Marc Sand, the director of media and audiences at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, and Tate St. Ives, recently paid a visit to Riga. He had been invited by the British Council to give a lecture about the role of social media in the creative industries. In his tightly scheduled day in Riga, Sand found the time for a short interview with Arterritory.com. It’s also worth citing some of the experiences he shared in his lecture.
The Tate museum network will soon undergo a change. In November 2011, the museum will present its diametrically redeveloped website, which will be centered around the collection’s works of art and a daily discussion. Next year, a new structure will open its doors next to London’s Tate Modern. This will serve as the museum’s performance space. The redevelopment of the Tate website embodies Sand’s guiding viewpoint that a website should not lag behind or be less innovate than the institution it is presenting. A website should be a natural and living supplement, not a static business card with a minimum of information.
Sand emphasizes the yet to be realized power of both an internet site and social networks in the creation of a museum’s image. A prejudice has taken root that a virtual environment may threaten the desire to visit museums in persons, and that initiatives like the Google Art Project, which allows us to walk through many of the world’s art galleries without even leaving our computer, could overshadow the necessity for true contact. Sand believes that online communication only enhances what is available in person, and these certainly are not competing relationships. The possibilities offered by the internet to attract visitors should be taken advantage of, not avoided.
Sand’s previous place of employment was the British newspaper The Guardian, which is an important player in upholding cultural discussion in Great Britain. After working at The Guardian for nine years as marketing director, Sand joined the Tate museums in the spring of last year. I asked him what was the biggest difference between the newspaper and the museums. The main thing Marc mentioned was the speed with which you can affect change.