Posts Tagged ‘CAN Outreach’
Matt Webb, a British designer for Berg a design consultancy company, gave the keynote presentation at the Web Directions South conference in Sydney (October 2009). Matt had some good points to make about design per se and the direction of web design in general and in playful ways used both science fiction and hiking as pivot points to discuss design. He used his experience of crossing and seeing the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in the USA more poignantly to illustrate the idea that design is part of a significant grander scale shift socially that is only perceptible over long distance and time.
Matt is inspirational, because he is passionate about design and underlying that passion is a very clear understanding of the principles of flexibility and efficiency in form which underlies great design. The examples Matt drew upon were intriguing and unexpected. Public housing in Levittown, developed in the late 1940s for returned servicemen in the USA was his standout example. Matt drew parallels between the modularity and utility in the modern design of these homes; the potential to extend and modify and decorate was left in the hands of the owners – a point of difference for each family.
So… how does this relate to the collecting sector? Rather than get into great discussions of aesthetics, function and form in relation to web design and development…what I think also can be taken from Matt’s talk is the need for strong but flexible foundations that can evolve as needs evolve from the community or consumers or sector or industry you serve. I drew out this point in a presentation called ‘Eternal Cities?’ about moving from – being online – to – living online at the National Digital Forum in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand in November. Using a quote from a text called ‘Design and the Elastic Mind’ (based on an exhibition at MoMA in 2008) I hoped to get the practitioners from across the collecting sector in the room to think about what it takes to be practitioner (or designer/shaper of collections and access to them online) in a time of great social change.
..one of design’s fundamental roles: “the translation of scientific and technological revolutions into approachable objects that change people’s lives and, as a consequence, the world. Design is a bridge between the abstraction of research and the tangible requirements of real life.” Foreword, Glenn Lowry, Director, MOMA, Design and the Elastic Mind, 2008.
The Allsorts Online forum organised by CAN in partnership with the State Library of South Australia and the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) in Adelaide this week (1 Dec) at the State Library of South Australia was also kicked off with this quote. The forum was organised to allow diverse practitioners from across the collecting, academic, arts and media to step back and take a macroscopic view and spend time thinking about what it means go to online and how the lines between different sectors and professions seem to be blurring (or is it just that we are using the same tools of trade and having similar experiences and our points of difference remain intact?). The Twitter hashtag #allsorts09 from the forum is a cascade of tweets documenting the many ideas and diverse perspectives offered by the participants (audience, presenters and panelists) on the day.
While forum participants pondered and asked themselves questions, having listened to a mixture of experiences in working online, elsewhere, and earlier, debate about social change and what working and living online means had already emerged at Sydney Media140 focused on the future of journalism (as another profession heavily implicated in this shift to operating online). Seems digital culture is high on allsorts of minds… people are online and finding out what that means and/or well past wondering – see Stephen Collins’ acidlabs blog in response to Lyndal Curtis’ column ‘Too tired to tweet’ (ABC) for different perspectives on this.
CAN has been engaging in community consultation to establish the needs of its community and to help plan future outreach activities. Feedback from more than 300 respondents who filled out the CAN Outreach Survey has helped to shape the next year’s strategic plan. This blog post offers a brief summary of the survey report sent to the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. A full report can be found on the CAN website.
The CAN website is mainly used as a tool to find out what was happening in the sector. People are looking to CAN to create networking opportunities to facilitate learning. The search function was overwhelmingly the biggest issue with the site’s function. The CAN outreach online is widely used to retrieve relevant work-related information. The respondents to the CAN survey already use CAN website and outreach services and they want CAN to continue to provide training and to create networking opportunities to facilitate their learning.
The majority of respondents feel comfortable with technology but are limited in their ability to exploit it effectively, either through internet access issues or lack of skills. If the use of CAN outreach services was limited for respondents, it was because the respondents were not clear on the outreach services offers or because they were financially restricted.
Social media training is in the biggest demand. This response is noteworthy – given that these same respondents report that only 2% of their collections are online and digitised and there is a perceived low capacity within organisations to use these technologies. There is also significant interest in tutorials on how to photograph objects, digitise collections, use metadata, keywords and write catalogue descriptions.
Overall the satisfaction levels with the CAN website and outreach services is high. Demand for support also remains high, so sector needs and expectations persist. CAN is required to enable and further advance the collecting sector’s ability to make their collections available online.
A copy of the survey can be found on the CAN website. For more information about the survey results, email the CAN national project manager Ingrid Mason.
What is trumpeted and valued differs between people, communities and cultures.
CAN is running a survey on outreach to see what kind of outreach activities CAN Partners and collection sector participants want and value. We are learning what outreach has worked, what isn’t seen of value, what will be of value, and sometimes why it is of value. This feedback is very informative and is useful for planning and targeting CAN’s outreach. So how does this relate to trumpets and what does this have to do with a Clint Eastwood movie?
This constructive feedback is critical and I’d like to thank those survey participants for their time in providing it and invite more of you to complete the survey. We want the good, the bad and the ugly… and we’re ok with hearing what you do and don’t want or value… so trumpet away.
Luckily, on occasion there are pluses to these processes of consultation… last week Sarah received some very positive feedback from a practitioner in WA that looks after a private collection, that she followed up because of rich nature of her feedback.
“what I like very much about what you are doing, is the emails you send with links to information that is both educational and interesting. I also like that topics are often about things that I don’t have the time to research, but after reading about, I may decide to utilise at a later stage in my workplace. Thank you and keep up the good work – we’ll be digitised yet!!!”
In effect we in CAN are trumpeting this success by sharing it with you, but also, we are aware that there are many practitioners in the sector that need help getting to the point of making the collections available online. So comments like this… are really helpful reminders of where outreach energies can be targeted and there is still plenty of work to do.
We aim to get out a summary of the feedback at a later stage.
Go to Survey Gizmo to fill out the CAN Outreach survey for a chance to win one of four MP3 players.
The 10th, 20th, 30th and 50th person who submits their survey response with their name and contact details will win an MP3 player. They will be able to choose between a device that records and plays audio or a player that just plays video. Survey closes Monday July 13.
We would like to know what resources and services would be useful to you and how we can grow with you. CAN has an important role to play as the national portal for collecting institutions and we would like to ensure we meet our responsibilities within the gallery, library, archive and museum (GLAM) sector.