MA receives ACE funding for Transformers

Patrick Steel, 02.03.2015
£228,410 for programme to embed radical change in museums
The Museums Association (MA) has been awarded £228,410 from Arts Council England's (ACE) Museum Resilience Fund towards its Transformers programme to embed radical change in museums in England.

Transformers is aimed at people in mid-career, supported by any accredited museum (or museum working towards accreditation), looking to change the way they work.

Participants are challenged to develop new ways of thinking, and are supported throughout to engage with experimental ideas, fresh thinking and learning from the experience of experts and innovators.

The programme will run from July to March 2016, with 24 places available to applicants. Applications will open in April, with participants announced in June. The MA will announce the criteria for applications shortly.

The pilot phase of the project, supported by ACE, CyMAL: Museums, Libraries and Archives Wales, and Museums Galleries Scotland, ended this month.

Jess Turtle, the MA’s project coordinator for Transformers, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received investment from ACE for a year of the Transformers programme.

“This continued investment from ACE means that we can develop the programme and support more mid-career professionals to create radical change for themselves and their organisations.”

John Orna-Ornstein, ACE’s director of museums, said: “Transformers is a fantastic programme that supports mid-career professionals in bringing about the change they want to see.

“It supports new ideas and experimentation and I love its focus on enabling talented individuals to be driving the transformation of our sector.”

The pilot project saw 19 Transformers projects in museums across the UK, with participants attending residential events to develop their ideas for change and learn from their peers before pitching for micro-funding to test out their ideas in their organisations. They also received support from a project coach to support their learning.

Turtle said: “Our 2014-15 cohort for the pilot programme have all been outstanding, influencing within their organisations, delivering change in challenging circumstances and testing out new ways of working for the sector.

“The programme has supported them to manage the shifting sands of a career in museums and has created a strong network of change-makers across the sector."

The MA is talking to Cymal: Museums, Libraries and Archives Wales, Museums Galleries Scotland, and the Northern Ireland Museums Council about funding places in the devolved nations.

Sharon Heal, the MA's director, said: "The MA has worked in partnership with ACE since it became the strategic body for museums to develop a number of initiatives and projects.

"We are delighted that Transformers has received further funding following a successful pilot year.

"We look forward to working with individuals in the sector to develop their personal and organisational resilience."



Transformers pilot projects

Transformers case studies