In brief | News from the Museums Association Conference 2023 - Museums Association

In brief | News from the Museums Association Conference 2023

Our round-up of all the major launches, events and developments at the MA Conference in Newcastle-Gateshead
News in Brief
The winners of the Museums Change Lives Best Project Award receive their prize onstage at the MA Conference
The winners of the Museums Change Lives Best Project Award receive their prize onstage at the MA Conference Museums Association. Photo by Charlotte Eyles

Museums Change Lives

The annual Museums Change Lives Awards were announced as part of the Museums Association's (MA’s) Annual General Meeting. The winners were:

Best Museums Change Lives Project

Glasgow Museums, Bangladesh Association Glasgow and Our Shared Cultural Heritage, Scotland's Lascar Heritage

Best Small Museum Project

The Whithorn Trust, Whithorn ReBuild Schools Engagement Project


Decolonising Museums Award

Wilberforce House Museum, Changing Perspectives in Hull 2022-23

Radical Changemaker Award

Zeynep Kuşsan, London Transport Museum (previously Museum of London)

Museum Data Service

The Museum Data Service is a joint initiative by Art UK, Collections Trust and the University of Leicester, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. This free new service, which was introduced to the sector at the MA conference, aims to connect and share all the object records across all UK museums, large and small. 


Museum Manifesto

The MA used conference to launch a manifesto calling for everyone to have the right to access to museums and for new public investment in museums across the UK. The manifesto covers a range of topics, including access, funding, local museums, environmental responsibility, repatriation, fair pay and Exhibition Tax Relief.

Civic museums

Civic museums are in crisis across the UK as they battle with ongoing budgets cuts. A number of sessions at conference addressed this issue and looked at possible ways forward. Expect to see more ideas to tackle this issue, with the English Civic Museum Network using the discussions held at conference to help develop ideas for its new deal for museums.


Anti-ableism and disability rights had a high profile at conference, reflecting the MA’s commitment to create a campaign to support museums and galleries in this vital area of his work. The event was a great chance for the sector to share thoughts and ideas as to what this campaign might look like.


A new UK-wide access scheme, which aims to improve the experience of D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people going to creative and cultural events, was also announced during the conference.

All In is a partnership between Arts Council England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales and Creative Scotland.

Creative and cultural organisations visiting the partnerships new website can express their interest so they can be kept informed of exciting developments planned for 2024 for disabled audience members.  

The Sensational Museum

The Sensational Museum is a £1m research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, to radically rethink the role of senses in museums. The project unveiled its new website at conference, and speakers in a session about The Sensational Museum highlighted two surveys that it is hoping the sector can complete – one on collections, the other on exhibition design


The MA launched its new Anti-racist Museum programme at conference. The programme will support museums on their journey to becoming anti-racist organisations through facilitated sessions and peer networking. It will be open to applications in the new year.

Race, empire and the Pre-Raphaelites

This research group unveiled a resource pack at conference for museum and higher education practitioners wishing to foreground race and empire in Victorian art and design collections. This is available on the British Art Network website.


And don’t forget, next year’s Museums Association Conference will be held at the Royal Armouries, Leeds, on 12-14 November 2024.

Leave a comment

You must be to post a comment.