Monday, November 23, 2009

National Digital Forum 2009 - Being online now: culture, creativity and community

Looks like Mia has scored first points in our battle of the conference blogs. I'm in Windy Wellington learning about digital innovation from the Kiwis - they really seem to have got their act together over here. Lots of high level engagement and innovative products based on digitised cultural collections. I'll focus this blog post on the two keynote speakers.

Daniela Incandela, Director of New Media, Indianapolis Museum of Art, gave an inspirational and jargon free talk about technical and online innovation in his five years with the organisation. He started in their Education section with a passion for video production. His passion and dry sense of humour seem to have allowed him to build strong relationships across the organisation which have led to a variety of innovative products - the most recent being ArtBabble. It's interesting that he hasn't shied away high quality video production to create ArtBabble, almost the antithesis of Youtube in terms of quality. Yet they have still engaged directly with all new forms of social media such as Youtube, Flickr, Blogs, Twitter and so on. A recent development has been an iPhone tour which is apparently flexible and re-usable - I'd love to get my hands on that to create some tours of our galleries.

Jane Finnis from Culture 24 (formerly 24 Hour Museum), gave a history of their trials and tribulations over the last 10 years. This actually paralleled very closely with my own experiences as a journalist and editor trying to engage with web publishing as a non-technologist - ie for much of this time it was all about the content, not the technology. The most amazing thing is that she has stuck it out for so long. A good example of building relationships across communities to create diverse, interesting and re-usable content. But this model of content development, crafting and creating authorative articles and rebuilding websites every few years based on user evaluation really doesn't sound like that much fun in an age of dynamically generated content through blogs, youtube, flickr, twitter and so on.

Finally, we ducked out early to play on the Te Papa rides and missed the Living Heritage Awards where young people celebrate New Zealand's heritage by creating their own web pages about their local community. Sorry I missed it - I'll have to find out more whilst I'm here.

Over and out from Day 1.

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