Welcome to Birmingham

Rebecca Atkinson, 05.11.2015
The opening party sets the tone for Conference 2015
If I had to call it, I’d say the Welcome Reception is always one of the highlights of the Museums Association (MA) Conference and Exhibition
Yes, I know it takes place before we’ve heard even one keynote, but the fact that everyone is fresh means it’s a fantastic opportunity to network with people you know and, just as importantly, with people you don’t.

Last night, early birds to Birmingham 2015 gathered from 7pm at Thinktank for one of the science museum’s popular Science Late event. There was wine, there were nibbles, there was a lot of conversation.

But not content with hosting your average networking reception, Thinktank went all out to impress visitors to the city.

On entering the museum there were opportunities to create doodlebugs (a battery-powered drawing machine) and light wands that create unique images using slow shutter speed photography.

I made a doodlebot! @museumsassociation #museums2015 #museumsassociation

A video posted by Rebecca (@black_swans_pond) on

The activities were facilitated by Ignite, Birmingham Museums Trust’s youth forum; it was great to see and chat to young people the museum is working with, rather than just hearing about them in the sessions over the two days.

During the evening, there were also two digital planetarium shows, and a showing of two films created by students at the Royal College of Music.

Psychologists from the University of Birmingham were on hand to share their cognitive development research with attendees.

The event finished just after 9pm, but true to form a fair few dedicated delegates made it to the Woodman pub for a last drink and network.

Birmingham and the West Midland have a rich industrial, creative and scientific heritage, and much of this will come out during MA conference sessions and the MP workshop programme taking place in the exhibition hall.

It was great to celebrate this in a fun way the night before the main event kicks off, and set the right tone for conference.