Add an “X” to that photo… ACMI is a major museum on the center of it all at Federation Square, in Melbourne. It’s not a “film” museum, note that it’s name is the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. That’s smart.
How I ended up there for an afternoon last week is a story in itself. The organizers of my visit asked if there were any local institutions or organizations I wanted to include visits to among the ones they scheduled for me. I was stumped for a while, but then I remember noticing that among people I follow in Instagram is Seb Chan.
I met Seb through work a while ago at NMC and visited his team once at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Something clicked that I saw reference in his photos that he was now in Melbourne, and yes, as Chief Experience Officer for ACMI. So a few direct messages in Instagram, then email, then I was meeting him and many more people in person.
I should add that on the Sunday before we met, Seb had arranged tickets for me to see the Wallace & Gromit and Friends exhibit at ACMI. Just call that as a major highlight for the trip.
Just their web site alone speaks loudly to the design ethos at ACMI – it’s “fresh and new”- to me aimed at mobile first but also plays well in the desktop, and just more welcoming than your typical vertical scroll site. It’s natural that Seb would be here in that role.
After the museum visit, reading some of the reports shared with me, and the educational programs, I was a bit wondering what the heck I could tell them. Then I learned they are prepping for a complete gutting and renovation of the museum space, that it’s floor layout tended to have people think of them as different entities. Woah. It reminded me of what I recall mutual friend Peter Samis describing when SFMOMA did a major expansion which meant the museum was closed for 3 years, how they used the city itself as a place for art to be while the building was not available.
It’s easy to see how the City of Melbourne is ripe for that.
Anyhow, this is the long intro for the visit. Sophie Lieberman, Head of Public Programs and Education ACMI met me at the museum, for as it turned out, the place we met and where everyone works a bit of a walk away from Federation Square, across the Princes Bridge and behind the Arts Centre (big spire), in an exciting co-working facility, ACMI-X.
I do wish I had looked around more, and sadly, I managed to take zero photos during my visit. Maybe that’s a sign of being nervous. And there was a conference room of people present, education staff, outreach staff, media and audio people, exhibit people, and the CEO of ACMI-X, Katrina Sedgwick.
As it turns out many of them are new to ACMI, so there’s an energy of change happened. There was no presentation or screens shared, it was just a free flowing conversation. They actually asked me for my story of entrance into the ed-tech world (they got the condensed version). I spoke of my experience arc into the world of digital storytelling from someone who started in the field as a jump from being a graduate student in Geology.
I talked some about my space of interest in open sharing, and open education, and of course, as much as one can describe it not as a cult, the cult of DS106. There was conversation about their attempts to design their public spaces, and their work with students, teachers, and schools.
My memory is really faulty here, but it was a lively conversation for almost 2 hours. Cards were exchanged, I was able to later make a connection to someone from my previous day’s visit to The Song Room, and then I was walking back to my apartment.
I may have felt like this walking into ACMI-X:
but like all my visits here, everyone made me feel welcome and seemed interested in what I had to say.
For me, it was a grand day in the ACMI garden! Thanks everyone.