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Remember the WHY #DigiLab

 Kim Osborne of the Roald Dahl Museum walks us through her thought process for creating films in the Digital Lab

When I began Digital Lab it seemed that I knew what I wanted to do, but not necessarily why.

The area I wanted to focus on was film. I’d started making films for the Museum over the summer during an unexpected closure due to a flood. I’d created a little project to help us reach our audience during a time when we were physically inaccessible to them. The films had come out quite well – I’d taught myself Premier, roped in people on the team to take a starring role, asked Learning and Collections to help with the content and then shared them with the world. Colleagues thought they were great, people online liked and shared them. Success!

So now we’re back up and running it seemed like the obvious thing to capitalise on all the work over the summer and use Digital Lab to help us to create and test more films, didn’t it? But my initial conversations with my wonderful mentor Ron always led back to one question – why?

Well… everyone is making films now, every blog I read says you need them, they are great for engagement – we need more engagement, right?

But why? Why do you need more engagement?

Um, because likes – duh!

What I’d failed to address was the basics. What do we want these videos to achieve, what’s our ultimate goal? I’d got swept up in the “I saw another Museum post a video of a cat falling off a shelf, and that got a thousand likes – we should be doing that!” mentality.

After a lot of thinking and chats with Ron I focused on an area that video could potentially bring real benefits to the Museum – audience research.

The Museum is gearing up for a major refurbishment, and another closure period (don’t worry, it’s not for a while). We’re potentially re-designing the whole of the Museum content, and re-thinking all of our spaces. It’s an exciting time, and we know the value of asking our visitors for their feedback along the way. We’ve planned to use focus groups and surveys, but hadn’t considered using our Facebook audience for their opinions. Until now.

After speaking to the Galleries Project Manager and other members of the team it became clear that there’s real potential in using Facebook this way, and a lot of support for the project. We’ve focused on key questions to ask, and I’m now beginning to plan and create a series of films to test. There’s also the possibility of engaging with our online visitors this way throughout the whole project – from asking for feedback, to allowing people to help us make choices during the process.

Digital Lab has really helped me to think differently about the digital content we produce – not just for these experimental films, but across everything else we produce. By working with other departments in the Museum it’s not only helping me realise the potential of using film and social, but also helping the wider team to understand how it could help other projects (maybe I’ve created a monster!?). The main challenge now is maintaining momentum, and finding the time to create the content, so careful planning and preparation is key!


Find out more about the AMAculturehive Digital Lab and information on how to take part.

Images courtesy of The Roald Dahl Museum © The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre.