What follows will probably be our first press release. I’m posting it as it provides an early list of our partners;
Twenty years ago, Manchester became the UK’s first Information City, with community groups being offered free access to the Internet, at the time a relatively new and untried phenomenon. In 2011 a new project brings together a range of local institutions and continues this local tradition of innovative use of the potential of information and communications technologies to enhance Manchester’s rich cultural and scientific heritage.
The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester is one of the country’s best science museums with a wide range of displays including many original steam engines, a copy of the ‘Baby’, one of the first computers in the world, and many galleries on subjects ranging from household energy and sanitation to aircraft. It is located on the site of the world’s first ever passenger railway station, on Liverpool Road in Manchester.
As well as being a museum of national importance,
MOSI also highlights the contributions that the city of Manchester has made to science and industry, from the Baby (first developed at the University of Manchester), to the aircraft manufacturer Avro, and more. Now, in 2011 MOSI will be working with researchers, information specialists, technologists and local learning champions from communities around the city to help bring the museum’s digital online content out to the people of Manchester.
The MOSI-ALONG (MOSI Ambient Learning Open Network Group) project is a collaboration between:
* the School of Education at the University of Manchester
* Mimas, a nationally-designated data centre in Manchester (www.mimas.ac.uk);
* and the Learning Skills Employment Network (LSEN).
The project has won funding from JISC (see www.jisc.ac.uk) to help local communities produce their own digital content, in collaboration with the museum’s curators. Social media software such as Facebook, YouTube and Flickr is increasingly popular and being used more and more by community members to tell stories, share memories and learn about matters of interest.
What MOSI-ALONG plans to do that is new and innovative is to build a ‘bridge’ between the museum’s web site and these social media web sites, so visitors to the museum (whether in person or online) will see the two locations integrated. The museum web site will become more personal for the visitors, who will be able to access memories and stories about the collections, and add their own: but these additions take place on visitors’ own virtual spaces rather than the museum’s, thus the museum does not give up the ability to check the quality and relevance of the content that it links to. Participants will be invited to improve their digital literacy by using the process of content creation to help them address problems they face in their local community.
Official Launch; The MOSI-ALONG project is being officially launched at an event taking place at the museum on MONDAY 11TH APRIL. The event will run from 2pm – 7pm and will involve museum staff, the University’s researchers and support staff on the project, local community members, the media (BBC, Manchester Evening News), and other local and regional personalities active in the science and technology field. Participants in the event will be able to learn about the project, see what sort of content might be created and what the final web site will look like, and network with other interested parties. Plenty of things will be happening throughout the event at different times so there is no need for participants to be there for the whole five hours.