Conference 2020 content

World Turned Upside Down: Exploring the Future of Museums, 2-6 November 2020

Our 2020 annual conference was held virtually and was free to all our members. It featured a range of fantastic speakers, engaging sessions and lots of practical advice and support.

Across five days of debate, reflection, networking and more, we explored the theme of the future of museums in a world turned upside down by a year like no other, and how the sector can rise to the challenges we face.

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Reflections on the future of museums
2020 has brought about unprecedented changes in society. This session explored these challenges and reflected on how this current crisis might shape and change the future of museums.
Closing session: what next?
In our closing session of Conference 2020 we heard reflections on the debates and conversations that took place, and considered what might be next for museums.
Power up
We brought together four successful advocates from organisations which have influenced public policy, and explored the potential for museums to reshape civic life in towns and cities in a post-Covid context.
Disability inclusion in museums
How can we centre disability access and inclusion at the core of all our work, and how can we tackle discrimination and unconscious bias against disabilities head-on?
Repatriation and restitution
Exploring case studies of relationships between university museums and source communities who are working on the restitution and repatriation of museum objects.
Power to the roots
Museum workforce grassroot networks discussed their work and the importance of these groups in empowering the workforce to create an inclusive, sustainable sector.
What do we mean by decolonise?
Examining the origins of the word decolonise, what museums and galleries seem to think it means, and if that holds true with its wider meaning.
Reopening the doors
Our panellists reflected on what they have learnt when reopening their museums post-lockdown, how they have adapted to the new realities, and what the future might look like.
Collecting the pandemic
What does it mean for museums to collect in a time of crisis, what ethical considerations need to be made, and how can museums reflect the structural inequalities of the pandemic?
Keywords: emotional labour
Reflections on how the practice of “emotional labour”, which has become synonymous with a wide range of issues, invites new forms of self-reflection in museum work.
Keywords: courage
Members of the museum community from the UK and the US discussed how they are practising courage through their use of digital technology in a pandemic.
Keywords: precarity
Our panellists considered how the precarity of museums and their workforces plays out in their seeming inability to broach and incorporate new ideas.
Retail in recovery
A diverse panel of museums from across the UK explored the ongoing impact Covid is having on the museum retail sector.
Creating engaging videos on a budget
Covid has highlighted the need for museums to up their digital skills – including creating films to reach audiences unable to visit. We explored the top tips and best practice.
Gairloch Museum, Ross and Cromarty
Curator Karen Buchanan treated us to a behind-the-scenes tour of this independent museum in north-west Scotland, one of the five joint winners of the Art Fund Museum of the Year Award 2020.
City Art Centre, Edinburgh
Trainee Susie Cavill took us on a walk-through of current exhibitions, explained why key pieces were chosen, and discussed how the venue and its staff have adapted to Covid.
St Fagans National Museum of History, near Cardiff
We joined David Anderson, director general, and Nia Williams, director of learning and public programmes at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, for a tour of St Fagans to see the highlights of its recent redevelopment.
Career crossroads
Discover the tools and techniques to help you think about "what next?", identify your needs and wants, explore options and develop a project plan.
Future museum skills
This year has seen huge global changes to the economy and the way we live. What does this mean for those working in museums? What future skills do we need to develop and how can we develop them?
The AMA in a Covid-world
Whether you are looking for the next step, looking to join the sector or looking to remain engaged in museum best practice and current thinking, the AMA may be right for you. Find out more in this session.

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