Conference will be a great opportunity to re-engage

The theme of World Turned Upside Down really captures the position that the sector is in
Ma Conference
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Billy Gartley

Who could have imagined when we started planning for Edinburgh 2020 that we would be in the position we are today? In March our planning group became virtual and eventually the decision was taken in June that the conference itself would follow the same format.  

Having engaged in some of the Museums Association Zoom events over the summer period, it was obvious that although not the real thing, a virtual approach could still allow for good input and engagement.

Conference in Edinburgh this year can't come soon enough and the theme of World Turned Upside Down really captures the position that the sector is in, as well as wider society. This will be a great opportunity to re-engage for many of us, and to share our collective challenges and successes in this year like no other. 

I'm looking forward to hearing more about how museums and projects have responded to the situation we face brought about by the Covid pandemic in 'Reopening the doors', 'Collecting the pandemic' and 'In Practice: Inside out – bringing collections to audiences during lockdown and beyond'.

A highlight for me will be 'Lonnie Bunch in conversation' and hearing how he turned his vision for the National Museum of African American History and Culture into reality.

Museums are facing what is probably the toughest time in our collective histories, and the future for many is uncertain. 

From a personal perspective, I'm pleased to be welcoming back curatorial colleagues after their period of furlough, coinciding with the conference itself. The conference will be a great opportunity for colleagues to re-engage with the sector and will cover many topics that I hope will be both stimulating and inspiring.

Billy Gartley is the head of cultural services at Leisure and Culture Dundee and is a member of the 2020 Museums Association Conference panel. This year's conference, World Turned Upside Down: Exploring the Future of Museums, is free to all MA members. See the full programme


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