Meet The Commissioners: The Culture Club

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2011 5:45pm


Delyth Thomas gets cultured….Introduced By:John Davison, Co-founder and Creative Director, KanotiSpeakersSharna Jackson, Editor, Tate KidsRhiannon Looseley, Online Learning Manager, Museum of LondonPurni Morell, Artistic Director Designate, Unicorn TheatreDavid Prudames, Senior Contect Commisioner, The British Museum Web TeamProduced by:Sharna Jackson, Editor, Tate Kids

‘Get em while they’re young…’

Like every other area in cash strapped Britain – finances or rather lack of  – play a crucial part in how much the ambitions to expand online content for kids is possible. The four panellists from Tate Kids, Unicorn Theatre, British Museum and  Museum of London are in a much better position than a lot of the smaller institutions and do at least have budgets, if small, to generate interesting new ways of getting kids to engage with their art collections.

Sharna Jackson, editor of Tate kids is currently looking at expanding the games area of their website, but is open to innovative ideas despite small budgets at Tate (20K core budget per annum) and isn’t averse to trying to raise money from other sources. Interestingly whilst interested in Apps, the main focus is on browser-based content as it reaches a far wider audience. That said, as so many young people use Blackberry sms (I’ve heard that a lot at this conference) she’s interesting in exploring a Blackberry App.

Rhiannon Looseley, on-line leaning manager at the Museum of London has created games for under 5’s, special needs kids (based in Roman London and looked great fun), and stressed that the content of the learning outcome is key in their website. Their research has shown that the public want the museum to be authoratitive so historical accuracy is of paramount importance, therefore if you do work with them, you may well have several tiers of ‘sign offs’ to get through – not so different from traditional broadcasting then….To that end a curator is on hand to ensure historical accuracy (did you know that carrots were paler in Roman Britain?) copyright advisors, project managers etc. Talk to them in April about the year ahead – that‘s when they plan their projects. BTW -did you know they have the original Andy Pandy puppets among their collections so it’s worth thinking about as you’ll get access to some amazing stuff.

 The Challenge for Purni Morell, Artistic Director of the Unicorn Theatre (from September) which services an age range of 2-20 years of age, is to create an online presence that gets their message across to the target audience themselves and not just to the parent ticket buyers. She’s also interested in how to make to use of digital media to enhance the theatre itself – making use of the building in some way – to quote Purni she’d like to make the Unicorn “less soft play more buttons”.

Lastly David  Prudames of the British Museum’s web team, looks after the collection online. Their online provision for kids and young people aims to offer up an experience to help them engage with the museum’s collection in a positive, informal interactive learning experience. They tend to outsource the games creation rather than make them in-house, and also have a rigorous structure of ‘sign-offs’ to ensure historical accuracy. The panel all said they’d be interested in Broadcast partnerships- with a History of the world in 100 objects cited as a great example.