We are one website birthday
Go Grumpy, it’s your birthday, We gonna party like it’s your birthday.
One year ago on this very day, the M&G NSW website was born at the MCA Australia with the Hon George Souris, Minister for the Arts, acting as midwife. The long gestation period and a difficult labour meant that at birth, there were already 375 museums, galleries and Aboriginal cultural centres listed with descriptions, not to mention 350 events and exhibitions that could be filtered and searched via region and date.
It took a while for us as new ‘parents’ to figure out how to look after this bouncing baby and rein in its behaviour. Now one year on, we are run off our feet feeding our screaming, needy toddler; offering it morsels of news and events; feasting it on articles on the homepages weekly; and tickling it with social media feeds as often as we can. Like all new parents, we’re still feeling our way; at times we’re slaves to the website’s needs and demands, but every now and then, it feels as though we have the upper hand as our new content appears and settles nicely, and we get better at nursing engineering whims.
So our first birthday is a chance to step back and take stock: this article is the 280th since launch. We’ve posted close to 1500 events and exhibitions. The most popular pages are the homepages, ‘Places’ and the ‘What’s On’ pages. Visitors have used the trip planner around 4000 times (if you haven’t, you’re missing out). The most popular articles have dealt with political events; the furore in Newcastle, the role of funding in the arts. It’s not just conflict that gets you clicking, its announcements of success, with awards and funding also getting plenty of interest.
It took a while for us as new ‘parents’ to figure out how to look after this bouncing baby and rein in its behaviour. Now one year on, we are run off our feet feeding our screaming, needy toddler; offering it morsels of news and events.
We’ve made a commitment to ongoing parenting by creating tags like An Hour’s Flying Visit dedicated to showcasing small and regional museums to people travelling through, or holidaying in small towns who might have an hour or so to spare. Under My Favourite Things we collect up stories of exhibitions, reviews and ‘must see’ articles. In particular, our At Home column shines a light on NSW Aboriginal artists’ practice and ideas, connecting their works to galleries throughout the state. We’re building an archive to increase these artists’ profiles so that visitors can find out ‘who’s who’ of Aboriginal artists in our state.
The role of the website is to better represent your visitor experience to the public and to furnish you with the tools to improve that experience. In the Alert e-newsletter we’ve created the Resources section, linking to a directory of industry fact sheets, videos and templates we’re constantly updating and reviewing. In designing the website as a digital hub for professional development, we provide easy access to funding opportunities, news, jobs and the like. We want the website to be the place to go for everything you need.
Without your ongoing support, your events and activities, your exhibitions and research and your dedication in sending us announcements and telling us stories, there would be no birthday.
Everyone knows that on your birthday you get to make a wish. And everyone knows that toddlers can’t count, so in true toddler form we want it all! We want to expand our reach and are exploring various opportunities to tell more people about the great work you do, no matter how remote. We want more sponsors and partnerships and we want more time to profile the joys of cultural tourism. And we want to tell everyone about M&G!
Finally, as first-time parents we have some announcements to make. A big thank-you needs to go out to all organisations that have helped promote content on the website or supported it in other ways. Thanks to Arts NSW and Australia Council’s for the ongoing support of our organisation. Regional Arts and Regional & Public Galleries NSW, you have been great mother’s group friends; sharing articles, e-newsletters and our social media crumbs. Gina Fairley at Artshub has thrown plenty of traffic our way via Arthub’s visual arts journalism. Eckersleys, NRMA Drive and Seniors Card have also been invaluable providing quid pro quo opportunities to advertise the website to new audiences. And last but not least, thanks to the genetic engineers of the project, who provided warm and loving incubation for us: Pure and Applied, Interaction Consortium, and Toben.
So raise your choc stained faces and pick up your sucker-cups and toast not us, but yourselves; for without your ongoing support, your events and activities, your exhibitions and research and your dedication in sending us announcements and telling us stories, there would be no party. Without you, this website baby would be left unloved in the corner and, to quote a favourite film of ours, “nobody puts baby in a corner”.