Monday, 16 November 2015

The rise of post-digital roles

Bar the dumb line about taxidermy, this interview for Broadsheet is the best write-up I've seen so far of Seb Chan's new role at ACMI.

Seb first blew my mind at a NDF conference sometime last decade, talking about understanding what your visitors were *really* interested in by looking at their collection searches. At the Powerhouse Museum he created a role for the web team that was more integrated, more influential, and more innovative, than any other I saw in Australasia (and most likely further afield).

At the Cooper-Hewitt, Seb not only lead the team that conceptualised and made The Pen, and the underlying infrastructure that powers the museum experience in the galleries and online - he shaped a narrative about what is unique about the thinking and goals of that museum through his communication to peers and the public.

I am so excited to see what ACMI does in the next two years, because - as Seb puts it himself in this interview - the role he has as Chief Experience Officer is 'post-digital': taking all that learning and experience he's had, and applying it across the museum as a whole.

If I think about how I communicate with my friends, over years of acquaintance, face-to-face, via text and chat and email, through multi-person threads on Twitter or simply by maintaining an awareness of what's going on with them via their Instagram photos, I see a parallel with how a museum features in the life of a regular visitor: as a poster glimpsed on the street, a casual or carefully planned visit, a purchase at the shop, a Facebook post shared. At times the relationship is closer and more intense - at others it moves into the background. When I think about Seb's role as Chief Experience Officer, I think about him creating and feeding this web of micro-touches. I very much think of my work at The Dowse in this light but frankly - Seb is smarter and more experienced and better at making the future happen than I am. I look forward to continuing to learn from him.

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