Involving communities

Eleanor Mills, 06.11.2015
Embedding community engagement is 'slow and incremental' process
Piotr Bienkowski, the project director of Our Museum, and Tracy-Ann Smith, the resource producer of the scheme, delivered a talk and workshop presenting the work they’ve been doing across the UK to join up museums and galleries with communities in active partnership.

“We want to embed community engagement in the museums sector. Small changes in institutions add up, but organisations have to be prepared for slow incremental change. It often takes years for significant change to occur,” Smith said. 

Smith and Bienkowski reported that they had worked with a wide range of institutions so far, including Hackney Museum, The Lightbox in Woking, Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives, the Museum of East Anglian Life, National Museum Wales, Belfast Exposed, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, and Glasgow Museums. Many of the projects are transferrable and scaleable between museums, they said.

Our Museum began in 2012 and will come to an end in March 2016.

Smith urged any museums interested in the project or looking for advice on how to improve partnership work with communities to get in touch via the Our Museum website.