Tagged: Conferences and Seminars

World Heritage UK 3rd Annual Conference

Monday 9th – Tuesday 10th OCTOBER 2017

Delegates will hear from some of the most influential Leaders in Heritage before considering the key audiences to target in a series of session themes. It is important that we understand how we can best communicate with ‘Governments and the Public Sector’, talk to ‘Business and Funders’, and address the needs of ‘Young People and Communities’, as well as how we communicate with each other (World Heritage Sites, Europe and the UNESCO family) and with the wider world, including the media.

Confirmed speakers so far include Suhair Khan from the Google Cultural Institute, Duncan Wilson CEO of Historic England, Lizzie Glithero-West, CEO of the Heritage Alliance, Paul Simons, a partner in the Great Spas of Europe, and Judy Ling Wong, President of the Black Environment Network.  There will also be the launch of some new documents and the chance to hear from representatives of the UK’s World Heritage Sites on their wide range of communication experiences. Many more exciting speakers are still to be announced so keep a close eye on the programme here for the latest updates.

You can also find out more about the work World Heritage UK are undertaking and other events at: https://worldheritageuk.org/


The 2017 Engage International Conference The Whole Picture: Rethinking diversity

Wednesday 29th – Thursday 30th November (plus fringe events to be announced)
Hull City Hall and venues around Hull

Early bird tickets and bursaries are available for this year’s Engage International Conference, which aims to rethink the conversation surrounding equality, diversity and access.

The visual arts can act as a catalyst for change. Arts educators, artists, makers and teachers are often under pressure to simply deliver, but could benefit from time to reflect on their practice. There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ toolkit to address the myriad issues surrounding race, ethnicity, identity, disability, gender and sexuality; these issues are individual and complex.

This conference will give delegates the opportunity to explore what they do and why they do it, moving beyond box-ticking exercises, being realistic and getting to the heart of often thorny, and sometimes controversial issues.


Click here to book your place and enjoy reduced rates until 25 September: Engage personal member: £145
Engage organisational member: £250
Non-member: £360 (includes complimentary membership)

Tickets include lunch and refreshments on both days. Engage membership starts from only £3.75 per month, visit www.engage.org/join for further information.


Engage are delighted to offer a number of bursaries for this year’s conference. We particularly welcome applications for bursaries from disabled and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates as they are currently under-represented amongst delegates to Engage conference. Priority will be given to those who may otherwise be unable to attend and those who have not received a bursary from Engage before.

  • 4 supported places* at £70, available for colleagues otherwise be unable to attend. Open to anyone in UK or overseas (other than Scotland). Applicants do not have to be members of Engage.
  • 2 freelance artist bursaries* including a free conference ticket and £100 towards travel/accommodation. Open to Engage personal members who identify as freelance artists or artist educators, based in the UK (other than Scotland) and overseas. *These bursaries are funded by Engage
  • 4 Engage Scotland bursaries** including a free conference ticket and up to £110 towards travel/accommodation. Open to anyone working in Scottish-based visual arts organisations. Applicants do not have to be members of Engage. Freelancers may apply but will need to show that attending the conference will have a clear public benefit through their work. **Engage Scotland bursary places are funded by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland. No further funding from other Creative Scotland funding programmes is available to attend the Engage International Conference
  • Up to 15 Square Peg bursaries including a free conference ticket for people in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire (freelance or salaried) working in the arts or disability, and Disability Arts Network members. Square Peg is Artlink’s disability and diversity arts programme for Hull 2017.

Apply by sending the following to operations@engage.org by 5pm on 13 October 2017:

●  A current CV (max 4 sides A4)

●  A letter or email (max 1 side A4) explaining why the Engage conference is of interest to you, how attending would benefit your professional development and why a bursary would support your attendance

Please make sure you mark clearly in your email and application which bursary you are applying for. Applicants may not apply for more than one bursary. Unsuccessful applicants will be offered the special Early Bird conference rate after 13 October, as long as they book by 31 October. Bursary recipients will be expected to attend the whole conference and write a short feedback report which will be published on the Engage website. Please note unsuccessful applicants will be offered Early Bird rates subsequent to the deadline. Visit http://bit.ly/ConferenceBursaries for further information.

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.

Museums, Members and Friends: A harmonious relationship?

BAFM Conference and AGM
Saturday 30th September 2017
London Transport Museum

The day will explore the relationships between Museums and their Friends’ organisations, against a background of a trend for museums to set up their own membership schemes.

The first keynote speech ‘How to develop enduring Friendships’, will address the wellbeing benefits of volunteering and the significant influence volunteers can have on the ‘feel’ of a place.  The issue of relationships and ways of keeping channels clear, appreciative and constructive between Friends and their chosen Museums will be examined.

The second keynote presentation will explain the positive relationship between these two separate, but supportive, bodies, describing past successes and future challenges. In the afternoon there will be the BAFM AGM and short presentations on the conference theme by three other London Museums and a general ‘open forum’ discussion.

Find out more and book a place at the conference website.

Bringing the Dead to Life: How to display museum natural science

Friday 22 September, 10.00am to 4.00pm
University College London

The Natural Science Collections Association (the SSN for natural science) is running a talks-and-discussion day on putting on exhibitions. It’s called ‘Bringing the dead to life: how to display museum natural science’ and will be a day of talks discussing how to best put on an exhibition of natural science. 

Topics include object label writing, using live animals in displays, raising corporate sponsorship and audience consultation. It should be interesting for anyone working in any museum discipline – not just natural science.

Costs: £20 for NatSCA members (£40 otherwise).

To find out more and book your place visit the conference website.

Fostering Creativity in Children and Young People Through Education and Culture

Monday 4th – Tuesday 5th September
Durham University

The OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) and Durham University are hosting an international conference to discuss innovative approaches to equip young people with the creative skills required by tomorrow’s societies and strategies for scaling up and embedding innovations around creativity in education and culture. 

The conference builds on ongoing CERI work to improve our understanding of how creativity skills can be visibly and tangibly articulated by teachers, students and policy makers, and learnt and assessed as part of the curriculum. The meeting aims to bring together two types of practices around creativity: pedagogical practices in formal education, and cultural practices in out-of-school education or through partnerships between cultural agencies and schools.

This conference will bring together international speakers from the education world; from practicing teachers to academics in higher education institutions globally, alongside practitioners from within the cultural sector. Its format will be highly interactive, emphasising breakout sessions for discussion and exchange, and will mainly focus on practice.

To register your attendance please click here.

Seminar: Contemporary Artists in Rural Contexts II

Thursday 12th October, 11.00am – 4.15pm
Victoria Hall, Settle

This is the second in a series of training and development events organised by Chrysalis Arts which will explore how artists working in rural environments or with rural themes are developing new platforms and approaches to visual arts practice. The programme will:

  • Showcase current examples of innovative artistic practice from across the UK
  • Explore how artists are engaging with some of the challenges and issues facing rural communities
  • Offer an international perspective on contemporary rural practice and the benefits of networking, collaboration and co-operation
  • Include opportunities for themed discussion and information sharing

For artists, arts managers, national parks, local authorities, community and environmental officers and others who commission and collaborate with artists.

Cost: (Buffet lunch included) full price – £35.

Discounted fee for unwaged and emerging artists* – £28.

*within first three years of practice.

To book: contact artconnections@chrysalisarts.com / 01756 748529.

Pulling Together: Collections Trust 2017 Conference

Being responsible for collections management can feel like ploughing a lone furrow. But it’s actually a museum-wide task that needs everyone to pull together – from the governing body to the people on the front desk.

This year’s Collections Trust conference considers the human side of documentation systems, the people who capture and share information that gives museum objects meaning.

For more information and details on how to book visit the conference website.

Conference Report: AIM 2017

The AIM conference was at Chatham Historic Dockyard this year, and it was remarkable for the sheer diversity of the participating organisations. 

The venue itself is likely to be one of the bigger independents, and a comparison with my own organisation (Catalyst in Widnes) by dint of simply looking at our respective reports reveals some significant and interesting differences.

In terms of visitor figures Chatham has about 180k pa vs our own 40k, but apart from the huge difference in size of the site, and the interesting combination of types of attraction at Chatham, then the most significant statistic was the significant amount of income that they are able to realise from their property portfolio, which is the biggest single income stream by some margin.  In overall terms Chatham has 4 and a half times our visfigs but more than 14 times our income, and quite frankly it is a source of some wonder that we do so much with so little.

Coming back to diversity, this was highlighted in one of the most interesting workshops which considered the issue of whether or not to charge.  This question was widely interpreted, for example at the smaller end of the scale Elgin museum, which is run to a great extent by volunteers, made a decision to test a move after 170 years, from paid to free admission (the Moray Society which controls the museum has separate membership arrangements).  Amongst the reasons for this were static visfigs along with poor involvement for volunteers from time to time (they got bored!)

The Elgin raised £6k from local business supporters to trial the scheme, as this sum was equal to the approximate annual visitor income, and the scheme went ahead.  This resulted in an increase in visfigs by 25%, and donations (now heavily promoted) exceed the previous admission income.

At the Moray Society’s AGM on April 24 this year the agenda notes recorded the positive outcome.

“the Office Bearers reiterated the benefits of not charging an admission fee, reflected in the increased number of visits/revisits and the happy atmosphere in the Museum without loss of revenue”

At the other end of the scale came the behemoth that is Birmingham Museums Trust, an interesting collection of former municipal sites and a major gallery that had merged with Thinktank in 2012.  The need for increased income had led them to introduce some significant changes in their charging regime.  Things that were formally free became chargeable, and as an example in 2015 Thinktank began to charge for its planetarium which, apart from and extra £200k annual income, had the possibly unanticipated benefit of increasing customer ratings for the planetarium itself.  Parents now found the removal of the uncertainty inherent in the previous queueing system to be a significant improvement.  This is something (advance purchase of timed workshop tickets) that we will consider very seriously, and we may now add a premium for so doing.

In other aspects of the trust’s business some other changes were also made.  In 2016, at the heritage sites, under 16s were no longer free.  This seems to be a fairly reasonable act, and it surprises me that this was not the case previously.  This year a potentially more controversial change was enacted, when the concession price for 60+ was removed from all sites.  I don’t know about you, but we would find this a very difficult thing to do, and I wonder if the jury of public opinion has come to a decision about this just yet.

Bristol Culture is an as yet unreconstructed council run service who talked about their “pay what you think” ideas which started as mandatory charging for special exhibitions but after initial success this came a cropper on the back of unwise choice of a second exhibition where the conversion rate from general (free) visitors was less than 1%.   The change to PWYT (and better chosen subsequent exhibitions) led to average donation per exhibition visitor of 65 pence.  This method should not be construed as “pay nothing if you don’t want to”, although I did wonder how compulsion could be applied in this case. 

This reminds me of general admission to the New York Met “If you buy tickets at a Museum ticket counter, the amount you pay is up to you” where I once had a “discussion” with gate staff who were trying to enforce an entirely notional admission charge.  I do hope that Bristol’s idea succeeds.

Whilst this is in no way a comprehensive review of the AIM Conference, I hope that the topic that I chose was of interest to readers, and I would also like to thank MDNW for their travel and board bursary, which was the only reason that I could contemplate the trip.

Paul Meara, Catalyst Science Discovery Centre


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 (alexander.bird@manchester.ac.uk) 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.