Julie Hart, senior director, standards and excellence programmes, American Alliance of Museums

International delegation stronger than ever in Birmingham

Gareth Harris, 05.11.2015
UK Trade and Investment reception brings together overseas representatives
International museums and galleries are making their presence felt at the Museums Association (MA) conference this year, with more than 100 delegates in attendance.

The UK government department, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), welcomed international attendees at a special reception, where guests discussed how the UK museum sector could benefit from working with overseas partners.

“We can talk directly to potential customers here,” said Richard Parry, head of the experience economy team at UKTI. “It is all about connecting UK supply to overseas demand. The museum hardware and software of UK museums have strong export capability.”

A UKTI brochure details how British companies are helping develop museums overseas; these include the new National Museum of Oman which has been co-designed by the Maidstone-based practice, Arts Architecture International.

Fabiana Cabral, who attended the reception, represents the UKTI at the British Embassy in Buenos Aires, and has brought six delegates to conference. “We act as a consultancy, bringing products and touring exhibitions to Argentina. It’s about bringing museum packages from the UK,” she said.

In her opening address, Sharon Heal, the director of the MA, highlighted that “the need to understand complex global issues” makes international collaborations more important than ever. Crucially, she stressed that the Museums Change Lives campaign has been presented at 15 conferences worldwide in recent years.

Meanwhile, Julie Hart, senior director, standards and excellence programmes at the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), invited delegates to the AAM annual meeting and museum expo in Washington DC next year (26-29 May) which will explore the potent themes of “power, influence and responsibility”.

“I’m closely following the ethics debate,” she said. “I’m interested in seeing the trajectory of and process behind the MA’s new Code of Ethics.”