The Future of Museums

Introducing the conference. Photo: Lizzy Baddeley

Introducing the conference. Photo: Lizzy Baddeley

The Future of Museums gives a voice to early career museum professionals, enabling them to discuss policy with senior professionals, to build networks and to start to set the agenda at mainstream conferences. They were prompted by two articles I wrote in which early career professionals discussed the high level of disenfranchisement and disenchantment they felt. I produce these events assisted by Steve Cross.

The Future of Museums conference

The Future of Museums conference was held at UCL on 3 April 2014 with the aim of giving early career museum professionals the opportunity to rethink the sector. In 20 years’ time they will be the people running the museums sector, what do they want that sector to look like? Sixty five participants, all within 6 years of their first entry-level museum job, spent the day discussing their ideas, visions and aspirations. In the subsequent weeks they wrote and refined their ideas, producing the Manifesto for the Future of Museums (pdf). The Manifesto has been downloaded over 700 times, and seen by senior managers, directors and trustees at museums in the UK and the US.

Future of Museums Q&As

Commissioned by Arts Council England (ACE) following the conference, the Q&As gave an audience of early career professionals the chance to put questions to a panel of senior professionals, in a Question Time-style event. The events took place in London and Manchester in November & December 2014. Panellists included John Orna Ornstein (director of museums for Arts Council England), Fiona Talbott (head of museums, libraries & archives at the Heritage Lottery Fund), Beth McKillop (deputy director, the V&A) and Tamalie Newbery (executive director of the Association of Independent Museums).

Challenging ACE workshops

These workshops gave early career professionals the opportunity to present policy ideas, opinions and challenges on museum resilience to John Orna Ornstein, director of museums for Arts Council England. The events took place in London and Manchester in November & December 2014.

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