New Visitor Teams Management & Development Network Launched

Thursday 28th February
Manchester Museum
10:30 – 12:30

Working alongside the Visitor Team at Manchester Museum and The Whitworth, we’re pleased to announce launch of a new network. Chaired by Chad McGitchie, Head of Visitor Teams for both sites, the network will bring together those working in Visitor Teams in museums to discuss best practice, share ideas and develop partnerships.

In the first meeting we will focus on the following areas:

  • Common challenges managing public facing teams
  • Learning together (sharing expertise)
  • Training and development – potential shadowing opportunities in other venues

We want the network members to take the lead on what is covered in future sessions, so please do come along with ideas of what you’d like to focus on.

If you have any questions, please contact Chad McGitchie or Alex Bird – /

So that we have an idea of numbers for catering, please can you sign up here.

We look forward to seeing you there!




 Artswork training courses

Supporting Young People: Workplace Health and Wellbeing
12th February 2019, 10am-4.15 pm

Youth Arts Project Management – 6-day Course
27-28th February, 26-27th March, 30th April-1st May 2019, 10am-4.15 pm
Yorkshire Dance, Leeds

Supporting Young People: Workplace Health and Wellbeing
Equip yourself with the tools and understanding required to promote good mental health in the workplace. Designed to help you negotiate legal frameworks and highlight best practice, this new course places a specific focus on the needs of young people in your workforce.

Through resources, information and practical activities, you will learn how to risk-assess your work in line with the Management of Health and Safety at Work (MHSW) Regulations 1999, and create environments that promote inclusion, build self-esteem, and allow for positive, professional relationships with young people.

You will pick up approaches for addressing concerns surrounding your younger team members, whilst creating an action plan for managing your own workplace health and wellbeing too.

Ideal for:

  • Employers working with, or looking to recruit, young people
  • Line managers of young people, including apprentices and intern

You will gain:

  • An understanding of legal frameworks, and how they may affect your work with young people
  • Knowledge of inclusive environments that value the difference in people, and promote respect
  • How to risk assess work with young people
  • Tools to develop an action plan for your workplace
  • Recognised methods of managing and supporting young people’s health and wellbeing.
  • Demonstrating commitment to accessibility, equality and diversity in the workplace
  • Those wanting to comply with the Management of Health and Safety at Work (MHSW) Regulations 1999

Further information and bookings:
The fee for this course is £150, this includes lunch, refreshments and a certificate of attendance.

Visit:, or contact a member of the Professional Development Team, via: 02380 332491 /


Youth Arts Project Management
Designed for people working in the arts and cultural sector wanting to manage projects for young people, our six-day course will leave you fully equipped and inspired to successfully deliver your very own youth arts projects.

Exploring the philosophy and principles of youth arts, you will develop strategies and gain the skills needed to devise a youth arts project, with, for and by young people. We will take you through from the initial ideas and planning stages, through to using professional artists, funding, marketing and evaluation.

Ideal if:

You want an in-depth, informative introduction to developing and running your own youth arts projects.

You will gain:

  • The knowledge to plan and produce effective strategies
  • Time to focus, explore and develop your thinking
  • Tips on how to cost work and plan budgets
  • Understanding on funding, from the Arts Council to the local shop
  • Advice on how to use your resources wisely
  • Familiarity with the principles and practice of equal opportunities
  • Development through peer discussions with a close group of like-mind professionals
  • Exploration around the intrinsic and extrinsic value of youth arts activity
  • Real world learning
  • Marketing and publicity know-how
  • The art of creative evaluation: planning, delivery and development of future practice

Further information and booking:

The fee for this course is £495, this includes lunch and refreshments on each course day and a certificate of attendance. Limited bursary places are available.

For more information and bookings please visit:, or contact: 02380 332491 /

Museums Association Conference Blog

Heading across the water to go and see what the dissenters of the museum association had to dissent about in a troubled political climate, I wondered what was to be expected. How was I, a mere front of house assistant going to fit in and understand such big ideas that was going to be discussed this November in Belfast?

As I think about what it takes me to dissent, to participate, to write this for you… some 2 months later I reasoned that it takes privilege and it takes power. It hasn’t been easy however I won’t elaborate as I am certain that you, the reader can think back to your early days clambering up the proverbial ladder and you will empathise.

Putting my situation aside and listening intently to the Balkan Museum Network (BMN) I felt slightly ashamed of my own obstacles and grateful to be living in a democracy which allows some privilege in its protection that enables us to speak up and speak out.

Milena and Aida spoke modestly about the challenges of framing multiple contested histories in a network which boasted just a few individual members who would freely speak out despite fear of discrimination based upon their membership status. With many members forced into anonymity, these women opened up the idea of struggle, cost and privilege to the room in their fight for freedom to dissent.

So there we have a little of their story and a little of mine which can set the scene for ways in which we can think critically about experiences and how these stories much like the ones we endeavour to tell through our collections can resonate and allow for a wider narrative to be constructed.

The BMN dissenters had sacrificed a lot in order to get to us that day in Belfast so I wondered what the UK had to say on its united front? There was surprisingly little scheduled to discuss our looming world post Brexit and besides, as a fledgeling in my museum career I decided to stick to topics which I had more experience in and which might be more relevant to my position at this time.

Trying to make sense of fractured histories was the challenging histories in historic houses session that talked of multiple narratives existing and while there is demand to develop the confronting histories there is also a tradition of the historic house as refuge, as oppressor, as quaint idyll and symbol and signee of our British prescribed identity and Englishness. A lovely past that wants to remain in its lovely untroubled haven. This talk became especially pertinent during a session on values led practice in which John Orna-Ornstein of the NT who sat on both panels, gave a strong sense of the pressure felt to serve both personal and company values in the midst of this transformation which has not gone unnoticed by its members, the media or the public. This trepidatious and tentative tip toe into dissent has been marked with equal measures of criticism and applaud as uncharacteristically challenging exhibitions which just had to be done, have caused more members to leave the membership but has also attracted a new more culturally sensitive audience to join the NT.

By looking at the histories we choose to reveal and those we don’t of course deals with the way in which we handle our collections. How we collect, how we interpret and how to engage the communities as well attract and support the communities we have not yet met. These were just a couple of the questions highlighted in the packed out seminar room discussing the Collections 2030 paper. The room was jostling with ideas, bursting at the seams, dissenters covering every inch of floor space, leaning shoulder to shoulder against the walls of the now tiny seminar room.

Perhaps attracting such an audience was down to the production of the ‘Collections 2030’ paper which undoubtedly helped keep this discussion moving along at a rapid pace. It had been published well in advance with questions set clearly and provocatively which were accessible for all who wished to be involved.

The 2030 discussions revealed the sometimes terse conversations between curators, managers, exhibitions staff and community champions. There was an overwhelming feeling that collection managers are continuing to prioritise the preservation and care of collections and thus maintaining the outdated notion of the museum as mausoleum.

How to balance this struggle between the gatekeepers and organisational agendas to display, educate, inform and inspire the public through exciting programmes and introduce new ways of seeing? It was agreed that collections needed to work more quickly and dynamically in order to meet public expectations and demands that better reflect our pace of life. There was also time for thinking about the items we continue to collect, the realities of caring for growing collections and how disposing of items needs to be pushed further up our agendas as a matter of urgency.

A point which was relevant for everyone managing collections, staffing exhibitions and programming was the issue of budget cuts. I was curious to sit in on the Mendoza review, one year on and try to understand some of the discussions affecting the sector bodies.

Throughout the hour I sat grappling with some of the complex issues which surround and prevent the arts from receiving additional funding whilst continuing to dish out budget cuts.

I had no need to worry about my confidence in these matters as although I couldn’t comprehend the finite details, it seemed as though all questions went around in circles trying to pin down concrete answers and solutions for which there seemed not to be one.

The panel certainly baffled myself and others who listened and reacted out of frustration with the lack of clarity and progress, ideas from the floor suggested that new sources such as a tourist tax needed to be ascertained which could only be used for cultural learning and not diverted into another stream.

The talk which had the most impact on me, both at the time and in the months that have followed was a 30 minute presentation which asked ‘Do we still need front of house’? The answer was a resolute ‘YES we do’. The seminar led by William Tregaskes and Abbi Battis alerted the room to the inequalities felt between front of house and back of house staff within the sector and included a perceived lack of specialism in FOH roles. This half an hour slot was so powerful and relevant to my own career path that I immediately looked towards my own attitude, my lexicon, how I preferred to refer to myself as a ‘museum assistant’ rather than ‘front of house’ and how this terminology suddenly made me feel less apologetic for being here and slightly more qualified. How was I still suffering from imposter syndrome as a FOH staff member?

Looking back and continuing on after the 2018 conference, thinking about the key messages I heard, taking notice of Elaine Heumann Gurian who spoke of Museums as being difficult arenas which harbour opposing views and opinions which could classify museums as buildings of ‘bad news’ and who also talked of how important it was to deliver with tenacity and humour, I thought again back to my own role and how I was going to dissent, how was I going to help rebalance the division between front of house and the back of house in my small place of work?

The key is to find your cause and understand it well, find that fighting spirit and develop an army to help deliver your dissent with tenacity, with passion and of course humour.

Naomi Roberts
Museum Assistant
Salford Museum & Art Gallery






Historic Houses Education Seminar

Tuesday 12th February
The Old Potting Shed, Chatsworth
10:00 – 15:00

Running an education programme is very rewarding and can be a really valuable part of your business. This seminar, led by a range of expert speakers in the field, will look at the benefits and challenges of setting up education programmes at historic houses – from working with children and young people to engaging with colleges, universities and adult learner markets.

Whether you’re thinking of starting from scratch or already have a well-established education offer at your house or garden, this lively seminar will leave you full of new ideas and will give you the tools you need to develop your education work with the benefit of new networks, resources and contacts.

Tickets cost £75.00

For the full programme and details on how to book, click here.

Family Arts Conference 2019: Exploring the value of arts, culture and creativity for families

Tuesday 12th February
Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
10:30 – 17:30

The UK’s largest family arts and culture conference will explore the value of family engagement and how we can communicate that value to families, funders and the wider cultural sector.

Join the Family Arts Campaign for a full day of lively discussion, practical workshops, informative key-notes and ample opportunities to network with fellow creative professionals.

Key note presentations from:

Cheryl Taylor – Head of Content, BBC Children’s
The BBC’s creative offer for families and how to appeal to parents and carers through digital platforms.

Syima Aslam – Artistic Director, Bradford Literature Festival
Syima will share her personal ‘family’ story, exploring how her childhood as a second-generation Pakistani-British child growing up in Halifax, – and her own experiences as a mother, have informed the direction of what has been suggested as “the most diverse literature festival in the UK”.

Dr. Zoe Wyrko – Geriatrician and consultant
On the BAFTA-nominated Channel 4 documentary Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds, which brought together old and young in an experiment to tackle social isolation.

Ticket prices range from £144.00 – £210.00.

For the full programme and details on how to book, click here.

Job Opportunity: Manchester Museum

Do you love food, working with the community, having conversation and bringing people and ideas together? Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund,

We have an incredibly exciting opportunity to work with the Museums teams and a fascinating mix of community leaders, Community champions and organisations, educators, artists and performers, faith leaders and business people to take our South Asia gallery forward. If you are creative, entrepreneurial and enthusiastic with an understanding of South Asian history and culture, and have project management experience and a love of food we would like to hear from you.

Manchester Museum is transforming, hello future is our vision for the museum to become the UKs most inclusive, imaginative and caring museum in the UK; committed to building understanding between cultures and a sustainable world. This will mean more opportunities for learning, civic and social action, joy and wonder. We are building new world class exhibition spaces including a South Asia gallery and we have the opportunity to be part of this exciting journey.

As an equal opportunities employer, we welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons. As we are committed to the principles of the Race Equality Charter Mark, we would particularly welcome applications from the black and minority ethnic (BME) community who are currently under-represented at this level in this area.  All appointments will be made on merit.

Please note that we are unable to respond to enquiries, accept CVs or applications from Recruitment Agencies

Enquiries about vacancy shortlisting and interviews:
Andrea Winn –

General enquiries: / 0161 275 4499

Technical support: / 0161 850 2004

This vacancy will close for applications at midnight on the closing date

For more details and info on how to apply, click here.

Museum Detox Manchester Meet-up for BAME Professionals

Thursday 31st January
Ante Room, Floor 3, Manchester Central Library, St Peters Square, M2 5PD
17:30 – 19:30

The Museum Detox network are holding a meeting for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) heritage professionals in Manchester on 31st January 2019.

The event will be hosted at Manchester Central Library, from 17:30 to 19:30, and will be an opportunity to connect with fellow BAME professionals working in the North West’s heritage sector.

If you are interested in coming along, please email Detox Member Antonia Canal on

‘Culture is Digital’ survey

From DCMS:

In March 2018, the Culture is Digital report was launched by the then Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt. Hon. Matt Hancock. The National Archives was asked to lead a taskforce towards developing a new strategic approach to the digitisation and presentation of cultural objects.

As part of gathering evidence, the taskforce has created a short survey asking about digitisation. It should take no more than 15 minutes to complete and is your opportunity to let us know what you think and to inform the views of the taskforce.

The deadline for completion of the survey is end of 21stJanuary 2019.

Trustee Opportunities: Collections Trust

From Collections Trust:

We’re looking for two new trustees to join our board

Deadline for applications: 31 January 2019

Collections Trust is a small, but influential, charity that helps museums capture and share the information that gives their objects meaning. We are looking for two new trustees to complement the existing skills and diversity of our board. In particular, we would like to hear from people with one or more of the following attributes:

  • Legal expertise.
  • Financial expertise.
  • Museum professional seeking their first board experience.
  • A connection with university museums.

The roles are voluntary, but we offer expenses to attend the four meetings a year. Some trustees also serve on an audit committee that meets twice a year. Meetings are usually held in London, in the board room of Rich Mix, where our office is located.

For further information see

Rearranged date – Is Accreditation suitable for my museum? The Arts Council’s Accreditation Scheme workshop

18th March 2019, 10am-3pm
Lancashire Conservation Studios, Preston

Have you heard about the Accreditation Scheme and are not sure what it is? Are you considering applying for Accreditation but are not sure if your museum is suitable?

The Accreditation Scheme sets nationally agreed standards for UK museums. Museum Development North West is running a workshop where non-Accredited museums and heritage organisations in the North West can find out about the scheme, including:

  • What it is
  • Why it’s important
  • What the benefits are
  • What’s involved in applying for and maintaining Accreditation
  • Why not all museums are suitable
  • Where to get help and support

To book a place follow this link