Category: Museums Association

Yorkshire Fed Museums Association Workshops

The Yorkshire Fed have kindly agreed to open up the following two workshops to people from the North West and wanted to share details:

Course 1:
MA Code of Ethics – Navigating Ethical Practice
Tuesday 5th
St. Bede’s Pastoral Centre York
10:00 – 13:00 

Part of a full day’s training delivered for YHFED by the Museums Association (MA), delegates can choose to attend both sessions at a reduced cost or just one of the sessions

In January 2016 the revised Code of Ethics was launched to the sector.  The aim of the review and revision was to make the Code of Ethics fit for purpose in the 21st century and beyond.  Building on the strong foundations of previous Codes this new Code is more relevant in the dynamic sector in which we find ourselves today.

Outline how this review was undertaken, highlighting what we wanted to achieve and signposting the differences from past Codes; provide opportunities to look at ethical dilemmas and using the Code to navigate the best next steps; and give time to reflect on your own professional practice and ethical dilemmas; as well as opportunities to ask questions.

It will be coordinated and delivered by Alison Mitchelson, YHFED Freelance Training Provider.The trainer will be Tamsin Russell, Professional Development Officer for the Museums Association.

Cost: £25 for Fed members (or £20 if booking MA Successful Selection too)
£35 for Non-Fed members (or £30 if booking MA Successful Selection too)

To book a place visit the eventbrite page.

Course 2:
MA – Successful Selection
Tuesday 5th December
St.Bede’s Pastoral Centre York
14:00 – 16:30

The landscape for jobs and volunteering opportunities in the museums and galleries sector is very competitive. Anything you can do to stand out from the crowd can make all of the difference – but what does that look like?

Focus on ‘gaps’ and we will discuss what you may need to develop and how to do so to be able to meet the requirements for both short-listing and successful appointment. provide a masterclass in CV development and share hints and tips for effective interviews, as well as exploring other selection techniques and how to nail them.

It will be coordinated and delivered by Alison Mitchelson, YHFED Freelance Training Provider. The trainer will be Tamsin Russell, Professional Development Officer for the Museums Association.

Cost: £25 for Fed members (or £20 if booking MA Code of Ethics too)
£35 for Non-Fed members (or £30 if booking MA Code of Ethics too)

To book a place visit the eventbrite page.



Museums Association Conference Regional Highlights

In a few weeks the Museums Association (MA) Conference will return to Manchester and we’re thrilled to see so many organisations and colleagues from the region represented in the programme. The themes this year are Audiences, Workforce and Collections and the topics covered are hugely diverse and well-informed.

Looking at the programme can be daunting so with that in mind we’ve had a look and pulled together a list of sessions that feature speakers from the North West:

Thursday 16th November

08:45 – 09:45
Keynote: Lemn Sissay
Exchange Auditorium

Award-winning poet, playwright and author Lemn Sissay, who was born in north-west England, is an associate artist at London’s Southbank Centre and the chancellor of the University of Manchester. His work includes poetry, plays, music, public art and radio and television appearances. Sissay has worked with a number of museums and galleries, including London’s Foundling Museum, where he recently became a trustee. He was the first poet commissioned to write for 2012 London Olympics.

10:30 – 11:00
Using Social Media to Maximise Impact
Workshop Room 2

Manchester Museum explains how they used social media to maximise public engagement with the Climate Control exhibition, and share top tips on how museums can create their own campaigns. Aimed at anyone using social media, from beginners to seasoned pros.

David Gelsthorpe Curator of Earth Science Collections, Manchester Museum
Rachel Webster Curator of Botany, Manchester Museum

10:50 – 11:50
Youth Participation
Charter 2

Despite decades of policy, funding and participatory activity, museums and galleries still lack diverse audiences and artistic programmes. Recently, a bigger more radical idea re-emerged – using youth participation to encourage organisational change and to create more responsive, robust and representative organisations. This session provokes and challenges the audience, asking them to consider questions about organisational norms and barriers to change. And who is getting it right and how can they influence museums and galleries?

Hannah Lake Head of Learning, Royal Collection Trust

Pat Farrell Freelance Artist, The Whitworth
Mark Miller Circuit: National Lead and Convenor, Young People’s Programme, Tate Britain /Tate Modern
Roxanna Sultan WYC Intern Freelance, The Whitworth

10:50 – 11:50
The Regeneration Game
Exchange 8

How has culture-led regeneration evolved and what does it mean for the relationships museums and arts venues have with the private and public sectors? Beyond raising the profile of star architects and creating iconic buildings, what are the deeper legacies of policies that use culture to transform post-industrial cities? Has it led to genuine economic, social and cultural transformation and how can this be measured? Can the success stories be replicated elsewhere and what is the future for culture-led regeneration?

Dave Moutrey Director and Chief Executive, HOME

Clare Edwards PhD Candidate, Cultural Policy in Glasgow 1970-1989
Beatriz Garcia Director, Institute of Cultural Capital
Simon Green Director of Cultural Services, Hull Culture & Leisure

12:00 – 13:00
Industrial Strength
Charter 1

Museums housed in former industrial buildings often interpret that history through their architecture and collections, which can include working machinery, using learning and public programmes. But they can be seen simply as recording a lost past. As the UK aspires to grow its manufacturing base and address chronic skills shortages how can we play a bigger role in getting people making things again, in a 21st century context? This session is for anyone interested in addressing key questions around museums and urban regeneration.

Francesca Perry Editor, Thinking City

Hannah Fox Project Director, Derby Silk Mill
Sally MacDonald Director, Museum of Science and Industry
Errol van der Werdt Managing Director, Foundation Mommerskwartier

12:00 – 13:00
It’s Lonely Being Right
Exchange 8

After Brexit, does it feel like some of your audience have turned their back on you? Does it hurt? Drawing on work by the Happy Museum and others, museum activists join experts from social and neuro-psychology to explore how conflicting values can create seemingly insurmountable barriers and what can be done to re-establish common ground. This participative discussion looks for the roots of our differences and paths out of the comfort of the echo chamber and into meaningful public engagement. A call to action, this session provides practical next steps.

Nat Edwards Consultant, Shared Stories in Shared Spaces

Tom Crompton Director and Co-founder, Common Cause Foundation
Alistair Hudson Director, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art
Kris de Meyer Film-maker and Neuroscientist, Kings College London
Esme Ward Head of Learning and Engagement, Manchester Museum and The Whitworth

14:30 – 15:00
Developing Innovative Events Programmes
Workshop Room 1

From understanding visitor intelligence data to developing creative working practices, this workshop supports museum professionals to develop more ambitious exhibition events programmes to inspire audiences. Based on the Robots exhibition at the Science Museum.

Antonio Benitez
Director, Manchester Science Festival
Scott McKenzie-Cook
Special Events Manager, Science Museum

15:00 – 16:00
The Constituent Museum and the End of the Audience
Exchange Auditorium

Over the past few years the L’internationale museum confederation have been developing a new institutionalism that moves beyond our inherited colonial and autonomous models and situates our work within the new realities of our times; operating politically as well as culturally within society. This requires us to develop new approaches to working with the public, to rethink the spectatorship driven conception of ‘audience’ and to build a new way of operating among the multiple networks of user groups. In this session the panel elaborate on this ‘constituency’ model in advance of the release of the L’internationale publication in early 2018.

Elinor Morgan Senior Curator, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

John Byrne Co-ordinator, The Uses of Art, Liverpool John Moores University
Aida Sanchez de Serdio Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Steven Ten Thije Project Leader, L’Internationale’s The Uses of Art, Van Abbemuseum

16:50 – 17:50
Beliefs Trump Facts
Exchange Auditorium

Powerful public figures have recently gone beyond being ‘economical with the truth’ to telling outright lies that, with repetition, become quasi-truth. It’s claimed that the public has ‘had enough of experts’. ‘Fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ swirl around us. Belief and feelings appear to trump evidence. This in-conversation session explores the very real consequences of this phenomena to millions of people who are affected by issues such as climate change. What is the role of museums in such a society and do science museums have a particular responsibility?

Sally MacDonald Director, National Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester

Samira Ahmed Journalist and Broadcaster
Ian Blatchford Chair, National Museum Directors’ Council and Director, Science Museum Group
Matthew d’Ancona Writer, The Guardian

16:50 – 17:50
Legacies of Empire 
Charter 2

British culture, commerce, language and communities have been influenced by the nation’s imperial past in much the same way as the former occupied nations have been. This history, and the inequality of understanding of it, are one of the underlying issues in society today. Until Britain openly discusses its imperial past can we expect to see harmony in the multicultural society in which we live? What part can museums play in exposing the truth of their own development and that of colonial Britain? Is the 70th anniversary of partition in India the perfect opportunity to do this?

Janet Dugdale Director, Museum of Liverpool and Merseyside Maritime Museum

Jonathan Wallis Head of Museums and Museum and Art Gallery Development, Derby Museums
Tiffany Jenkins Writer and Presenter
Yasmin Khan Freelance Museum Professional and Writer

Friday 17th November

09:30 – 10:00
Embedding Young People’s Perspectives
Workshop Room 1
This workshop shares how Harris Transformers, a youth engagement programme, has driven radical changes at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery. Find out how the programme works and how the results are being embedded across the service.

Jon Finch Project Leader, Re-Imaging the Harris, Preston City Council/ Lancashire County Council
Matt Wilde Blaze Project Manager, Curious Minds

11:15 – 12:15

Queer and Here
Exchange 8

This workshop focuses on the challenges, opportunities and questions associated with the representation of LGBTQ+ identities. It takes as its starting point projects that mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain and explores the learning from different curatorial approaches. It considers contested historical identities, absences and silences in the historical record and questions of agency and unconscious bias. Build a toolkit to approach using collections more inclusively, incorporating, exploring and reflecting the LGBTQ+ experience.

Dawn Hoskin Assistant Curator, Furniture, Textiles and Fashion, Victoria and Albert Museum

Clare Barlow Assistant Curator, British Art 1750-1830, Tate Britain Stuart Frost Head of Interpretation & Volunteers, British Museum
Charlotte Keenan Curator of British Art, Walker Art Gallery
Kath Pierce Founder and Creative Director, Somewhere
Catherine O’Donnell Programme Manager, People’s History Museum

11:15 – 12:15
The Fearful Object
Charter 4

What are the implications of interpreting and displaying objects that are associated with events or activities that have the potential to upset, provoke or challenge visitors? What ethical questions do we need to be aware of and how do we tackle questions of justice? And is it possible to mobilise the sense of empathy or outrage that visitors may have to seeing the object so that it is directed in a positive direction that leads to a good outcome. Objects under discussion include a refugee’s lifejacket from Lesvos, items associated with conflict in Northern Ireland and the archive of Eric Gill, an artist who sexually abused his daughters.

Elizabeth Crooke Professor of Heritage and Museum Studies, Ulster University

Nathaniel Hepburn Director, Charleston
Bryan Sitch Deputy Head of Collections, Manchester Museum

12:25 – 13:25

Considering Mass Participation
Charter 2

We all now agree that museums are social agents with the power to change lives. But, how do we do this most effectively? Should we aspire to mass participation, focus on targeted interventions with small groups, or put the public in control through human-centred design? As the world adjusts to the political and societal changes of the last year, do we need to rethink our ambitions? Hear the views of our panel and contribute your own.

Sara Wajid Head of Interpretation, Birmingham Museums

Nick Merriman Director, Manchester Museum
Carol Rogers Executive Director, Education and Visitors, National Museums Liverpool

13:30 – 14:00
Writing Effective Briefs for Freelancers

Workshop Room 2

This workshop provides hints and tips for writing a freelance brief, common pitfalls and best practice to enable effective working relationships between freelancers and organisations.

Marge Ainsley Freelance Consultant
Lyndsey Clark Freelance Consultant

14:45 – 15:45
What Does Devolution Mean for Museums?
Charter 2

Localism is increasingly at the heart of British culture and Greater Manchester is recognised as an early adopter of the devolution agenda, with new partnerships emerging between museums and public health bodies and ambitious plans for culture across the combined authority. Speakers from outside the sector who are leading change share their insights, reflecting on the realities and opportunities of more localised decision making. How might we work more collaboratively? How might museums change as a result?

Esme Ward Head of Learning and Engagement, Manchester Museum and The Whitworth

Mike Amesbury Former Stakeholder Manager for Andy Burnham
Donna Hall Chief Executive, Wigan County Council
Paul McGarry Strategic Lead, Greater Manchester Ageing Hub and Age-Friendly Manchester, Public Health Manchester

14:45 – 15:45
Three Degrees of Seperation
Charter 4

This active and participative session gives room for hundreds of questions and answers. In today’s highly connected world, the concept of six degrees of separation is more likely to be just three, often less. So there are three degrees of separation, to a person or answer, to whatever the question. We use a proven technique to generate practical and useful answers to any questions about your work, your career, your professional development and your professional dilemmas.

Sara Hilton
Director, Sara Hilton Associates

Janneke Geene
Acting Director, People’s History Museum
Gaby Porter
Director, Gaby Porter Associates
Claire Turner
Creative Cultural Consultant

14:45 – 15:45

Museums Health and Wellbeing Rsearch
Exchange 8

Not So Grim Up North is a research project led by University College London with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, and The Whitworth. The research explores the health and wellbeing impact of taking part in museum activities for a diverse range of audiences: people living with dementia in hospital settings; stroke survivors; and mental health service-users. This workshop presents a framework for museums in health and wellbeing research and evaluation with diverse audiences.

Helen Chatterjee Professor of Biology, UCL Biosciences/Head of Research and Teaching, UCL Culture

Lionel Joyce Board member, Road to Recover
Nuala Morse The Whitworth and UCL Culture
Helen Rogers Acting Head of Nursing, Trafford General Hospital

Saturday 18th November

For the 2nd year in a row the MA have also arranged a number of talks and tours around organisations in Manchester on the day following the Conference so if you’re staying for the weekend do make the most of these opportunities.

For the full programme of events look here.

MA Museums Survey

The Museums Association (MA) has launched a new UK-wide Museums Survey.

Museums of all sizes and types are urged to complete the survey in order to build a comprehensive picture of current state of the museum sector across the UK.

The survey comes at an important moment for museums, with a wide range of sector reviews ongoing across the UK.

The survey is short and will be easy to complete by a member of staff with a good overview of their museum’s work, ideally a manager, director or someone who gathers information for an annual report. The questions cover: type of museum; visitor numbers and engagement; museum finances; volunteers and staff; education work; and challenges and opportunities for the future including Brexit. The deadline is 24th November.

To complete the survey click here.

The survey will provide national level data on the museums sector that all museums can use in their advocacy work. It will also be used to inform national and regional policy and advocacy work by the MA, including our annual Museum Report. You can see this year’s report here.

Museums Facing Closure:  Legal and Ethical Issues

The Museums Association (MA), with funding from Arts Council England, has published Museums Facing Closure: Legal and Ethical Issues, a document outlining the legal and ethical issues relating to museum closures. Drawing on research into over 20 recent museum closures in the UK, the document looks to understand how the governing bodies, employees, and the individuals involved responded. 

Topics covered include how museums have dealt with a crisis that may lead to closure, how museums have planned for closure, and considerations around staff and volunteers, managing collections, museum buildings and sites, partnerships and contracts, IT and data, and the legacy of the museum. 

Alistair Brown, the MA’s policy officer, said: ‘Most museums are hugely successful and have a great future ahead of them. But in a time of public funding cuts, 64 museums have closed across the UK since 2010 and more are at risk.  In putting this document together, we wanted to make sure that we are learning the lessons from those closures, and to ensure that support is available for museums facing this kind of crisis’.

Download the document here.

New Museums Association Rep for North West


I am honoured to become the new North West representative for the Museums Association.

I am really looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible either within your venues or at the MA conference in November.

I started working in the museum sector in 2012 as Duty Manager at the National Football Museum (just prior to the museum opening in Manchester). Coming from a hotel and theatre background my focus has always been on delivering excellent customer experience through staff training and development.

In 2015 I moved to the role of Volunteer and Participation Manager. This involved setting up a volunteer’s department. Within a year, we had over 150 volunteers. I’ve found this role to be thoroughly rewarding for visitors, volunteers, myself, and the museum.

I am passionate about the values museums can make to society. Potential visitors, volunteers, and staff may have preconceptions that some museums will be inaccessible to them. I strive to change that and ensure we create museums who have access for all.

Please email or tweet me if you have any questions or require any information regarding the MA.

I look forward to meeting you all soon.



Twitter: @DCollingwood40

Call for Proposals: Museums Association Diversity Conference

The Museums Association (MA) is holding an open call for session proposals for its forthcoming one-day conference on diversity, equality and inclusion.

All Inclusive: Championing Diversity in Museums takes place on 24 January 2018 at Thinktank in Birmingham, and aims to empower people to continue challenging the status quo and championing a diverse approach, while providing ideas as to how diversity can move from the margins to mainstream museum practice.

As part of the MA’s vision for “inclusive, participatory and socially engaged museums at the heart of their communities” and its Museums Change Lives policy document, the event will be programmed through an open call for papers. They particularly welcome ideas for workshops and interactive sessions, standalone presentations, panel discussions and other interventions.

Proposals will be considered by an advisory committee made up of diversity champions from across the UK museum sector and members of MA staff. If successful, the MA will work with you to shape up a session that fits within with overall programme for the day.

The MA’s definition of diversity includes the protected characteristics as defined by the Equalities Act 2010 but also includes socio-economic background and status, and diversity of perspectives and life experience.

The deadline for proposals is 27 September. A form for submissions, and guidelines to putting forward a proposal, are available on the MA’s website.

Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund Now Open

First round application deadline is 6th December

Initial applications to the 14th round of the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, which helps museums develop collections to achieve social impact, will be accepted by the Museums Association (MA) until the deadline of 6 September.

This round will see £600,000 of grants available for applications for funding from £20,000 to £120,000, for projects that will last up to three years.

In the first instance, applicants should call or email to discuss their idea with Sally Colvin, the MA’s programmes manager, or Sarah Briggs, the MA’s collections development officer.

Initial applications will be shortlisted by the end of September and informed whether or not they can proceed to a full application, which must be completed by 18 October. The successful applicants will be announced in early December.

Museums Association Conference 2017 Funded Places

The Museums Association is back in the North West and we are pleased to announce that we will be offering eight FREE places at this year’s Museums Association Conference in Manchester on the 16th – 18th November.

Museum Development North West recognises that it is important for museum professionals to connect with colleagues through conferences and networking events, but also how stretched budgets can be when it comes to professional development.

To apply for a free place, please send an expression of interest to Alex Bird ( by September 22nd, to be eligible, you will need to:

  • Confirm that you are a first time attendee
  • Commit to attending the whole conference
  • Cover your own travel costs and all expenses
  • Feedback to colleagues and the region via our blog
  • Send us any relevant information and feedback to put on the MDNW website

For the full programme please see here.

Please note that these places are only available to people in the North West that work in non-MPM and non-national accredited museums or those in museums officially working towards accreditation.

AMA NW & NE Network Meeting

Monday 12th June
Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, Carlisle
12:30 – 15:30

This is a chance to meet informally to share and support each other with our AMA no matter what stage you are at in the process.

Those who can join us will have a chance to find out more about the exhibition, to quiz  Gill Goodfellow, Exhibitions Officer and Tour the latest major exhibition – Hadrians Cavalry Exhibition for free with Gill Goodfellow and Simon Jackson.

To help with refreshments and staffing please confirm you are able to attend by noon on Saturday 10th June via email to :

Help Shape the Future of the Sector as an MA Rep

Closing date for applications Monday 19th June.

The Museums Association (MA) is seeking to recruit 16 member representatives, who will act as a vital link between the association and its members.

Member representatives attend members’ meetings, speak on the MA’s behalf at meetings with regional and national bodies and keep the association in touch with what is happening on the ground.

They also help to keep members in the local area up to date with MA activities and promote membership, communicating regularly through emails, newsletters and the website.

Representatives will receive a free place at the Museums Association Annual Conference and Exhibition each year.

The association is seeking to recruit posts across the UK in all of the English regions, Scotland, and Wales. These posts will join the existing representatives in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Sharon Heal, the MA’s director, said: “This is a great opportunity to get more involved with the MA, help shape the association’s policy, and engage closely with the sector.

“Our member representatives are the MA’s eyes and ears on the ground and play a vital role in helping us remain relevant to all the nations and regions of the UK.

“We would love to find engaged members who can help us communicate what the MA is about and let us know what issues are top of the agenda in their areas.

“As we roll out the second phase of Museums Change Lives, this is an exciting time to be a part of that campaign and the MA’s wider work on the impact of museums.

“We would urge anyone interested in representing the work of the MA to consider applying for these posts.”

The posts are for a period of three years and are unpaid, but reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed. Applicants must be individual members of the MA.

The closing date for application is 19 June.

Links and downloads

Member representatives: role description and application form