Who is going to be at #MWF2014: three questions to Stefania Chipa

PhD, consultant on heritage marketing, social media and mobilities. Stefania Chipa is one of the minds behind MWF2014. Stefania has coordinated communication projects for the Basilica of Santa Croce and the Museum of Natural History in Florence.

SalFalko/CC BY-NC 2.0/Flickr

SalFalko/CC BY-NC 2.0/Flickr

At MWF2014 she will be chairing the Social Media Best Practice Parade (check out who else is there) and participating in the People, Places and Things: how to create connections with audiences Masterclass, that promises a lot of food for thought.
In the meantime, you can take a look at Stefania’s LinkedIn profile and check out her publications and essays that deal with some of our favorite subjects: digital museums, social media and augmented reality.

We asked her 3 questions about the conference and the value of the “network” applied to the event, to the heritage discourse and to the museum community.

What is the main goal in bringing an international conference that deals with digital in museums and cultural spaces in Italy?
The digital dimension is part of our daily lives; we are living in an era in which digital is one of the languages that we use to communicate. This does not only apply to “mobile generations” : digital literacy is one of the skills that citizens are expected to have and reinforce.

Italian museums need to reflect upon this dimension. Registrations for the Conference from Italian museums could have been greater. I don’t mean to be critical, however, I think this is something we should reflect upon.
We can imagine that this is due to different reasons: MWF2014 uses digital channels for its promotion (such as blogs and social media), which are tools that not all museum professionals are confident in using (probably this doesn’t apply to the museum sector). Another reason could be that Italian museums have recently started to work and experiment in the field of digital and they probably need more time to face an international audience. We will be able to ponder this aspect when the Conference is finished.

In any case, we need to ask what skills and competencies museums would need to implement digital strategies. By looking abroad, we can see how know-how and planning are required: there is no space for improvisation. Trained professionals are in charge of these roles in museums in Europe and in the rest of the world. MWF2014 will be an opportunity to meet chief of digital strategies from Louvre, Tate, MoMA, the Science Museum of London, Museum of London, Hermitage Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art.

–  What does the choice of Florence mean to you?
The idea for the Conference started here, in Florence, in November 2012, when two separate events (created by Laura Longo, Ilaria D’Uva and me) made us realize that there was a deep interest toward the subject. We met Nancy Proctor, who was at the time Head of Mobile Strategy and Initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution, now at the Baltimore Museum of Art, and we involved Museums and the Web in the project.
MWF2014 aims at the creation of a platform for discussion and exchange, we hope it will kick off the conversation on matters that Italian museums can no longer ignore.

The idea of network, that generates connections and diffuses good practices, starts right at the core of the Conference’s main topic. MWF is in fact “networked” throughout the city.

(Editor’s note: Have you checked out how many different amazing places will host the sessions? Here is the program)

Cultural heritage in Florence is also networked, as deeply tied with the city and its citizens. The whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, not just a monument. And we define as networked the logic behind social media, one of the most lively forms of the digital dimension.

MWF will bring together international professionals and projects allowing them to create and extend the community of practices: an opportunity that has never happened before in Italy. What do you think about communication among institutions and their ability to “network” on common issues and themes?
I believe that MWF will be a great opportunity to start creating a community of practices that collaboratively work around these themes in our country. There will be 100 international lecturers, over 20 museums, 170 companies and vendors that operate in the cultural sector, over 50 projects will be presented. This is just the beginning.

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