Wednesday 8 September 2010

Ask a curator

Last Wednesday was Ask A Curator day on Twitter - the above was the first question I put out (for the record, @ChchArtGallery and @CityGalleryWgtn said Fiona Connor, @WallaceArtTrust wasn't keen to pick, and I didn't hear back from @Fresh274 and @AucklandArtGal didn't reply to any of my questions).

Ask a Curator was run by Sumo, an English company that works a lot in social media with museums and galleries. It followed on from Follow a Museum day, run by Sumo in February this year.

My own experience of Ask A Curator day wasn't that much different from my average day on twitter, although I enjoyed the backchannel chit-chat with @tinks03 and @cherylbernstein as we talked about the event and the answers. But then, I'm lucky, If I have a question for a curator, I can generally drop them an email and expect an answer. Ask A Curator day wasn't really about or for me.

The point of the day was to start new conversations. The following morning I asked a few institutions whether they'd had conversations with new people, or just the usual suspects.

So, can the event be judged a success? It's hard to tell. Because New Zealand started the event early (due to timezones) we missed the spam attack that took place when the hashtag started trending, which was a bonus for us. Do 10 extra international followers equal a success? Maybe, if you keep talking to them (even more I guess if they all jump on a plane and head over here....). 'Success' is a surprisingly difficult question: one of my favourite exchanges of the day occurred when @tinks03 asked

'Success is a topic I'll be trying to tackle in a panel discussion about social media at the National Digital Forum in Wellington in October - earlybird registration has just been extended until this Friday. I'll be joined on the panel by Renae Mason from the Powerhouse Museum: you can read their account of taking part in Ask a Curator day on their Fresh and Newer blog, and their reasons for hacking the event and using Facebook instead of Twitter.

Other round-ups of the event:

Ema Tavola (Fresh Gallery) and Neil Semple (Christchurch Art Gallery) on the NZMuseums site

An American perspective from Carolina Miranda (aka C-Monster)

Jim Richardson from Sumo (covers the spamming that occurred)

Danny Birchall gives the (professional) participants view

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