As UK society continues to grapple with the permutations of Brexit and the divisions it has seemingly sown, this year’s Museums Association Conference will be seeking discover the role museums can play in bringing together communities through its three main themes of audiences, collections and workforce.
The Audiences theme will be co-ordinated by Alistair Hudson, Director, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and will explore how museums can expand and deepen their relationship with the public in the context of a growing atmosphere of intolerance, mistrust and division following last year’s EU Referendum.
In the Collections theme co-ordinated by Janneke Geene, Acting Director, People’s History Museum discussions will include how collections can be used to inspire and engage communities and make a difference to people’s lives and how digital technology can help increase engagement with collections.
Future museum professional
The Workforce theme will be coordinated by Dhikshana Pering, Learning Officer: Young People (18-25), London Transport Museum and will focus on the future museum professional and what he or she will look like. These talks will try to determine what knowledge and experience they will need and what future changes are required in areas such as leadership, diversity and skills development for the sector.
“Our speakers, including many from outside the sector, contribute to a thought provoking, inspiring and action-packed three days,” says Simon Stephens, head of publications and events at the Museums Association. “Look out for the Festival of Change, which offers a playful, creative physical presence throughout this year’s event, embodying the mission of Transformers, our workforce initiative to encourage radical change in museums.”
The Festival of Change embodies the mission of Transformers – the workforce initiative to encourage radical change in museums – and will challenge, engage in debate and explore the audience’s creativity to make change happen.
There will be a keynote speeches from comedian and writer, Francesca Martinez and poet and playwright Lemn Sissay. Martinez, who has mild cerebral palsy, but prefers the word ‘wobbly’ was one of four artists who took part in Exceptional & Extraordinary, a project led by Research Centre for Museums and Galleries at the University of Leicester that used museum collections to explore attitudes towards difference. 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. Sissay has worked with a number of museums and galleries, including London’s Foundling Museum, where he recently became a trustee.
The Museums Association Conference takes place from November 16 and 17 and places can be booked online.
The Museums Association Conference takes place from November 16 to 19 and places can be booked online.