Digital Show and Tell 2013

The third session of the conference took place in the evening at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, where mixed in with the collections will be a curated set of digital projects, each with its own show & tell guide.

1. in-the-horniman.tumblr

Set up in September 2012, is a way to increase engagement the vast and fascinating collections that are not currently on display at the Horniman Museum.

Staff working directly with the stored collections (primarily on our Anthropology collections review) use the image-focused blog to post pictures of the objects they are handling. They are able to share all manner of interesting, unusual and fascinating finds, as well as showcase the hard work which goes on to care for and research objects behind the scenes, as it happens.

Content on the blog is completely managed by staff working directly with the collections, rather than the Digital Team, who step in only occasionally to offer maintenance or support. There is little moderation of the content, with staff able to contribute as they work using their smartphones. The account is also linked to Twitter, so they regularly tweet their posts @HornimanReviews, an account managed by the two collections review teams. This is vastly different to the way the museum usually produces written commentary on objects, where text is highly standardized and has to go through a series of approvals.

We’re aiming not just to show people more objects, but to share with them the stories and secrets we find most interesting, and to look for their responses to these otherwise hidden objects. The immediate, image-focused and social nature of Tumblr has allowed us to do this while involving a much wider group of colleagues with a digital project.

2. The Happiness Machine by Brendan Dawes

A simple button reveals happy thoughts from people connected across the Internet.

Inspired by a passage from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, The Happiness Machine is an Internet connected printer that prints random happy thoughts by random people from across the web; press the button and the Happiness Machine prints a thought from someone who mentioned the word happy.

“For me the Internet is not a network of machines but a network of people. Yet it’s all too easy to forget that behind that screen name or that Twitter handle is a real human being. The Happiness Machine is designed to remind us of this fact, presenting random feelings from people we’ve never met, in a tactile physical form that you can tear-off and take away with you.”


3. Fashion Rules on Paper by Historic Royal Palaces

‘Fashion Rules on Paper’ allows visitors to Kensington Palace to create and share their own fashion illustrations inspired by the glamorous royal couture on display in the exhibition Fashion Rules. It is a site-specific iPad app developed as a unique collaboration between Historic Royal Palaces and New York-based FiftyThree – the first ever bespoke version of their award-winning app ‘Paper’, Apple’s iPad App of the year 2012.

The exhibition features iconic dresses worn by HM The Queen in the 1950s, Princess Margaret in the 1960s and 1970s, and Princess Diana in the 1980s and is premised around the fashion ‘rules’ of each era. We wanted to use digital technology to enable people to put these fashion rules into practice – engaging with the dresses in a fun, creative way that deepens understanding and produces shareable content.

Each of them started life on a piece of paper – as a drawing by their designer. We identified fashion illustration as powerful way of understanding the fashion rules explicated in the exhibition: the illustrations explicitly show the shapes, silhouettes and lines which defined each era of dressing. We approached FiftyThree since their app Paper is (aside from being loved by us!) widely acclaimed for being simple, intuitive and enabling users to create beautiful drawings with ease. They said yes!

Visit the Fashion Rules on Paper webpage to find out more. Visit the Fashion Rules on Paper Tumblr to see what people have been creating:



4. CultureHive

Whether you’re a CEO, or someone for whom attracting audiences is just part of your job, whether you’ve been in the industry for two months or 20 years, CultureHive best practice is for anyone in the cultural sector who is working to develop new and existing audiences.

CultureHive is created and managed by the Arts Marketing Association, in partnership with The Audience Agency and part of an Audience Focus project to provide a national service to collate, share, train, and implement best practice in arts marketing and audience development. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.


5. Story Drop by Brighton & Hove’s Royal Pavilion and Museums.

Story Drop is a playful smartphone app for iPhone and Android. We have taken the stories from some of the thousands of objects in our collections and scattered them across Brighton & Hove. Using your mobile phone and the Story Drop app, search for the stories and learn more about the city’s history. Read more about it on the Royal Pavilion & Museums blog.

6. Audience Finder - the national data-sharing programme

An initiative commissioned by Arts Council England, Audience Finder’s purpose is to support cultural organisations in reaching more people, new audiences, and greater efficiency. It is an ambitious “Big Data” project for the arts that seeks to bring real insight and change practice. It is a:

- free/ highly-affordable toolkit for organisations, combining user-friendly reporting, audience profiling and “audience finder” analytics pinpointing potential audiences

- National framework for collecting and sharing comparable audience information

- Set of key industry measures and artform benchmarks

- Development programme promoting use of evidence

- Network of regional and artform data-sharing collaborations

We consulted with 700+ organisations about their priorities and 300 organisations are now signed up. The service is free to NPOs but any cultural organisation can participate on a subsidised basis. Audience Finder is being created by The Audience Agency with participating organisations and a range of strategic partners, including Culture24.

We will also be launching Culture24′s second Let’s Get Real report (and giving everyone their own printed copy to take home), and there will be plentiful networking opportunities over some snacks and drinks courtesy of our sponsor Mailchimp.