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MuseumNext — 2018

Brisbane, Australia

The second Australian edition of MuseumNext took place in Brisbane between 19-21 March 2018.

The first day of the event introduced delegates to the city with tours and museum visits at museums and cultural venues around the city, culminating in an evening reception at the Loft West End.

An official welcome to country was delivered by Mr. Ruska from the Nunukul Yuggera Yugimbir Nugi Aboriginal Dance Troupe. The opening keynote on Tuesday morning was delivered by Dr Tedi Asher, a Neuroscience Researcher at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salam, Massachusetts. Tedi shared how her work is helping to shape exhibitions and give insight that might make museum practitioners reconsider how they think about visitor experience.

Delegates then heard presentations about Brisbane’s World Science Festival, how to design an exhibition for teens and how to design an immersive environment within the museum using the escape room format.

Then there was a National Portrait Gallery case study on the highs and lows of developing a meaningful fun, interactive mobile experience for school groups and families in a gallery context and social media maven, Mar Dixon spoke about the ebbs and flow of social media and how to focus your brand back to conversations and awareness with less emphasis on numbers and metrics. Rosemary Lynch from Tate spoke about a collaboration between artists, archivists, digital developers and astrophysicists (!) in order to widen access to the shared cultural heritage found in archives.

The afternoon sessions saw Kate Button speaking about using experience design to connect with young people and Rose Hiscock, Director of the Science Gallery Melbourne with Niels Wouters from the University of Melbourne speaking about future proofing a new digital reality. The final presentation of the day was delivered by Janneen Love speaking about how an indigenous framework, that is specific to an actual people and place, can dramatically enhance visitors experience and connection within a museum.

A drinks reception was held at Dandy’s Rooftop Bar at The Fox to round off the day.

The final day of the conference began with a keynote from Terri Janke, who has developed a ten year road map to better indigenous involvement in museums and galleries with the project focusing on how indigenous cultures and histories are represented in cultural venues across Australia. See the presentation here.

There were then presentations about how operational excellence reflects positively on a museum’s cultural products, creating engaging experiences, that serve as a powerful engagement tool for staff. Dina Jezdic from Auckland Museum then gave a presentation about how modern museums should be a home of learning, curiosity and debate, to facilitate the type of discussions that raise and interrogate important societal questions. The final session that morning saw Lone Keast from State Library of Queensland talking about their involvement in the Fun Palaces movement, combining learning with fun, family based community events.

After lunch, there were presentations from: Seb Chan from the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Carolina Silva from Whitechapel Gallery and Christian Strasser, Director of the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna.

The final sessions of the conference kicked off with Konrad Ng, Executive Director of the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture and Design in Hawaii spoke about how museums can be agents of positive, progressive and inclusive narrative change by highlighting the creative intersectionality between the objectified and the subjected. Junia Jorgji, Chief of Design at the National Gallery of Canada closed the conference with a presentation about Art as Connector.