Let’s Get Real conference 2011

The Culture24 Conference, Let’s Get Real, was held at Bristol’s Watershed on September 20 and 21 2011.

Download the Let’s Get Real report here: In colour or black and white.

The conference tackled the the difficult questions: Do we really know what we are doing online? Does counting the visitors to our websites really tell us anything? Do we need all the social media channels we start? Is there evidence of real engagement happening online? Do we really know what we are trying to achieve and who it is for?

These are difficult questions that everyone developing online services needs to ask themselves. It has almost become a cliché to say that online technologies have touched our lives, changed our behaviour and altered our expectations. The cultural sector is not immune to these changes, but how do we know if we are actually doing well?

The conference focussed on honesty, plain-speaking and troubleshooting. With great presentations about our latest action research and a selection of workshops, Crit Room, helpdesks and breakout sessions, delegates left with a better understanding of not just what success online might look like, but what it can mean for their organisation.


Conference highlights:

Keynote: User experience. Is there anything else?

Tom Uglow, Creative Lead at the Google Creative Lab

Download the audio file of Tom’s keynote, download the text of his speech, or view his slides below.

User experience: is there anything else? by Tom Uglow – Culture24 Let’s Get Real conference

Keynote: Can I have your attention? A brief history of how we measure audiences

Matt Locke (Storythings.com)

Download the audio file of Matt’s keynote.

Q & A session with the keynote speakers

Download the audio file.


Getting real: Implications of the Action Research Project

Jane Finnis, Director of Culture24

Download the audio file of Jane’s presentation.



Case studies on “failing forwards” from some of the Action Research Project partners:

Knowing me, knowing you

Matthew Cock, Head of Web, British Museum

We really didn’t know a lot about our online audience and how they used our site. We have implemented a few things using free or cheap analytics tools and surveys that are helping our marketing and web teams come to a better (and joined up) understanding that should help us prioritise what we do, and optimise what we do for our audience segments. It’s still a work in progress, but I will run through what we’re doing and what we hope to learn.

Listen to the audio file of Matthew’s presentation, or view his slides below.

British Museum website case study by Matthew Cock – Culture24 Let’s Get Real conference

If you build it they won’t come

Hugh Wallace, Head of Digital Media, National Museums Scotland

Despite following sector best practice and being based around popular and high-profile topics, our early projects encouraging people to upload their own photos to our Flickr stream failed to take flight. My case study explores the reasons why and explains what we’d do (and are doing) differently now when asking people to participate.

Listen to the audio file of Hugh’s presentation, or view his slides below.

National Museums Scotland Failing Forwards by Hugh Wallace – Culture24 Let’s Get Real conference

Keeping an eye on my vital statistics

James Morley, Website Development Manager, Kew

Relaunching a website presents all sorts of opportunities – technical and editorial enhancements, implementation of SEO best practice and improved design and user journeys. But it is also fraught with risk – will it harm my search rankings and referral numbers? How do I handle changing URLs? What about broken incoming links and bookmarks? Using metrics allows you to monitor performance and at the same time quickly spot and fix any problems.

Listen to the audio file of James’ presentation, or view his slides below.

Looking after my vital statistics by James Morley – Culture24 Let’s Get Real conference

I will never tweet again

Josephine Chanter, Head of Communications, Design Museum

The museum has an international Twitter following keen for content and engagement: what to do? Get a Dutch graphic designer to do a Q & A on Twitter. This is what we learnt.

Listen to the audio file of Josephine’s presentation, or view her slides below.

“I Will Never Tweet Again” by Josephine Chanter – Culture24 Let’s Get Real conference


Have you heard of us?

Emma McLean, Digital Marketing Officer, National Maritime Museum

There are lots of exciting and unusual approaches to reaching new audiences that digital platforms give us, but if we can’t measure the success or failure of our campaigns, is it worth it? What do we learn? How do we improve? The NMM has tried a few awareness campaigns – can we justify them in tight economic times?

Listen to the audio file of Emma’s presentation, or view her slides below.

Have you heard of us? by Emma McLean – Culture24 Let’s Get Real conference

Trying to make the parts add up 

Dick Penny, Managing Director, Watershed

A snapshot of how Watershed is reversing the digital fragmentation of the past 10 years. Joining up the organisation and its representation to create clarity and transparency about the range of Watershed’s cultural and creative economy activity. Step one – to unify our three main websites, content, what’s on and innovation.  What did we have to do? Make a huge organisational step forward gaining a lot of clarity and understanding about our brand, our offer, our stakeholders and the way we talk about ourselves.

Listen to the audio file of Dick’s presentation here.


Practical workshop strands also looked at both strategy and tactics

The Crit Room: saw delegates’ websites analysed and given some friendly group therapy and constructive analysis.

Informal ‘Talk Tables’ allowed delegates to meet with key industry players for problem solving and troubleshooting.

The evening social event, sponsored by Google, included local food, ales and wine, and an exhibition of digital interactive work from Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio, including Stand and Stare’s interactive Theatre Jukebox.

Download the full conference schedule.