This document collates useful tools that have been tried and tested through the work of the Cultural Partnerships Officer role within the South East Museum Development Programme between 2012 and 2018. Supported by Arts Council England through Museum Development funding in its 2012-15 and 2015-18 programmes, this role has championed cross-cultural collaborative working and supported the significant change this requires.
The toolkit is primarily designed for use by a museum employee, volunteer or trustee, in pursuit of collaborative work relevant to the museum’s strategic priorities. The toolkit can also be used by Museum Development teams, consultants or anyone else who is working in a facilitating role to enable partnership working in the museums sector or between museums and other organisations.
It is arranged in two sections:
- Tools – these are frameworks or templates, with suggestions for use. You could think of these as culinary ingredients.
- Event format ideas – these are suggestions of how a museum might bring some of the tools together into an event or workshop to achieve particular aims. You could think of these as being like recipes.
At the end of the document you will find links to other toolkits and resources that we hope you may find of value in your partnership work.
To download the toolkit please click here.
Art photography collections are held at regional museums, libraries and archives across the country but often without specialist curatorial expertise and, subsequently, many photography collections tend to be ‘dormant’ and inaccessible to experts and audiences, and curators responsible for photography collections do not have access to the necessary staffing and financial resources, or knowledge and specialist skills to actively develop their collections.
Building on the success of a two year programme, the Art Fund has agreed to support a third year of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s programme to help support the development of curatorial expertise in art photography, working with regional museum partners.
- To provide an unparalleled practical training opportunity in photographs curatorship in the UK to build expertise in the field and, specifically, to equip a curator with specialist knowledge of photography and the ability to care for and develop photograph collections;
- To enable UK organisations to raise the public profile of their permanent collections of photographs and to improve public access, both physically and intellectually;
The V&A will work with a regional partner, chosen by open competition. The successful partner will have a permanent collection of art photography and be able to identify a discrete project for the assistant curator to deliver which will benefit the collection, the organisation and its audiences. It is likely that the successful partner will not currently have staff expertise in art photography. This project will result in material outcomes for the regional partner which could include, but are not limited to, an exhibition, a refocus of the collecting policy, a publication or cataloguing of the collection.
The project may, if wished, be related to a specific theme, for example, processes and techniques, British industry, British colonialism, Protest, Childhood, or Landscape. Tangible outcomes will be agreed with the chosen partner at the outset of the project, including a requirement for at least one seminar to be held towards the end of the placement to share good practice learnt in the context of the particular project.
The V&A and the selected partner will work together to support the aims of the programme and will be required to enter into a contract regarding the delivery of the project, including confirmation of the organisation’s capacity to support the assistant curator, by providing a nominated support manager for the post-holder, normally a senior curator and agreeing a regular reporting process.
The partner will contribute or source project costs for the participant’s placement project, working with the partner’s photographs collection, using the small contribution from the project budget (£3,000) as seed money.
Once the partner is selected and project agreed, an assistant curator will be recruited. Participants will spend approximately six months in the Photographs section of the Word and Image Department at the V&A, with a V&A curator as mentor and six months at the partner museum working on the agreed project.
The V&A will support the post-holder in developing their curatorial skills through work with the V&A photography collection and via participation in relevant V&A training modules. The V&A mentor will assist the participant in defining and developing their placement museum project and provide mentoring support over the six months they deliver the project at the partner museum.
The Art Fund will provide the V&A with funding to employ the assistant curator for the duration of the project on a 12 month fixed term contract each and travel expenses to enable the post-holder to work between the V&A and the regional partner. There will also be attendance at relevant conferences and visits to other important photographic collections.
Deadline for museums applications: 20 April 2018
Panel meet to select regional partners: w/c 23 April 2018
Assistant curator selection
Advertisements: w/c 7 May 2018
Deadline for applications: 31 May 2018
Interview panel for assistant curator (regional partner to attend): early June 2018
Based at the V&A: July – December 2018
Based at the regional partner: January-June 2019
Should you have any questions, please contact Julia Brettell, National Programmes Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline: Thursday 1st March
A museum wants to partner with a history museum in the UK.
– have a focus on prehistoric cultures.
– be interested in co-hosting temporary exhibitions across China and the UK
The exhibition to be hosted in China is expected to:
– be themed around the classical civilisations of an ancient region, excluding Maya, Egypt and Rome
– available for exhibiting from 2020 onwards.
The museum hosts a series of imported exhibitions that explore ancient history.
Each exhibition explores the span of an ancient civilisation.
It has worked with museums in Italy, Canada, and France.
More details on this opportunity can be found here.
In Spring 2018 the First World War Centenary Partnership, led by IWM, will present WomensWork100. This international programme of exhibitions, events, activities, creative responses, personal stories and digital resources will recognise and celebrate the working lives of women during the First World War and beyond showing how women, often unknowingly, pressed for progress in their working lives, against the backdrop of the struggle for female suffrage.
We want organisations to take part in #WomensWork100. As well as offering a unique set of digital resources, we will run a vibrant digital campaign and present Partnership events across the country, from 6 February 2018 to International Women’s Day on 8 March 2018.
If you have stories to share of the working lives of women in the First World War, we want to hear from you. Organisations can register online to get involved, and tell us about your WomensWork100 connection. The Centenary Partnership team will be in touch with you shortly.
WomensWork100 is open to members of the First World War Centenary Partnership – find out more at: www.1914.org/news/womenswork100-at-the-first-world-war-centenary-partnership.
If you have any questions, please email the Partnership team on email@example.com.
Call for Participation
A project associated with the Museum University Partnerships Initiative (MUPI) is being conducted to support a preliminary investigation into the possibility of a website to link museums with researchers. To do this, the views of academics and museum staff are needed to form the basis of the work.
Such a site would allow museums to promote their lesser known collections or objects to researchers whilst also enabling researchers to seek specific items or information from museums, particularly smaller regional establishments.
The survey is available here and should only take a couple of minutes to fill in.
Focus groups are being held to discuss the subject further in York and Leeds in the week beginning 4 December, if you would be interested in attending please contact Kate Stephenson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The World Cycling Revival, a new festival of cycling, its glamour and its history, will be taking place in June 2018 at the Herne Hill Velodrome in London. The event will be a high-end heritage sporting, music and lifestyle festival celebrating 200 years of the bicycle and the organisers are working in partnership with the National Cycle Museum. They are now looking for other independent museums and collections to work with to create world-class exhibitions at the first event next year. More news can be found on the AIM website.
Thursday 2nd November
11:00am to 3:30pm
Friends House, London, NW1 2BJ
Have you ever worked with a university or a museum to deliver a great project? From student interns to public engagement; collections research to new exhibitions; R&D in museum contexts; one off events to long term partnerships – we want to hear from you.
The Museum-University Partnership Initiative (MUPI) is an ACE-funded project that seeks to develop mutually beneficial partnerships between small museums and university academics. We believe that there is lots of potential in museums and universities working together, and are keen to help support new partnerships and initiatives. Over the last 8 months we have been running MUPI Match events, offering opportunities for museums and universities to develop partnerships, and over 70 projects have been initiated across the UK.
In addition to the MUPI Match events we are developing resources to support others wanting to develop museum-university partnerships. This symposium is an opportunity for museum staff and volunteers and academics to come together to:
- Celebrate and share great examples of partnership working
- Inform the development of resources to help support effective partnership working including navigating funding; matchmaking potential partners; and tools for partnership development
- Explore what else needs to happen to encourage mutually beneficial museum-university partnerships now and in the future
Whether you have years of experience, or are just getting started, why not come and join us?
A small number of travel bursaries are available for museum representatives. Please email email@example.com for further details.
CALL FOR PARTNERS: New partnership exhibition
Rodin: rethinking the fragment is being developed in conjunction with the forthcoming major British Museum exhibition on Rodin in 2018. This Spotlight loan will draw on one of the main themes of the major exhibition, exploring how Rodin was influenced by the art of ancient Greece and Rome. They are seeking three partners to host the exhibition between August 2018 – April 2019. Further details can be seen here. If you are interested in hosting the exhibition, please complete the Expression of Interest form and send to Eleanor Chant by Wednesday 16 August – EChant@britishmuseum.org
REMINDER: British Museum Conference 31 August 2017: Get what you give? The value and benefits of proactively lending collections
Booking is open to attend the British Museum’s free National Programmes conference on Thursday 31 August 2017. Open to anyone working in or with UK museums, the conference aims to explore how museums of every size, as well as non-museum spaces with collections, can be encouraged and supported to proactively lend to each other and to borrow from wider sources.
Confirmed speakers include Arts Council England, the Art Fund and Touring Exhibitions Group, with keynotes from Museums Sheffield and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums. Further information on the programme and how to book can be found via Eventbrite.
NEW: British Museum Seminar 14 September 2017: Making meaning in museums: (How) Is community participation research?
The British Museum is hosting a free seminar exploring how and why we might locate museum participation and co-creative practice within the more established methodologies of action/participatory research (for example Anthropology, Health and Development studies), drawing on the Museum’s current HLF-funded Object Journeys programme. The aim of this seminar is to question this divide and explore the impact of framing all the multiple ways of knowing, finding out and creating information as variations of research.
Further information on the programme and how to request a place can be found via Eventbrite.
Register your interest with this exciting partnership between museums and galleries and the BBC
It is now nearly half a century since Kenneth Clark’s series Civilisation thrilled audiences with its authoritative interpretation of the glories of Western art. Inspired by that groundbreaking programme, the new series of Civilisations on BBC Two will introduce a new generation to the great masterworks of beauty, ingenuity and illumination created across the continents.
The Civilisations Festival will run alongside the series in Spring 2018. We are inviting museums, galleries and libraries to schedule events to spark debate, broaden understanding and share ideas about what is meant by the term civilisation.
The content of the events is up to your organisation. It could be a debate or a keynote speech, a performance or a hands-on workshop using an item from your collection as the starting point.
Branding will be supplied so that you can let your visitors know that the event is part of the Civilisations Festival. Curators and speakers could be invited as guests on the BBC’s programmes. In some cases, stations may decide to cover your event in an outside broadcast.
The festival runs from Friday 2 March to Friday 11 March. Register your organisation’s interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more at: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes.