Future of Museums: Collections *SOLD OUT*

This event is now sold out.

20 March 2018, Wellcome Collection
If you wish to be added to a waiting list, please download, complete and email the booking form. This will not guarantee a place at the event, but you may be contacted if there is a cancellation.

Museums Association MP Seminar

A series of MP seminars that will explore how museum practice will change in the future.

Collections lie at the heart of museums, and provide a unique opportunity to engage, inform and inspire audiences in a way that can have a positive impact on society as a whole.

The potential to use collections in exciting and socially-impactful ways is huge, but museums continue to be held back by several long-standing challenges including a lack of space to store material and a lack of skills, funds and resources to manage, care and interpret artefacts.

How can museum use programmes such as the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund to ensure their collections are accessible and inclusive of a wide range of people? How can new approaches to acquisitions, storage, documentation, interpretation, rationalisation and disposal help achieve these aims? And what role can collections play in securing the long-term sustainability of the sector?

This conference, part of the Museums Association’s Future of Museum’s series, will offer an opportunity to debate these issues and discuss what the future holds for our collections and how they can be used to engage audiences and change people’s lives.

Through a diverse range of speakers, the event will present bold views on the future of collections and collection management, as well as innovative ways that museums can work with communities and other partners to unlock the potential of the objects they hold.

The programme features presentations and facilitated discussion on three themes – Being Brave; Social Impact; and Expertise.

The Museums Association will also launch a major new research project into the future of collections at the event. You are invited to attend a drinks reception after the conference to celebrate the launch of the research project.

The day will run from approximately 1030-1700 (registration from 0930).


Sally Colvin, Programmes Manager, Museums Association
Sally Colvin manages the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, which funds projects that develop collections to achieve social impact.
She chairs of the Future of Museums: Collections seminar

Gillian Findlay, Curatorial and Engagement Manager, Museums & Galleries Edinburgh, and Museums Association board member
Gillian Findlay is interested in museums’ representation of people and history, and the potential of co-working to impact positively on collections and communities.
She facilitates the Being Brave theme at the Future of Museums: Collections seminar

Neil Curtis, Head of Museums and Special Collections, Aberdeen University
Neil Curtis has managed repatriation requests and loans to source communities, leading to an exhibition, teaching and publication.
As part of the Being Brave theme, he discusses how museums must embrace repatriation requests as an opportunity to rethink their relationships to different communities, collections and stories   

Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz, Exhibitions Curator, Wellcome Collection
Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz is a curator of temporary exhibitions at the Wellcome Collection where she has curated This is a voice, Bedlam and Ayurvedic Man: encounters with Indian Medicine.
As part of the Being Brave theme, she shares the ethical questions around understanding and displaying Wellcome’s historical collections from South Asia that arose as part of the Ayurvedic Man exhibition.

Beverly Cook, Curator, Social and Working History, Museum of London
Beverly Cook is the lead curator for the Museum of London’s recently completed three-year review and rationalisation of its social and working history collections.
As part of the Being Brave theme, she discusses how curatorial-led collections reviews and rationalisation projects should be embedded in curatorial practice as a holistic way to further understanding of the significance of collections.

Penny Bull, Senior Programmes Manager, Art Fund
Penny Bull previously managed the acquisitions programme at Art Fund, and most recently lead on the publication of Why Collect? A report on museum collecting today.
She shares the findings from the Art Fund’s recent Collecting report.

Sharon Heal, Director, Museums Association
As director of the Museums Association, Sharon Heal campaigns to promote the value of museums to society. She believes that collections are at the heart of museums but it is the connection that we make between collections and communities that can be life-changing and transformative.
She facilitates the Social Impact theme at the Future of Museums: Collections.

Sara Wajid, Head of Engagement, Museum of London
Sara Wajid joined the Museum of London in January to work on the development of the new museum. She previously spent a year at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, funded by the Arts Council England’s Change Makers programme, where she led a programme to reinterpret the collections. She is an active campaigner for diversity and the founder of the Museum Detox network.
As part of the Social Impact theme, she shares the lessons from a project to decolonise the Victorian collections at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Emma McGarrity, Learning and Engagement Officer at Tower Museum
Following a career in classroom-based education, Emma McGarrity has migrated to museum learning and engagement via an MA in Cultural Heritage & Museum Studies at Ulster University.
As part of the Social Impact theme, she shares how the Speeches, Strikes and Struggles project is using three collections to engage different audiences and support dialogue about conflict resolution and reconciliation in Derry.

Sue McAlpine, Curator, Migration Museum
Sue McAlpine previously worked in exhibitions and collections at Hackney Museum.  She is a curator working in community engagement in museums.
As part of the Social Impact theme, she discusses collecting and creating a new museum that has social impact at its heart.

James Peto, Head of Programmes, Wellcome Collection
Previously Head of Exhibitions at the Design Museum, James Peto has worked for Wellcome Collection since before it opened in 200.
He facilitates the Expertise theme at the Future of Museums: Collections seminar.

Andrea Hadley-Johnson, Co-Production and Engagement Manager, Derby Museums
Andrea Hadley-Johnson is working creatively with kindness and empathy to coproduce new displays and exhibitions  with people, for people.
As part of the Expertise theme, she shares how Derby Museum is coproducing the new World Cultures gallery with people not currently visiting museum and learning about its largely unprovenanced collection.

Mark Carnall, Collections Manager, Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History
Mark Carnall has worked in collections roles at natural history museums since 2005.
As part of the Expertise theme, he makes the case for collections management as an expertise the need for training and advocating to keep it that way.

Subhadra Das, Curator, UCL Culture
Subhadra Das is a historian, comedian, writer and museum curator at UCL where she works with the Medical and Science Collections to tell decolonial stories in engaging and affirming ways.
As part of the Expertise theme, she discusses how she tackles the university’s relationship to eugenics through an exhibition and podcast, and how expertise can be used as a bridge to agency.
@littlegaudy ‏

Follow this event on Twitter: #MAMuseumsFuture

Full timetable

Download a booking form

Send a booking form if you wish to be added to the waiting list for this sold out event.