Tagged: conferences

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.


Museum Next Call for Papers

From Museum Next:

We’re pleased to announce the call for papers for MuseumNext Europe which will take place in London in June 2018.

MuseumNext was started a decade ago as a reaction to the disruption of the digital revolution.

In the years since we’ve had many disruptive ideas presented at the conference, from Nina Simon sharing her vision of co-producing museums with the public to Mike Murwaski challenging museums to embrace social action.

We’ve had robots, risk, rebels and revolution. But as we approach our tenth year, what’s the next disruption for museums both from the outside world and from within?

MuseumNext Europe 2018 will take place in South Kensington, London home to some of the world’s greatest museums. Our theme for this our tenth annual European conference will be ‘Disruptions’.

We’re now inviting proposals from our community on the theme ‘disruptions’. We are interested in opinions, case studies and practical approaches to the following :

Disrupted World
What are the disruptions that museums face in the next decade and how must they change to meet these challenges?

Disrupting Museums
How can we disrupt museums in a positive way from leadership to audience engagement to better achieve our missions?

Disrupted Communities
How are our communities changing and how can we act now to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world?

Disrupting Exhibitions
What will the exhibition of the future look like? Will technology or social change transform the museum going experience?

If you feel that you have something to say on one of these subject, we invite you to make a proposal to speak at MuseumNext Europe.

MuseumNext follows a fast paced format of twenty minute presentations with the focus very much on actionable ideas which can positively impact the institutions in attendance.

Proposals should be submitted through this Google Form. Any questions can be addressed to kala@museumnext.com.

Please note that each presentation selected will be entitled to one conference ticket only. Additional speakers will have to purchase their conference ticket at the discounted speaker rate. Speakers are responsible for their own travel and accommodation and will not receive payment for taking part.

Society for Museum Archaeology Annual Conference 2017

Thursday 2nd November – Friday 3rd November
Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

It’s not just about the archaeology – or is it?

When you work with archaeology in museums, you can end up doing a huge range of activities. Whether it be the delivery of exhibitions, engagement and events, or good old-fashioned collections management, what is the role of the modern museum archaeologist? 

This year’s conference is an opportunity to celebrate all things good…or bad…about what we do and how we do it!

For more information and to book a place click here.

Researching Digital Cultural Heritage 2-Day International Conference

Thursday 30th November – Friday 1st December
Manchester Museum

More than 50 speakers will offer a critical examination of established and emerging theoretical, methodological and analytical frameworks in researching cultural heritage spaces, objects, audiences and practices in the digital realm.

Keynotes by:

  • Dr Haidy Geismar, University College London
  • Professor Sarah Kenderdine, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

For provisional programme and to book a place click here.

Early Bird Booking Open for Restating Clay Conference

CoCA, York Art Gallery,
Monday 19th – Tuesday 20th March 2018

Booking has opened for the internationalRestating Clay conference, which will be held at CoCA, York Art Gallery, from 19th-20th March 2018. The conference will bring together potters, artists, curators, academics, students, collectors, gallerists and enthusiasts from the UK and beyond, to share experience and knowledge about the issues that matter to the sector. Delegates will have the opportunity to engage in an exciting programme of talks, panel discussions, demonstrations, films, posters, store and exhibition visits.

A stellar line-up of keynote speakers is programmed: Garth Clark, Linda Sormin, Wendy Gers and Jennifer Zwilling. For more information, or to book click here.

Early booking is encouraged to take advantage of the early bird rates, and because there are a limited number of 2-day tickets available. If you have any questions about the conference or tickets email Conference Coordinator Charlotte Dew – charlottemdew@yahoo.co.uk.

‘Something for My Native Town’ Conference

Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery
Thursday 9th & Friday 10th November

Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, for the last three years have had an academic partnership with the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London.  The University of London, are hosting a conference in Blackburn at University Centre at Blackburn College on 10 November, focusing on the manuscript and coin collection at the museum, gifted by industrialist Robert Edward Hart in 1946.

Speakers include Prof. Nigel Morgan, University of Cambridge, Dr. Scot McKendrick of British Library and Plenary Lecture, Professor David McKitterick, ‘Collecting – for whom?’

Delegate tickets are subsidised at just £15 and £10 for concessions (retired/student/Unwaged) and can be booked via School of Advanced Study webpages.

Enquiries: Events Officer, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; Email: IESEvents@sas.ac.uk

In addition on Thursday 9 November there is a launch event 4pm to 6.30pm for the new Level 2 research room facility at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, funded by Arts Council England. Please RSVP for this event to museum@blackburn.gov.uk

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.