MA meets key figures at crucial time for Scottish museums

Geraldine Kendall, 09.05.2012
Sector concerns over delivery of national strategy
The Museums Association held a series of meetings last week with senior figures in Scottish museums to air members’ views and discuss key issues facing the sector.

The MA’s director, Mark Taylor, and board member Rowan Brown, who is director of the National Mining Museum Scotland, visited senior civil servants in culture department of the Scottish government, as well as representatives from Creative Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS).

According to Taylor, the meeting with MGS covered recent developments around the national strategy for museums, which was published in March, and the transition of MGS into a national development body to take the strategy forward.

“This is a big year for Scottish Museums and the birth of the strategy and the development body has not been without difficulties,” said Taylor.

"The MA is the largest independent body representing the Scottish museums community and it is right and appropriate that we meet with the key players and let them have the views of our members.”

The meeting came at a crucial time for Scottish museums. MGS members abandoned a vote at the end of April on the organisation’s new constitution amid concerns about its proposed governance structure and transition from a membership organisation into a subscription body.

Members objected to a number of issues, including a perceived lack of accountability on the new board and the wider scope of the organisation's remit. MGS plans to hold two further discussion events with members on 15 and 17 May ahead of a second vote on 22 May.

According to Taylor, other meetings held during his visit addressed the role of Creative Scotland in relation to museums and collections and the content of culture secretary Fiona Hyslop’s keynote speech at the MA conference in November.

Taylor said. “It will be a big year for the MA working in Scotland, with the members’ meeting due in June in Glasgow and the MA conference in Edinburgh this November.”

Taylor will meet Hyslop this autumn ahead of the MA conference.