Conference 2012 will take delegates out of their comfort zone

Geraldine Kendall, 20.06.2012
Session coordinator Nat Edwards says museum ideas will be put to the test
Delegates at the Museums Association Conference 2012 will have their preconceived ideas challenged during Museums 2020-themed sessions, according to coordinator Nat Edwards.

Museums 2020 is one of three themes that will set the tone for sessions at this year's conference. It will build on the MA's ongoing campaign to define the impacts museums could have in the near future.

Edwards, the director of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, said: “Museums 2020 is about creating a vision for the future of museums and, just as importantly, building the confidence to fight for it.

“We are going to ask some difficult questions of museums and we have recruited some great inquisitors to help us do it. As well as leading museum directors, we have some of the sharpest minds from the fields of broadcasting, community regeneration and civil rights to put museums to the question.”

Sessions that fall under the Museums 2020 theme include The Future is Now, which takes a look at how museums will make a difference to the life of people in 2020 – and features a surprise guest from the future.

Into the Dragon’s Den aims to put recent museum projects before a cut-throat panel of influential decision-makers from outside the sector, while The Lies Museums Tell promises to expose the truth behind the statement "handling objects cures all known ailments" and other fibs the sector tells itself about museums.

Edwards said: “It's not about jetpacks and hover cars - we can too often get carried away by the technology. Rather it's about impact. What difference do museums make to individuals, communities and the environment?

“It may at times take us out of our comfort zones but it is going to be great fun - and at the end, we will have a stronger case for the future of museums.”

The MA Conference & Exhibition 2012 takes place on Thursday 8 November and Friday 9 November at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, with an early-bird discount available to everyone who books before 30 August.

Click here to book your place