Monthly Archives: January 2016

George is a fellow of the prestigious Clore Leadership Programme for 2015/2016. I was intrigued (and slightly shocked) to get an email from George last year asking if I’d be willing to host him at Good, Form & Spectacle for his “placement in a cultural organisation very different from the Fellow’s usual working environment”.

It’s absolutely brilliant to have George join the team for the next few months. In his proper job, he runs the digital operations of the Qatar Foundation Partnership at the British Library, so let me tell you, this fellowship will definitely be working both ways.

He’s already very useful. Apart from carrying heavy stuff from Sainsbury’s for our little office warming, he’s absorbing our current goals and projects into pitch-ready documentation to show what we’re up to for potential funding partners and programmes. We’re building partnerships around our Museum in a Box work, and George’s experience in business planning, operations, and reporting is hugely helpful.

In return, we can involved George in how we like to work — small moves, make demonstrative things, work fast and brightly — back to the start-up scale that seems a bit elusive in larger institutions.

Welcome, George. I’m sure we’ll both get used to having a second George in such close proximity soon.

Our Museum in a Box project seems to be gaining momentum. Tom Flynn, Adrian McEwen and I set up a display area at the Remix conference in December, and it was great. We were also ably assisted by our visiting researcher, Eliza Gregory, who also helped get our three display boxes together in the preceding week, talk with interested folk, and document the event. She took these photos too.

Our V2 prototype was made with paper, mainly to help start to think through how interaction between the human, the objects, and the brain in the box could work. V3 was all about working brains and connected objects. I knew that our display would get lots of traffic all at once, and we’d be getting loads of quick reactions and feedback for the idea. That’s when I asked if Gill Wildman could come along for the day too, to help capture what people were telling us, and prompt both the audience and us with questions and ideas about how to frame the idea and product. Apart from being into the general idea, Gill is also an expert designer and facilitator, and specifically helps early stage companies figure out how to explain themselves. This was hugely helpful (and will hopefully continue).

Last week, Tom and I were very happy to head to Manchester for the Museum Tech 2016 Museums Association meeting. As well as each of us giving a presentation about the work, we showed people the boxes over the lunch break. It’s exciting to watch people interact with it for the first time. There’s a smiling surprise when they place their object on to the brain and hear content come out. It’s that reaction that’s giving us a bunch of energy about all this. The product always generates ideas with people too, about how they could use it, or what a cool box might be.

Here are our slides. I was honoured to open the day’s proceedings with an overview of the idea and our work so far:

Part of what we’re trying to show museums in these early days is that 3D digitisation can be very simple and cheap. Tom explained the various techniques and also put together a live rendering of a 3D sheep! “Here’s one I made earlier”…

It was also meet three students whose areas of interest overlap with Museum in a Box in really interesting ways. We’re always happy to meet with students, and indeed, hope to attract visiting researchers who would benefit from spending time researching their theses through practice. If that’s you, please get in touch.

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We’ve started the year with a bang, moving into a nice new office space in Whitechapel. We’re in here with our sister company, Museum in a Box Ltd. So far we’ve got PG Tips, a kettle, some Jammie Dodgers and the very basics of office furniture. It’s all very exciting, and we’re thrilled to finally have a London home base!

Update, 1 Feb: After all that excitement, unfortunately the Whitechapel office was not to be. I’ll post an update when we find a new spot. At least we’ll get to have another office warming!

Onward! (And goodbye, January 2016!)