In this session Dr Keir Winesmith (Chief Digital Officer NFSA), Dr Bobby Cerini (Deputy Director and General Manager of Science and Learning, Questacon), Penny Whitehead (Deputy Director, Development and Commercial Operations at Geelong Gallery) and Sejul Malde (Strategic Research Development Manager, Australian National University) discuss how their institutions are changing, how new practices are being implemented, and the new ways of collaborating that are required.
More recorded talks from the Future of Arts, Culture & Technology Symposium 2023
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Okay, so by way of introduction, the themes that we're going to talk about today, I have a real interest in it about how do we change practice, institutional practice, and I guess I'm coming at this from a few different perspectives. I had the privilege to be one of the mentors on the CEO mentoring program, and with the Australian dance theater who I was mentoring, Nick Hayes, we talked a lot about different ways of thinking practice in responding to digital transformation. I also had the joy of working with Jane at Culture24, wherever Jane is, somewhere in the audience, hopefully, there she is, for a number of years as a research manager, developing collaborative projects with arts and heritage organizations around digital culture, digital change. And now I work as the strategic research development manager at the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the ANU, the Australian National University. And I guess in terms of the work that I'm trying to do there, a lot of that is about trying to think about research and developing new research partnerships, and I'll talk a little bit more about that in a minute. But essentially, a lot of my work is about trying to kind of develop new practices internally to affect change. And so in the context of the university, I guess the frame within which I'm thinking, which I think is a really, really important frame, and we've heard a lot about, I think, across these last couple of days, is around the public and civic value of our institution. Because actually, as a university, we are in that space. We are a public institution, similar, and we're aligned to cultural organizations in that space. So actually, how do we begin to shift and change our practices so we can better support and respond to those public agendas, particularly around research? So that might relate to digital, but it's broader than that in many respects. And this little illustration really resonated with me, because I think this is a kind of summary of kind of what I'm dealing with in the university. The first point to make is that we're really insular. We're looking inside our organizations all the time. And actually, when we look at that, we're thinking within our own paradigms, our own kind of approaches to things. And actually, if we are a public civic institution, how do we begin to open the door and look outside? And actually, outside probably is a bit of a scary place. It's a bit complicated. It's a bit hard to make sense of, but doesn't mean we shouldn't be trying. So I guess some of what I want to say is how do we begin to open the door, and how do we make sense of the crazy? And in the context of digital, OK, we've heard a lot about this already, so I don't want to labor the point. But we've had a couple of interpretations or ways of going at digital in the last couple of days. Either we don't want to mention it, or we want to tackle it head on, and we want to define it. So this is my go at sort of defining it. It's not actually my go. It's from a report back in 2015. I won't labor the point, because it's been made. But actually, there's a tendency very much to think about the former definition, digital as a tool. And that's really relevant and important. But there are loads of different ways of thinking about it. And I really want to focus in on the last one, digital as a culture. So this was the definition in the report. I won't read it out. We've heard, again, a lot about this over the last couple of days. But from my perspective, as working in a public civic institution, I think there's a couple of really, really important ways that we can think about digital culture and how we need to kind of respond to them. The first is thinking actually about digital culture in the relationship to democracy of knowledge and democracy of culture and production. And actually, how do we make sense of that? In many respects, we're all knowledge institutions, right? Certainly universities are. But how do we make sense of this new space where actually people have lots of different knowledges and they want to talk about them and bring them forth? So that's one kind of area. The other one is actually the role of digital culture and how it kind of really affects societal issues, social problems. And there's a raft of them. We know them. We know them through mental health, with social media, whether it be around things like access and disadvantage that we've heard lots about, democracy, fake news, et cetera. The list is long and endless. So actually, there's a question here about, as cultural organizations or as civic organizations, including universities, public organizations, how do we begin to respond to the world out there, some of which is really framed by digital culture? And I guess, so it goes back to this, how do we actually begin to open the door and make sense of the crazy? So this is my go at beginning to kind of think, well, how do we move forward? I've absolutely ripped this off and adapted it from the RSA. They had a similar tagline, but not the same. But this sort of seems to work for me in the way that I think about it in the context of my situation. Think like an ecosystem. Act like a researcher. So we've heard lots about ecosystems, and I don't want to labor the point. But for me, it's really about opening that door and looking outside and actually being more expansive, thinking as institutions, what is our kind of value, really, in the world? And I guess there's a couple of ways of thinking about that. There's your positional value. So positional value in terms of what ecosystems are you part of, actually? It could be ecosystems that are sectoral ecosystems, like we're sort of talking about here. It could be ecosystems that are place-based, local-based. It could be ecosystems that are thematic and issues-based. It could be ecosystems that you never thought you were a part of, but you actually could be. And I'll give you a really quick example about that. Working in the UK at Culture24, one of the things we did was we ran workshops with generally museums and galleries, but other cultural organizations as well. And we brought in speakers who were speaking about different issues to do with digital culture. One of the speakers was working for a charity that worked supporting victims of online extremism. And he talked about the program of work, and it was really interesting. And then at the end of it, we talked to the museums and galleries and the other cultural organizations. We said, what role do you think you play here? And they were like, oh, this is fascinating, but it's really got nothing to do with us. We could offer up some space for the workshops. And the guy said, no, there's a lot you could actually do here. There's a lot of synergy. And then he talked about online extremism, the system of online extremism. And he talked about extremists relying on two kind of causal factors when they're preying on victims. First is people tend to be victims who have got a crisis of identity. And the second real influencer was simplification of narrative, the same narrative over and over again. So you frame the question and you go, do you think you have a role in getting people to reflect on their identity? Do you think you have a role in complicating narrative? It's a different story. And suddenly there were some ears pricked up in the audience. So that's just a really super quick example of where there could be things that you could connect to. The other point about ecosystems very quickly is who else is in the ecosystem? What other stakeholders are there? And what is the value that they bring? And how can you connect? And there's a relational value as well. These could be other organizations like this charity, like another university, like another community organization or civic organization. Doesn't just have to be cultural organizations. The last point is act like a researcher. So the key thing here is research with a small R. What I tend to really think in my work in the cultural organizations and in the universities is that generally can be these two ways of thinking about research that are quite dominant. Scholarly academic research, which in the cultural sector often plays out in the context of curators and that kind of thing. And then you've also got more product orientated R&D research, innovation orientated. Both are valid. I'm not in any way knocking them. But actually what about space in the middle? What about research as institutional practice? Research actually as a process is extremely valuable. For you to think about it, you have to frame a question. You have to think what is the question? What do I really care about? What does that look like? You have to try and do something to generate data. You have to experiment or try stuff out. You have to review the results. You have to think what have I learned? And you have to try and circle back. And usually you'll get another question. There's a process of reflection. There's a process of analysis. There's some space and time to think there. So I absolutely get that it's hard to sort of build that in. But actually if we could think more institutionally about how we could take a more research orientated approach, I think it would be very valuable. The other thing here is that we are all experts in our areas. We are all practitioners in different ways, whatever that practice is. And so that practice generates knowledge. So actually this idea of practice-based research, maybe that contributes to questions of civic and public value for institutions, is really powerful. It's also really important to think, actually if we take a research orientation, even though our research questions might be different, there becomes this sort of shared framework for a kind of a conversation across people collaboratively as a coalition. And that's certainly the model that we really took at Culture 24 with some of the research projects that Jane talked about yesterday, which is how do we bring people together? And there you might have digital practitioners, curators, educators. So that's probably all I want to say for now. The last thing to say is that we're really interested in understanding this more for our sector, for the cultural sector. And with Katie from Amarga and a few others, we're looking at trying to develop a kind of a little research project in and of itself, about trying to have a bit of a shared dialogue across sectors about what this could look like. So please get in touch with me if you want to know more. We're in the process of developing it, so it's all very early stages. But I'll leave it there and hand over to my colleagues. Thanks very much for your time. Thank you. Thanks, everyone. And I promised myself this year I'd try and go digital. So this is my first time without paper notes. Hope it goes well. So Bobby Serenic-Questacon. And I wanted to start and share, I guess, hello, Yuma, from Ngunnawal country in the national capital, where we are headquartered. And today I wanted to share three sort of key shifts that are happening for us in Questacon and what that means in terms of some of the themes that have come out over the last two days. So for context, we've got these three shifts underway, shaping our practice and our processes. And those two things are bouncing off each other and changing each other as they go. The backdrop for our work is national delivery through the center in Canberra. About half a million people come through. But we know that half a million people are mainly from higher socioeconomic groups. And then really, the creative processes that drive great content in the center also drive then the delivery of experience and services right across the country. And they're reaching out across the continent. So when we look to the delivery of activity, the national presence Questacon has, before pandemic, was physical all across the country. Really expensive to get out there, but really high value in terms of those groups and communities with no access in a lot of cases to anything that looks like quality science engagement. And I'm going to say science engagement. I mean STEM, STEM engagement. I mean how science performs as part of culture in combination with the arts and technology. So if I say science, that's really what I mean. So this drive across the country and some stats from the pandemic, we still had this tremendous face to face presence when we could. But obviously, that big shift that we saw, like everybody did, was digital transformation. Yesterday we talked about that haves and have nots, but the good experiential design that we commit to, invest in, has to relate to those social and technological contexts. So we're going out into agricultural shows where there's no power, to the Torres Strait Islands, where there's schools gathering on beaches or in fields, right up to the kind of the high tech, big museums, big centers that might take some of our shows and our programs. And so we have to be able to respond to this really broad technological context as well and make sure that our investment in tech, whether it's digital or otherwise, is thinking through that equity access. And when I'm going to paint this brief picture of this shift, the big three shifts, our organizational response to change puts me in mind of an amoeba. I'm a biologist in my original training, so I'm thinking about ecosystems. I keep thinking about that. But this ability to shape shift as an organization, to flow into new spaces and pull back from old spaces, to be able to work with the different individuals, the talents, the skills within the organization, know when you need to reach out and flow towards and with other organisms that are out there in our ecosystem. The analogy starts to break down if you get too far into ecosystem language, so I'll stop there. But moving on into where we're sort of getting to, the first shift for us has been digital modernization. And that's a kind of a couple of bingo words, which I'm sad haven't been, modernization hasn't been talked about much because it's sort of a kind of obsolete point in a way. But for us, it's really real because Questacon, built in the 80s, really still using a lot of systems from the 80s, not really fit for purpose. And we've been on this journey for a long time around trying to work out, well, you know, with limited resources where to invest. We've recently done a digital discovery process with a really skilled team of experience, service experience designers. And we've sort of mapped across the whole organization, pain points across all our processes because our processes as they exist intersect with this digital progress and this transformation of technologies and ways of thinking about the work. We're looking at upgrades of old IT, but also about releasing staff for the great important relational work from manual processing when you've got to fill out a paper form to become a member of Questacon, someone's processing that. So we've kind of done this scan, and my colleagues here, Sarah and Natalie from our digital team, can talk more about this with you if you want, but we really identified two top things in that do first high impact area around integrated operational systems, knowledge and information management. Both of these also support increased collaboration and network support. So while we free up our processes to share information and improve information internally, we're also looking at supporting staff, being able to harness that into better community relationships. The second shift has been one of narrative. And this has been really, really interesting for us because Questacon sits in a strange, sort of hybrid space. We don't have our own active parliament, we don't have legislation. What we do have though is a space, a liminal space, if you like, between cultural policy and science and technology policy. And we're a specialized division of the Department of Industry, Science and Resources. So you can imagine what that's like. Lots of opportunity potentially to shift and flow into different forms of narrative, which indeed is what we've done. One of the value propositions that we've seen cut through is the way that this idea of exposure leading to excitement, leading to engagement, leading to skills. And when we're looking to the sense of urgency across multiple industries, this is a snapshot from the Space Discovery Centre in Adelaide we helped create, but space, cyber, ag tech, biotech, medicine, energy, AI, all of those systems and those industries are desperate for people with skills. And so we're sort of working in that intergenerational space of the work you invest in now in 20 years time will lead you to your future workforce, if you're lucky, if you're very lucky, and if you don't have them pulled off sideways into more high-playing disciplines, perhaps like law. But anyway, separate point. When we look at the value, also it was something we're seeing cutting through is this idea of technology and science as being economic drivers, but underpinned by human skills. Hooray, fantastic, because there's a huge opportunity here, I think, for the arts and technology in the intersections that we've been talking about, this idea of empathy. And employers are looking for human skills almost more than they're looking for technological skills. So this has been a really key part for us. And an example of how this is playing out for us practically is in a cyber programme. Funding came to us from the Department of Home Affairs of all the places that you might think about, how does this create an amazing experience for, particularly in this case for young people? The first thing we did was look to who else is out there because, I don't know if you've noticed, but when people talk about cyber, and they're talking about industries, and they're talking about where it's applied, the range of applications is obviously enormous. And what we saw with this was that there's many players. We mapped 162 existing initiatives targeting similar audiences to us, and we had to work out our niche. So that was one of the key principles. Where's our niche? Where can we give our best work? And a few things we learnt from this was the inputs of funding from government and expertise from industry and creative technology inspiration, creative and technology inspiration, created an implementation. In this case, you can see a shot here from Minecraft, where we've created a national design challenge using a design studio to really build through the idea of gameplay. But what we found itself is that we had to counteract so many different ideas. You know, if you think about the imagery of what dominates cyber discourse, it's not this. It's not particularly friendly. It's very techie, hoody, male-oriented. You know, there's a lot of barriers to more diverse participation just through the imagery alone. So we're working through also what does it mean to do the right thing as well as the experimental thing. And when you're taking public funds that are coming from all of our pockets as taxpayers and you're investing them into experiences, the obligations that brings around equity of access and innovating in ways that our audiences can grasp. So they don't want to see us, in our case, in our particular situation, they need to be able to see us innovating slightly ahead so they can get excited about it, but not so far ahead that they can't understand it and they can't see a pathway in. And so geographically and sociologically, we need to meet them where they are. The third shift has been around this idea of connecting our modes of operation to the modes of operation of other people who are out there. We had a shift in focus, a significant one, a couple of years ago, at around the same time as the digital tech process is underway and at the same time as the narrative transformation is underway to look at five dimensions in an ecosystem model where we're looking to move from just a sort of, we're turning up in your community, it might be in your library or your agricultural show, and we're presenting you with exhibits and experiences, and then we're going away, and you'll see us again in three years, to a model of sustained collaboration within the ecosystem so that our visibility and experience is tying and linking into that other organisations with a similar mandate or a similar interest are delivering. And so when we got out there, we started to look at these different dimensions of the ecosystem. We're really trying to understand what makes up an ecosystem in practice. And we looked at that and we sort of tried to understand, you know, within the ecosystem across the bottom there, you've got individual interests and practice, you've got interactions where people are trying to engage with one another and their audiences, and then they're interconnected. And we're looking at the dynamics, as well as these five dimensions of capacity, resourcing, diversity, richness of experiences, relationships, shared vision, learning pathways. And we worked out that for us, these values really drive us when it comes to the work we do nationally. And we know, and we want to know, how other organisations have shared values because we think we can do good work when that value proposition is shared. I want to give you data from the NT. So this is a map of some of the organisations that we are connected to and interacting with when we plan to visit physically and take our experiences there. You can see an enormous array there, ranging from museums to galleries to publicly funded research institutes to departments to companies. It's a really rich ecosystem, really complex. But our work, we know, exists in this constellation of other actors who are there. You know, they're sticking around. We're coming and going. How can our work then add value? In looking at data from 2019 and now looking again during the last few years of practice and opportunity, we've seen a real shift in how we're engaging with those players in our network. So our awareness has increased, the way we're communicating, the range of communication has increased, the coordination is better, and the collaboration is turning into something real where we can take the expertise from across the ecosystem and bring it together and amplify it so that everyone's gaining from the work and everyone's curious about the impacts that we're achieving, but also about what it tells them and what our methodologies can be used for. So it speaks to some of the issues that Katie was raising before and Anna around, how do you have responsibility in an ecosystem that's not just about you? How do you make this about everybody else? And so finally, the last bit for us is this organisational odyssey. As I said, it's amoeba-like, but within the amoeba and these ideas of the organisation, these ideas of process, are the people without whom nothing we do has any meaning for our audiences. And so those incredibly talented people who have the skills but need more, who are growing through their careers and need to shift and change into different parts of their career trajectory, it's not painful, it's really optimistic and hopeful, because in the process of listening to the ecosystem, we've listened to our thoughts about it, and we've listened to staff, and we've listened to people's different ideas, and from that is emerging this collaborative sense of shaping strategy as we go forward. So I'll finish there, but as a snapshot, that ecosystem for us is very real, very experimental, but turning out some great results. Good afternoon. My name is Penny Whitehead, and I'm the Deputy Director of Geelong Gallery. It's a huge privilege to be here today speaking to you all. I was part of the CEO Digital Mentoring Program last year, and my mentor, Jacina Leong from RMIT, who can't be here, was a fantastic partner in crime. They were both counselling and strategic sessions on screen and in person, and it was a really valuable experience for me. So for those who don't know, I know there's people from interstate, but Geelong is an hour down the road. I'm coming from Wadarung Country. Geelong Gallery is 127-year-old visual arts institution. Today, I wanted to look at two aspects of digital within our visual arts community. I know there are many from galleries and museums here. The digital ecosystem in which we operate and the way our practice is evolving into the future with digital transformation. I hope this is an applicable case study to many of you in the room. So we are a small to medium-sized organisation. I'm never quite sure what the definition is, but we have 17 EFT staff. We rely heavily on collaboration to create step change, particularly in digital transformation. This often begins with funding bodies, government, philanthropic partners and commercial partners, including universities. They support our infrastructural change, up-skilling of staff and collaborations with creatives in our region. Digital transformation for us is inherently led by our audience demands for greater engagement and from our perspective for audience diversification, but it also comes from regional audiences' desire to see things in their own region and not have to go to metropolitan cities to have experiences. I'd like to focus on three examples of case studies demonstrating the importance of collaboration and our digital ecosystem in a regional community. Fred Williams in the Yu Yangs was a virtual reality project that was supported through Creative Victoria project funding. We engaged Melbourne-based VR specialist Pixelcase to design an experience that allowed visitors to dive deeper into the artist's work. The upside for us was having our curators and the artist's family work with the digital innovators to interpret the artist's work and take audiences on a journey, exploring the artist's abstract practice and setting in which he worked. In contrast to the more abstract paintings in the series that look out from the Yu Yangs, this picture literally grounds the landscape with a striking sense of realism and perspective. Williams regarded himself as an artist who saw things in terms of paint. As Yu Yang pond dissolves to immerse us in a field of individual dashes and marks that evoke something of the method and structure of his painting, we find ourselves at a place named Fawcett's Gully in the Yu Yangs. It's not easy to show 360 on a flat screen, but imagine yourself with those goggles on, you're looking around at the pond in which Fred Williams stood. Well, it wasn't because that has evaporated, but it was a pond nearby which inspired the work of Williams. The challenge, as we all know, with VR was that it took significant volunteer power. Our volunteer power is of an older generation, and it was a difficult thing for us on that individual level to manage. The filming was expensive, and of course, audience members became incredibly dizzy, but it was a really great testing ground for us to begin our journey in digital. The second project was working with Melbourne-based artist Elizabeth Gower during her exhibition, Cuttings, in 2008. We created Pattern Play, an app which simulated the artist's labor-intensive process in the form of digital patterns created by our audience, using their own source materials in this instance. And funded from Creative Victoria, it allowed us to experiment with local coders from a company called Codacious to implement this Fibonacci-based mathematical coding app. The ecosystem in which this project existed included artists, curators, and the creatives, and our audiences who all participated in their own codes, sorry, their own patterns which were sent to them. It would definitely enhance the visitor experience and increase audience participation. Our third project, an augmented reality tour guide called Orbi. This technology created over two years, enabled our curators and education staff to create prompting questions for children aged five to 10. It was designed to be used in the gallery, but was also converted into an at-home app for COVID lockdown and enhanced accessibility. It increased engagement with our collection and dramatically increased the length of stay in the gallery for people visiting with young children from around about five minutes to half an hour, and school groups. And it prompted and continues to prompt conversation between adults and children. Again, this project would not have been possible without the visionary support of a philanthropic partner, the Helen MacPherson Smith Trust, and a startup animators from Geelong's own Pillow Fort and coders from Geelong Hanalei Studios, who came to us with an idea that developed into this technology. The vision of Helen MacPherson Smith Trust was also that we shared this technology with other institutions. Sam and Shepperton has also looked into this technology in working with these coders, although of course the duplication of these kind of programs is expensive, and so it is reliant upon funding. We also created, as I mentioned, an at-home version of this app. This here is a work by Christian Thompson in our collection. I haven't included slides, but we've also created First Nations perspective videos, including interpreting the collection from the perspective of Wadarung traditional owners, and implemented an annual mentoring program for two youth digital trainees, an incredible pathway program that I don't have time to go in today. We're working with universities in our region, the Gordon TAFE and the Deakin University, to advance outputs and increase opportunity for young people in the region. I highlight these examples as we are a small team, however, with ambitious thinking and support from funding partners, we've been able to implement changes on a small, but not insignificant scale for our audiences, and at the same time, we've also generated opportunity for our local creative sector to collaborate and problem solve. Seb said yesterday, we need to move away from pitting artistic excellence and integrity against audience experience. They don't need to be mutually exclusive. The slide here represents an immersive space that we are currently working on on a very small scale budget with Sandpit, a Melbourne based firm, to expand our audience experience during an upcoming exhibition of Australian artist Clarice Beckett. The space will be called Atmospheric Lab. It's just the beginning, and it's actually an incentive for our annual giving campaign to entice our donors, private donors, to support us in our infrastructure building for digital transformation. We've been unsuccessful in a number of government grants, so we're taking it to our people to support us with this journey. So beyond this project, we're hoping to use this space as a white cube room to move us away from fixed outcomes, which is naturally our core business. Our curators work with artists on projects with specific outcomes. This space is about having a purpose for collaboration and creativity, whether it be artists, university students, researchers, creatives, or our audiences, a place to create as we go and imagine what we can't see, to experiment. Walking through ACME, these ideas aren't revolutionary, but for an organisation like us, it's certainly a big step. It opens doors to partnership and research opportunities and ideas creation for our region. We're keen for knowledge sharing, for opportunities for research, for strategic thinking, to maintain and to build our ecosystem, to invest in digital infrastructure, to upskill our staff, and to slightly disrupt the process-driven content model of visual arts institutions to create a more relevant and successful 21st century regional gallery. I ultimately hope that from the perspective of a smaller organisation, and certainly a regional organisation, that all of you here in this room can be part of that collaboration. We certainly, as an institution, continue to work on touring exhibitions from the state institutions and national institutions, but if that model could be changed to knowledge sharing, I think we'd be on the right road. Thank you. APPLAUSE Gura Bhoori, Yuma. I realise I didn't even say who I was. For those who are hard of sight, I'm an undifferentiated white guy wearing Canberra's diffuse soft greens. So I'm Dr. Keith Winesmith. I've worked at all the GLAMs. Someone just let me know recently that I've finally done the EGOT of GLAMs. I've worked at a gallery library, and as of under a month ago, I've added the A to GLAMs. I work at the National Film and Sound Archive. So the National Film and Sound Archive, you might wonder what that is. So you know from the N, they're like the NLA, the NA, the NGA, it's probably a national collecting institution. You know from the A, it's probably Australia, not in this case, archive, that's the first trip hazard. You get from film that we collect film, so we're like an item collecting place, and you get from sound that we collect things you hear. So we collect... Wait, no, that's not right. That doesn't sound right, does it? So we're a kind of complicated offer in that we don't even in our name have clarity for what we do, which is sort of interesting. So what we do do is we collect the nation's audio visual heritage. We have in Australia, the first ever feature length film that was created on Ned Kelly, not far from here. We have the actual files and we have the actual tape. We have the biggest collection of nitrate in the country. We have the only place that looks after vinegar film. We look after things that are made of chemicals that are degrading in real time. You can smell them when you go into our storage. And we turn them into digital files and we put those digital files a little bit on the internet, but mostly into LTO tapes. And we also make another copy of the LTO tape that we take off the hard drive, sorry, off the stack, and we put in cold storage next to the film itself. Because what we wanna make sure is, I don't know, like say we burnt down, I say our redundancies burnt down as well, there's still another copy of our cultural heritage that's kept safe so you can plug it in and start again. Because it is really important what we carry is the stories we tell and they should be the stories we use to tell future stories. So that's what we do. But we also put on exhibitions, that's a bit odd. This is something that Sandpit, who was mentioned before, worked on. So we're kind of thinking through that. Or we do ghost tours, obviously, because we like a venue. This is Tim the Yowie Man. He's the only person to have seen a Yowie. He's very confident about that. So confident, in fact, very Canberra. He changed his name by default to Tim the Yowie Man and he put on a T-shirt. A lot of respect, a lot of love. We also keep the things. We have actually the things, we have four million of the things and we have the digital copies of the things and we have the money to digitize the ones we haven't done yet. So that's kind of what the National Film and Sound Archive is. But we also have a kind of identity crisis in a little bit of a way that we're kind of like a gallery. I used to work here. We're kind of like a museum. I used to work here. We're just kind of like a library. I was an artist in residence here. And we're a little bit like the cinema and that's just across the road, that's Dendy Canberra. And so finding our way in the world is really important and finding our role within the broader glam sector is really important. I've only been working in the National Film and Sound Archive for less than a month. It's coming up soon. So I'm not gonna talk about our future or our strategy. I'm just gonna note some things that I saw. So I'm gonna go back in time and think about whether we are like really about when we think about what it means to be an archive and this applies really broadly to the people in this room. Are we here to archive and preserve or are we really focused in our dial on access and use? And these polarities animate almost all of the activities of the institutions who are represented here and the practitioners. And you can put almost anything there. You could put collection care and public engagement to set a point before. You could put audience experience and artistic quality. You can put anything along this spectrum or the many spectrums, intersectional spectrums that animate our work. And you just gotta choose where you are and be clear about it because the clarity to Anna's point is the strategy. So when I joined the Museum of Contemporary Art, I'd been working for a long time in tech. I worked for SBS for a long time and I didn't know anything about working in a glam. So I started a group called People Who Know More About Digital and Culture, a Meetup. And so I invited all the people who had the word digital in their name or their title, who worked in Sydney, who worked at a glam, and I asked them to hang out at the MCA every three or four months and we would like talk about things. And I did that as a kind of learning network a little bit like a researcher's approach to an ecosystem. I'm also a recovering academic. I went to California, worked at SF Moment for a time and there wasn't an equivalent there, so I started one there, but because it's like the internet, it was the Bay Area Data Analytics Working Group. Yes, yes, I wanna go to that. We'll come back to that in a second. I moved back to Sydney and there wasn't kind of a thing in Sydney, so working with Dr. Lizzie Muller at UNSW, that's the recovering academic bit. I used to be a professor there. We created the Sydney Cultural Data Salon, which is now shepherded very ably by Megan Lawrence of the Australian Museum and Rory McKay of Sydney Living Museums. And it was running a year before COVID. So when COVID hit, there was already an environment where people who had the word digital or data somewhere in the job title, who worked somewhere for any one of 47 cultural institutions, the Greater Sydney Basin, could meet and knew each other and had a network and we quickly became a kind of clearing house for ideas and practices for what to do now that we couldn't do what we normally did. And that network became incredibly valuable during that period. So if we think on a kind of national scale, then the CEO Digital Mentoring Program is a kind of expression of that intent to create networks, to create change. And I wanna talk about that because that's all kind of done. And after leaving Sydney and moving to Canberra to the bush capital, to the finest city in this continent, just put it out there, I'm a long time Canberra basher, very recent Canberra booster. At the National Gallery, we didn't have a kind of community of practice outside of Curatorial, which had a really strong community of practice. So we created a group which we called Critical Friends, but they were kind of all digital people. So people working at the ANU, at UC, at the cultural and collecting institution, also some agency folk. And the digital Critical Friends were really instrumental to the transformational change the gallery has undergone over the last few years. And we did the things that you have to do, right? So we did workshops with staff. One of the smartest things I think I've ever done to that point of strategy being transparent is we made an open Teams team, wait, what are they called? Teams project site or something. We made an open Teams team that anyone in the institution could access that had a real time view to the strategic delivery of the digital transformation. There were 128 members of that team, which is nuts. We included everyone who wanted to come, everything was open. And in a way, just by being comically transparent, obnoxiously transparent, people were able to dip in and out as it made sense to them. And no one was surprised by where we ended up because they felt like they'd been a part of it. So we did that work, that work worked. We did it in public. That's a couple of people from Melbourne. There's Jane Turrell on that side and Jeremy on that side from Melbourne. This is the staff lounge by the bathrooms in the main area of the National Gallery. We did our strategic design work next to the bathroom, no, not in the staff lounge. So you couldn't not see it. Nothing was hidden. And what was left after the detritus of those kind of collaborative actions was leaving up the boards of people to keep adding things as it came to them. We left it up for two months and took it down. So we worked in plain sight and we worked in high visibility. And it led to a really effective change. But the thing that we did that I didn't intend to do, but was actually the most transformative work, and this is not mixing the research, this is just ecosystem building, is we were halfway through this process and we realised we had lots of providers. Someone was helping on the dams, someone was working on API stuff, someone was working on design stuff. We had Grumpy Sailor doing some work for us. We had Small Digital Agencies doing some work for us. We had our staff doing work. And we were basically art directing master of puppets, all of these organisations, these companies with providers. And the smartest thing we did over the entire project is we invited and paid every agency who's working on digital in any way for the National Gallery to come to Canberra. And we paid them to spend a day in each other's company, force-fed them delicious food, and ensured that they could all talk to each other without us being there if they needed to. And we co-designed an ecosystem map for digital for the institution, like what networks talk to what, machines talk to what and what data talks to what, that all of them took away so that whenever they were asked to do something or commissioned to do something, they could see the shape. So now that I work at the National Film and Sound Archive, which is also the old Institute for Anatomy, this is what we do when we're doing ghost tours, it's an interesting opportunity to bring that sort of thinking into that environment. We have ten minutes left. Sedge, Penny, Bobby and I are going to join up on stage and we're going to do ten fast minutes lightning round. All questions are questions, all comments are comments, we'll answer them in under two minutes. I'm going to ask the first question as they're walking up onto stage, which is with the Chatham House Rules. It's hard to get research wrong because getting research wrong is part of doing research. So failing at research is actually learning. Have you tried to build an ecosystem or an ecosystem kind of oriented project that has failed and what did you learn? Yes, so one example is from space, building Australian Space Discovery Centre travelling exhibition programmes, relying on industry inputs to that and we didn't fully explain what we were doing and an industry stakeholder was like, what are you doing? You've stuffed up the thing about us. It was the only bit that mattered to them. So big learning, everyone in the ecosystem has a value, don't invade the values or if you do, you do it at your peril and know you're doing it and what you can do about it. I'll go next. The Bay Area Data Analytics Working Group, totally sucked. It was terrible. It didn't work, it didn't build a community of practice, it was a bunch of fiepdoms, it was a car crash. Does anyone else want to own up to it? No. I don't need anything for you. Okay, unless anyone wants to jump in, I'm going to do another question. Penny, you said something that really resonated with me, which was we were moving away from fixed outcomes. Can you talk a little bit more about that as an institutional practice? And then I'd love for... Sure. Look, I mean, it's a work in progress. It's actually about working with curators who've come from really traditional ways of working and I think the digital realm brings in this opportunity to kind of disrupt that model and to make it more a model and work with universities to throw it over to them a little bit too, so that it's a really collaborative project that involves audiences as well. So I don't really even know what it looks like yet, but we're talking at the moment with Deakin about them using our space for research. We've done this in the teaching side of the university, but how we bring this across to the visual arts and use their students and our space and our audiences for projects that aren't necessarily about a particular outcome. Yeah, and I'll just say from a university context, we are so outcomes-focused, it's unbelievable. It's always about publications and those sorts of things and it's like, yes, and there's a mantra at ANU, which is like, we have to be excellent in everything we do, which is problematic, I suppose, but it's all about excellent outcomes. It's like, well, maybe we need to look at the process that we're following and actually you see it time and time again where people are kind of like adhering to particular values in what they wanna produce, but actually those values aren't being adhered in how they're processing it, how they're going through it. So actually, are we engaging people in people who've got diverse knowledge perspectives in the process of this, even though we're claiming to kind of have this sort of progressive view on the output of the research. So we're trying to spend more time getting people to think about process more. Hi, there's been a lot of talk about collaboration over the last couple of days and it's something that everyone loves the idea of, but in practice, it's really, really, really, really hard to get right. So I'm interested to know top principles that will help foster meaningful collaboration in the areas where you work. I just would jump in to say that both sides have to have objectives and both need to gain out of it. And I think accountability is also really important at the end to come back together and talk about what worked, what didn't and then move forward again. But definitely having both sides at the table and both getting an equal opportunity. Yeah, that's huge. The shared value idea is really, really important. We talk a lot again in our university about partnerships and actually they aren't partnerships, they're transactional relationships where the researchers go in and utilise assets or whatever, which is fine, that has a place. But actually, if we wanna talk about partnerships and collaboration, we need to spend time thinking about what motivates different institutions and people and what do they bring and what is the exchange. And I think if you can start having a really real conversation about that, then you're building from a very solid place. For me, it's like being the day after Valentine's Day, it's about dating and really relationship building, slow, it starts at an individual level, you grow up to small groups, a bit like your community practice. And you've gotta start small if you don't have a lot of resources. And in fact, you need a lot of time. So again, start small and grow it. Grow it from a small interaction, small collaboration, and then you've got years ahead of you in which to go. It's definitely a marathon. I just noticed, just a note on scale, my team is more than double the size of your entire organisation. So we can't be measured by the same criteria, that doesn't make sense in a meaningful way. No. I was just thinking about that when you talked about the number of FTEs. So the three Fs are really important with collaboration, which is food. You need to ensure that when you're meeting up, you're feeding people and looking after them. So like food for the soul, but also like actual food. Financed. So if you're the bigger player in the pairing, you need to ensure that it's not a financial cost to take part in a collaboration. You cannot be extractive. You need to be generous if you're getting some value out. And the other one is fun. It should be something you're looking forward to. So it needs to be absolutely outcomes focused in that we're looking forward to this because it's this thing we need to do. We've all agreed we need to do, and it's made possible because we're doing this collaboration. The opposite, I think, is what often happens in American institutions, which is you're only allowed to collaborate or fundraise if it supports lowering the bottom line for agreed programs that are already in the budget. And so I think for Australian institutions, which maybe operate with sort of different state, federal and local support, we can actually do different sorts of collaborations that are possible in other places, maybe other than New Zealand. And to Seb's point, like building consortiums around ideas start with micro collaborations, and then they join up and they join up in my experience. And allow enough time for the ethics, because I think it's easy to rush into a project and then realize later that you didn't give enough consideration to the unintended consequences of what you might be doing. That's important. So we have two minutes left, which is 30 seconds each. I'm not exactly sure how we're gonna spend it yet. More stretches. I would like, if you could, Babita, just reflect on the thing that's really stayed with you from the mentoring program. Being freed from this idea of strategy being the goal, it's kind of an outcome from the processes. And a big shout out to Stu Buchanan from the Opera House. We were paired, we both act in the present with live performance, live experiences, that we collect as we go and create new collections. I just feel the overwhelming burden as a leader of creating this digital strategy and needing it to be perfect. I was released from that. He gave me permission to think about strategic framing overall and where that digital piece fits. And that's been a huge relief, and it's freed up my imagination to think about it differently. And I know also from my team who he's engaged with. So thanks, Stu. I would say advocacy. I think this program was targeted towards CEOs. I'm not a CEO, I'm a deputy. But to have a seat at the table with the board and the senior management to drive strategy and change, I think makes a really big difference. And that's what I've gained from this program, is to have that, I guess, that be empowered, to talk with confidence about what this all means for our organization and also with a seat at the table. That's been really important, I think, to really act, to implement change. So as a mentor, I mean, I guess the conversations we had, we kept circling back all the time to purpose. What was the purpose? What do ADT as an institutional Australian dance theater stand for and what do they wanna be? And that can be different. That can be different things in different contexts, like I sort of outlined in the different ecosystem kind of ways of thinking. And so actually thinking that through and spending a bit of time, and then actually thinking, well, how does digital play out in relation to this purpose? And always going in that way around, which is said a lot, but is harder to do. So I think that's where we kept circling back. And I think from, I don't wanna speak for Nick, but I think that that was pretty powerful for him. Awesome, I'll go last. I am mentored in both iterations. And so the first one was with ANCA out of Northern Territory, which is a First Nations governed organization. I remember one of the key members who I named from the MoreCon project said, what's all this about CEOs? What's even the point of that? And it stopped me in my tracks because it was the context for the work. And he was creating a totally different context that made more sense for a very consensus led organization. So that's really stuck with me. And then working with Joe Perkins at Bell Shakespeare, thinking about the things that are just so the same, and then the other parts that are just so different between our various sectors of influence was really fascinating. So that's it, we're at time. Thank you very much. Please join me in thanking the panel. Thank you. Thank you.