Programme highlights: The future of civic museums - Museums Association

Conference 2023: The Power of Museums

As the museum sector continues to be challenged by the cost-of-living crisis and ongoing reductions in public funding for museums, this year’s conference features a number of sessions exploring the future of civic museums.

The MA has worked with English Civic Museums Network to develop four sessions that address issues such as workforce, governance, collections, social policy, funding and lots more.

Workshop | A New Deal for Museums – have your say

This workshop, following on from a debate held at last year’s MA’s conference in Edinburgh, gives delegates the chance to discuss the issues outlined above and share their knowledge and experience. This session is facilitated by David Hopes, head of service, Leeds Museums & Galleries. He is joined by speakers Zak Mensah, joint CEO, Birmingham Museums Trust; Paul Sapwell, chief executive, Hampshire Cultural Trust; and Kim Streets, chief executive, Museums Sheffield.

David Hopes
Head of Service, Leeds Museums & Galleries
Zak Mensah
Co-CEO, Birmingham Museums Trust
Paul Sapwell
Chief Executive, Hampshire Cultural Trust
Kim Streets
Chief Executive, Museums Sheffield
Future of civic museums across the UK

An early morning session addresses the future of civic museums across the UK. Speakers include Rowan Brown, CEO, Museums Northumberland; Rachael Rogers, museums and arts manager, MonLife Heritage; and Stella Byrne, head of investment, Northern Ireland, National Lottery Heritage Fund. A speaker from Scotland will be announced soon.

Rowan Brown
CEO, Museums Northumberland
Rachael Rogers
Museums and Arts Manager, MonLife Heritage and MA board member
Stella Byrne
Head of Investment, Northern Ireland, National Lottery Heritage Fund and MA board member
A crisis in English civic museums

Another session looks at the existential crisis faced by civic museums in England as they contend with huge falls in core funding over the past five years and vastly escalating running costs. Panellists explore whether a national strategy would make a difference to the future of the sector. Speakers in this session include Ian Blatchford, director and chief executive of the Science Museum Group and Tony Butler, executive director at Derby Museums Trust.

Ian Blatchford
Director and Chief Executive, Science Museum Group
Tony Butler
Executive Director, Derby Museums Trust
Workshop | Funding for civic museums

There is also a workshop session looking at the funding of civic museums and whether the current financial model is broken. This is chaired by Sara Wajid, joint CEO of Birmingham Museums Trust, who is being joined by a range of funders.

Sara Wajid
Co-CEO, Birmingham Museums Trust