Last chance to propose a session for the MA’s 2017 conference in Manchester

Patrick Steel, 21.02.2017
Proposals welcomed from the sector and beyond
Time is running out to propose a session for the Museums Association’s (MA) Annual Conference and Exhibition in Manchester on 16-18 November.

The MA is looking for proposals from anyone working in museums, galleries and heritage in the UK, but is also keen to hear from people outside the sector or outside the UK who can provide alternative perspectives.

There are three themes for this year’s conference:

Audiences: how can museums expand and deepen their relationship with the public in the context of a growing atmosphere of intolerance, mistrust and division following last year’s Brexit vote and the resulting political turmoil.

What role can museums play in healing some of society’s divisions and how should they reflect contemporary issues such as poverty, climate change and globalisation in their programming? And how can museums reach out to those people who do not currently engage with museums?

Collections: how can collections be used to inspire and engage communities and make a difference to people’s lives? How can museums involve audiences in interpreting collections and sharing knowledge about them? How can digital technology help increase engagement with collections and how should the sector approach issues such as collecting, storage and disposal?

Workforce: what will the museum professional of the future look like and what knowledge and experience will they need? What needs to change in areas such as leadership, diversity and skills development for the sector to face the challenges ahead?

“If you think you have a proposal that might be of interest to our UK and international delegates at conference this year then we would like to hear from you,” says Simon Stephens, the MA’s head of publications and events.

“We are in a period of huge political, economic and environmental change.

“We are looking for proposals that focus on how we can respond to the challenges all this upheaval is creating, whether it is related to our relationships with audiences, funders or government.

“We also want proposals that reflect the radical past of north-west England, and also its current dynamism and ambition.

“And we are keen to see proposals that contain new thinking and innovative ideas. We want suggestions that are bold and thought-provoking.

“If you have a good idea for a session that doesn’t tally with the themes then please still get in touch. Not all sessions have to fall under the three themes, but they are a good indication of some of the subjects that we are interested in this year.”

The deadline for session proposals is 1 March.

Links and downloads

Session proposal form

Session proposal guidance notes (pdf)