MEET is the annual gathering of educators, evaluators and technologists working across the cultural sector, held in conjunction with the AMaGA conference. This year the theme for MEET was Looking Forward, Looking Back – learnings from offering digital education programs. Abstracts are here.

There were many lessons learned across all presentations, summarised below.

From the Art Gallery of South Australia:

  • Educators completely flipped to online programs
  • Crucial principles – collaboration and building relationships, engaging with artists, low tech materials for accessibility and access to recordings and resources
  • Tech approach to streaming was keep it simple!
  • You can make money from selling online resources (there’s some lovely products here)
  • Their programs had a far-wider reach than any on-site program, and they will continue to offer online workshops

From the National Wool Museum, Geelong:

  • Moved a Maker’s Festival to a completely online event
  • What worked:
    • 16,000+ page visits compared to possible 500 program attendees
    • Utilising the opportunity to develop digital programs
    • Supporting artists to transition to digital
    • Stop motion for crafts
    • Partnerships utilising skills and resources
    • Public gallery for sharing (39 pieces)
    • Reusing materials – thinking multiple use
  • What needed more work:
    • Login for courses
    • Live online events
    • Protection of intellectual property
    • Being seen amongst the flood of digital experiences
    • Shorter than desired visit time (1.46)
    • Integration with existing online presence

From the National Museum of Australia:

  • Stay agile!
  • Legacies of digital programming after exhibition is closed
  • Teacher engagement opportunities
  • Connecting our education products: online, onsite, digital excursions and outreach
  • Also, that the visitor profile to their online Endeavour Voyage exhibition was (eerily!) almost identical to those who manage to see the exhibition in its physical form

From LyndaKellyNetworks (i.e., me!):

Is price a barrier to visiting museums?

  • Yes:
    • Both a real issue for some, and a perception issue for others
    • They just can’t afford it – especially for families and large groups
    • Perception that the whole day out is expensive, especially when factor in things like food and parking
  • And, No:
    • Don’t have the time to visit
    • They haven’t ‘got around to it’
    • Don’t know enough about the museum
    • Not interested in the content; or worry not family-friendly
    • COVID concerns visiting public places, coupled with using public transport, social distancing and touching
  • Overall, for those that can travel, the physicality of the visit is key; for those unable to travel, digital is key:
    • But still don’t consider that digital content is worth paying for
    • Unless (for teachers) it is a digital excursion, or high-quality resources (e.g., catalogues)
    • Or a theatre / symphony performance (or equivalent, for example)

Australian Museum and Galleries Association, Multimedia and Publication Design Awards 2021 Judging Highlights and Feedback:

  • There was so much gold in this presentation I suggest you look at the whole slide deck here.

We also had great presentations from:

  • MOD. A move to a completely online exhibition has given them the confidence to offer wholly online exhibitions in the future
  • National Portrait Gallery – main lesson invest in good video content and your audience won’t even know it’s a green screen! And, their teachers will pay for digital excursions
  • MoAD who experimented with:
    • Short, sharp digital resources to support teachers in the classroom or remote learning
    • Accessible content similar format – background, story, call to action activity
    • Drawing on objects, spaces and stories to engage students

My final reflections:

  • We can (and should) be offering a remote option for conference delegates and presenters (we managed but it was a bit wild!)
  • GLAM folks are amazingly agile and positive and willing to try new things
  • Overall, MEET is a great forum!!

For more learnings from the GLAM sector check out this blog post, What the Australian GLAM Sector learned from the pandemic.

We hope to see you at #MEET2022 – fingers crossed!

What the Australian GLAM Sector learned (and is learning) from the pandemic

The Australian Museums and Galleries Association (AMaGA) conducted three surveys during 2020 to uncover the impacts of COVID-19 on our sector. In the final survey (November 2020) we asked three reflective questions.

This post reports further on these findings, demonstrating willingness to learn from adversity, along with the resilience of our sector. I hope you find them interesting and inspiring – I did!

WFH, April 2021: showcase dimensions, dog, toilet paper!

One thing learned / reflected on throughout this pandemic

25% New realisations:

  • Senior management continues to place more subconscious value on collections staff through greater retention as compared to staffing front of house, education, programming and exhibitions.
  • The temporary nature of an interest in museums, mostly driven for visitation, by tourism.
  • That our customers miss us but don’t advocate on our behalf – no complaints that we are closed.

23% Flexible, agile, change:

  • Adaptability of staff to create new ways of engaging with audiences and using collections.
  • Nothing is set in concrete – the need to have a flexible attitude…and be prepared to change what and how you’ve always done things.
  • When there is need things can move quickly and some roadblocks disappear.

12% Emphasis on well-being and connection:

  • How quickly life can change and remembering that health and wellbeing is the MOST important thing in life.
  • Who is important in my life.

11% Emotional response (frustrated, fragility, positivity, resilience):

  • The good ones stay with you – beating adversity gives strength.
  • Keep on keeping on. We are resilient and we will get there.

8% Digital learnings:

  • The importance of digital media to museums and galleries and how we can improve our digital offer.

8% WFH, remote working/learning:

  • We don’t all need to be in the office all the time – there should be more flexibility for working from home – accepted and encouraged.
  • Working remotely is very successful and must be an important part of the workplace mix into the future.

6% New opportunities for visitors, think differently about visitors:

  • We need to do more work on engaging with locals and really look at top heavy museum structures. I think that in NSW and ACT – some regional galleries are doing a better job on far less than the big museums. Perhaps they are really more interested in their audiences and repeat visitation.
  • That many museums don’t know how to create engaging exhibitions with their own collections rather than relying on blockbusters or ‘artist interpretations’.

ONE thing will apply to organisational operations post-pandemic?

40% Think differently about ways of working, remote work, changed business practices:

  • A more shared vision for the future operation and goals for the organisation.
  • Possibly slow down a little and not say ‘yes’ to every single request. Try to stay organised – we spent time sorting, culling, tidying – would be good to keep systems in place.

31% Digital programs, online collections, remote learning, social media use:

  • Continued emphasis on the importance of a sustained online presence.
  • Digital delivery of outreach programming rather than expensive travel.

16% Improved, better, more communications:

  • Try to increase involvement of members.
  • Keeping in touch with each other and being able to bounce back.
  • Stronger personal engagement with our volunteers.

13% COVID-safe practices, better hygiene, cleaning, maintenance:

  • Keeping the routine of the constant cleaning of displays/toilets after COVID.
  • We will keep cleaning and keeping social distances.
  • Being more vigilant with cleanliness and making sure volunteers stay home if unwell.

Opportunities for the post-COVID months / year ahead

19% New ways of thinking / working in and out of sector:

  • It is crucial that we position ourselves as an important service for our community wellbeing with our major stakeholder (local government). With years of economic recovery ahead we are at risk of losing funding if we do not advocate for our value.
  • I’ve become clearer about my strategic focus, let go of areas that were less sustainable, and plan to finally make the move to a regional home-work base.
  • A new way of working definitely, maybe not always having an outcome like an exhibition for example.

17% Operational changes:

  • A new way of working absolutely, and it’s enabled the opportunity to reflect and reimagine the way we operate, function and delivery programs.
  • Restructure so that there is opportunity to try new ways of working and provide a safe space for people to think differently.
  • Perhaps different open to the public hours [and] revision of operating procedures.

12% Online / digital / IT:

  • More engagement online, social media, networking.
  • Building better educational resources and professional development for teachers online.
  • Greater buy-in for integrated digital strategies across the organisation and the industry.

10% New audiences / different ways to reach audiences / audience development:

  • Creative audience engagement.
  • Working differently, reimaging visitor experiences particularly those previously hands-on, staying focused on our vision and strategic direction.

8% Planning / look at strategic direction:

  • A new strategic direction with sustainable outcomes and focus on outcomes rather than outputs.

6% WFH / hybrid working:

  • More flexible work practices- no longer a stigma to work from home.
  • Again, the technology means that there might be further opportunities to work from home in the future. This will help with maintaining a good work/life balance as leave days won’t need to be taken for things like medical appointments etc. as, again, travel time into work won’t need to be factored in and working later/earlier to make up the time instead will be easier to do from home.

Other posts related to AMaGA’s COVID industry research:

Thanks again to all who participated and continue the great work!

Dog in a showcase!

How is COVID impacting the Australian GLAM Sector? Part 3

The Australian Museums and Galleries Association (AMaGA) has been conducting industry research into the impacts of COVID-19 on our sector. This, the third post in a series, summarises main findings from the November survey (n=185) as well as some final observations.

The August report is here and March/April overview here.

Overall Observations

Reflecting across the three surveys it emerged that:

  1. The sector needs to better define their impact on and value to the community.
  2. Across the board the sector experienced loss in income and decline in audiences – while improving it will still take some time to get back to pre-COVID levels (if at all).
  3. While morale was mainly steady throughout the pandemic many of our colleagues and institutions have been suffering, and continue to suffer.
  4. Financial models need to be re-thought – are institutions built largely on ageing volunteers, casual staff and contractors sustainable?
  5. Opportunities to reflect on current work processes – especially flexible ways of working and working from home (WFH), as well as re-thinking strategic directions and undertaking planning
  6. Realisation that digital as an important way to engage audiences, and is achievable.
  7. The pandemic put an emphasis on well-being and connections – and valuing these even more than before.
  8. The sector still cannot afford to be complacent, especially given recent events in Victoria (Lockdown #4).

November Main Themes

Being the final survey in a series we decided to ask three reflective questions:

  1. One thing they learned / reflected on during the pandemic
  2. One thing they will apply to operations post-pandemic
  3. Opportunities looking at post-COVID

The main themes that emerged across this group of questions were:

  • Opportunities to reflect on current work processes – especially flexible ways of working and working from home (WFH)
  • Digital as an important way to engage audiences – and by giving it a go, respondents were now more inclined to keep going on this path
  • COVID forcing organisation to increase their communications within the organisation and with their audiences
  • Emphasising well-being and connections – and valuing these even more
  • Many also took the opportunity to re-think strategic directions and undertake some planning

My next post unpacks these in more detail.

Other November Findings

  • Similar to the April and August surveys, most were experiencing loss of income and cancelled programs/events, with main differences from August to November being more:
    • Rescheduled programs or events
    • Cancellation of contracts
    • Job losses
    • Moves to online programming
    • Issues with morale and staff well-being
  • 65% of organisations open (compared to 49% in August)
  • Even though many more organisations are open, overall loss of income across the board is a key impact, specifically through decreased tourism (despite some areas reporting higher tourism), little or no entry fees, decreased revenue from events and programs, and decrease in sales and merchandise
  • More report no financial support accessed in November –- probably due to changed circumstances with more venues open
  • Re-engaging with the community was identified as key issue in both in the April and August surveys and is still an issue for all November respondents
  • Overall, morale is still pretty good and consistent with August findings, and consistent across all sub-groups

Huge thanks to all who responded t our surveys – you’re input and considered comments were very much appreciated.

And, if you’re not a member of AMaGA please consider joining to support our sector and access awesome PD and events. Go here to join.

Looking Forward, Looking Back #MEET2021 at #AMAGA2021: Program and Abstracts

MEET is the annual gathering of educators, evaluators and technologists working across the cultural sector, held in conjunction with the AMaGA conference, this year being held in Canberra. This year MEET is on Thursday 10 June, 9-11.45 am in the Ferguson Room, National Library of Australia.

Talks are structured around:

  • What have we learned?
  • What are the opportunities going forward?
  • How will we now work differently?
  • Noting that the word ‘pivot’ is banned (except for Michael Parry!)

If you haven’t already booked for #MEET2021, please email Dr Lynda Kelly, EVRNN President: evrnnma@gmail.com. But hurry, numbers are limited to 50!



Kylie Neagle, Education Coordinator, Art Gallery of South Australia. AGSA Education launching into (online) space

Shift from in person to online teacher professional development that connects with the gallery and is relevant for educators and our online workshop pedagogy. Moving forward; how to deliver a blend of in person and online within current resourcing limitations.

Dr Stephanie Smith, Manager of Learning, MoAD. Digital Snapshots

  • Short, sharp digital resources to support teachers in the classroom or remote learning
  • Accessible content similar format – background, story, call to action activity
  • Drawing on objects, spaces and stories to engage students

Abbie McPhie, Audience Research and Evaluation Manager AND Marissa Beard, Education Manager, National Museum of Australia. The Endeavour Voyage: a comparison of a digital exhibition and programs with the onsite experience

The National Museum of Australia (NMA) planned a major onsite exhibition around the 250 Anniversary of the sailing of HMB Endeavour, with an onsite education program developed to complement a visit to the exhibition. Schools / education were a key audience and significant audience testing undertaken.

But then… COVID-19 happened and the NMA had to adapt this content for digital. This paper presents the exhibition as a key example of what works and what doesn’t when adapting content for digital, for both schools / education and general audiences, and how digital and onsite content, programs and resources can intersect with each other in unexpected ways.

Krysia Kitch, Manager Learning Program AND Gill Raymond, Digital Manager, National Portrait Gallery. Wrangling Workshops, maximising impact

Adaption of existing schools’ programs to home delivery with scaling up to deliver intended onsite workshops to online delivery. Technical adaptation and finessing including special equipment and diversifying the platforms on which the program was delivered.

Looking forward we intend to continue to offer practical art workshops in a range of media, in the near future looking at trialling photography workshops and also exploring a pay-as-you-can option.

Stephanie Rosestone. Engagement Learning and Programs Manager, National Wool Museum. Creating CREATE – turning a festival of events into an online learning platform VIA ZOOM

Adapting a festival of events to an online interactive platform – with courses, videos, live online events, downloadable activities and a public gallery. Reflections on what worked well, what didn’t and where to from here.

Natalie Carfora, Exhibition Coordinator, MOD. MOD.’s application of COVID innovation

Before COVID, we used digital in specific ways. March 2020. Everything turned upside down. We built an online exhibition in eight days and adapted our online offer, including live-streamed content four evenings a week.

Now of course, it’s changed again. We’ve emerged with new learnings and are putting new procedures in place to ensure that our future in-gallery exhibitions and our new digital practices will better co-exist.

Dr Lynda Kelly, LyndaKellyNetworks. Why won’t they pay…?

Explores the barriers to paying for digital content across a range of audiences to address the question “Why won’t they pay?”

Michael Parry, Dr Keir Winesmith, MAPDA Awards Judges. Reflecting on the best of GLAM Digital VIA ZOOM / F2F

The 2021 set of MAPDA entries was even larger than usual, particularly due to the boosted number of digital projects submitted – so much pivoting! In this session join some of the digital category judges for a candid insight into what they saw in more than 70 digital projects from across Australia and New Zealand. Based on feedback from across the judging panel, the presentation will include identification of key trends, highlight successes and best practice, but also explore where there are opportunities for digital experiences and projects to improve. Come and learn from the best digital GLAM work from across a very unique year.


The session will have a Q&A wrap-up followed by the Education National Network AGM, then lunch 12.35, then booked tours from 1.30.


Proposals are now open for MEET 2021 (more about the MEET day generally is here).

Submit your proposal using the form below or online via our Google Form by COB Friday 30 April (AEST).



Consulting Young Children: Experiences from a Museum #TBT

For this #throwbackthursday post I’m revisiting a study conducted at the Australian Museum with very young audiences and a published paper resulting from this. The reason? A new project I’m working on which I’ll talk more about soon…


Dockett, S., Main, S. and Kelly, L. (2011). Consulting Young Children: Experiences from a Museum. Visitor Studies, 14(1), pp.13-33.


Since 1999, the Australian Museum has provided a designated play/learning space for young children aged 0–5 years. A recent redevelopment and redesign of the museum provided a valuable opportunity for a team of museum staff and university researchers to consult with young children about their experiences and expectations about this play space and the museum generally. This article reports the processes of consultation; methods used to consult with children; issues identified by the children involved; and the ways in which children’s perspectives influenced the design of the new Kidspace. In particular, the authors noted the importance of children’s journals as both a means of constructing data and as a means for reflection on the importance of social spaces in research with children. Underpinning the project was a commitment to recognizing young children as competent social actors, with the right to be consulted on matters that are important to them.

The full article can be downloaded from this link.


These are worth re-visiting:

#MEET2021 #AMAGA2021

Created with Nokia Smart CamMEET is the annual gathering of educators, evaluators and technologists working across the cultural sector, held in conjunction with the AMaGA National Conference.

This year MEET will be held during the conference on Thursday 10 June, 9-11.30am at the National Library of Australia.

The theme for this year’s MEET is Looking Back Looking Forward.

We will be seeking submissions for either a 15-minute presentation OR a seven-minute lightning talk from people working in the education, evaluation and technology fields that:

  • highlight a program with an education / learning focus
  • is primarily digital
  • has an evaluation component

Talks will be structured around:

  • What have we learned?
  • What are the opportunities going forward?
  • How will we now work differently?
  • Noting that the word ‘pivot’ is banned!

We will be setting up a Google doc for submissions very soon, so watch this space, or join one of the Networks here to get updates.


  • Contact Dr Lynda Kelly, Convenor, Evaluation and Visitor Research National Network, evrnnma@gmail.com
  • Updates will be provided on this blog and via email to Network members
  • NOTE: If you are a member of the EVRNN you may be eligible to apply for a bursary – details have been emailed to all EVRNN members today. But hurry – applications close Monday 28 March

Not another digital trends post? Well, yes, OK then…

Gratuitous foto of my 2020 working-from-home office companion, Molly!

While working with the Australian National Submarine Museum on their digital strategy (background here), I both Googled and reached out to the Twitter community to seek their ideas and input. The following trends we considered while developing the strategy. Note that many are specifically related to the pandemic, but hoping the good that came out of our sector’s response to this will continue.


Social media:

Older Australians (“Senior Surfers” aged 50+):

Online time:




General museum trends

Received the latest Museums in 2020+ by Ece Özdil, Founder of Jüniör. This is an update from her 2018 report, the latest being called Search for Meaning, with some good examples attached to each trend. Here’s the ones I found intriguing:

Loyalty revolution and the importance of memberships

Re:engagement, with the focus on not doing digital for digital sake – it must be aligned to strategy and “… driven by meaningful engagement.”

Accessibility online – “museums need to balance their experience and service offer considering the social, digital and cultural divide that the digital world might bring to people’s lives.”

Education recoded – digital as a tool for learning activities. However, worth reading this post: COVID-19 Has Taken a Toll on Museum Education highlighting survey findings that “… staff positions most affected by layoffs and furloughs due to COVID-19 were Guest Services/Admissions/Front of House/Retail (68%) and Education (40%).”

Neo-agile museum – with an understanding that agile processes are not only the remit of digital departments and require institution-wide commitment

Collections explained – visitors will increasingly expect a personal connection with curators, as many experienced this through the pandemic. How will museums continue this engagement?

Data frontiers – and data transparency

And, finally. Our friends at MuseumNext have also been thinking about trends and asked for predictions – here’s their list: Museum Digital Predictions for 2021.

Hope you’ve enjoyed, and Happy New Year!

Are Australians using technology more due to COVID-19?

The answer is YES … and, NO. This, the final post in a series, reports on data I’ve been gathering for a range of clients that sheds light on this finding.

MoAD Learning: Teachers

A survey of 120 teachers conducted for MoAD Learning (Canberra) found they were roughly evenly split about whether they were using tech more due to COVID-19:

  • 44% reported using a lot more
  • 38% somewhat
  • 18% no change

Their comments about this fell into four areas:

  1. No change as they have always integrated tech into their teaching practices
  2. Enhanced use of, and learning more about, some platforms
  3. Changed work practices due to tech
  4. Little or no change

The Australian National Submarine Museum

I have been fortunate enough to be working with folks from the (future) Australian National Submarine Museum (ANSM), an online museum due to be launched at the end of 2021. As part of this we conducted a survey with members of the Submarine Institute of Australia and the Submarines Association Australia.

Of our 171 respondents (mostly male and aged 50+) we found:

  • 27% using tech a lot more
  • 15% somewhat
  • 58% not really

Australian Population

As part of the ANSM project we undertook a general population sample of 200 Australians in November to make some comparisons to the membership across a range of areas, including technology. We found:

  • 33% using tech a lot more
  •    2% using it less
  • 10% somewhat
  • 43% not really

There were differences in gender and age:

  • Females and those aged 18-49 are using tech a lot more, and males / those aged 50+ reported they were using tech about the same as before – so, no real change for them (similar to the member survey above).

Some comments:

  • I’ve not previously shopped online but now find I’m willing to at least research these sites.
  • Spend more time in front of computer.
  • My reliance on and use of technology has increased noticeably during this time.
  • Everything feels the same way at home.
  • I didn’t have a smartphone before Covid-19. I didn’t see the need. But I love it now. I use it a lot for reading.

Final thoughts

Taken together, the issue appears to be that many Australians were already quite heavy users of technology for work and leisure, with the most notable increase due to COVID being online shopping and QR codes, as well as using Zoom as a platform for both work purposes and to connect with family and friends (with both positive and negative experiences reported). From the population survey, this particularly applies to younger Australians and women.

Teachers were also more likely to report using tech more, which is to be expected given the studies into students’ and teachers’ views about, and experiences with, remote learning.

I’m looking forward to 2021 to see if the lessons we’ve learned are applied to the ways we use tech, how we work, where and how we learn and how we communicate.

Previous posts in this series:


COVID-19 and Remote Learning Part 3: Some international data

This, the third post in a series about COVID and remote leaning, presents highlights from the report, Remote Education in Times of COVID-19: Digital Ethnographic Study – The ‘New Normal’ in Some Parts of the World, prepared by a range of researchers across Brazil, Italy, England and India.

It aimed to:

… analyse how Remote Education impacts children and young people in elementary and high school during social isolation in Brazil, Italy, France, and Portugal. We heard their voices about expectations, perceptions, and experiences to describe and make sense of this particular socio-educational time.

The sample is comprised of mothers, teachers, university professors, psychologists and students across Brazil. Italy, France and Portugal.

There is a lot of very interesting data in the report, with their conclusions worth repeating:

  1. Remote Education does not comply with the transfer of face-to-face classroom to home
  2. Collaboration, dialogue between the parties, is one of the keys to the development of Remote Education
  3. Technologies in tune with reality and the preparation for their use are fundamental elements to develop Remote Education
  4. The focus on human interaction rather than content is essential for the schooling process in any teaching situation
  5. Changes in the evaluation paradigm, pedagogical and instructional are necessary to understand the connection and inseparable parts of teaching and learning
  6. Control is replacing for autonomy; instruction for mediation and, didactic for self-learning
  7. The teacher’s continued training can take place online, by interactional and interdisciplinary parameters rather than curricular and structured ones
  8. Routines, planning, organisation are shared from bottom-up not top-down
  9. Education systems need to come into line with families’ reality
  10. Digital platforms need to adjust to the user in real-time
  11. Curricula and programs need to be mediated by the school in collaboration with parents and students
  12. The school redefines its role: as media for sharing and reconciles rather than controlling and punishing

Similarly to the Australian study (which the authors also cited in their report), responses to remote learning can be both negative in regards to stress, overwork and uncertainty, and positive with many seeing opportunities to adapt elements of digital learning back in the classroom. However, access is still an issue, with different approaches to pedagogy across different countries also influencing how (and whether) students are given agency in their learning. In this regard their final recommendation is worth thinking about:

  1. 13. Observing and listening to the student become the norm, and the students are considered autonomous, critical, transformative, and able to become agents of their learning.

The report is in draft mode at the moment and can be accessed via this Google doc.

My final post in this series looks at how COVID-19 has impacted Australians’ use of technology generally. The answer may surprise you!