Q: What’s the new web resource all about?
The resources are a legacy of Our Museum: Communities and Museums as Active Partners, a Paul Hamlyn Foundation programme to facilitate a process of development and organisational change within museums and galleries committed to active partnership with their communities. It’s not about funding community events and exhibitions, it’s about working with community partners in active partnership to change the way a particular organisation works. We set out to learn about embedding participation and we are very interested in what didn’t work and to explore why. These web resources share the learning and thinking that is emerging with the sector more widely.
Q: Why is the focus on organisational change?
For community participation to be most effective, it needs to be more than individual projects run by outreach staff. Embedding participation means the whole organisation has to work differently: from trustees and directors to staff, volunteers and community partners. While many of us know this already, as a sector we find it hard to say what this means practically. What does organisational change look like on the ground? So these resources offer practical examples to get us thinking about change and what it is, in practice, that we must actually change.
Q: What is the secret to organisational change?
There is no single, simple solution. We have come to understand that lots of changes across an organisation add up to a big shift in the way things are done. We made a video about this , which you can see below.
Q: But how do these examples apply to organisations not in the Our Museum programme?
Three things are useful to remember. Firstly, we worked with a deliberately diverse group of museums and galleries from across the UK, to maximise learning from their different approaches to embedding participation, and to test what is transferable and scalable. Secondly, no single museum or gallery is being heralded as the bastion of organisational change. Each has something specific to offer. So as a collection of examples, from inside and outside the sector, the resources illustrate the breadth of changes needed. Finally, while some of the approaches can be easily taken and adapted, others require more lateral thinking. Rather than say, ‘we are different, that would not work here’, we prefer to hear: ‘We are all different so how can use these resources to inspire our own thinking, problem solving and ideas?’
Q: Can I use your resources?
Yes, please use, show and share widely. We have deliberately not tied them up in Intellectual Property. We have provided embed codes so you can put them onto your websites.
Q: What next?
We will keep developing the resources. There are lots of resources to explore already and anyone can sign up for alerts to new resources – we have some interesting new ones coming soon!
To sign up for an alert go to the Our Museum Welcome Page and click on the Keep Updated section.