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Feb 24th 2021

A Day in the Life: Amy Shakespeare, Innovation Manager


Welcome to our blog series, ‘A Day in the Life…’ which features a member of the CMP team and what they get up to on a typical day at work. 

Next up is Amy Shakespeare, Innovation Manager. Read on for more about how Amy spends her time at Cornwall Museums Partnership.

Two women (Amy left; Ellie right) in bright pink waterproofs take a selfie; behind them is a sunny coastal landscape in Cornwall.

 

I joined the CMP team in early 2018 as the Marketing and Impact Officer. Since then, I’ve been the Project Manager for our Heritage Awards, then the wAVE Project, and now I’m the Innovation Manager. It’s very difficult to write about a ‘typical day’ in my role, not only because the past year has been anything but typical, but also because I don’t think any role in the museums and heritage sector has a typical day! However, here I go…

In my role as Innovation Manager, I act as the head of the Research and Development for the charity. This involves collaborating with tech businesses, universities and museums on projects that look for innovative ways to improve all aspects of museum practice – from interpretation to evaluation. This mainly centres around CMP’s aim to maximise the use of technology in museums, and to lead from the edge with projects that create positive social change.

A young blonde woman (Amy) stands in a room and looks around whilst wearing a black VR headset.

 

My typical day will involve a lot of meetings and conversations with potential collaborators, current project partners, and other members of the CMP team. I might be on a visit to a museum (pre-lockdown), running a webinar, or a focus group. I am project managing the wAVE Project, a project in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and Falmouth University, funded by the Coastal Communities Fund. wAVE is an £800,000 investment in immersive technology in Cornwall – creating five immersive experiences in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. We’re in the final stretch of the project now, so I am largely managing budgets, reporting, and supporting the museums to get ready for their launches and the legacy of the project. I’m also managing a project exploring the use of smart speakers to enable people to more easily access museums’ audio archives, funded by the Museums Association’s Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund and The Space.

Aside from project management, I spend a lot of time keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in immersive technology and the museum sector, supporting other members of the CMP team to develop innovative solutions to museum challenges, and establishing and maintaining relationships with tech businesses and Higher Education Institutions. From these conversations, I work up project proposals and funding bids with Charlotte, our Collaborative Programmes Manager, to enable these ideas to become reality!

A large group of people stand and crouch around a large sculpture of the letter D (taken at a Bletchley Park research trip).

 

A real highlight of mine this past year has been establishing the Museums Immersive Network. I realised I was being asked to a lot of discussions and roundtables about the use of immersive technology in museums, but there wasn’t somewhere for all of these conversations to happen and be captured in one place. We ran the first conference in June 2020 with 100 attendees, and by the second conference in January 2021 it had grown to over 300 attendees from all over the world. We also launched the podcast ‘Immersively, Museums’ where we discuss some of the commonly asked questions about museums utilizing this technology. I’m looking forward to growing the network, facilitating international collaborations, and improving the sector’s confidence in working with immersive.

Four people on the wAVE project team (two women and two men) all wearing masks and sunglasses, sit on wooden benches on a boat - taken on a research trip to the Isles of Scilly.

 

I’m really excited for the wAVE immersive experiences to launch at Bude, Porthcurno, Isles of Scilly, Looe, and St Agnes – hopefully at some point in Spring this year, after being delayed due to the ongoing pandemic. All of the partners have worked really hard to create some brilliant apps, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality experiences which will bring some of the museums’ brilliant stories to life.

And now you might see why I struggled to describe a typical day!

 

– Amy Shakespeare, Innovation Manager

Amy works Monday to Friday and can be contacted at amy@cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk.