Jackie Kay (c) Denise Else

MA announces Glasgow 2016 keynotes

Simon Stephens, 18.05.2016
National poet for Scotland, Jackie Kay, to address conference
Jackie Kay, the national poet for Scotland, is among the keynote speakers at this year’s Museums Association (MA) Conference & Exhibition, which takes place in Glasgow on 7-9 November.

Kay, who was born and brought up in Scotland, was named the Scots Makar (national poet) in March.

At the MA conference she will read poems related to the event’s People and Places theme, taking in issues such as identity and storytelling.

Kay’s writing, which includes The Adoption Papers, Trumpet and Red Dust Road, has won numerous awards. She was awarded an MBE in 2006, and made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002.


Oonagh Aitken, the chief executive of Volunteering Matters, is another conference keynote.

Aitken will discuss the transformative power of volunteering and how it can help to maintain individual and community health and wellbeing and promote social inclusion.

Aitken began her career in teaching before working in management roles within the Education Directorate of Strathclyde Regional Council and holding senior posts in Glasgow City Council and Fife Council. Her work with the Local Government Association focused on improving children’s services and co-managing the Ageing Well programme.

Another keynote will be delivered by two representatives from the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Alexandre Fernandes and Luiz Alberto Oliveira will discuss how their museum, which opened last year, is built on the ethical pillars of sustainability and conviviality.


The museum, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, looks at how society is changing and how we might live in the future. The Museum of Tomorrow works closely with the deprived communities that live around it.


Our fourth keynote, a presidential address, will be given by David Fleming, the president of the Museums Association and the director of National Museums Liverpool (NML).

Fleming became the director of NML in 2001. Since his arrival he has supervised the completion of several major capital projects, including the £45m Into The Future project, which featured the refurbishment of the Walker Art Gallery and World Museum, and the opening of the International Slavery Museum. He recently oversaw the creation of the £74m Museum of Liverpool.

Under Fleming audiences at NML have quadrupled, rising from around 700,000 per year to more than 3.2 million.

Before arriving in Liverpool, Fleming was director of Tyne and Wear Museums for 11 years and prior to that he was principal keeper at Hull Museums.

His particular interests include museum management and leadership, city history museums, museum ethics, social inclusion and human rights.

Links and downloads

Museums Association Conference & Exhibition 2016