The Museums Association (MA) is inviting proposals for sessions at its Annual Conference and Exhibition in Manchester on 16-17 November.
There are three themes for this year’s conference:
Audiences: how can museums expand and deepen their relationship with the public in the context of a growing atmosphere of intolerance, mistrust and division following last year’s Brexit vote and the resulting political turmoil.
What role can museums play in healing some of society’s divisions and how should they reflect contemporary issues such as poverty, climate change and globalisation in their programming? And how can museums reach out to those people who do not currently engage with museums?
Collections: how can collections be used to inspire and engage communities and make a difference to people’s lives? How can museums involve audiences in interpreting collections and sharing knowledge about them? How can digital technology help increase engagement with collections and how should the sector approach issues such as collecting, storage and disposal?
Workforce: what will the museum professional of the future look like and what knowledge and experience will they need? What needs to change in areas such as leadership, diversity and skills development for the sector to face the challenges ahead?
“We are in a period of huge political, economic and environmental change,” says Simon Stephens, the MA’s head of publications and events.
“We are looking for proposals that focus on how we can respond to the challenges all this upheaval is creating, whether it is related to our relationships with audiences, funders or government.
“We also want proposals that reflect the radical past of north-west England, and also its current dynamism and ambition.
“And we are keen to see proposals that contain new thinking and innovative ideas. We want suggestions that are bold and thought-provoking.
“Not all sessions have to fall into the three themes, but they are a good indication of some of the subjects that we are interested in this year.”
The MA welcomes proposals from people outside the sector, as well as those working in museums, galleries and heritage. We are also keen to receive proposals from outside the UK.
The deadline for session proposals is 1 March.
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