I’ve been in Sydney for just over a week now and during that time have been talking with a number of Digital, Social and Emerging Technologies (DSET) Powerhouse staff about what they do (and why) in the digital space.
I’m very grateful to folks I’ve spoken with as they have been open about what they are up to and very kind in making themselves available to me during their typically busy working week.
The Digital, Social and Emerging Technologies team is actually comprised of four sub teams that sit under that title umbrella.
There’s the web team (where I am based), a visual and digitisation services team, a research library and finally a team that manages Thinkspace – described on the Powerhouse website as ‘Powerhouse Museum’s digital learning precinct, offering workshops and short courses designed to develop your creative and media production skills‘.
I’m planning to visit the latter tomorrow to understand the types of digital content being created by external stakeholders using this service.
Life for me has now settled in to a routine of sorts…
My work day starts around 8.30am – 9.00am and involves a mix of scheduled interviews with staff asking about their work or teasing out ideas raised from a previous meeting.
I’ve found being able to return and revisit ideas and thoughts discussed at an earlier time to be invaluable to building a better understanding of what’s going on. Being being able to stay longer than just 2-3 working days is just wonderful.
The accommodation I opted to use is very close to where I work and as a result most days I head back there to have lunch (and breakfast) using provisions bought from a nearby mall/supermarket.
Evenings involve walking somewhere to find a meal (food courts in malls seem to have the best low cost range of options on offer) and then retiring back to my room to soak up some free to air Australian TV followed by sleep.
By watching local TV I now:
- Know more about Australian politics during this visit than I suspect even a typical Australian resident would wish to know – it’s been a hectic time for Gillard and Rudd.
- Am aware of the battle going on for hearts and minds of breakfast TV viewers as networks throw big cash prizes behind established shows while the Ten Network launches its new offering featuring New Zealand’s Paul Henry.
- Miss my PVR dearly because I can’t fast forward through all the silly house and contents insurance advertisements etc.
In sum while here I’ve simply tried to follow a tight regime of work on the weekdays and allowed myself to be a bit of a tourist / digital explorer on the weekend.
Last weekend (asides doing chores such as laundry etc) I used the available time to walk around parts of the city CBD (before fatigue caught up with me) and on Sunday opted to explore a little further afield by using the efficient rail system that links the CBD with outlying suburbs.
Whilst out and about I was on the look out for examples of retailers using mobile apps to engage with their customers and found several examples that I’ll bring back to showcase QR code use in the retail space.
One interesting example of that has been the FMCG retailer Woolworths who are trialing a virtual store in one of the nearby train stations.
Powerhouse are also active in the QR space with their Lovelace exhibition and have created an app that includes a QR scanner that links the user to further digital content when they scan a code adjacent to any given object.
Even if you can’t get here to see the exhibition in person I suggest you download the app (Apple | Andriod) and explore what they are up to. I’ll certainly be writing more about this exhibition in future blog posts.
Tomorrow I’ve programmed in a deliberately light interview day and instead will use the time to start to distill down lists of common thoughts / ideas that have been raised with me while talking with the Powerhouse team.
Apologies for the lack of posts / pictures but I’ve found it’s better to immerse myself in the environment while I can and then the reports, public reflections and updates will follow thereafter.