How to create a successful session proposal

Simon Stephens, 02.02.2016
MA Annual Conference heads to Glasgow in November
Last year’s Museums Association Annual Conference and Exhibition in Birmingham was our biggest ever but planning is already well underway to make this year’s event in Glasgow (7-8 November) even better.

Conference offers a huge amount of networking, training and professional development opportunities, although the main focus for many delegates are the various sessions that run throughout the two days.

The call for proposals is now open and we would love as many people as possible to submit suggestions.

But what are we looking for in terms of conference proposals? The decision on which sessions to accept will be made by our conference panel, which is made up museum professionals from all over Scotland. But there are a number of ways that you can make sure your proposal is more likely to succeed.

There are two themes emerging this year:

A sense of place: telling the stories of people, communities and collections

Being brave: taking risks and being courageous, ambitious, innovative, outspoken and creative

Not all sessions have to fall into these themes, but they are a good indication of some of the subjects that we are interested in. Both themes are linked to the context of Glasgow, which is known for its strong sense of identity and its ambitious work with local communities, who feel a real sense of ownership of the city's museums and galleries.

Also, we are keen to see proposals that contain new thinking and innovative ideas. We want suggestions that are bold, provocative and thought-provoking.

Think about conferences you have been to in the past and what has made memorable sessions. Great speakers, new perspectives and radical thinking should all be part of the mix.

We also want to hear inspiring voices from outside the museum sector. What other artforms are doing really exciting work that we can learn from? And, looking beyond culture, are there speakers from sectors such as healthcare, education or business that have interesting and relevant things to say?

Wherever the speakers are from, we want sessions that encourage debate and discussion. So please think of ways to involve delegates in your session proposals.

If you are thinking of proposing a session but want to run it by me first, please get in touch by email or phone. I’d love to hear from you on 020 7566 7820 or