Tagged: Museums Association

Museums Association Leadership Mentoring Programme Open

From the Museums Association:

Our new Leadership Mentoring programme will enable Museum Association members to arrange a one-to-one mentoring session with a leader in the sector.

In light of the current situation, we recognise the need for people across the sector to obtain additional support in developing their potential as leaders.

We are offering 50 spaces to senior museum professionals to help bridge the gap and connect you with a sector leader for an individual mentoring session.

Many of our mentors are Museum Association Fellows who have demonstrated clear leadership within the sector through skilled advocacy, ethical practice, and a commitment to developing the museum sector through investing in people. This places them in a unique position to support our sector at this time.

Whether you are a director, a head of department, or you lead a museum, as a mentee you will be able to test your ideas, gain insights from your mentor’s experience, and develop confidence to apply this within your context.

Sessions are available across April and May. If you are interested in our new Leadership Mentoring Programme, please contact our workforce development officer Tamsin Russell at tamsin@museumsassociation.org with your membership number, your current role and institution (where applicable) and the areas you may need support in.

Drinking About Museums: Museums Association Manchester Meet-up

Friday 27th March
Brewdog Manchester Outpost, Oxford Road (M13 9GP)

From the Museums Association:

Do you work or volunteer in museums or galleries? Or are you simply interested in learning more about the sector? Then join us for a relaxed drink after work to meet other like-minded people, and chat with Museums Association staff, board members and regional reps. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with old contacts, make new ones, and ask those questions that you’ve always wanted to know the answers to! Or you could just have a couple of drinks and wind down after a busy week at work…

Trustee Opportunity: Beecroft Bequest

From the Museums Association:

The Beecroft Bequest is a grant-making fund run by the Museums Association (MA), awarding grants for the purchase of pre-19th Century pictures and works of art by old masters or worthy school pictures of old artists.

The fund is administered by a sub-committee of the MA board and awards grants of up to £10,000.

We are looking for a new trustee with an understanding of charitable giving to join the sub-committee.

The role involves attending approximately one meeting per year at the MA’s offices in London and liaising as a committee via email and telephone to deal with applications throughout the year.

The next Beecroft Bequest sub-committee meeting will be in September 2020.

The role is not remunerated but expenses are reimbursed.

For more info or if you are interested in joining this committee, please send a CV and a letter of application to charlotte.lindus@museumsassociation.org

Deadline for applications is 11.59pm on 28 February 2020

Museums Association Conference: Brighton 2019 – Guest Post

A guest post by Katie Wade about her experience at the Museums Association Conference, which took place in Brighton between 3-5 October 2019.

I was lucky to receive a bursary to attend the 2019 Museums Association conference in Brighton and I was excited for the opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of museums, and for the chance to network with museum professionals from far and wide. The theme of this year’s conference was sustainability and climate change, ethics, and decolonization and the wealth of different talks going on was somewhat overwhelming at times, but I tried to attend a variety of different talks, seminars and workshops. The conference was located in the Brighton Centre right on the sea front, which was a lovely view and a great place to pop out for some fresh air and ice cream at lunch time or just for a break in the long days. I arrived at the conference and picked myself up a copy of the conference talks, and my first-time delegate badge and was ready to get stuck in.

The opening keynote was a wonderfully inspiring and empowering speech, opened by this year’s host Subhadra Das (UCL) who talked about the different definitions of sustainability ‘The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level’ and how these definitions did not really define the parameters of sustainability and what it actually meant, this definition was then replaced by another, which seemed to suit much better the current political climate and its view of sustainability; ‘How much longer can we get away with this sh*t without having to fundamentally change anything?’ which lead to the main auditorium erupting in cheers and claps. The following talks by MA director Sharon Heal, Heledd Fychan and Farhana Yasmin all talked about how museums are places for activism for all the conference themes, from climate change to human rights, and that we as museum professionals are in a place to do something and share knowledge to our communities on all these incredibly important topics. The Keynote ended with the important message that museums are not neutral and are in a position to make changes and to educate about the changes that we all need to make as a society.

I attended talks which covered topics relevant to my job role, but also ones that fitted my personal interests. ‘Inheriting Climate change’ was one of great interest, the talk discussed techniques for teaching and engaging teenagers with issues surrounding climate change and featured two different approaches from Hannah-Lee Chalk, Learning Manager at Manchester Museum, and Sarah Lloyd, Head of Education and Learning at Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

‘Rewriting the Rules: Sustainable museum learning’ was also a very interesting talk from Blackburn museums and how they worked to change their education offer across their locations to make the service they offered more robust and better quality. Getting teachers in to help them plan relevant education sessions, and pairing schools up with local locations to save on expensive coach travel were some of the great ideas they had to improve their education offer and make it work better for both the service and the community they serve.

I also attended a talk on sustainable exhibitions design, a case study about an exhibition at Leeds museum where they attempted to make it as sustainable as possible an exhibition, using either reusable or recyclable materials as much as possible. ‘Ethics 101’ was also an eye-opening talk with senior management of a number of museums discussing museum ethics from their point of view. Including the ethics behind National Museums Liverpool’s recent successful Terracotta Warriors exhibition, and a text message voting pole for the audience to engage in and give their own opinions on the topics discussed. One of my favourites being ‘The Mummy Returns? Exhibiting ancient Egyptian human remains’ which discussed the ethics behind the displaying and interpreting Ancient Egyptian human remains. Focusing on the displaying of a female mummy at the University of Aberdeen’s 2018 exhibition ‘Ta-Kheru: Discovering the Life of an Ancient Egyptian Woman’ and how Ta-Kheru’s mummy could be displayed in a way which was respectful, and took a more emotive and ‘novelistic’ approach in interpreting her life and story.

Over the two days I attended as many keynotes, seminars and workshops as possible with each speech as inspiring than the last, and to describe each and every one here would amount to a dissertation length blog. The keynotes that I attended especially were inspiring and I highly recommend watching them on the Museums Association’s YouTube page.

I have a few tips for future first-time delegates, as before attending I searched for help on what to pack, how to dress, and how to make the most out of the conference and really did not find as much as I would have liked. Firstly, packing, I was worried how to dress and after deciding on a smart casual wardrobe with a blouse but comfy trainers I was glad to see that people dressed in all different ways but wished I had dressed more myself.

Plan the talks you would like to attend, but do not worry if things change. I planned my talks, and later discovered that some of the bigger talks were livestreamed to YouTube so I was able to attend the smaller seminars that I did not want to miss and also watch back the bigger auditorium talks later on. Although I would also suggest still attending the main auditorium for keynotes as the atmosphere in these talks is amazing and YouTube cannot get across that same feeling.

Finally, network, network, network. I found the first day quite lonely and struggled to approach people, however I talked to more people on the second day of the conference, met some lovely like-minded people, left with a bunch of new twitter followers and wish I had just jumped in head first on the first day and made the most of networking from the start.

All in all, the conference was an eye opening and inspiring few days, albeit tiring. And I left wanting to do more to make a difference both in my work and in my daily life. I was hoping to come away from the conference full of ideas to help in my current role but also to help me advance in the future of my museum career, and I left the conference inspired, educated on things I knew little about beforehand, and wanting to learn more and do more in the matters of decolonization, sustainability, climate change and ethics. Thank you to the Museums association for putting on this event and to MDNW for giving me this opportunity.

Katie Wade,

Visitor Engagement Assistant- Libraries and Learning team,

Bolton Library and Museum Services.

Museums Association Conference 2019 Blog Post


Arriving at the Museums Association Conference was exciting; I’ve never seen as many museums people in one place. Subhadra Das opened the conference inspiring us all to be activist and to challenge Empirical ways of running museums. The theme of Sustainable and Ethical Museums in a Globalised World echoed throughout the key-note speeches and used examples of good practice to help inform participants of the activism that needs to take place so change can be made.

Subhadra Das
Subhadra Das, Conference Host

Indeed topics were wide and varied covering subjects such as human rights, ethics being at the heart of working for public benefit, the de-colonisation of collections, and climate/ecological emergency. The main message being that museums are not neutral and big issues should not be fudged.

Museums and Their Communities

I enjoyed, Giving up the power: producing community driven content seminar, detailing work relevant to all museums their communities. In this case allowing the people using museums to drive the content they want to see in their own way. Bristol City Council team, using an expert panel representative of the black communities in the city, produced a series of stories from slavery to bus boycotts and carnivals. Their work is live on their website helping to change perceptions of an important community in Bristol’s history.

Following the community theme I found the Community Curation discussion       inspiring. The panellists are all involved in community led museums based on         minority communities such as Trans people, black and queer people, the homeless and topics no one talks about, in this case vaginas. All of these museums were formed from activism, a need to tell stories and encourage varied representations of difficult issues.

All of the museums are not afraid of contemporary, contentious subjects and subsequently attract young visitors wanting to find out more, a difficult audience to engage with. By connecting with what people find important these new museums are able to represent people. We are all human.

Local Museums for Future Generations

In Wales a Wellbeing for Futures Generations Act was passed in 2015 and requires public bodies in Wales to think about the long-term impact of their decisions, to work better with people, communities and each other, and to prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change. All are topics which are at the heart of museums in the UK and can create long lasting positive change.

Welsh museums are incorporating the act into their work and have found they are a relevant part of their public sector by implementing positive change in multiple ways. Museums have accessed funding from the Happy Museum to start projects where artists work with people with mental health problems to produce goods for their shops. The project was based in the woods and they made objects inspired by wooden museum objects. This took participants out of their natural habitat where they experienced peace, quiet, nature, colour and making. Ecological projects improved wildlife through planting and placing boxes for birds and squirrels. Lastly museums became places to share memories through reminiscence, memory boxes and dementia friends training. 

Last Words

Scenes from the party

Scenes from the party

Finally I have to say it wasn’t all work and no play. What could beat the opulent and crazy, chinoiserie décor in Brighton Pavilion for a few drinks with friends?

This is just a snapshot of what goes on at the conference. Thank you to the MA for hosting a well-organised, inspiring and educational conference. Lastly without the generosity of MDNW I would not have been able to go so I would like to pass on my gratitude to you.

Blog by Gillian Berry, Deputy Manager and Curator, Haworth Art Gallery, Accrington

Join the Museums Association Ethics Committee


The Museums Association (MA) is looking for a new member to join the Ethics Committee.

The committee is responsible for upholding the principles of the Code of Ethics for Museums and overseeing the effective and consistent operation of the code.

The aim of the Ethics Committee is to develop and champion the application of sound ethical principles and behaviours within the museum community; give advice and guidance on ethical matters to the museum community, including MA board and staff; and review the code and recommend to the MA board amendments to the Code of Ethics, where necessary.

The role involves attending approximately four meetings per year at the MA’s offices in London and liaising as a committee via email and telephone. The role is not remunerated but expenses are reimbursed.

We are particularly looking for a committee member with experience in any of the following areas: sponsorship and international work; community engagement; data use and digital engagement.

For further information please click here


Museums Association’s Museums Change Lives Awards

From the Museums Association:

The Museums Change Lives Awards are now open for entries. After a successful launch at our 2018 conference in Belfast, the awards are back and ready to celebrate museums and individuals delivering a social impact.  

The Museums Change Lives Awards highlight the achievements of museums and individuals that have made a difference in the lives of their audiences and communities.

Winners will be announced in October at a ceremony at our Brighton conference. The deadline for entries is Friday 9 August.

Judges will look for projects that successfully reflect one or more of the themes of our Museums Change Lives campaign: promoting health and wellbeing, creating better places, and inspiring engagement, reflection and debate.

This year’s awards will have four categories – three for institutions and one for an individual.

Best Museums Change Lives Project

This category recognises the best project in the past year that reflects one or more of the themes of the Museums Change Lives campaign.

Best Small Museum Project

Museums with an annual turnover of less than £320,000 are eligible to apply for this category, highlighting how their institution delivers social impact.

Judge’s Award for Environmental Sustainability

Reflecting the conference’s focus on sustainability, the Judge’s Award will recognise the best example of a museum promoting environmental sustainability either through improvements they have made in reducing their own environmental impact, or in promoting environmentally-friendly behaviour and actions amongst audiences and communities.

Radical Changemaker Award

This award will be open to staff, freelancers and volunteers from across the sector, championing the achievements of an individual in promoting one or more of the themes of Museums Change Lives in their museum.

Director Sharon Heal said: “I think this is a fantastic opportunity for museums to showcase the amazing, life-changing work that they are doing.

“We think these projects and the individuals who drive them deserve recognition, so we’re delighted to be launching these awards for the second time and I’d really encourage applications from across the sector, from all types and sizes of museum.”

For full details and information on how ti enter, click here.

The deadline for entries is 17.30 on Friday 9 August.  

Museums Association Conference 2019 Bursaries

We are pleased to announce that we will be offering two bursaries to attend this year’s Museums Association Conference in Brighton on the 3rd – 5th October.

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, please send an expression of interest to Alex Bird (alexander.bird@manchester.ac.uk) by 5pm on Friday 12th July, 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

Please note that the bursary is only for the conference place and not travel and accommodation and is only available to people in the North West that work in non-NPO and non-national accredited museums or those in museums officially working towards accreditation. 

Moving on Up: Making an Impact with your Career

Wednesday 27th February 2019
Nottingham Contemporary

Moving on Up is the essential conference for early career professionals who want to build a dynamic museum career, develop their networks and be inspired to have an impact in the sector.

Aimed at museum professionals in the first five years of their career, the event aims to empower and inspire a radical, challenging workforce.

Do you want to advance your career and have greater impact in your work, in your community and in achieving your ambitions?

Moving on Up is the essential event for anyone wanting to:

  • build courage
  • develop their career
  • be a positive force for change
  • create a unique space for themselves in museums
  • think creatively about what they should do next
  • fine new opportunities and make the most of them.

At Moving on Up you will:

  • hear from inspirational leaders
  • learn how to network successfully
  • get top tips on navigating job opportunities
  • discover how to raise your profile in the sector
  • take part in interactive workshops and panel discussions
  • ask and be asked the essential questions for taking your career to the next level.

Speakers include:

Simon Brown, Curator, Newstead Abbey and Project Curator, National Justice Museum

Sacha Coward, Museums and Heritage Consultant

Andrea Hadley-Johnson, Artistic Programme Manager, National Justice Museum

Skinder Hundal, Chief Executive, New Art Exchange

Sam Jenkins, Project Leader, Museum Wellness Network

Jo Jones, Head of Arts and Museums, Leicester City Council

Sue Mallender, Real World Science Officer, Nottingham City Museums & Galleries

Rachel Noel, Curator, Young People’s Programmes, Tate

Boseda Olawoye, Independent Engagement Curator and Consultant

Tamsin Russell, Professional Development Officer, Museums Association

Anne Sharman, Project Leader, Museum Wellness Network

Dan Vo, Project Coordinator, LGBTQ Tours, Victoria and Albert Museum

Georgina Wilding, Creative Director, Nottingham Poetry Festival

Alex Woodall, Museum Consultant and Facilitator


Museums Association member £75

Non-members £115

For more information and ways to book click here.