About the speaker

Museums have always seemed important to me. At different times they have served as spaces of refuge, places of mystery and exploration as well as dynamic sites of change and experimentation. Reflecting on my museum experiences this talk will explore what ingredients make a museum a museum, and question our complicated relationship to the objects within them. Can museums exist without objects? How can you describe things that have no literal translation? And, in a world of multiple voices and rising division, do museums still have valuable role to play? Pointing to examples of projects using digital tools to create new ways of experiencing the past and present, I will explore what a contemporary museum can and should be, asking how do they speak, and who they are for.

Rob Cawston is Head of Digital at National Museums Scotland where he uses digital tools and content to connect audiences to the museum and its collections. He has over 15 years’ experience of working in the cultural sector – from leading digital transformation at BAFTA to promoting open, independent journalism with OpenDemocracy and developing explosive online science content for the Royal Institution. He currently sits on the Advisory Board of Voluntary Arts Scotland and, whilst not wandering around museums, he can often be found drinking coffee, coaching school football or recording lonely trees.

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