While significant uncertainty remains about how the Covid-19 pandemic will play-out, the OMRS has understandably taken the decision not to go ahead with the planned Annual Convention in Bristol.
However, after consultation with members who have exhibited in recent years, it has been determined that there is sufficient interest to hold a virtual exhibition. Holding a virtual exhibition is new and challenging but offers scope for Members to present their research in a wide variety of electronic formats and importantly allows us all to continue to indulge ourselves in our passion.
The Key Dates and the Rules, such as they are, are given below:
Judging: Categories and Criteria - A virtual exhibit is a new and strange format for almost everyone and, because of this, and in order to encourage as many members as possible to have a go, there will be no classes of entry and the exhibits will not be ‘judged’. However, we will still have the Members’ Choice Award and, in addition, there will be a prize, again voted for by the Members, for the Best Use of Technology – note this doesn’t mean the most complex or advanced use of technology, but the one that made the exhibit work and tell its story.
Re-Using Exhibition Entries - Members who have exhibited previously have pointed out that with The National Archives, museums and other research resources being closed at the moment it is difficult to complete research. Recognising this, virtual exhibits will be allowed to be based on work submitted for Convention exhibits in previous years i.e. not wholly identical to a previous exhibit, but an exhibit with a new slant or with additional information that has come to light since it was last displayed. Also, it is recognised that because of the difficulty in completing exhibits, any new exhibits submitted this year will be eligible for entry at a future (physical) Convention.
Security – At Convention only the Convention attendees see the exhibit and the exhibits are subject to physical security from the Convention security team. In order to maintain your security and privacy, the virtual exhibition will take place in the Members' Area of the OMRS website, so only Members will have access to the exhibition area and will have to be logged in to view it. Exhibitors should be aware that some presentation formats mean their exhibits will be downloadable.
Format of a Virtual Exhibit – this is very much up the exhibitor. It is suggested that a simple, well thought out and well structured exhibit will work better than one that tries to use technology experimentally, but is too complex or breaks down. That said, it would be great to see some innovation and experimentation in how a virtual exhibit could be put together. Suggestions for possible formats are:
- A PowerPoint or ‘online’ presentation, e.g. Prezi
- A PDF document – may be in a Journal-type article format – as an example of what could be done in this format, see attached at the bottom of the page what Jim Kemp produced for the OMRS website when he won the Member’s Choice Award for the third time in 2015. Please remember this an exhibit not a book, which is where Jim’s write-up of his exhibit strikes a good balance between images and text.
- Excel spreadsheets - In the case of research projects that have large amounts of data, it is suggested that only samples of data are used along with an explanation of how they are used in the project.
- Photographs or a video walk-through of an assembled display – relatively easy to do these days using a mobile phone.
- Or, as suggested by a couple of responders to the original survey, a website. This sounds very adventurous, but I have been told they are easy to put together these days.
The choice is yours!
8th May – entries open for the virtual exhibition.
Please send the exhibit title, a short summary of its content and the intended format of the exhibit (this can be changed if you change your mind up to the closing date for entries) to firstname.lastname@example.org
4th August – entries close for virtual exhibition.
26th August – final date for virtual exhibits to be submitted for loading onto the OMRS website.
28th August – virtual exhibition goes live on the Members section of the OMRS website and voting opens. This allows two weeks for Members to work their way through the exhibits and cast their votes.
12th September – 15:00 voting closes and results announced later in the afternoon (time TBC).
If you have any questions about entering the virtual exhibition and new format please send them along to email@example.com. You are probably not the only person thinking about the issue!