MA launches Collections 2030

Patrick Steel, 20.03.2018
Long-term view of purpose and use of collections
The Museums Association (MA) is today launching Collections 2030, a major research project looking at the long-term purpose, use and management of museum collections.

The research will be guided by two main themes: the culture of collections - how collections can be used and what we think they are for - and infrastructure - what we need in place to make our collections effective.

Building on recent reports such as the Museums Taskforce, Mendoza Review, Culture is Digital, and Why Collect?, the research will look at changes to museums and wider society and examine how they will impact on collections use and management.

A reference group, made up of sector organisations, will act as a critical friend, while a steering group of museum professionals will determine the direction of the research.

The reference and steering groups had their inaugural meetings earlier this year and will be meeting again over the spring and summer.

The research will initially see a series of one-on-one meetings with people involved with collections around the UK. A wider consultation with the sector will also take place this year, including an online consultation and a series of workshops.

The first workshop will take place at the Ulster Museum in Belfast on 18 April as part of the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund Network Day.

“This is an exciting research project that aims to articulate a long-term view of the purpose and use of collections and how we manage them over the next decade,” says Alistair Brown, the MA’s policy officer. “We want to make sure there is a broad range of views heard in the research and we will be consulting people who work in museums and beyond later this year.

“I look forward to hearing views from the sector and beyond about how we might best manage and use our collections in the future.”

The reference group includes Arts Council England, Museums Galleries Scotland, Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales, the Art Fund, the National Museum Directors Council, the Association of Independent Museums, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Collections Trust, the Northern Ireland Museums Council, and the Museums Development Network.

The steering group includes Gillian Findlay, the curatorial and engagement manager at Edinburgh Museum and Galleries, Sally Macdonald, the director of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, Owain Rhys, the community engagement and participation manager at National Museum Wales, Simon Cane, the director of public and cultural engagement at UCL Culture, and Steve Miller, the head of Norfolk Museums Service.


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Paul Webb
18.06.2018, 10:19
A reference group made up of sector organisations and a steering group of museum professionals sounds very inward facing especially in times when external advocacy is fundamental to museum survival. Was consideration given to involving groups such as LGA, NHS or Universities UK?
Timothy Ambrose
Principal, Timothy Ambrose Consulting
22.03.2018, 14:43
This is an exciting and much-needed research project and I look forward to seeing further details of the research design and the consultation programme.
I very much hope that the international context within which collections are being developed, used and managed in the UK will be considered as part of the research process. It might be helpful if the reference group were to include ICOM UK as a link to ICOM's international and national committees for this purpose.