Sebastian Chan is currently the Head of Digital, Social and Emerging Technologies at the Powerhouse Museum. His teams include the museum's web unit, audio visual and photography, rights & permission and the photo library, the research library and Thinkspace, the Powerhouse's digital media teaching laboratories.
Coming from a background in social policy, journalism and media criticism as well as information technology, he has been building and producing websites and interactive media since the mid 1990s. At the Powerhouse he has been responsible for driving a strong user focus in design, usability and content, as well as expanding the scope and reach of the museum's suite of online projects. His focus on audiences and usability has led to an interest in Open Licensing and collaborative ways of enabling deeper engagement with the museum's cultural assets.
Under his direct guidance and creative direction the Powerhouse web team is responsible for the museum's online presence as well as a large suite of experimental and collaborative projects, as well as the Museum's collection database - one of the first to implement and evaluate user tagging - which has won several international awards. These projects have been transformative within the museum bringing a re-evaluation of the role of the collection in a broader society.
He is a researcher in several Australian Research Council Linkage projects researching social media, museums, and technology; and is a regular speaker in Australia having presented widely in the cultural sector and also at technology events Web Directions South and CeBIT. Internationally he has presented at Picnic (Amsterdam), New Zealand's National Digital Forum, Taiwan's National Digital Archives Programme, Berlin's Transmediale, many North American Museums and the Web conferences, and delivered workshops for major museums in the UK, Holland, USA, Canada, Cuba, Taiwan, and NZ.
He is on the international programme committees of Museums and the Web (USA), Digital Strategies for Heritage (Eu), the Horizon.Au New Media Consortium, and is an International Steering Committee member of Culturemondo, an international group of representatives of cultural portal strategists. He is also currently a member of the Australian Government's Government 2.0 Taskforce.
His other interests include electronic music and digital art, and he has directed and curated large scale national and international events and festivals, and also produces related media from radio broadcasts to print. In his spare time he runs a independent music magazine, Cyclic Defrost.
At the Powerhouse he also runs the popular Fresh + New blog covering issues and new ideas around digital media and museums at www.powerhousemuseum.com/dmsblog/
He is an ex-pat Kiwi and has an unhealthy like of sticky dessert wines.