Kevin Gosling FMA - Museums Association

Kevin Gosling FMA

Chief Executive, Collections Trust

The FMA guidance notes that ‘going above and beyond is a key quality of a Fellow’ and asks candidates to demonstrate how they ‘have been proactive and responsive.’ I run Collections Trust, a standards-setting sector support organisation that works nationally and, indeed, internationally. So in preparing for my FMA review, I found it quite hard to reflect on whether I had really gone ‘above and beyond’ what might be expected of the day job.

I first worked for Collections Trust in the 1990s, when it was still known as MDA. When the Chief Executive post was advertised in 2015, I was drawn to it by a strong sense of unfinished business. In particular, I was concerned that developments towards sharing data about ‘the nation’s collections’ I helped set in train two decades earlier had stalled, while other countries had made steady progress.

Actively plan, act and reflect on your personal and professional development

Over the past four years, I have set myself – and the organisation – some of the most intractable challenges facing the sector: 

  • Why do many museums still not have even basic inventory-level information about their holdings?
  • Why can’t we search seamlessly across the collections data we have created?
  • How might we manage ‘the nation’s collections’ more strategically?
  • How do we change the way museums work so that expensively-generated knowledge is captured and futureproofed?
  • How can we overcome the short-termism that has held back effective digital working by UK museums compared to other countries?

I am fortunate to be in a role that offers wide scope to pursue answers to these questions. I feel strongly that UK museums are needlessly burdened with inefficient and ineffective ways of working that need fixing precisely because money is tight and everyone is stretched. My main motivation as I enter the final decade or so of my career is to join the dots that I can see need joining and to help tackle these longstanding problems.