Frankly, Green + Webb is looking for a Research and Project Assistant to join our well respected digital interpretation and learning consultancy.
What will you be doing?
As Project/Research Assistant you will be supporting the Directors and consultants with the development, coordination and delivery of research and the implementation of digital learning projects to the cultural heritage sector in the UK and beyond. It is a role that will provide the right person a heap of experience with some of the UK’s leading museums, galleries and heritage organisations in an exciting and growing area.
The role is within a small, growing organisation so you can anticipate lots of variety in your day-to-day work. Key responsibilities include:
- Assisting with the day-to-day delivery of projects including liaison with client and internal teams to make sure key deliverables are provided on time
- Supporting the successful delivery of field research in museums, galleries and heritage sites including interviewing and briefing visitors
- Co-ordinating the recruitment and management of field research teams to ensure targets are met and strong data is collected
- Drafting and proofing of marketing materials and proposals to a high standard
- Desk research on a range of topics associated with digital, and specifically, mobile interpretation
- Creating basic charts from outline results to enable consultants and researchers can confidently analyse large amounts of data • Organising the effective delivery of workshops and meetings for initiatives such as ME : CA
- General administrative support including planning/maintaining diaries, record-keeping.
Who will you be working with?
Within the company will be working directly with the Directors, Associates and freelancers. You will also be liaising with client teams (at all levels) in a broad range of cultural organisations and, in doing so, representing the organisation. In both of these scenarios an ability to communicate clearly and concisely – in person, by phone and in correspondence – will be vital. Similarly you will need to demonstrate an ability to understand and empathise with individuals across, sometimes complex, organisations and project teams, manage competing priorities and respond sensitively and appropriately.
What skills and experience will you need?
The successful candidate will have experience in one of more of the following:
- Working in a museum/gallery environment
- Liaising and communicating effectively with cross-departmental teams
- Basic data analysis and implementing research methodologies
Ideally you will be a graduate in museums studies, visitor studies and/or digital experience design and/or really take an interest in the way cultural visitors use digital technologies.
We are particularly keen to find someone who has a great eye for detail, is adept at multitasking and has a good level of IT literacy. As this is a new position someone with initiative and enthusiasm will have the opportunity to develop it and take on other responsibilities.
Time and Money?
Salary: £18,500 – £20,000 (Pro Rata dependant on experience)
30 hours per week – we can be flexible on days and/or hours however we may need you to work on the odd weekend
Fixed-term for 3 months (with possibility of extension/permanency)
How can you apply?
If this sounds just like you and you would be interested in joining us then please send your CV and a covering letter with an outline of why you would be a great fit to email@example.com by Tuesday 14th May 2013read more
It has been a busy couple of years for Frankly, Green + Webb during which we’ve been fortunate to work with some fantastic clients on exciting projects in the UK and beyond. As we’ve grown, so has interest in our work, particularly in the US. So a few months ago we began to throw around ideas about how we could properly support work across the Atlantic. We knew we needed someone who had extensive experience and knowledge of the cultural sector and had delivered real digital projects on the ground. They needed to understand both the aspirations and the constraints our clients work within. We have to be honest; we thought our ‘Mary Poppins’ style list might be a bit too much to ask.
And then we bumped into an old colleague, Laura Mann. Laura has all the experience and skills we needed, plus a few more. Her natural curiosity, capacity to quickly understand and solve problems and work with a multitude of different departments and people make her a perfect fit. So, today, we are very proud to announce that Laura will be joining the team and with this we are opening Frankly, Green + Webb USA.
Laura comes to us with 20 years of experience in that unique area where culture, learning and technology meet. At Mediatrope Interactive Studio, Antenna Audio, and as an independent consultant, Laura has worked on dozens of museum projects including online exhibitions for the International Museum of Women, large-scale website redesigns and gallery interactives for the Smithsonian and MFA Boston, and mobile programs for clients from SFMOMA to the Newport Mansions. We first worked with Laura at Antenna, and we reconnected in 2011, working together on the Trailhead to Utah project, for the Natural History Museum of Utah.
Laura’s first outing as part of FG+W will be at one of our favourite conferences Museums and the Web 2013 in Portland. So, if you’re wanting to hear a little more about some of the insights we have gained from our recent V&A research, learn more about our Mobile Experiences : Cultural Audiences (ME:CA) initiative or find out a bit more about new trends in the ways cultural organisations are approaching digital interpretation then drop her a line. Laura would love to have a chat in Portland over a cup of tea (or even a pint).read more
We’ve been lucky enough to have a workshop proposal accepted at Museums and the Web this year in San Diego. It’s a workshop we’ll be leading with Sandy Goldberg from sgscripts entitled “Bringing your Stakeholders Onboard: Delivering Vibrant Mobile Projects”
We planned the workshop, after a few clients had talked to us about the challenges they were facing pulling mobile projects together and facilitating the collaboration, which is so often needed. I’m pretty sure that most projects need some form of collaboration but it seems to be that in-gallery digital interpretation, and in particular mobile, needs input from a particularly wide group to ensure a successful roll out. We regularly work on projects that involve the input of as many as seven different departments and ensuring they all feel ownership of the project is a real challenge. And I’ve seen many a project that could have been transformed from poor to good or good to great with just a little more collaboration up front.
Getting the right people involved at the right time can often address those challenges faced at the beginning of a project:
- How do we make sure we have the right information in there without being overwhelming?
- How do we create the content and keep it up-to-date when we have little budget?
- How do you make sure the technical system does what it needs to do?
Or, even more common, the questions that get asked once the system is up and running a while and the impact of decisions made at the development stage are playing out on the floor in the gallery:
- How do we stop this negatively impacting on visitor flow?
- What happens if the visitor has a problem, how can they get help?
- How do we get more people using the system?
- Staff are reluctant to promote the system because they are worried it will reduce shop sales/attendance at live talks
One of the toughest things in our experience is gauging when to bring people into the process and what level of involvement they should/could have. We all enjoy the creative input of our colleagues but fear those huge brainstorming meetings where everyone goes around in circles o even worse, stakeholders holding up or derailing the whole project.
Here are a couple of ideas on how to work with your stakeholders. We hope you’ll join us in San Diego to hear more.
Cast your net wide early on
At this point you may well have identified the broad vision or goal for the project. What you need next is support and to identify the parameters you’ll be working within (refine vision, flush out challenges and boundaries, identify which teams we are talking about) Ensuring everyone is on-board with this focus/vision will make everything a lot easier later on. For example, ensuring that the audience is agreed on and any operational challenges of using mobile devices can help you to ensure that curators are giving you the right level of content when it comes to development. Recently we worked with the Science Museum to develop a schools programme. Including the person who manned the phones and took the School bookings helped us to stay focussed on the needs of the teachers and how the project could be sold to them without putting them off with complicated talk of mobile technologies.
Make sure they are comfortable with the technology
We’d also suggest that everyone on the team is given access to a mobile device for a few weeks to see how they use it, what do they do on it, where they use it. The number of design meetings we have had where the leader of the group uses mobile ALL the time while the rest are unfamiliar and lack confidence is frightening.
Testing the Idea
Mobile experiences inside the museum succeed and fail more often on the practicality of operations than anything else and don’t be fooled, this is as much to do with the pace and location of content as it is to do with signage. Midway through the process you’ll want to start testing concept and – most importantly – asking the group you have involved to help you solve the problems using their expertise. This is where your visitor services and marketing teams will come into their own — ignore their advice at your peril!
Towards the end of the development process, involve as many people in testing as possible. Particularly volunteers and those who will come into contact with your visitors – the impact of engaging them and showing them how this mobile experience will benefit the visitors and fit into their daily lives will improve your take up rate more than any signs, websites or leaflets.
For more information about the workshop – have a look here: Museums and the Web 2012 (MW2012): Workshopsread more
Last weekend, I was lucky enough to make it to the ‘Savage Beauty’ exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The exhibition is a showcase of the work of fashion designer Alexander McQueen and those that collaborated with him throughout his career. The exhibition was put together with impressive speed by The Met and many of those who knew McQueen following his suicide in February 2010.
When I arrived, the queues were over an hour long and, not being a particular fan of McQueen’s work I nearly gave it a miss. But with some good luck I managed to dodge the line and my reward for persistence was an exhibition that will stay with me for a very long time. Why? The exhibition is designed to be uncompromisingly emotional.
There are no silent, painted white rooms full of frameless glass boxes and educational interactives. Rooms are theatrically staged based on the title of the collections that each displays with smashed wooden panelling (Highland Rape), dark shop type shelves (The Cabinet of Curiosities) and aged mirrors (Romantic Gothic). Each room is filled with music and at points you’re asked to bend down and peer through a small hole at a 3D hologram or gaze almost at the ceiling at an enormous video screen placed above your head.
Attraction rather than Distraction
You might have thought all this obscure positioning, abstract lighting and emotional music might distract but the interesting thing was that instead it inspired exclamations of ‘His work IS art!’ from people stood close to me. For me, it inspired different emotional reactions as I went into each room – uncomfortable and suffocating, at times inspired and elated.
None of this should be surprising when you consider this impactful experience was designed by fashion show designers adept at walking the fine line of creating drama and spectacle while showcasing the objects (or should we say costume) and using all the tools available to them to do this.
Engagement: Emotion first
The level of audience engagement and interpretation about the works were audible. The inclusion of music not only set the tone of the gallery but also encouraged the chatter. Some of the talk was about whether you could wear that to the shops but a good percentage of visitors were debating the craftsmanship, the materials and the message the dresses communicated.
Given the short time available to put the exhibition together, the show is not overly large – there was just enough to leave me feeling I wanted more. However I also felt satisfied because the experience was well designed, well edited and emotionally engaging. I had experienced the McQueen showcase and I feel I now have a better understanding of why so many people go bonkers over couture. It was probably this too that lead me, like over 10,000 others so far, to buy the exhibition catalogue. At $45 and 2kg of my luggage allowance you can see just how powerfully this show affected me.
The exhibition was a reminder to me about the impact great content can have on a visitor experience but also what makes great content:
- The exhibition explained to me why I should give a damn about the work of McQueen by engaging me emotionally first, leaving me to want to learn more about the facts. I was pulled in, heart first.
- There is a need for craftsmanship when creating emotionally engaging experiences that don’t detract from the works. Each element of the design and content was used because it added to the overall experience with nothing excessive or unnecessary. It was then seamlessly combined allowing me to focus on the objects but use my emotional intelligence to understand them further.
- An experience can be choreographed for the visitors to be curious and discover without lots of interactivity and digital jiggery pokery. Once engaged emotionally we are, by nature, curious.
With this in mind, I started to think of some of Frankly, Green + Webb’s favourite content, the stops we share when people ask us for great examples. All of these clips are emotional. The majority of the clips use highly trained writers, sound designers or passionate communicators but all of them are well thoughtful and well crafted.
Quite often it’s difficult to describe why each clip works – but inevitably – after listening each makes sense. Perhaps this is part of the challenge with creating emotionally engaging content – the magic that happens is hard to describe and often needs a skilled hand to execute but as The Met is seeing from the queues at the door and the catalogue sales in the shop – the rewards is an engaged audience eager to learn and share.read more