Weeknotes: 01.2017 – An Annual Catch Up

On October 20th, 2017, posted in: weeknotes by

Welcome back, it has been a while (over a year, in fact). But I have missed the weekly ritual of interfering with your inbox.

At this point I feel the need to write a “previously on ER” bit to get you all caught up. However, I’m going to start by setting the scene of where I am right now because I think that will tell you the amount of change we’ve been riding here at FGW HQ.

I’m currently at my desk in our (not-so) new office at Roco Creative Co-op in Sheffield.  I’m sat opposite Annie (our new team member) and next to Alyson. That’s right, after 7 years of working remotely, Alyson has moved from London to Sheffield. The Northern induction has begun. Meanwhile, I’ll be speaking to Laura this afternoon, as she sits in her new office in the Central Building in Oakland with her new colleague Pratyusha. An eventful year. I hate to sound like we’re not really in control of this organisation. But I did not see that coming.


Laura, Pratyusha, Lindsey and Alyson. Just need Annie and we’d have a full house.


We also managed to do some work on great projects while all this was going on this included:

  • Tate – Research and consultancy on how Tate could use digital experiences to improve the experience for priority audiences during a first time visit.
  • National Galleries of Scotland – Training and mentoring to design and create audience-centred digital content using live briefs. The outcome has been new insights into possible processes for the organisation and a deeper understanding of what worked and didn’t work for their new and existing audiences.
  • Scottish Ballet – We were asked to shed light on who is their current audience and how they could encourage them to keep returning. This informed their a new visual identity and helped them to think about their offer for first time and less confident audiences. It’s worth checking out their Digital Dance Season
  • English Heritage – Advising on the best way to implement mobile interpretation for Stonehenge – in short, to app or not to app? It’s a common question – and I wrote an article for spokes magazine on the topic last month.
  • Oman Across Ages Museum – A huge new museum project in Oman working with interpretation designers Barker Langham to advise on how they can use digital to support the visitor experience .


Behind the scenes at Scottish Ballet: Each ballet dancer has their own box of ballet shoes. 


While in the US:


The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: The Courtyard of the “Inside Out” Venetian Palace in Boston


Back to where we are right now – I’m surrounded by a map of a huge report we’re working on with Laura. It’s for Bloomberg Philanthropies – a major supporter of museum digital programs – and we’re looking at the impact their Bloomberg Connects programme has had on museum audiences across 16 organisations and across 53 projects. This has included 7 evaluations over 6 months. It is a fascinating, spidery beast and an absolute privilege to work on. The second phase started in January, has been rumbling in the background but has now reached the homestretch and should be all sorted before the end of the year.

Looking ahead, Annie is planning and prepping for a trip over to Utah to carry out research at the Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU). We’ll be evaluating how the recently launched Utah Climate Challenge is performing. We helped NHMU get to a brief last year and Preloaded won the bid in spring. Our work now is to understand how the game is working for the audience and what support is needed in the physical space to make sure the visitors get the most from the game. I’ll share more on that as the project moves along.

I’m planning a workshop in Copenhagen with associate Isabel Froes and a conference session at MCN in Pittsburgh with Laura, Lawrence Chiles from the National Gallery and Michelle Grohe from Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Alyson is working away on a couple of new proposals for exciting projects.

Laura just got back from Omaha where she is working with the Cloisters on the Platte, a new retreat center designed around the teachings of St. Ignatius  and Pratyusha has been getting on with an evaluation of the Exploratorium’s online audiences. This week, the US team is also kicking off a new qualitative research project with SFMOMA into the audiences for their online artist videos. (Actually, don’t click on those links you’ll skew the data)

Whenever the next weeknotes is, it may be next week but I’ve learned not to promise, normal service will resume. 

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