Programme highlights: exploring anti-ableism - Museums Association

Conference 2023: The Power of Museums

Anti-ableism will be a major theme at this year’s Museums Association Conference 2023 in Newcastle-Gateshead.

The event (at The Glasshouse) and online, 7-9 November 2023, will feature a range of sessions tackling access, inclusion and equity.

Rethinking disability representation

Sessions include Disability Representation and Rights, which will focus on how museums can develop anti-ableist approaches to rethinking disability representation, reframing societal conversations around disability, and tackling contemporary discrimination.

The speakers are Sarah Plumb and Richard Sandell from the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries at University of Leicester; sculptor and MA board member Tony Heaton; artist Christopher Samuel; researcher Isabelle Lawrence; and Jenni Hunt, community engagement officer at The Old Operating Theatre, London.

Enhancing the museum experience

Delegates at the conference will also hear about The Sensational Museum, a project to explore how using what we know about disability can enhance the museum experience for everyone. There is also a session on special educational needs and disabilities (Send) led by Send in Museums campaigner Sam Bowen.

Co-curation and activism

Delegates can also hear about the learning from Nothing About Us Without Us at the People’s History Museum – an exhibition and programme exploring the history of disabled people’s rights and activism through co-curated exhibitions, events and activities.

And there will be a panel discussion, chaired by Esther Fox, addressing why there needs to be a greater focus and understanding of ableism in museums.

As well as anti-ableism sessions, the conference will cover a wide range of topics, including disposal; civic museums; anti-racism; funding; co-curation; volunteering; learning and engagement; decolonisation; climate justice; and lots more.

The full conference programme, including details of the third-day tours and the social events, will be released next week.