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London 9/O5/2O18


CultureGeek Schedule



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Audiences for arts & story driven VR content. Who are they and what do they want?

Catherine Allen, BAFTA-winning, immersive media specialist

Catherine Allen will outline who the VR arts audience are at present, why they come to experience VR, what are the factors that make it a good leisure experience and the type of content that her company Limina have observed being particularly popular. If you are interested in this emerging form of culture and the development of a new art form, then this talk is for you.


How to build a new product on old systems

Eva Liparova, Product Manager V&A

Duncan Gough, Tech Lead V&A

A case study around the challenges of building What’s On across three existing systems and figuring out how they work together. Framed around five questions that kids like to ask adults, the talk aims to uncover what it means to think as a startup but be required to work with hard-to-shift systems and workflows.



Zak Mensah, Head of Transformation, Bristol Culture, Bristol City Council

Nearly five years ago I was recruited into the service to reboot the digital offer. The job description and the advert were the kind of red flag that would make most run a mile. Still, I was curious and having just finished some consultancy with the HLF where I got to see some amazing work I took the plunge and pinged off my application. Within minutes of the interview starting it was clear to me that the people on the other side of the table were passionate about culture and heritage. They just didn’t know much about digital.


My parting words in the interview were “I can see you could do with the help and I live and breathe digital so if you want somebody like me to come and drive that change, cool. If you want somebody to just do what you say then don’t me hire”. I earned trust. Made a team. Showed how to make a small budget stretch and then grew slowly, slowly, slowly by solving people’s problems. Not digital problem’s but real problems that mostly end up using digital. If it had a plug attached to it then “give it to Zak”.

I would like to talk about changing the culture to live with digital and becoming a digital by default cultural business.

Pssst I haven’t touched any code for over a year.


How Art Happens helped Museum of London conserve fashion history

Merrin Kalinowski, Museum Marketing Relationship Manager, Art Fund

Timothy Long, Curator of Fashion and Decorative Arts, Museum of London

Museum of London raised £10,000 through an Art Happens crowdfunding campaign to redress pleasure, Timothy Long, Curator of Fashion and Decorative Arts at Museum of London and Merrin Kalinowski who co-ordinates Art Happens at Art Fund will share top tips from the successful campaign.




It’s OK to fail

Jo Johnson, Senior Marketing Manager, Digital Communications, London Symphony Orchestra

Here’s a confession for you: I’m making things up as I go along. I don’t know what I’m doing in this job. Over the last decade I’ve been riding the digital wave but I’ve probably spent more time falling off my surfboard and spitting out mouthfuls of water than anything else. I’m always struck by how cool, calm and collected conference presenters are; by how successful their projects seem. I start to feel like I must be the only one who isn’t succeeding.

But everything isn’t perfect, is it. Adapting ourselves and our work to digital has been far from easy and in fact only seems to be getting harder as budgets get tighter and expectations get higher. In this session I’m going to discuss some of the problems we have encountered in trying to bring classical music into the digital age and some of the solutions we’ve tried (and failed!) over the years. I might not have all the answers, but I hope to bring you an important message: it’s OK to fail.


Sarah Ellis

Director of Digital Development, Royal Shakespeare Company

The craft of storytelling has developed throughout the centuries with the help of technology – candlelight, printing press, electricity, film and the internet have all impacted on the way we make theatre.  How does AI come into this world and impact the future of entertainment.  Can Human Intelligence and the Human experience get us to thinking differently about this technology.


Games are the answer, but what is the question?

Rob Cawston, Head of Digital Media at National Museums Scotland

Ben Templeton, independent consultant, facilitator and creative director

Games have become a common feature in cultural spaces as museums and galleries seek new ways to engage audiences with both their collections and the spaces that house them. Organisations have embraced play in all its forms, from gamification (boo! hiss!) through to immersive experiences and screen-based games that even die-hard gamers can enjoy.

But how do you condense the theme of an exhibition, or the deep expertise of curators, into a single, simple game? What ideas work best in game-form? And how can museums compose project briefs that get the most creative responses from game designers?

With a focus on a suite of games being created for two new galleries at National Museum of Scotland – and examples of brilliant game products from across the sector – Rob and Ben will explore the best way to approach the game-making process and maximise the impact of the final product.




Social Media in the Marketing Room with the Metrics Rope

Mar Dixon, Digital Maven

Social media is becoming less social even though more people are using multiple platforms more than ever…so what happened? Where is all the sharing the public is creating going, and how can we bring back the Art of Conversation? Has the need for metrics assisted in this slow demise and led people down the path of personal sharing without the need for acknowledgment from brands? How can brands use this transitional period to their advantage and remix their sharing to lead to more engagement?

Mar will be talking about the ebbs and flow of social media (including live stream) and ways to focus your brand back to conversations and awareness with less emphasis on the numbers.  She will also discuss what platforms you should use, who should and shouldn’t be behind your channels, and why the need to be on social media matters.  Strategies, regardless of how well written, need to be fluid with trends and behaviours of the public, but how often are they reviewed or action-ed for change?

Social media is still vital real estate but you must remember to invest in the housekeeping and maintenance when you own a home.


Hold the World with Sir David Attenborough – a new VR kind of experience

John Cassy, CEO, Factory 42

How technology made it possible to have a one-on-one audience with world’s best loved naturalist at the Natural History Museum.   Combining holograms, volumetric capture, photogrammetry, scanning, animation and interactive VR, Hold The World breaks new ground in enabling users to interact with the museum’s collection in previously impossible ways and from anywhere on the planet.  Get an exclusive insight into the making of this brand new experience, which takes users behind the scenes at the Natural History Museum – commissioned by Sky and produced by Factory 42.


Visit the Museum With A Robot

Marleen Hartjes, Special Guests Coordinator, Van Abbemuseum

The Van Abbemuseum is accessible for people who cannot come to the museum due to physical disability. A robot makes it possible for them to experience the museum and the art from their own home. Controlling the robot and guiding it through the museum themselves means they are in control and can chat to the accompanying guide who has detailed information about the artworks and exhibitions.


Wrap Up and Thanks