Who is going to be at #MWF2014: three questions to Ilaria D’Uva

Ilaria D’Uva is one of the organizers of MWF2014. Ilaria is CEO of D’Uva Workshop and works almost primarily with cultural institutions employing the latest in modern technology. Through her job, she and her team provide churches, archeological sites, museums, art cities and exhibitions with tools and strategies to tell unique stories.

We are looking forward to meeting her at MWF! In the meantime, we had the chance to chat with her (while she was multi-tasking by answering our questions and replying to emails, while surrounded by her three children who were climbing on her chair to get her attention 😉 ).

–    Imagine that it is Friday night and the Conference is finished. Fill in the gaps: “Museums and the Web Florence has been a great success because…”

Well, we can say that MWF has already been a success. The number of registrations from professionals around the world, from the Netherlands to Spain, USA to Greece, demonstrates it. Furthermore, the participation of Italian museums reveals a surprising interest in the themes of digital, mobile, storytelling, etc. However, I have to admit, the number of Italian museums and professionals engaging in this opportunity of exchange on an international scale, is not as great as I would have liked. There are of course exceptions, as demonstrated by the Italian organizations that are present in the program as well as the many institutions throughout the city that will host the Conference.

(Editor’s note: And, by the way, have you checked out the MWF program? Here)

magnusfranklin/CC BY-NC 2.0/Flickr

magnusfranklin/CC BY-NC 2.0/Flickr

Unfortunately, the Italian cultural sector still lacks a structured idea of digital culture. The very concept of “digital interpretation” is not clear or not considered worth exploring as much as it is abroad.

All in all, we can say that MWF will be a success if the participation in the conference demonstrates a larger and more active interest on the part of Italian cultural institutions.

–       We can say that, through your job, you work “in parallel” with the cultural sector, consulting with institutions on strategies and providing them with the technologies they need for interpretation and expanded access to their collections. Could you tell us a little bit more about what you can see from your point of view, and what can you tell us about this sector in Italy?

Honestly, I look at the Italian cultural sector with concern. In Italy there are no longer requests for proposals (RFPs) for the appointment of services in museums (such as audio guides and interpretative tools). This causes the vendor market to freeze with consequences in innovation and newness in the services offered. RFPs to appoint technologies in museums are not even existent in Italy. Abroad, the situation is very different.

On the other hand, I can see that the world of churches is actually very sensitive and participating in the discourse around digital.

(Editor’s note: Did you know that the program for Friday 21th include Masterclass and visits to famous churches in Florence? Details here)

Hopefully, MWF will bring a broader international vision that will generate awareness on the subject.

–       Amongst the themes that will be explored by MWF sessions, such as mobile, crowd sourcing, storytelling, 3D etc, do you think there are some that you would like Italian cultural institutions to embrace? Why?

Too often we end up adopting a technology only because it is new and appealing, rather than working on contents and find the technology that is most suitable to deliver and handle them.
Take for example QR Codes: there is actually no difference between scanning a code and typing an object number into an audio guide. But it’s another thing entirely to have a story told in different ways and through different media, that actually make you feel engaged with the art you have in front of you.

There will be many opportunities to explore this concept during MWF, for example during the Masterclass “How to tell a story through the Graphic Novel”. I would like to see storytelling explored by Italian institutions, together with crowd sourcing. The latter, however, would take a lot of “openness” from institutions. I believe that crowd sourcing could be a huge resource for museums that need to bring culture closer to audiences. To do so, they will have to use the same tools their public use, such as mobile devices, social media etc. and the same languages, thus including a variety of interpretations and implementing different ways to access collections in order to stay relevant.

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