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Q&A with John Stack

Head of Digital Transformation at Tate

I am Head of Digital Transformation at Tate which is a family of four art galleries in the UK and holds the UK collection of international modern and contemporary art and British art from 1600 to the present day. I manage the Tate Digital department which encompasses editorial, production, design, development and audience insight.

Software / hardware

I have always used Apple hardware. Currently I am using a 13” MacBook Pro and an iPhone 5s.

For presentations, I use Keynote. For list making (I make a lot of lists), I use OmniOutliner. For diagramming, (I like making diagrams) I use OmniGraffle.

I use a combination of TeuxDeux (by Tina Roth-Eisenberg who is also interviewed on this website) and a lot of Post-it notes to manage my work. I subscribe to numerous RSS feeds for keeping up to date on all the things that I am interested in. I use Feedbin as my web-based feed reader and the Reeder app for iPhone for reading on the train. I use Delicious to manage and organise my thousands of web bookmarks.

Ideal work environment

I have a lot of meetings and so having uninterrupted time to do research and to think is rare. Ideally, to do this I need a quiet space, an internet connection, my laptop, a pen (I prefer the Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V5 Black, an A4 notebook, a pack of Post-it notes and a cup of coffee.


My role is multifaceted so I have to keep aware of lots of fields of activity from trends in museums and archives, to web design and technology, to digital learning and education, to e-commerce and digital marketing, to digitisation and copyright, to organisational change and project methodologies. I do this through reading blogs, listening to podcasts, watching conference recordings, and reading articles. The world of museums is going through an exciting period of change that is in part driven by digital technologies, and there is some truly inspiring digital work happening at museums all over the world.

Admire most

I am inspired by people who live by their own rules and set out to do something new and different, especially if that means challenging the status quo. My favourite artists are Francis Alys and Tom Friedman. A few of my heroes are Henry David Thoreau , Italo Calvino, Friedrich Schlegel, and my wife, Donna.