Glasgow 2016 live blog: Monday 7 November

Conference news
Monday 7 November

The social mobility session has ended as delegates prepare to listen to the keynote speech from the Jackie Kay, the Scots Makar (national poet).
Butler asks Cindy Sughrue what Charles Dickens would have done about this topic. Answer - he would not have sat on his hands, he would be at the heart of the debate.
A question on what those from more privileged demographics can do to contribute:
The issue of whether the sector is too insistent on degrees rather than skills has prompted some spirited contributions on Twitter:
As the end of the first conference day grows closer, it's great to see some happy delegates:
Back at the gallery assistants session, Kenn Taylor, the head of participation at the Tetley in Leeds, says: "You can do all the outreach in the world but if you don't have an approachable front of house team then you create additional barriers."

The SECC conference centre, designed by Foster and Partners, is a popular subject on our Instagram hashtag. Remember to tag your photos #museums2016 for a chance of winning a year's MA membership in one of three categories.

Glasgow #glasgow #museums2016

A photo posted by Ros Lawler (@roslawler) on

More discussion of thecomposition of the museum sector workforce:
Some Instagram users have capitalised on the sunset to take some impressive shots of central Glasgow.

The fabulous Kelvingrove Art Gallery in sunset #nofilter #Glasgow #museums2016

A photo posted by Jemma Conway (@jemmskii1) on

The audience of the social mobility discussion is asked to put their hand up if they were the first in their family to go to university - it seems to be just under half the room

Geraldine Kendall Adams is following the Gallery Assistants in the Frontline session, putting this valuable role in the spotlight. Katie Hinchliffe of the V&A has said that the potential for contributions from assistants can be overlooked: "It's frustrating, I really want to share my knowledge but there needs to be a change of attitude about how we are perceived in the museum," says Hinchcliffe.

17:14 The MA's Rebecca Atkinson highlights an interesting question that arose in the Mostly Digital session, asking whether it is enough to
provide digital content to people who never visit the museum.

Yes, says Fiona Romeo, the former director of digital content of strategy at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She explains: "People don't need to visit every exhibition or museum, they can still have meaningful relationships with art and museums through other channels. It's not a question of one or the other."

Turtle - lived experience of diverse backgrounds is essential for better inclusion
Jess Turtle - we don't talk about class enough in diversity discussions, partly because not covered by legislation
O'Brien- cultural sector faces similar problems to medicine, law, accountancy
The social background of the panel members has been highlighted for its unusualness:
Dave O'Brien says that diverse class origins can be a barrier in a largely middle class sector
Butler asks whether the privately educated are over-represented in museum leadership positions - says more state educated people in the cabinet than are directors of national museums
The afternoon's second set of sessions are now underway, with the social mobility discussion chaired by Derby Museums' Tony Butler streaming on this site.

Americo Castilla, secretary of cultural heritage at the ministry of culture, Argentina, speaking at the International Networking Reception:


The Confronting Censorship session has exposed some slightly worrying stats on political influence in museums.

Dean Phelus from the American Alliance of Museums has just spoken at the International Networking Reception. He said that Donald Trump's presidential campaign has begged the question of how society defines what it means to belong. There are 65m refugees today around the world, says Phelus, and every displaced person has a story to tell.


16:09 The Museums Change Lives and diversity sessions have both highlighted the need for genuine engagement with the groups that the activities are intended to impact:

Some key points from the diversity session:
55% of voters in the poll say that they have been subject to pressure to censor material - Hepburn says this indicates there is a "hidden museum" of objects people are afraid to show
Nathaniel Hepburn says that being brave with content can be more painful financially in the short term, but hopes it can pay off in the long term
More from the Museums Change Live session on the need for commitment to activity on social change:
Delegates in the censorship session are asked to vote through the conference app on whether they have either censored themselves or been subject to political pressure to censor material - will be discussed later.
In the session assessing the Museums Change Lives campaign, Mark O'Neill says that some major museums have not embedded the ideaof social change:
Following the early afternoon sessions, there will be a chance to mingle at the International Networking Reception, hosted by the Department for International Trade.
In the diversity session, the point is being made that engagement with communities must be long term in order to be successful:
Some more food for thought from the digital content session:
Delegates at the session on diversity are hearing about how contemporary collecting is a key part of being more inclusive:
These tips are proving popular in the session on digital content:
The other speakers are Nathanial Hepburn, director of Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft, and Janet Marstine, from the School of Museum Studies at Leicester University:
15:08 Censorship thrives on fear, says Julia Farrington of the Index on Censorship
Don't forget to check out the stands in the exhibition hall when you have a moment:
Several sessions wil be starting at 3 including a discussion on censorhip and controversy, which will be live streamed on this site.
A nice chart illustrating the growth in MA membership in recent years:
The sector has most influence when people work together, says Heal:

Heal asks thesector to provide the MA with data for its advocacy by taking part in the Museums Survey:
Addressing the financial difficulties faced by many museums, Sharon Heal makes the point that closing them may not save as much money as people think:
Congratulations to everyone awarded their AMA or FMA today:

It's fair to say that the meeting is being well received by some:

Welcome back. The AGM is now underway, with delegates hearing about a boatbuilding scheme at the Scottish Maritime Museum:

As delegates break for lunch, don't forget to rejoin us this afternoon when we'll be live streaming sessions on censorship and social mobility, and keeping you updated on all the other key events and discussions that are happening at conference.
13:01 Richard Sandell from Leicester University's School of Museum Studies has been hearing how delegates have been inspired by actor Mat Fraser's work on representations of disability: 
12:52 One area of discussion at the activism session has been the challenge of enthusing people and sustaining momentum: 
12:41 At the Partnerships for Wellbeing discussion, delegates are being urged to get stuck in:

12:27 David Gelsthorpe from Manchester Museum is now presenting on its commitment to campaign on issues like climate change: 

12:23 A lot of activists are there for the discussion, reports the MA's director:

12:13 One important issue is how museums can better tell LGBTQ+ stories: 12:08 The 'Museum Activist' session, exploring activism from an individual, institutional and community perspective, looks to be proving popular:

11:54 The directors' conversation finished by focusing on workforce diversity, prompting a lively discussion among delegates: 11:48 In the Facing Conflict session, there's a discussion of the role of play in understanding conflict and helping people explore their feelings:
11:44 Rintoul says museums need to communicate the impact they have:
11:37 More from the discussion on sharing mistakes: 11:31 And there's also another concurrent discussion on how museums are presenting and sharing stories of conflict:

11:24 Meanwhile, at the session in the seminar suite, there is a discussion about the importance of sharing failures: 11:19 Nelson highlights the issue of workplace diversity:

Nelson - there is a real challenge to meet people's desire for portfolio careers without becoming an "Uber or Deliveroo"
11:14 Mann - using transient project-based staff is a "big issue", leads to a loss of knowledge
11:12 Mann - I agree, there has been a shift in HLF projects
11:10 Rintoul: only about 30% of HFL funds go on major capital projects - there is a whole range of smaller community-based projects
11:08 David Mann says museums need to stand up for experts at a time when they are almost being bullied
11:05 Nelson says programmes can be platforms for debate
Tonya Nelson of UCL Museums and Collections says museums can step in as a forum for discussions of divisive issues in a time where people are suspicious of governments
The diverse backgrounds of the directors in attracting some attention on Twitter:
Tune in to the live feed from 10:50 to see museum directors discussing their ideas for the future of the sector
Remember that MP workshops are taking place today and tomorrow in the Exhibition Hall:
And Fleming advised the sector to lobby DCMS to prevent this happening:
9:57Fleming closed by saying that the DCMS review should not be a whitewash:

Fleming covers MA response to DCMS review of museums - says lottery spending should be better balanced between regions and London. Says "free museum access should be maintained where possible".9:49 Fleming fears that there is currently "no plan" for museums
9:45Fleming describes role of the National Slavery Museum in Liverpool as "anti-racist, anti-slavery propaganda". He says museums impact people's lives - "It's not just because things look pretty".

9:41The stories in David Fleming's presentation are having an emotional impact: 

9:36Fleming stresses the importance of objects, not just technology, for projects with social impact

9:33 MA president David Fleming discussing how museums change lives - shows a video on how social history collections are being used to address dementia in Liverpool using an app
9:26 Morag Mcpherson introduces the Stories, Communities and Collections theme, saying that it is important to engage with communities beyond fixed term projects.
9:23 Mark O'Neill says that Victorian museum movement would have found instrumental vs intrinsic debate meaningless - he says there is increasing evidence that health and wellbeing should be central to museums' concerns.
9:19 Introducing the 'Being Brave' theme, Adele Patrick says that creativity and bravery can open space for diversity, inclusion and social justice agendas
9:14 There's an exciting range of themes at this year's conference: 

9:08 Lesley Riddoch is now beginning her introduction.
9:07 Anticipation is building:
9:02 Some great shots of the conference venue are being posted: 

Good morning Glasgow! #museums2016 #glasgow

A photo posted by Emma Shepley (@emmashepley) on

08:41 Welcome to the Museums Association Conference and Exhibition 2016 in Glasgow. We'll be keeping you updated here with all the latest developments. Remember to use the hashtag #museums2016 to join in the conversation.

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Tuesday 8 November