Museomix, is an event that takes place simultaneously in institutions across the world, in part, remixing, reinterpreting and reimagining an exhibition space, working in a team to create a prototype that brings new ideas to life and contributing to a community that takes care of its members. This year Antenna Lab sponsored the UK event (7th - 10th November 2014), which took over the beautiful Derby Museums. And we sent our own Fiona Houston, Antenna Content Designer, along to get in on the action of making – here she reports back on the experience;
“Once you put on one of these badges, you’re one of us. We’re a community.” Max Dixon
Museomix is all about doing, and the challenge was to create new ways for visitors to engage with the extensive and varied collections housed within Derby Museums. As a facilitator, I was entrusted with helping to make this happen and to produce a working prototype in 2 days. Tense moments were interspersed with a lot of laughter, questioning curators and I’m sure close to a gallon of tea. At least. And cake. So much cake! Somewhere along the line big themes began to emerge;
- Pushing Boundaries: Mar Dixon, organiser and grandmaster of Museomix UK, warned everyone this would be a process - a sometimes arduous journey that would eventually open us all up to our own potential and help us redefine our boundaries. Within the first few hours, I watched all of the participants change from excited eager beavers during the initial walkthrough of the Derby Museum sites, to confused circles of people downing tea like maniacs. Everybody was invited to pitch an idea inspired by something they had seen on the visit, teams were formed and it was then, sat around a table with a handful of people, that it suddenly hit all of us: how the hell do we bring this awesome idea to life in just 48 hours?
- Creativity without Constraint: Surprisingly, one of the key issues that every team seemed to struggle with was accepting the notion of creativity without constraint. We’re all of us so accustomed to a brief, a pre-defined deliverable, that the concept of doing whatever you like is completely alien. Even terrifying. But it’s what drew us here - the chance to explore a remarkable collection and, under the pressure of a deadline that even I trembled at, create something beyond anything we’ve ever done or been allowed to do. The result was seven fantastically different ideas, including personalising your own plates in the middle of the ceramics gallery, working as a team to start an aeroplane engine and having virtual discussions with the hidden gems of the collection on social media, voting for the next piece to appear in the gallery.
- You’re in it together: Mar gathered us round at points to rouse our spirits and give us a kick up the proverbial. As a deadline charges towards you, it’s easy to pile on the pressure and not enjoy the process. For a moment, we’d forgotten just how much we were achieving and Mar’s words helped bring that to the fore.
- The proof is in the pudding – or cake: We had every right to be proud of ourselves and to enjoy what we were doing - total strangers who, in a very small amount of time, had successfully navigated the often complicated terrain of creative collaboration. In fact Derby Museums decided to keep some of the prototypes on site due to the enthusiastic response from visitors.
- New ways to collaborate: Celebrating innovation, rapid prototyping and new, collaborative working methods, Museomix’s objectives fall perfectly in line with ours - we want to find new and exciting ways to connect with audiences; pushing ourselves and the amazing people we work with into completely new terrain. Events like Museomix facilitate this type of thinking and help prove that, with enough cake, and support, we can break away from convention, take risks and produce fantastic end results.