Tagged: conferences

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.

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.

University Museums Group Annual Conference

Stuff and Knowledge: An exploration of the future of teaching and learning within university museums

Monday 11th – Tuesday 12th September 2017
University of Birmingham

Dr Ellen McAdam – Director of Birmingham Museums Trust

Unfortunately, Professor Alice Roberts is no longer available to give the keynote address at the conference. However, we are delighted to announce that the brilliant Dr Ellen McAdam, Director of Birmingham Museums Trust, has stepped in and will share her thoughts on the future of teaching and learning and university museums. 

DAY 1 Monday 11th September 2017

  • Lightning Museum Tours 11.00 – 11.30 and 11.45 – 12.15
  • Keynotes and panels sessions 14.00 – 18.00

Panel session 1 – What Next? Pedagogy and Policy Drivers in Object-Based Learning

What will the Teaching Excellence Framework, the employability agenda, and emerging learning paradigms mean for the future of object-based learning? Representatives from the frontline of object based learning in universities discuss the challenges and opportunities that they are facing in a changing Higher Education landscape.

Panel session 2 – ‘Where is the leading edge for teaching and learning in university museums?

The panel will unpick the unique qualities of university museums as contexts for teaching, covering object-based learning, digital, working across disciplines and reaching out to non-HE audiences and debate which should take priority.

18.15 – 19.30 –    Conference drinks reception at the Lapworth Museum of Geology

Finalist for Art Fund Museum of the Year
supported by

DAY 2 Tuesday 12th September 2017

  • Keynote and short presentations – teaching and learning and university museums 9.30-13.15
  • Lightning Museum Tours 14.00 – 14.30 and 14.45 – 15.15

For further details of the conference programme, speakers, events and to book a place, please see the UMG website.

GEM Conference 2017 Bursaries

GEM is offering a number of bursaries for this year’s annual conference Facing the Future, Forging Ahead in Hull from Tuesday 5 to Thursday 7 September 2017.  Each conference bursary is worth £320, which enables you to attend all the conference sessions (excludes travel and accommodation).  Priority this year will be given to GEM members attending conference for the first time who are volunteers, or work for small organisations or otherwise unable to pay the conference fees.

You could qualify for a free place at GEM conference 2017 if you satisfy several of the following criteria:

  • Be a volunteer
  • Attending GEM conference for the first time
  • Unable to afford the conference fees
  • Be a museum or heritage studies student
  • Be an overseas GEM member
  • Be a GEM member (or will join GEM).

For more information and how to apply, please visit the conference page on the GEM websiteDeadline for applications is Friday 23 June 2017 at 12.00 (noon).  

European Muscon Conference

Wednesday 20th – Saturday 23rd September

Registration is open for the European MUSCON Conference 2017, which will take place in Helsinki from 20-23 September, hosted by the Ateneum Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma. Attendance is free; delegates have to cover their travel and hotel expenses.

MUSCON is a working platform focused on co-producing and travelling exhibitions. TEG took part in the MUSCON 2015 and 2016 conferences and found it to be a fantastic event for developing contacts and an understanding of the European touring network

Visit the MUSCON website for more information or to register.