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Saturday, Feb 08th

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Happy, Safe, Connected and Free

The Treaty of Versailles - one of the documents that ended the First World WarCollections Trust CEO Nick Poole reflects on the #futureofculture event at the British Library and looks at the need to make the case for supporting the arts and culture by appealing to higher ideals!

Happy. Safe. Connected. Free. There I was, at the Executive Board meeting of the Europeana Foundation in the Hague, staring at these words looking back at me on a post-it note, wondering whether to scrumple it up or stick it to the wall. 

The occasion was a special meeting to look at what impect we expect that Europeana will have had by 2020. Impact is a tricky thing to define - as soon as you try and pin it down, it slips away in a cloud of 'it depends' and 'impact for whom?' We were working in groups, facilitated by the excellent Business Models Inc, a suitably bright and energetic pair of thinkers who specialise in helping organisations understand and adapt their business model to a changing world.

A look ahead to 2014 for UK museums

2014 has arrived, and what better way to celebrate than with a look ahead to what this year might hold for the UK's thriving community of museums and galleries? We've put on our thinking caps, dusted off the crystal ball and put together a list of the 10 things we think 2014 will bring for museums - both inside the profession and more broadly in the world around us - in no particular order! Are we right? What have we missed? Let us know what you think in the comments!

SPECTRUM in Brasil

Ivo Mesquita (Diretor Técnico da Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo) meets Mr Nicholas Poole (Chief Executive of the Collections Trust) to sign the License to translate and localise the SPECTRUM standard in BrazilThis article is a translation of an original article which appeared in Portuguese on the blog of the SPECTRUM Portugal community. For the original version, see

The development of museum standards, particularly with reference to the documentation of collections, is not a new issue. However, as Brazilian museums continue to increase the scale and complexity of their operations, it is becoming increasingly important to have access to professional standards for the documentation and management of Cultural Heritage.

The State Secretariat of Culture of São Paulo (SEC) has supported a partnership with the Association of Friends of the Coffee Museum, the Immigration Museum and the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo to support the dissemination, knowledge and use of these standards in the Brazilian context. Many of the key references are published in languages other than Portuguese, and this partnership will allow them to be translated and localised to the needs of Brazilian museums.

Part 2 | How to get the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

In the blog Part 1 | There’s a pot of gold to find you read about the importance and benefits of opening up collections in digital ways. But, before you even start to try to find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, openness and access have to be at the forefront of your mind and we’ll explore what speakers at Open Culture 2013 said about this here. Mia Ridge, crowdsourcing professional and Chair of Museums Computer Group, hit the nail on the head when introducing the session Digital Transformation; projects using digital platforms to engage audiences with collections on day one of the conference. Ridge explained that a museum could only be participatory if it means it and thinks about engagement INSIDE and OUTSIDE the museum walls. Some museums may use digital technologies to do things faster, but for participatory projects to ‘mean it’ museums have to be inspired by digital technologies to do entirely new things to engage audiences with collections. In a nutshell, we were asked to think about sharing and opening up access to collections by not broadcasting at people, but listening to them and working in collaboration instead. (Mia has written a great blog sharing 6 tips for a successful participatory crowdsourcing project. Read it here). The Imperial War Museum (IWM), The Natural History Museum (NHM), The Smithsonian Institution and Helen Weinstein and Pat Hadley all shared advice on how to go about participatory rather than top-down projects, which some organisations may not be used to or are just trying to get a handle on.

Building Bridges - developing partnerships with the Creative Industries

Collections Trust CEO Nick Poole was recently invited to host a series of 'chefs table' discussions at the DISH2013 conference in Rotterdam on the subject of 'Building Bridges - developing partnerships with the Creative Industries'. The following article summarises 3 separate discussions about this theme, involving museums, archives, libraries and Creative Industry partners. 

Why work with the Creative Industries? And what is a Creative Industry anyway?The publication of the European Commission's Horizon 2020 funding programme has highlighted the tremendous potential for collaboration between arts and cultural heritage organisation and their counterparts in the Creative Industries. So this year's DISH conference in Rotterdam provided an excellent opportunity to address some of these questions and take a look at the ingredients of a successful Creative Industry collaboration. 

From the top - leading open museums

Nick Poole, Collections Trust CEO and Chair of the Europeana Network reviews the progress of UK museums in 'going open' with their collections information and images and looks ahead to the next challenge of incorporating 'openness' into the museum sector's measures of success.

In his August 2013 blog post for the Getty Institute ('Open Content: an idea whose time has come') James Cuno responds to their announcement of 4,600 high-quality images freely available online for people to download and re-use. Cuno writes: 

Why open content? Why now? The Getty was founded on the conviction that understanding art makes the world a better place, and sharing our digital resources is the natural extension of that belief. This move is also an educational imperative. Artists, students, teachers, writers, and countless others rely on artwork images to learn, tell stories, exchange ideas, and feed their own creativity. In its discussion of open content, the most recent Horizon Report, Museum Edition stated that “it is now the mark—and social responsibility—of world-class institutions to develop and share free cultural and educational resources.” I agree wholeheartedly.

We don't need a debate. What we need is a plan

nickpoole2Sitting in the main hall of the BT Conference centre in Liverpool for this years fantastic MA Conference (#museums2013), I had the opportunity of listening to industry stalwart David Fleming and Arts Council England Chair Peter Bazalgette debating the topic of 'Crisis? What Crisis?'.

Fleming set out his stall with characteristic vigour - strong on vision and passion but a little less strong on hard evidence of his assertions about the impact of cuts. Bazalgette responded deftly, side-stepping the issue of regional/capital imbalance by shifting the focus onto the skew of National museum funding (the majority of which just happen to be in London).

Pot of Gold Part 1

Part 1 | There’s a pot of gold to find!

It’s been a couple of months now since Open Culture 2013. The brain - well, my brain! - has had some time to process what we heard. In the last blog, I mentioned I’d be writing about all of the doing we heard about. Let’s start with a poignant statement from Merete Sanderhoff Researcher for Statens Museums for Kunst, (SMK) the National Museum of Denmark and a Member of the Open GLAM Advisory Board), which summarises why we should open up collections (presentation here). When introducing the work SMK has done to provide free access high quality digital images of collections, she said: this is where the gold is right now!

Heritage & Creative Learnng in Scandanavia

Anna Hansen, Managing Director of the Swedish learning & development agency NC Kultur, recently provided a presentation to the Nordic museum development event (#museumskurs2013) on the subject of museum learning & the Heritage Learning Outcomes. alt

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