UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

“You are a natural with a face for radio”

Posted by Brian Kelly on 27 Jul 2010

An Interview on Radio 4

After a recent tweet in which I revealed the nervousness I had whilst waiting to take part in a Radio 4 programme Paul Hollins (@PaulHollins) put me at ease with his commentyou are a natural with a face for radio“. I have to admit that Paul’s comment succeeded in making me smile. But although I informed the various organisations –  Hartlepool Museum, Brighton Museum and Gallery and Leeds University (and my mum) – I mentioned in the interview for the programme on Making History I personally still felt too embarrassed to listen to the programme when it was broadcast on 6 July  –  I felt I would come across as very nervous and geeky. But after receiving a number of emails, Facebook messages and Twitter @s and DMs from people who heard me (including an ex-girlfriend I hadn’t heard from in several years) and some positive comments from colleagues at UKOLN I decided to listen to the programme on the BBC iPlayer.  And it wasn’t too bad :-)

Sharing My Experiences

I firmly believe that those of us working in higher education have a responsibility to communicate with the general public and this was the reason why I responded positively to the email request I received a few days before the interview took place. I also believe that we should be open with out peers and we willing to share best practices (and concerns) in order that we can all gain the benefits.  So here is my summary of my experience. I feel that documenting my reflections on the experiences will ensure that I do better if I have another opportunity to engage with the mass media. I’d also welcome feedback from those who are more experienced than me in this area.

It is important to know what you intend to say or, perhaps more importantly, the points you wish to get across. The day before the interview I started to prepare my notes summarising the key points which were:

  • There’s not a binary divide between real world visits to museums and access museum resources online.
  • Online resources can provide many benefits such as engaging with young people and thus helping to widen participation, and provide access to resources without necessarily needing to travel, thus perhaps addressing green issues as well as enhancing access to those who might find it difficult to travel.
  • Various benefits of encouraging the general public to engage with cultural resources has already been demonstrated so such approaches should be relevant to the Government’s Big Society rhetoric.

I had prepared notes for a talk in which I would make these points. However I was not able to give a prepared speech (which I suspect would have sounded too stilted) and instead had to respond to other pre-recorded interviews and the questions which the interviewer raised.  I was aware that specific examples would sound better than general points so I had prepared a number of examples which I used in my responses.  I was particularly pleased when the interviewer asked whether innovative use of technology was something that was only happening in the national museums based in London (to paraphrase her question slightly).  This provided me with the ideal opportunity to describe Hartlepool Museum’s use of Twitter – the sub-text of this example was ‘yes there is innovation taking place up north’!

Once the interview was over I wrote a brief news item which was published on theUKOLN news feed and featured on the University of Bath home page.  I also sent the BBC a list of the links I mentioned in my talk which have been included in a page about the programme. They seem to have included my text in full, which included:

An example of the technical innovation which is happening in regional museums is illustrated by the @yuffyMOH Twitter account provided by the Harlepool Museums and Heritage service. This is described in a book on Twitter for Museums: Strategy and Tactics for Success.

The Twitter account is available at:

Twitter for Museums

I was pleased to have have been able to promote the work which has taken place at Harlepool Museums, Brighton Museum and Gallery and Leeds University. I was even more pleased when I saw that the BBC had referred to me as Dr Brian Kelly. I emailed them to say I was a Doctor but the page hasn’t been updated. Perhaps the BBC have the power to award honory degrees :-)


2 Responses to ““You are a natural with a face for radio””

  1. Brenda Boyd said

    Brian – there’s not one of your friends who would disagree with you having the perfect face for radio :)

  2. Well, I guess I have a face for radio too since I worked as a journalist for 6 years at a radio station back in my pre-Internet days ;-)

    I’m really glad to see you advocating sharing of resources and experience among web professionals in the UK. A lot is done to that extend in North America (maybe a bit less in Canada, but things are starting to change there as well).

    I know it would be a big thing for UK universities, but if you think that they might be willing to share some basic web metrics for our monthly benchmarking surveys (as part of the Higher Ed Online Analytics Revolution), I would be happy to offer a segmented report aggregating data for the UK – that is if we get enough participants to make the data meaningful and keep it anonymous.

    You’re one of the main voices of the higher ed blogosphere in Europe, which is why I’m reaching out to you, Brian.

    For more information, you can check out or my blog.

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