Category: Museums Association

Museum Tech 2018: A Digital Festival for Museums

Thursday 7th June
Museum of London

Want to find out about new technologies for museums?

Book now for Museums Association’s one day seminar Museum Tech 2018: A Digital Festival for Museums 

Museum Tech 2018 presents some of the latest digital experiences, tools and projects developed for the museum sector and beyond. This interactive seminar features case studies, keynotes and practical demonstrations that sheds light on how technology can be used in many diverse areas of museum practice.

Delegates have the opportunity to try out new digital tools and devices, as well as discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding using digital technology in museums.  

This conference is for anyone interested in the role digital technology can play in different aspects of museum practice, from exhibitions and visitor engagement to learning and marketing. 

For full details, timetable and ways to book click here


Museums Association North West Representative Opportunity

From the Museums Association (MA):

The MA is looking to appoint a North West England member representative to serve for a period of three years.

Representatives are individual members of the MA, and a vital link between the MA and its members, attending meetings and speaking on behalf of the MA. They help the MA keep in touch with what is happening on the ground and communicate to and for the MA and should be proactive and policy-focused.

Representatives are encouraged to champion the MA on appropriate national/regional committees and groups and to pass on information from the MA to members.

“This is a great opportunity for someone proactive who wants to get involved in influencing the MA’s policy and supporting the sector,” said Sophie Lawson, the MA’s membership officer. “We welcome applications from MA members at all stages of their career who want to make a difference to the future of museums, galleries and heritage sites in their area.”

Applicants must be current individual members and must be prepared to devote a minimum of five working days per year to the role.

The role is unpaid, but representatives may claim travel expenses agreed in advance to national/regional meetings and the annual representatives’ meeting.

In addition, representatives will receive a free place at the MA Annual Conference & Exhibition.

The closing date for applications is Friday 4 May 2018.

Links and downloads

Member representative for North West England

Propose a Seminar for the Museums Association Conference

From the Museums Association:

Museums and suppliers are invited to put forward proposals to deliver a practical or case study-led seminar at the Museums Association (MA) Conference and Exhibition 2018 in Belfast.

Taking place on 8-10-November, the MA Conference and Exhibition is one of the biggest networking opportunities for museum professionals in Europe.

Seminars take place in the exhibition on the 8-9 November and are free for visitors, exhibitors and conference delegates to attend. The programme is designed to offer practical, insightful and case study-led content under four distinct themes: technology and digital; audiences, learning and engagement; collections, interpretation and exhibition design; and operations (commercial activities, fundraising, marketing).

They are an opportunity for companies, consultants and museum professionals to showcase recent projects, products or services, and lead discussion in a specific area of expertise.

“Seminars are an important part of the MA Conference and Exhibition as they provide an opportunity to share best practice with a range of professionals,” said Simon Stephens, the head of events and publications at the MA.

“If you’ve delivered an innovative project in the past year, or want to share your work with your peers, then we want to hear from you.”

Successful proposers will be asked to present their seminar twice during the day and will receive a free place at conference on the day of their seminar.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is 30 April.


Session proposal form

Session proposal guidance notes


Museum Taskforce Report Calls for More Consistent Funding Levels

Museums need “long-term strategic investment and consistent levels of funding” in order to carry out their work effectively, a report published today by the Museums Taskforce has argued.

The taskforce was convened by the Museums Association (MA) in summer 2016 “in response to the increasingly difficult financial situation that many museums in the UK face”. Chaired by Laura Pye, the head of culture for Bristol City Council, it comprised 15 senior museum professionals representing all four UK nations.

Its aim was to “provide an independent voice to advocate for museums across the UK, using research and evidence to make the case to funders, politicians, stakeholders and the public”.

The report makes a series of recommendations for museums as well as governments and other stakeholders, focusing on funding, collections and relevance – three areas that the taskforce says are “critical for the future of the sector”.

Fore more details and the full report visit the Museums Association’s website.

Museums Association Board Elections 2018

From the Museums Association:

Elections to the Museums Association (MA) board will be held in the New Year. There is one place available. We are looking for a talented, motivated and creative person to drive the strategic direction of the Museums Association (MA).

As a board member, you will help formulate the strategic direction of the MA, ensuring the effective and efficient administration of the association.

Duties will include monitoring performance against the MA’s Business Plan 2017-20; approving annual budgets and monitoring progress against them; contributing to and approving the annual report and accounts; and appointing the director and monitoring his/her performance.

The successful candidate will help to shape the future of the museum sector, developing new policies and initiatives and advocating for all museums.

If you feel qualified to do this, or have a particular expertise you can offer, then please consider putting yourself forward.

The vacancy is for a three-year term. Nominees to the board must be individual members of the MA, and nominations must be supported by two other members of the MA.

The closing date for nominations is the 31 January 2018. Voting will commence early February and the election results announced on 1 March.

Museums Association Conference 2018 Call for Papers

The Museums Association (MA) is looking for session proposals for its annual conference in Belfast on 8-10 November 2018.

The theme for the 2018 conference is: Dissent: Inspiring Hope – Embracing Change.

From the Museums Association:

“The conference will focus on having the courage to challenge traditional thinking to transform museums and society,” says Simon Stephens, the MA’s head of publications and events.

“How can we foster radical ideas that defy the norm? Which networks and individuals develop these ideas and how can we ensure that their voices are heard and valued in our work? And who are the dissenters from outside museums that can provoke, inspire and challenge us?

“Belfast 2018 will showcase inspiring work from across the world that places museums at the heart of their communities and transforms people’s lives. It will highlight the role all museums can play standing with their communities as they encourage activism and promote positive social change.

“The conference will also challenge the concept of dissent. How dissenting can museums be, particularly those that are supported by public funding? Does dissent always lead to positive change and transformation? And how should museums represent dissenting voices that challenge values such as diversity, equality and inclusion?

“Dissent can be scary, it can involve debate, friction and conflict – but only by embracing change do we find the radical and innovative ideas that give all museums the tools to face the future with confidence, ambition and hope.”

The MA is working with museums across Ireland and is running this conference in collaboration with the Irish Museums Association.

Ireland has a rich tradition of storytelling, music and literature, which will bring a creative flavour to the event – and the MA is seeking proposals from across Ireland.

“We have created a bold theme for this conference and we are seeking equally bold, innovative and thought-provoking proposals,” says Stephens.

The MA also welcomes proposals from outside the sector and internationally, as well as those working in museums, galleries and heritage.

The deadline for session proposals is 1 March 2018.

Museums Association Seiminar: All Inclusive: Championing Diversity in Museums

Wednesday 24th January
Thinktank, Birmingham

Through a series of talks, discussion, debate and exchange, this event explores how museums can become truly inclusive spaces and representational platforms, and champion equality at every level. 

This event is for anyone that is working towards diversity and inclusion at a museum or relevant organisation and wants to:

•             understand the various cases for a diverse approach

•             challenge convention in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion in museums, including broadening out the perceived meaning of these terms

•             embrace more inclusive working practices

•             find out how other organisations have promoted a more diverse culture

•             develop strategies for addressing issues such as unconscious bias, recruitment and retention, and power dynamics

•             discuss how diversity can move from the margins to mainstream museum practice, and how we can create allies for diversity across the sector.


Anisa Haghdadi, Chief Executive Officer, Beatfreeks
Samar Ziadat, Co-founder & Editor, Dardishi
James Brandon, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Tate
Rachael Minott, Research Assistant, Change Makers (Story Lab- Empires), Birmingham Museums Trust
Caroline Currie, Learning and Access Curator, Burrell Redevelopment, Glasgow Museums
Dan Vo, Project Coordinator LGBTQ Tours, V&A Museums
Charlotte Holmes, Community Engagement Officer, Collecting Birmingham, ‎Birmingham Museums Trust
Sacha Coward, Community Participation Producer, ‎Royal Museums Greenwich
Thanh Sinden, Strategic Audience Development Manager, ‎Culture Coventry Trust
Anna Liesching, Curator of Art, National Museums Northern Ireland
Lauren Deere, Museum Manager, Thinktank
Victoria Ryves, Volunteer and Community Engagement Officer, Doncaster Heritage Services
Elliot Goodger, Heritage Interpreter, Birmingham Museums Trust

For full details, timetable and ways to book please click here

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.