First of all, is it a conference, a symposium, a talk, a lecture series perhaps or an event? An event is probably what I’d be most comfortable with however that by no means does justice to experiencing it by yourself. No, the organisers aren’t paying me to say this, in fact the organisers don’t pay any of the speakers because all the money raised benefits a charity of choice for each of the event. So already there is a fell good factor to the night and if you aren’t into it, perhaps an eerie sense of weirdness is your thing? Yes, we are all museum professionals and yes, there is comedy involved. But thats not the weird part yet, you get to hear stories from those working in the arts doing MORE than their job description. Its amazing what you discover from people, be it volunteering in their free time to creating inventive projects - Museums Showoff is an insight into the workings of the mad ones who are crazy enough to be doing something different with their jobs and organisations. It expands your understanding of how museums and galleries work. I don’t think its an event only museum professionals should attend, its probably even more exciting for those working within the intersections of culture and society.
My talk on Storytelling & Digital Innovation My talk on Storytelling & Digital Innovation
I was specifically speaking on using technology in weird and wonderful ways within museums and galleries, from blogging to curating texts as artworks. The night did reassure me that we might work in very different ways and have our own separate agendas, however when you share it with others, regardless of whether they directly work within your field or not, curiosity generates a lot of insight for your own projects. As much as I love conferences and symposiums, the Showoff is like a bit of theatre thrown into an academic playing field that is often accused of being a bit too serious. I’m really happy I was able to share my work with the Museums Showoff audience and that’s not just because I love talking to people, but because the audience truly does respond to your talk as well, in a much more intriguing fashion than what you’d find in a formal conference. If you don’t believe me, you should probably give the next event a go and find out for yourself.
You can find out more about Museums Showoff by going to their blog or drop them a hello on the Twitterverse @MuseumsShowoff. All photo credits to Sharonina Star.