Conference 2014 – Digital Dimensions

The 2014 UMG Confererence was held at the Theatre Collection, University of Bristol, in June 2014. The conference addressed the role of Digital in University Museums, discussing if and how University Museums should function at the current cutting edge, the role of digital in achieving impact, and what University Museums will look like in the post-digital age.

The conference opened with a Digital Project Showcase highlighting 13 innovative digital projects being developed in university museums ranging from apps to multisensory interactives. Find out more about the participants here: Digital Showcase participants (pdf)

The conference kicked off with a keynote from James Davis, Programme Manager at the Google Cultural Institute, discussing potential ways that digital can thrive in complex organisations.

He was followed by another keynote from Tandi Williams, Research Manager, Nesta, sharing insights from their recent research into the use of digital in the cultural sector, and from projects funded by the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts.

The first panel discussion of the day addressed ‘At the Cutting Edge’. Chaired by Paul Smith, Director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, he was joined by Richard Clay, Co Director, Digital Humanities Hub, University of Birmingham; Mark MacLeod, Head of the Infirmary Museum, University of Worcester; and Danny Birchall, Head of Digital Services, Wellcome Trust. They discussed interdisciplinary innovation, capitalising on student creativity and games, games, games!

The second panel discussion, chaired by Gail Lambourne, Strategy and Development Manager, AHRC, looked at the role of digital in museums to support the impact agenda. She was joined by Jack Ashby, Manager, Grant Museum, UCL; Claire Warwick, Professor of Digital Humanities, Department of Information Studies, UCL; and Maria Economou, Joint Curator/Lecturer in Museums Studies (Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute & Hunterian Museum) University of Glasgow.

Closing out the conference was a session on University Museums in the post Digital are, chaired and opened with a provocation from Ross Parry from the School of Museums Studies at the University of Leicester. He was joined by three of his PhD students working in the digital field to share insights from their research: Amy Hetherington, PhD Student, University of Leicester; Peter Pavement, PhD Student, University of Leicester & Director, Surface Impression (unfortunately due to technical glitch the film of Peter’s talk isn’t available, which is terrible as it was really, really good!); Elena Villaespesa, PhD Student, University of Leicester; Web Anaylst, Tate.