Digital Lab. We The Curious. Blog 1. Skills, Schooling and Social Media.
The first blog by Ginny Russell, Digital Communications Producer and Coordinator at We The Curious as part of her Fellowship at AMA Digital Lab.
photo: © Paul Blakemore
I work for We The Curious. Funny name, I know. If you’ve heard of us before, then you’ll probably know that we used to be called ‘At-Bristol.’ So why the name change?
Well, it’s been a voyage of discovery for us all, that runs much deeper than a change of name. in 2016, we started with our own curios question: are we still relevant? Is our ques to ‘make science accessible to all’ still meaningful in an age where we have all of human knowledge at our fingertips?
The answer? Not really. And so our quest for curiosity began.
Alongside the funky new name, came a huge organisational shift to place curiosity based questions at the heart of everything we do. This includes our programming, activities, and an absolutely MEGA transformation of our exhibits. By the end of 2020, the physical manifestation of our new philosophy will be complete, but how do we capture this process? How do we capture all of this amazingness? Particularly when timelines are shifting like quicksand!
Our comms team is small, but mighty. There’s only two of us, and I am the holder of all things digital. As much as we’d like to, we can’t be in all places, at all times and know all the things!
As a result, our social media posting isn’t as frequent or diverse as it could be. We use our platforms mainly to market our special events and share customer service announcements. These are both super important, don’t get me wrong, but it also means that we don’t shout about and share the amazing work going on behind the scenes. It is very much business as usual.
Moreover, this mode of working isn’t reflective of our values as an organisation. We want to be a voice for diversity, inclusion and curiosity in our city. This is done fantastically in our physical spaces, so why not in our digital ones?
I would LOVE for all our brilliant teams to be sharing their work on our channels, but many members of staff don’t have the confidence to use social media effectively to tell their stories.
photo: Alex Smye-Rumsby
For my largest Digital Lab experiment, I have decided to assemble a top-notch team of cross-organisation ‘Digital Creators.’ Via a series of workshops, I plan to train this team with all the skills they need to be uber confident posting to our socials; skills like phone photography, copy writing and using our organisation’s brand & tone of voice. The ‘reps’ from can then be the conduits for their teams and post their work to our social media channels.
I’m hoping this will increase engagement levels across our socials and generate some beautiful, reflective and kick-ass content! I want its success to be internal too, resulting in everyone in the organisation feeling empowered and inspired to communicate with our digital audiences.
I’ve never done anything like this before – creating a whole course of structured learning and putting it into practise is quite scary. However, I know my fabulous colleagues are up for it! We have astrophysicists, biochemists, teachers, artists – all manner of backgrounds, expertise and passions. All I want is to help them shine their lights and celebrate their work!
This is a big strategic change for us as an organisation, as the comms team have always had full ownership over our social media.
It has taken lots of planning and pitching to gain support, but I am blow away by the encouragement I’ve been given for this project. Relinquishing control of something so huge – like social media control- is scary but sometimes you’ve got to let things go to see them grow.
Ginny Russell, Digital Communications Producer and Coordinator at We The Curious