Focus groups to explore how class impacts on museum work

Patrick Steel, 14.03.2018
Research to focus on class identity, inequality, and social mobility in museums
If you work in or for museums then you can take part in focus group research exploring how class impacts on museum work.

Sam Evans, a PhD researcher at the Department for Organizational Psychology, Birkbeck, University of London, will be leading a series of focus groups at which participants will be asked to reflect on what it takes to enter and get on in the sector, how this differs across different roles, how this might have changed, and how class might impact on this.

In the first scoping phase of the research, it was found that museum work had become less secure but more specialist and diversified; that diversity schemes were often focused on the individual rather than the employer, and that class was important, yet difficult to define, see, or know how to measure.

Evans says: “Traditional class identities have become more difficult to see, and yet research shows that classed inequality is growing, social mobility is declining in the UK, and many professions are becoming less not more inclusive.

“Museums are an overlooked aspect of this workforce research, and yet museums play an important role in creating and reflecting back our culture. Many in the sector are trying hard to make museum work as accessible as possible, though recognise there are challenges.”

The Museums Association (MA) is hosting two of the focus groups, and is encouraging anyone interested to contact Evans.

“The MA is committed to diversifying the sector and is supporting research in this area,” says Tamsin Russell, the MA’s professional development officer. “We are particularly interested in social mobility. As a result we would encourage the sector to participate in this research.“

Focus groups: dates and locations

Thursday 5 April
Birkbeck Main Building
Room MAL 420, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HZ
6pm to 7.30pm
This focus group is a pilot, though data collected will still be used

Wednesday 11 April
Birkbeck Main Building
Room MAL 420, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HZ
6pm to 7.30pm

Thursday, 26 April
Museums Association Offices
42 Clerkenwell Close, London, EC1R 0AZ
6pm to 7.30pm

Friday 18 May
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH
2.30pm to 4pm

Wednesday, 23 May
Museums Association Offices
42 Clerkenwell Close, London, EC1R 0AZ
6pm to 7.30pm

Thursday 14 June
M Shed
Princes Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol, BS1 4RN
5.30pm to 7pm

An event in Manchester is also being planned.

Participants that feel class has mattered to their work in some way can also take part in a private interview, which can be conducted by email or face-to-face.

Both focus groups and interviews will be recorded but will remain confidential.

To take part, and for further information contact: sam.evans@bbk.ac.uk or visit museumofthemandus.wordpress.com

Comments