Conference to discuss riots and cuts

Speakers confirmed for Museums Journal sessions
Profile image for Simon Stephens
Simon Stephens
Image from The Forgotten Gang exhibition at Bruce Castle Museum, Tottenham, London, looking at young people who are not members of a gang to remove the negative representation of young black people within the media. (c) Elaine Bandele Photography (

Museums Journal will host two Hold the Front Page sessions exploring social unrest and budget cuts at the Museums Association (MA) conference in Brighton next week.

The Hold the Front Page sessions see the Museums Journal team bring you up-to-the-minute debate on topical subjects.

The first session takes place on Monday 3 October and will look at how museums and galleries are responding to funding cuts. Mark Taylor, director of the MA, will chair the session and outline the organisation's research on the impact of budget reductions in museums.

The speakers are Sue Hayward, heritage manager at Bournemouth Borough Council; Stuart Gillis, head of museums at Derby City Council; and Dave Allen, a negotiator at the union Prospect.

The second session takes place on 4 October looking at how museums document social unrest following the summer’s riots. It will include a talk by Odin Biddulph, the curator of an exhibition at Bruce Castle Museum in north London, about the history of Broadwater Farm, the estate in Tottenham where rioting took place in 1985.

Bidduluph, writing in October’s Museums Journal, said the riots are still a highly sensitive issue from an official point of view, which made developing an exhibition about it very challenging.

“On the one hand, a policeman was brutally killed, three men wrongly charged for murder were later freed after a massive public campaign, and last year the police reopened their investigation,” he said. “On the other hand, residents were cruelly treated by the police and stigmatised by the press. There are many old wounds on both sides.”

This session is being chaired by Egalitarian chief executive Trust, Tim Desmond, who will outline the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law’s work to provide resources to help develop young people’s understanding of the law, and prevent and reduce crime through early intervention and preventative education.

Cathy Ross, director of collections and learning at the Museum of London, will also talk about the challenges of contemporary collecting in relation to current events such as social unrest and rioting, while Deborah Hedgecock, curator at Bruce Castle Museum, will discuss the Broadwater Farm exhibition, and The Forgotten Gang, a photo documentary that combats the media’s negative representation of African and Caribbean youth.

Hold the Front Page: Museums and the Cuts
Monday 3 October
11.15 – 12.15
Syndicate 2

Chair: Mark Taylor, director, Museums Association
Participants: Sue Hayward, heritage manager, Bournemouth Borough Council; Stuart Gillis, head of museums, Derby City Council; and Dave Allen, negotiator, Prospect

This session will explore how museums and galleries are dealing with financial cuts and how they expect their financial circumstances to develop next year and beyond.

Hold the Front Page: Documenting the Riots
Tuesday 4 October
12.05 – 13.05
Auditorium 2

Chair: Tim Desmond, chief executive, Egalitarian Trust
Participants: Cathy Ross, director of collections and learning, Museum of London; Deborah Hedgecock, curator, Bruce Castle Museum; and Odin Bidduplh, curator, Broadwater Farm: the Story of a Community 1967 – 2010, Bruce Castle Museum, Tottenham, London

This session will explore how museums and galleries have responded to the recent riots in England and how museums have documented previous examples of social unrest.

Click here for information on Conference 2011

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