Tech Review 10 – Video Calling: Zoom

Overview:

This week we are looking at the tools you can use for free video calling. Skype has become synonymous with video calling, but is it the best option? In this review, we pit Skype against a newer programme called Zoom. At a first glance, it seems like just another video calling programme, but when we started using it, we realised that it’s actually quite different (and better) than Skype. The main focus of this review will be on Zoom, and we will be using Skype as the baseline to compare it to.

What you need:

  • A laptop, tablet or mobile. We tested Zoom on an iPad and a laptop to see what the differences were (available for iOS and Android).
  • A webcam and microphone. Most newer devices have these built in, but some older ones don’t, so you might have to buy a separate webcam and microphone.
  • Wifi/internet connection
  • Zoom account (to set up an account click here)

Pros:

  • The main pro, when compared to Skype is that it consistently works. Everyone has had the experience of being on a Skype call and it being glitchy or cutting out, or the sound going (often during the most crucial parts of the conversation). However, with Zoom, it worked every time, even when calling differing numbers of people and across different distances.
  • Each meeting has a unique ID number, which can be used to send an invitation to the participants. There is also an option to schedule meetings, which can be saved on your calendars. This is a far cry from Skype where emails have to be sent in advance and callers end up hanging around waiting for someone to remember their password or connect to the internet.
  • There are many options within the call, including the ability to either leave or end the call. During the call, one person is designated a ‘host’ which gives them enhanced options (the host can change within the same call if desired).
  • There is a gallery view which allows you to efficiently see more than one person people on the same screen.
  • There is an option to raise your hand! This brings up a small cartoon hand at the bottom of everyone’s screen, indicating that you wish to speak. This is a brilliant feature that brings a sense of civility to the proceedings and is a polite way to manage conversations without interrupting or speaking over other callers.
  • There is an option to share screens. When we started looking at sharing screens we realised that there was an option to share control of the screen. This means that two (or more) people can both edit the same text, similar to Google Docs. However, where this departs from Google Docs is the ability to still see and talk to each other while editing, making this a truly collaborative experience.
  • Another function was a shared whiteboard where you can jot down ideas while you are chatting.
  • You are able to record conversations and video calls. If you have been recording, the call is automatically saved to your drive. This gives you an audio file, as well as a compressed and a high-quality video file. If you do not want to be filmed during your conversation, there is the option to forbid recording.

Cons:

  • We thought long and hard about what the cons of Zoom could be, and the best that we came up with is that Zoom is not as ubiquitous as Skype and therefore all your contacts are unlikely to have it already installed on their computer. However, signing up to and downloading Zoom is very quick and painless, and an option to do this is included in any meeting invitations that you send out.

General Feedback:

We love Zoom. Not only did it work exactly how it should as video calling software, we also discovered the amazing feature of sharing content and sharing the control of editing, allowing for collaborative remote working. Zoom combines all the best features of using a collaborative programme (like Google Docs) and Skype, with added stability and a more intuitive user interface.

It is clear that the design of Zoom was based on the actual needs of the present user (such as the ‘raising hand’ option) rather than Skype whose features are nearly identical to when it was first launched. Considering how long Skype has existed, and how widely used it is, we assumed that there would have been a resolution of most of the early problems, but what we realised is that the quality of the service provided by Skype was far worse than we anticipated.

Score:

    • Price – 4/5  (there is a free option, but for calls with more than 3 people that last more than 40 mins, you need a paid account)
    • Ease of use – 5/5
    • Efficiency – 5/5
    • Effectiveness – 5/5

Overall score: 19/20

Rural Diversity Network Launched

In January 2017 we held a seminal conference called Rethinking Diversity in Rural Regions. This was the first culmination of our work to understand the diversity of our communities in our rural perspective. Cornwall has a highly distributed population of nearly 540,000 people. Although the Government defines Cornwall as ‘mainly rural’ we have a large number small urban centres around which our population clusters. The additional dimension of our coastal aspect – we have the one of longest coastlines of any region in Europe – Cornwall’s land and seascapes are as diverse as our people. To top this, we have a transient population of 4-5 million holidaymakers between March and October, but increasingly year-round. What of the diversity of our visitors?

The categories of exclusion and diversity don’t always work well for us, and indeed for other rural regions in Britain. Cultural policy around diversity is heavily centred on the visible diversity of big cities. The barriers that city-dwellers face when looking for cultural opportunities are not the same as the ones people here face, for example, time and cost of travel is probably the biggest barrier to most people regardless of their background experience or origins when accessing culture. This has a profound impact on cultural attitudes that creates a picture of participation and a set of challenges that are quite different.

We have established a network of people who want to problem-solve the rural dimension in diversity, initially here in Cornwall but also elsewhere. We want to develop methods that could inspire those grappling with similar or entirely novel challenges elsewhere and we want to share our learning and learn from others. Although we aspire for the network to have a national and even international reach, in time, we first want to tackle what diversity here in Cornwall is all about.

We are careful not to ask the question “What does diversity look like?” Why? Because we want to promote diverse-led practice rather than define a look or set of criteria that is not meaningful to those we categorise. We also know that many factors that lead to cultural exclusion are hidden and so you are not going to see what it looks like.

 

What do we want from a Rural Diversity Network?

#RuralDiversity

  1. Representation and advocacy to policy makers and stakeholders (including communities and their anchors).
  2. A place to put diversity into practice – training activities to help us apply practical diversity in our businesses and programmes.
  3. Networking, with each other and with each other’s organisations.
  4. A safe space to challenge and be challenged, including having difficult conversations, without giving or taking offence.
  5. Put Cornish diversity on the agenda. What does it mean? Is it a thing and what about the Cornish National Minority. How does Cornish diversity inform or compare with rural diversity in other regions?

The group also felt strongly about including people from outside our professions and sectors in the network, or at least as groups or individuals invited to events and workshops to challenge our thinking from the outside.

 

Got a bright idea?

Tell us about it by emailing Tehmina Goskar, Change Maker on: tehmina@goskar.com.

Applying for the Cornwall Heritage Awards: Top Tips

Do you work/volunteer for a museum or heritage organisation in Cornwall?

Do you think your museum is doing great things which are worth shouting about?

Have you applied yet for any of the seven award categories of the 1st Cornwall Heritage Awards 2018? If not, here are some tips to get you started!

Remember: You may submit more than one application for each category (apart from Object of the Year), you can submit the same project in different categories, and you may apply to as many categories and you wish.

  • Before you start doing anything, it is important that you read the Terms and Conditions found on our website.
  • Read carefully the instructions before you start writing. It is very important that you are clear, concise and brief in your writing. Ideally, you want to give the judges an overall idea of your exciting project, but not bombard them with long, unnecessary descriptions and details.
  • Do not exceed the word limit! Remember, the word limit is 150 words, so choose your words wisely. You may alternatively explain your project in bullet points, rather than text.
  • Apply fearlessly, but apply responsibly. Although you are allowed and encouraged to apply for as many categories as you like, you don’t have to do it just for the sake of it. Speak or have a brainstorming session with your colleagues and/or volunteers, write down the projects you are most proud of, and match them with the categories they would best fit in. Easy, right?
  • Have someone proofread your application. Take your time with applying, but don’t leave it until the last minute, because you might end up with a ‘sketchy’, incomplete application. Allow enough time to share your application with colleagues, or even people outside your organisation, in order to double check that everything makes sense.

Last but not least…

  • There are no stupid questions! If you have any queries or you’re not sure about something, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and talk to us. You can speak with Bryony at 01209 500750 or drop her an email.

 

The deadline for applying is Friday, the 15th of December. Hurry!

Why innovation in museums should be celebrated

When we think about innovation in the arts and heritage sector, we often tend to think about expensive, high-end innovation projects in large museums. But here’s a good question: Can smaller museums be just as innovative? The answer is yes – they can!

We often hear the case of how a 21st century museum should look like, and the one thing that is constantly relevant is innovation and the move towards a more creative and innovative approach. It is, hence, important for museums to stay relevant and to think creatively so they can work more efficiently, effectively and to attract wider audiences.

Cornwall Heritage Awards 2018 – The Innovation Award

The Innovation Award will celebrate projects, initiatives or ways of working which have made museums or heritage organisations in Cornwall more resilient, entrepreneurial or innovative. This might include a ground-breaking fundraising project, an effective partnership which has brought something fresh to your organisation, the introduction of a sustainable solution, or an innovative project or idea that contributed to the financial stability of your organisation.

The award will recognise and celebrate creative and entrepreneurial thinking that has made a difference and contributed to the long-term sustainability of your organisation. The deadline to apply for this award is the 15th of December.

Do not forget: The activity must be a new area of improvement for your organisation, and have been introduced after 1 January 2016.

This category is open to all museums and heritage organisations with separate awards for smaller and larger organisations.

12 principles of collaborative leadership

We’ve been thinking a lot about the power of collaboration in Cornwall over the last few years and how we can use it as a tool to help ensure the future sustainability of museums and galleries.

Most recently as part of our Arts Council funded Change Makers programme (a partnership between Dr Tehmina Goskar Cornwall’s Change Maker, Royal Cornwall Museum and Cornwall Museums Partnership) we have been reflecting on how collaborative working can assist culture change.

We’ve identified 12 principles of collaborative leadership for change:

  1. Changing things in a museum is really difficult and take a long time; it’s lonely
  2. You can’t do it on your own – you have to collaborate with others
  3. Museums are important players in civil society. But they are unusual. They are buildings full of old things and we expect people to part with money to enjoy them. Keep a sense of proportion
  4. Get to know what bubbles underneath the surface of your museum. What baggage is it carrying?
  5. How does the group’s behaviour compare to the individual’s? What relationships are at play?
  6. As a change agent, what’s it like being on the other end of me? What’s it like for others to be on the other end of you? Facilitation skills are really useful
  7. Change doesn’t pan out how you might have planned it; negotiate the outcomes, be flexible, communicate widely and regularly to achieve a collaborative culture
  8. Repetition of a few simple messages is key, especially common values around community, integrity and authenticity
  9. Be confident in challenging the status quo or accepted thinking, but use sparingly
  10. Be prepared for the inner biases and prejudices of others to be projected onto you; don’t accept poor behaviour but you will need to develop a strong stomach
  11. You’ve succeeded when you hear your words quoted back at you, don’t worry about receiving credit
  12. Don’t be the change they seek, be there to lead their change

 

Dr Tehmina Goskar @tehm

Emmie Kell @emmiekell

Dancing to the stories of clay at Wheal Martyn

On Saturday 21st October, Wheal Martyn hosted a rather spectacular dance festival.  The performance of ‘Clay’ drew quite a crowd, filling the large Atrium at Wheal Martyn.

A museum is not the obvious venue for a Community Dance Festival, but the audience were soon captivated by the dancers telling the stories of Wheal Martyn and the china clay industry through beautiful dance and movement.  The flowing shapes and choreography transformed the dancers into beautiful representations of the gushing water powering Wheal Martyn’s 35foot waterwheel, to clay, sand and mica settling out in tanks, and on through the processes to create our daily china clay products of toothpaste, paper, make up and more.  Key historical moments were depicted through spoken word and dance interpretations, enthralling the audience.

The troupe of performers came from Mevagissey School Dance Club, Doubletrees School and St Austell Home Ed Group, whilst dancers from inclusive dance groups ‘Shallal2’ and ‘Out There’ returned for the second time this year to perform their work at Wheal Martyn.

The community dance festival was in partnership with Shallal2 from Shallal Dance Theatre, an inclusive arts charity in Falmouth.  Jo Willis, Creative Director of Shallal, worked closely with Gemma Martin at Wheal Martyn.  Jo delivered dance workshops for groups in the beautiful surrounds of Wheal Martyn.  On a workshop day you might well have turned the corner at Wheal Martyn next to the Crib Hut and found a group of young people recreating the movements of the plunger pump drawing up the clay slurry from the pit!

Gemma Martin, Education Officer at Wheal Martyn, said “it has been wonderful to watch the young people develop through this project.  Their confidence to move, create shapes and work together has blossomed through the experience.  The result is a beautiful collection of dances that depict the heritage of our local Clay Country in a rather wonderful way.  They should all be very proud!”

Generous funding from Arts Council England and FEAST meant that all the workshops and the performance were free for all to enjoy, which really helped to open the doors of Wheal Martyn to new faces.  Several parents at the Festival commented on how pleased they were to be back at Wheal Martyn, and one said “I haven’t been here since I was at school myself.  I must come back here again soon!”

Arts Council England supported the project at Wheal Martyn through its investment in museums in Cornwall as part of their Major Partner Museum programme, being delivered by Cornwall Museums Partnership. FEAST is a programme to make great art happen across Cornwall. FEAST harnesses the talents and energy of Cornwall’s artists and communities, generating new opportunities for everyone to enjoy the arts. The focus is on bringing people together to share experiences as audiences or participants, and on animating local celebrations and cultural life.

A final comment from Gemma Martin following the performance was “we are really excited to see what happens next.  Working with Shallal has been fantastic, we will certainly be planning more dance for the future here at Wheal Martyn.”

  

Notes to the Editor:

Investment for FEAST comes from Arts Council England and Cornwall Council.  The programme is managed by Creative Kernow. 

Cornwall Museums Partnership exists to create a bright future for Cornwall’s heritage by supporting Cornwall’s 70 museums to thrive. 

Through its network, it fosters a culture of collaborative working to help museums and galleries create moments of wonder which enrich people’s lives.

 

Gemma Martin, Education Officer. Tel. 01726 850362

Wheal Martyn – www.wheal-martyn.com