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After a year of seismic change for global cultural stakeholders, MuseumNext’s Digital Summit convened to assess how organizations pivoted and formed new strategies. The week-long event (February 22 to 26) welcomed more than 60 speakers to share experiences and learnings from 2020. 

As the Digital Summit’s official media partner, Jing Culture & Commerce presents key findings from select sessions. Find more of our coverage here.

Minecraft maps created by Adam Clarke in partnership with the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (left) and Immersiveminds (right). Image: Thecommonpeople.tv

Session: The Story is More Important than the Pixel”

Host: Adam Clarke, Artist and Minecraft Map Producer

Adam Clarke is at home delivering his presentation within Minecraft, the sandbox box video game in which players create worlds out of blocks. On the wall of his recreated ’90s bedroom (retro Game Boy, Jurassic Park poster) Clarke — in-game alias Wizard Keen — has arranged framed photographs, each capturing a professional project created alongside a cultural organization. There are quite a few.

A first collaboration with Tate Britain validated the power of Minecraft “to massively engage young people,” says Clarke and led projects as diverse as inviting Minecrafters to build a giant virtual sculpture at Liverpool Biennial to developing a wetlands educational map with Tullie House. The through line of Clark’s projects is an ability to connect young people with cultural organizations.   

“It’s an imaginative space,” says Clarke, and ideal for cultural organizations given “Minecraft allows us to cheaply create things from scratch.” The key to a successful cultural project on Minecraft is specificity and meticulous planning, he says. The “build it and they will come” philosophy doesn’t apply, with Clarke noting the planning stage often takes far longer than the build itself. The main questions for cultural organizations considering a Minecraft project are: what are your objectives, what story are you telling, and how are you going to get it in their hands?

Recommended ReadingThe Video Game Intent on Redefining The Art AudienceBy Richard Whiddington
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Key Quote: “Minecraft is a playful way to engage learning. It’s not intimidating to young people, pliable like clay, and cheaper than Lego.”

Pro Tip: For art museums, narrow the focus and consider using Minecraft to tell stories about a specific painter or painting, says Clarke.

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