The Hive Copenhagen

May 22, 2014

News

Confession time. Last Saturday was the ‘Lange Nacht der Museen‘ (Long Night of Museums) in Berlin and ‘Museums at Night’ in other countries too. Sunday was International Museums Day. All in all, possibly the most important weekend of the year for a museoligist, museum blogger and all round museogeek. And I did not visit one single museum! Instead, I was in Copenhagen attending ‘The Hive’ – the European blogging conference. Museums only really got a mention, if I was the one talking about them. I did, however, make up for the weekend by adding on three days in Copenhagen either side of the conference, and visiting 10 different museums in that time! While I take a moment to sort through my various notes and photographs, I’ll leave you with a few impressions of The Hive. As you will see, it was worth skiving off museums for (though if you quote me on that I may have to deny it…)

First of all, the weather was gorgeous! My previous trip to Copenhagen was in the midst of winter, and it could not have been more different. It did rain most of Sunday, but we were indoors anyway. The rest of the week I was there, the weather looked like this:

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It all actually kicked off on the Friday night, with a reception at the Muuto showroom, one of the many Danish design companies that produce furniture and interior design products in that beautiful, sleek Nordic style. We were treated to refreshments on their rooftop terrace, with amazing views over Copenhagen, and of course were allowed to tour the showroom and look at everything. I totally fell in love with the coffee tables, but they are a little outside my price range so I had to contend with the lovely vase in the goodie bags that were handed out as a parting gift.

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I’m not going to detail the entire conference programme, but one thing I did want to mention is that there was not only a host of inspiring bloggers sharing talks, but also teams from several brands for us to connect with. I don’t really work with brands here on Museum Diary, as it’s not the kind of blog that lends itself to that, but I did have a very nice chat with the team from Bugaboo. Their special edition Andy Warhol pushchair was a highlight of Day 1 for many  – and the closest we got during the conference to a museum related topic. Okay, so we already own a pushchair and #MuseumBaby is now old enough that he rarely needs it anyway, but how cool is this for an art loving or museogeek parent?

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To go with the pushchair, there was also a banana themed Andy Warhol photo booth – in the name of museogeeks everywhere, I of course had to go and pose in it :)

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Another really interesting session was the brand hour question time with the team from Pinterest. Lots of museums are using Pinterest, and I already have some ideas for more Pinterest related projects over at Museum140, so this was really quite useful. By the way, if you are looking for museums to follow on Pinterest, check out my handy ‘Museums on Pinterest’ spreadsheet!

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On the second day of The Hive we were all treated to a surprise at breakfast – Nutella jars as far as the eye could reach! What we didn’t manage to eat, we were welcome to take home with us. Luckily we had all been warned to bring some extra space in our luggage. My favourite part of breakfast though, was when I asked the hotel kitchen if they had any gluten free bread. In Germany, I am used to getting answers like ‘no’, ‘don’t know’ (which usually means no), ‘gluten what?’ etc. Or, at best, I get handed some pre-packaged gluten free bread that tastes of cardboard. Here in Copenhagen, the answer was ‘of course, how many people is it for’, and ten minutes later I was brought  basket of delicious, oven warm gluten free rolls to enjoy. Actually, there were many bakeries, cafes and restaurants throughout Copenhagen offering gluten free alternatives. Definitely my favourite city to visit from a special diet point of view. But I digress…

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There were lots more inspiring talks on Day 2 as well, and I couldn’t possibly do them justice trying to summarise them all. But it was also fun to do something completely random, like paint wooden credit card holders with the brand team from Farrow & Ball. For some bloggers who do room or furniture makeovers on their blog, this actually totally made sense in terms of possibly working together with the brand on future projects. For me, it was just a relaxing and therapeutic painting session amidst a busy and stimulating weekend – a similar effect to visiting a museum ;)

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And the surprises just kept coming – I may not have been able to eat the cake at afternoon tea – the delicious fresh fruit was much better for my waistline anyway, haha – but I definitely grabbed one of the cute plates we were allowed to take home after everything was eaten. Actually, at this point I would like to thank all the generous sponsors for the gifts we were able to take home from this amazing weekend (there was another goodie bag too with other things), as well as The Hive organisers for arranging it all. Thank you!

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Of course, The Hive was not only about rooftop wine receptions and chocolate spread breakfasts, photo booths and painting sessions, goodie bags and Danish design gifts. It was, first and foremost, about meeting and connecting with like minded people, people who enjoy writing about and sharing their passions, whatever topic is was they blogged about. It was about listening to inspiring talks and connecting with interesting brands. About catching up with old friends and making new ones. About learning new things, being reminded of ‘old’ things lurking in your subconscious. About  laughing and having fun. About being reminded why I love blogging (and having people say how much they love reading my blog was of course a nice ego boost too). On Sunday evening back in my Airbnb room, I was watching a rerun of the BBC programme ‘Museums at Night’, where Amit Sood, Director of Google Cultural Institute, says for him a successful museum is “a place that’s welcoming, a place that’s open, a place that educates me, but also a place where I can have fun“. And I think that just sums up this year’s The Hive for me very well: welcoming, open, educational, fun.

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Finally, I want to say a big THANK YOU to Yvonne and her team for pulling together such a great conference. You really did yourselves proud! But I also want to say a word of praise to everyone who attended The Hive. Thank you all, for being such a welcoming and open group. I have been to many conferences over the years (not all blogging conferences, I hasten to add), and this is not a given. Sadly, sometimes conference attendees can be a bit cliquey and exclusive, so focused on catching up with old friends the don’t let in anyone new. I’ve stood amongst groups trying to make contact and been ignored, I’ve sat through meals where no one uttered a word to me – and I am not a shy person. So thank you everyone for making The Hive what it is. You’ve done yourselves proud too!

This was the third year of The Hive. I have attended all three and enjoyed them all, even though they were quite different in places – as you would expect from a new event that is finding its feet and developing from year to year. Last year, there were quite a few complaints afterwards. Some things didn’t run so smoothly, some things unravelled over the weekend, like a speeding train you cannot hold back. Some of the feedback was justified and constructive, some of it was just bad mannered moaning. But whatever it was you may have heard, if it kept you away from The Hive this year that I would urge you to give it another chance. This year has shown that the event has grown and developed and learned from any previous mistakes. Next year we’re back in Berlin – I hope to see you there!

 

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