In Practice session highlights - Museums Association

Conference 2021: Brave New World

The In Practice strand of Conference 2021 features 20 sessions that focus on sharing practical advice and tips across a broad range of interest areas, from digital tours to careers advice to decolonising practice.

These 30-minute sessions take place in two rooms on 8-9 November at the ACC Liverpool and are also streamed online. The programme incorporates topics that are MA priorities, including workforce, policy and campaigns, and collections.

A full timetable of the sessions will be available online in the coming weeks – for now, browse one session from each theme below.

Audiences and communities

Queering the museum: celebrating LGBTQ+ at RAMM

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery in Exeter shares how it has worked with the University of Exeter and LGBTQ+ community to address a lack of representation of LGBTQ+ voices, histories and heritage in its collections.

This session examines what it means to queer museum collections, how to ensure this work is embedded and visible, and how to engage with different audiences to improve understanding of gender and sexual diversity.


  • Ellie Coleman, Engagement Officer, RAMM
  • Natalie McGrath, Writer and Socially-Engaged Artist
  • Jana Funke, Associate Professor of English and Sexuality Studies, University of Exeter


Career crossroads

Thinking about your future during times of uncertainty can be hard. This session explores your wants, needs and next steps by showcasing 10 self-directed exercises to help you refine your thinking and provide you with clarity for your next chapter.


  • Tamsin Russell, Workforce Development Officer, Museums Association

Climate crisis

How to write a carbon management plan – and tap into environmental grants

Dundee Museum of Transport is creating Europe’s first fully carbon neutral transport museum in Dundee, by retrofitting its Grade B listed Maryfield Tram Depot. This practical session shares the benefits of creating a carbon management plan, the framework and support needed to get started, and some of the environmental grants available to help fund this work.


  • Alexander Goodger, Museum Manager, Dundee Museum of Transport

Learning and engagement

How to create blended museum learning programmes

Following the development of online learning delivery throughout the pandemic, this session, organised by GEM & Engage, explores the potential of blended learning as an approach for museum, gallery and heritage educators in the future.

This session enables participants to learn from practical examples, build ideas and approaches for new models of interactive delivery.

With examples of practice from National Museums Scotland and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, the session addresses what types of digital learning we want to continue, what the challenges are, and how can we move towards a blended delivery model in the future.


  • Sarah Cowie, Engagement Manager, National Museum Wales
  • Vicky Sturrs, Head of Learning and Civic Engagement, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
  • Rachel Tranter, Director, GEM
  • Jane Sillis, Director, Engage


Creating digital tours

In March of 2020, the National Trust for Scotland and Virtual Visits collaborated to create virtual tours – with surprising results. Join the partners for a frank discussion about project management, the metrics and the lessons learned.


  • Katey Boal, Visitor Services Manager Engagement, The National Trust for Scotland
  • John Corellis, Commercial & Partnerships Director, Virtual Visits

Anti-racism and decolonisation

How to be an anti-racist museum

2020 saw an urgent focus on anti-racism across society. Many museums responded to this call for change, but it remains vital that organisations take sustained action for anti-racism. In this session, Laurent John and Natalya Best-Forbes share their experience leading change as part of the Somerset House Anti-Racism Task Force.  


  • Laurent John, Somerset House
  • Natalya Best-Forbes, Somerset House


Curating conflict

Museums are often tasked with collecting and interpreting conflicts and controversies from history and the present day. In this session, Hannah Crowdy explains how National Museums Northern Ireland has approached curating conflict through an ethical lens and offers advice on how your museum can approach similar issues.


  • Hannah Crowdy, Head of Curatorial, National Museums NI