an MCN scholar?
I am very excited to be an MCN Scholar, though also a bit nervous.  My project seems quite different than my co-presenters, and I hope it is of interest to them.  I am excited for the chance to bring some Canadian flavour to the conference and show off what’s happening north of the border while learning from and meeting so many great international and American delegates.  Since we only have 5 minutes, I’m sure it will be all over in the blink of an eye!

This year MCN turns 50. How do you feel about being part of the 50th anniversary? What’s something you’d like to explore with MCN in the future?
I am very happy to be involved with MCN during the 50th anniversary conference.  Any big milestone presents good opportunities for looking back at where we’ve come from and looking forward to where we’re going.  The museum field is advancing rapidly and MCN presents a good place for exploring the absolute forefront of that advance.  The delegates, presenters, and host venues are all inspirational and will be the basis of those next 50 years.  I’m excited to see how MCN leads the museum field into a new era of technology and digital work environments – it will be a great ride!

What are you looking to share with the MCN community?
I am looking to share my passion for museums with the MCN community!  Coming from a museums association, my take on digital projects and impacts on museums may be from a more arms-length perspective, but I also see it from an industry-wide perspective.  My location also provides a good small museum perspective that may not come across in the big high-visibility projects normally represented at these big conferences, so I hope my questions about feasible implementation and realistic expectations will challenge some in the community and spark discussions about digital across the entire museum sector.

 

Karen Vidangos

Headshot of MCN 2017 Scholar Karen Vidangos

How did you learn about MCN?
I learned about MCN through Suse Anderson who was my social media professor in graduate school at GWU.
What are you looking forward to most at the conference?
Meeting everyone! I have made so many wonderful online connections since starting A Latina in Museums so it will be amazing to finally meet some of these great people in person. I’m also excited to hear, learn, and be inspired by all the professionals in the field speaking on digital engagement.

How do you feel about being an MCN scholar?
I was excited when I found out that I would be an MCN Scholar. I’m at the beginning of my career and it has certainly marked a turning point where I realized that what I am doing is meaningful to more than just myself. A Latina in Museums was meant to be a personal endeavor but being able to share it with the MCN community as a scholar will be the first time I speak on it to a group and I will certainly cherish that opportunity.

This year MCN turns 50. How do you feel about being part of the 50th anniversary?
I think it is an exciting time to be a new member of the MCN community. I came at the right moment when so many voices in our field are looking back at the past 50 years and having important discussions on what it means to challenge ourselves in a quickly evolving digital world (#MCNVoices). I’m glad to be part of it.

What’s something you’d like to explore with MCN in the future?
In the future I’d like to explore the data on what we know about social media use to discuss how to have a more inclusive and diverse digital presence for our growing, diverse audiences. According to the Pew Research Center, Hispanics lead the general population in social media use but yet too little is done to reach them in our museums.

What are you looking to share with the MCN community?
I’m looking to share my enthusiasm about diversity and how we can all learn to be more intersectional in the digital world of museums. I have so much to learn from this wonderful community and I look forward to making my contributions as well!

 

Samantha Norling

Headshot of MCN 2017 Scholar Sami Norling

How did you learn about MCN?
I first learned about MCN from my colleagues at the Indianapolis Museum of Art who regularly shared interesting things that they had learned about during the annual meeting or in their regular involvement in SIGs. As a trained archivist, I had always been actively involved in archival professional organizations, but I saw that there were many conversations happening and ideas being shared within the MCN community that had implications across LAM fields, particularly for me as an archivist within a museum.

What are you looking forward to most at the conference?
For the last few years, I’ve been following the development of a LAM Interoperability SIG, hoping to get involved in a meaningful way with this emerging group. I enjoyed listening to the LAM Interoperability session recording that was made available after the conference last year, but I am really looking forward to the chance to attend related meetings and sessions, and to make connections and get more involved with members of the MCN community with similar interests in data operability between LAMs (consider this an invitation to reach out to me in Pittsburgh if you share this interest too!).

How do you feel about being an MCN scholar?
I was beyond excited to find out that I was selected to be an MCN scholar this year. For full disclosure, I have to admit that this was my third (and almost certainly final) attempt at becoming a scholar. As the IMA’s archivist for three years until transitioning to my new role as digital collections manager, I was given financial support to attend one archives conference per year by the museum, as many of my colleagues were also funded to attend their specialty-specific conferences. I hoped that through the MCN scholarship program I could attend the annual meeting and get involved in the community, finding ways to show the value to both the IMA and the MCN community in supporting opportunities for cross-pollination between traditionally separated specialties.

This year MCN turns 50. How do you feel about being part of the 50th anniversary? What’s something you’d like to explore with MCN in the future?
At the same time that MCN is turning 50 and celebrating this important year in its history, I also find myself in the middle of a huge transition period for my career, moving from archives to a more interdisciplinary role managing digital collections, broadly defined, at the IMA. Because of this, it feels very fitting that I begin what I hope will be a very long, very active membership with MCN. Though I am no longer an archivist by title, I hope that I can find ways to work with MCN to continue to blur the lines of library, archives, and museum professionals and make MCN the go-to conference and community for a broad range of cultural heritage professionals to share and create innovations in digital practice.

What are you looking to share with the MCN community?
During the MCN scholar lightning talks, I will be presenting “A Crash Course in the American Art Collaborative Data Pipeline” about my experience completely remodeling and generating the IMA’s contribution to the AAC linked data set in the last months of a nearly two-years-long project. Apart from that presentation, I hope to bring my experiences and perspectives as an archivist-turned-data-manager to broader linked data conversations happing both at the annual meeting and in other MCN communication channels throughout the other 360 days of the year. I’m particularly interested in finding ways that linked data might facilitate better integration between archival description and museum cataloging practices, with the goal of opening new avenues for exploration of the history and context of museum collections.

 

Courtney Titus

Headshot of MCN 2017 Scholar Courtney TitusHow did you learn about MCN?
A colleague told me about the conference. She attended a previous one and raved about the great information she received and the openness of the people who attended.

What are you looking forward to most at the conference?
I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can from other conference attendees about the ways their museums are using technology, common challenges they face with implementing projects, and how they address these challenges.

How do you feel about being an MCN scholar?
I feel honored and appreciative to be selected as a scholar. As a newcomer to the field, I know this conference will provide an excellent opportunity for learning, discussing new ideas, and building connections with the best in the field.

This year MCN turns 50. How do you feel about being part of the 50th anniversary? What’s something you’d like to explore with MCN in the future?
I am excited to be a part of this huge milestone for MCN. Their longevity is a testament to the significant impact they’ve had on advancing the field and I look forward to contributing to this amazing community. I would like to explore innovations museums can use to reach audiences that are very interested in art but may feel intimidated by it due to a lack of fluency in art history and related subjects.

What are you looking to share with the MCN community?
I am looking forward to sharing the successes and challenges a small museum experienced when implementing its first sustainable technology project.

 

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