Conference call

Simon Stephens, 22.02.2017
Propose a session for Manchester 2017
One great way to get involved in this year’s Museums Association Conference in Manchester is to propose a session.

I have outlined the themes below, but not every session has to fit into these.

Broadly, what makes a good conference session is a bit like what makes a good exhibition – a new idea, some interesting voices, a bit of excitement, maybe some controversy, and, something I always look for – an element of surprise.

Timing is also important, so think about why the issue you are addressing is relevant now. And you might want to consider place – does your idea speak to the context of Manchester and the north west?

And think about the audience – like you, delegates to conference want to be inspired, provoked and motivated. How can your session achieve this?

This year’s themes are:

Audiences, which will explore how museums expand and deepen their relationship with the public in the context of a growing atmosphere of intolerance, mistrust and division following last year’s Brexit vote and the resulting political turmoil. What role can museums play in healing some of society’s divisions and how should they reflect contemporary issues such as poverty, climate change and globalisation in their programming?

Collections, which will look at how museum artefacts can be used to inspire and engage communities and make a difference to people’s lives. How can museums involve audiences in interpreting collections and sharing knowledge about them? How can digital technology help increase engagement with collections and how should the sector approach issues such as collecting, storage and disposal?

Workforce, which will highlight what needs to change in areas such as leadership, diversity and skills development so that the sector is equipped for the challenges ahead. What will the museum professional of the future look like and what knowledge and experience will they need?
Last year we had a fantastic range of proposals that helped to create a great conference in Glasgow – it was our biggest event ever.

I’m looking forward to more amazing proposals this year to make Manchester 2017 even better.