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University Museums Group Conference

16 July 14 -- jsuess
This post was contributed by Jessica Suess, Oxford ASPIRE Officer

In late June we were delighted to attend this year's University Museums Group conference with several Oxford colleagues. This year's theme was 'Digital Dimensions' and I was pleased to be able to help put together the conference programme. The conference was held at Bristol University in the Theatre collections, and big thanks to them for managing the event so effectively. 

We are also grateful to Oxford University IT Services for filming the conference for us free of charge so that it is possible to disseminate the amazing learning from the two days.

Full details of the conference and all the presentation and videos are available on the University Museums Group website.

A particular highlight was the Thursday evening keynote from James Davis, Program Manager at the Google Cultural Institute, who introduced us to the idea of Digital Guerillas, which is now part of our vocabulary. 

Check out all the videos from the conference:

Keynote: Tandi Williams, Research Manager, Nesta, "Digital Kaleidoscope: a closer look ar recent technology patterns in museums

Panel 1: At the Cutting Edge

  • Chair: Paul Smith, Director, Oxford University Museum of Natural History
  • Richard Clay, Co-Director, Digital Humanities Hub, University of Birmingham
  • Mark Macleod, Head of the Infirmary Museum, University of Worcester
  • Danny Birchall, Head of Digital Services, Wellcome Trust

Panel 2: Digital and Impact

  • Chair: Gail Lamboure, Strategy and Development Manager (Cultures and Heritage), AHRC
  • Jack Ashby, Museum Manager, Grant Museum, UCL
  • Claire Warwick, Professor of Digital Humanities, Department for Information Studies, UCL
  • Maria Economou, Joint Curator/Lecturer in Museums Studies (Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute & Hunterian Museum) University of Glasgow

Panel 3: Post Digital

  • Chair: Ross Parry, College Academic Director (Arts, Humanities, Law), School of Museums Studies, University of Leicester
  • Amy Hetherington, PhD Student, University of Leicester
  • Peter Pavement, PhD Student, University of Leicester; Director, Surface Impression - unfortunately due to technical glitch the film of Peter's talk isn't available, which is terrible as it was reall, really good!
  • Elena Villaespesa, PhD Student, University of Leicester; Web Anaylst, Tate

The event also featurd a Digital Showcase where museums and universities could show off some of the more cutting edge technology they've been developing. A highlight for me was Curpanion: Bringing Natural History to Life from the University of Bristol and the Horniman.

We aim to breathe new life intotaxidermy and natural history exhibits by prototyping internet-connected personalised curatorial devices called 'Curpanions'. Although natural history exhibits are popular at museums, and each specimen contains a wealth of stories and scientific information, displays are static and engagement is often one-dimensional. Curpanions break free from the constraints of traditional display and interaction by enabling the visitor to activate augmented physical exhibits whilst collecting and connecting ti virtual content about them.

Check out details of all the Digital Showcase projects.

Now looking forward to next year's conference...


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