20-Year Client Anniversary with Zurich University of the Arts
An Interview with Judith Scheiber Dahou, IT Project Manager
Zurich University of the Arts is a leading arts university in Europe that has the unique benefit of having its own museum, the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich. The museum is the sole institution in Switzerland that, from 1875 onwards, has collected posters, graphic design and objects that represent quotidian design.
Zurich University of the Arts and the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich recently reached a significant milestone. As long-time adopters of TMS and eMuseum, they just celebrated their 20-year anniversary of using Gallery Systems solutions to manage their collections. In tandem, their IT Project Manager, Judith Scheiber Dahou, is preparing to retire after a professional career spanning over 33 years of working at the institution.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with Judith to learn more about her career, and how collections management at Zurich University of the Arts and the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich has evolved over the last two decades with Gallery Systems’ help.
I began my career with an education in business management. In 1989, I got the opportunity to become the very first system administrator at Zurich University of the Arts. Around then, I began studying process and knowledge management, which led me to primarily work as a project manager for the university.
On the side, I trained in alternative medicine and ran a practice as a hypnotherapist for about 10 years. I also organized camel trekking tours with my husband in the south of Algeria. These activities have always helped me stay balanced with the stressful work that comes with working in an IT department.
What have you enjoyed most about your role?
The working atmosphere at Zurich University of the Arts has enabled me to have the most interesting encounters with colleagues. I have also learned a lot about good design – there was always something inspiring to see and experience in the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich.
What is one of the most interesting projects you’ve worked on at Zurich University of the Arts or the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich?
That would have to be TMS and eMuseum. These solutions have occupied me to varying degrees for the past 20 years. Since 2007, the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich has published its collection objects, biographies, and an exhibition archives online using eMuseum. We started off by publishing four modules: objects, people, exhibitions, and projects, and have developed the modules further in recent years. This has been a project that that has had a real positive impact both internally and externally.
Another interesting project that I have worked on was the implementation of a research information system for artistic research at Zurich University of the Arts. Here, too, I have gained valuable knowledge.
How have your institution’s collections management processes evolved over the last 20 years?
Over the last 20 years, we have been able to create digital exhibitions that we publish online, streamline loan management, catalogue and cross-reference data for our collections’ objects, and so much more.
What have you enjoyed most about the relationship between Gallery Systems and Zurich University of the Arts over the last 20 years?
I always enjoyed Gallery Systems’ Collective Imagination user meetings. We were always happy when we could participate because the exchange with other TMS users and Gallery Systems staff has been consistently inspiring and educational.
How do you see the use of technology evolving at Zurich University of the Arts?
One of the university’s current focuses is on a high-tech lab for immersive arts that would combine digital media technologies with interactive principles to develop new practices in the arts and design. I expect to see the lab continue to develop in the future.
After such a diverse career, what are your plans for retirement?
I have some sewing projects in mind, and I need to update my private websites. I also have ideas about what I want to tackle at my “second center of living” in the Sahara with my husband. But for now, I just want to experience how life feels without the daily duties of a working place.
Melinda Pierre-Paul Cardinal is a Content Marketing Specialist at Gallery Systems. She has experience working in arts and culture non-profits, and in the media and entertainment technology industry. Her mission includes working with partners to craft engaging stories that help the work they do shine. When Melinda is not working, you can find her at art exhibitions, reading graphic novels, and volunteering with marginalized communities to foster cultures of belonging.