Mar’s stream will begin with Tech for Newbies – buzzwords and explanations, a Q&A session to get things started where she will be urging museum professionals to ask those tech questions they were always afraid to ask. With a background in IT, Mar says she uses social media (@MarDixon boasts nearly 200,000 tweets) to keep her finger on the pulse and has always paid attention to what is going on in technology. When Google Glass came out in the US she was able to get her hands on a pair before they came to the UK. “We are starting the session off by inviting people to ask those questions they are usually too embarrassed to ask,” she says. “What’s the difference between tech and social for example? We will throw out a lot of buzzwords, it’s going to be a tech for dummies session, where people will not feel embarrassed to ask questions because I will explain that we all started that way.”

Mar aims to give the audience of museum professionals a platform to get to grips with the basics before moving on to five more sessions throughout the day that will give examples of how technology can be used to benefit museums. The first of these will be Hands on with Virtual with Dominic Cushnan of Mixed Reality and Inaki Arredondo from Second Canvas and Mad Pixel. In this session Dominic will introduce the Oculus Rift, a new virtual reality headset that can allow visitors to step back in time and completely immerse themselves in the virtual world. This will be followed by Madrid-based Second Canvas and Madpixel, who are taking the lead in bringing Gigapixel (digital images that have 1 billion pixels) to museums.

Museum champion Mar Dixon will curate the New Tecnology stream at M+H Show 2015

“Here we are dealing with virtual reality with Oculus Rift and goggles as well as pixels and Gigapixel, so we are getting into those buzzwords again that you’ve probably heard before but don’t understand,” says Mar. “These people are really thinking outside the box. The Gigapixel opens up lots of possibilities – you can immerse yourself in art in a different way.” Mar says for these more immersive experiences you don’t have to know how it works but just know that it exists and that people are talking about it: “So again it’s an introduction and it’s not supposed to scare anyone.”

In the next session, Using Digital Technologies to Reach New Audiences, Agnes Alfandari, formerly of The Louvre and now of Future M will be joined by Louisa Matthews of Acoustiguide Limited to give examples of how digital technology can develop audiences. They will share ideas and impart practical advice on managing digital projects of varying size.

Then Linda Spurdle, Digital Development Manager at Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, will host her session, Being flexible with design, where she will open up the possibilities of things going wrong with digital projects and how this can eventually make them go right. “Working in a museum and having an agenda, having a clear plan and being fixed on exactly how a project is going to be, never works, and this session shows that you have to be flexible and why flexibility is needed,” says Mar. “We now know that if you have a website, that’s not your website for life, that’s not possible – if you have an app, that’s not your app for life, it’s just a stepping stone to the next one.”

The penultimate New Technology session will be High Tech, Low Tech or No Tech, with Historic Royal Palaces’ Digital Media Manager Tim Powell, who has recently put out a call to find the best digital designers to work on the renovation of Whitehall Palace. Tim will talk about how digital possibilities are only limited by imagination and how HRP is looking to find five people to bring new technologies to the hall. “We are dealing with ancient palaces here and even they realise that technology is important to get the story across. They are being brave and the idea is that it brings in new audiences – there is a blank canvas as to what it’s going to be.”

The final session, Guidigo App with Google Glass – an opportunity to try it out, will be exactly that as Guidigo CEO David Lerman, armed with multiple pairs of the wearable technology, invites the audience to give it a go. “Google Glass is not dead and museums are using it more and more,” says Mar. “In Canada museums are doing great things with them, the IWM is going to bring in multiple pairs of Google Glass and in this session people will be able to see how a tour works using them. It will show how you can do an audio guide differently and how it can make certain experiences more accessible.” Mar adds that overall the New Technology stream will be a proactive one and sets the challenge for the audience to come along and really get stuck in. Those who plan to attend the stream can email any pre-show tech questions to: [email protected].

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