First MA members' meeting held in Wales

Rebecca Atkinson, 22.07.2011
The Museums Association (MA) held its first members’ meeting in Cardiff yesterday to meet with members and discuss issues relating to the museum community in Wales.

Hosted by the Amgueddfa cymru (National Museum Wales), the free event saw 38 MA members and members of staff meet to discuss the museum community in Wales and its relationship with the MA.

The day was chaired by Sally MacDonald, an MA board member and director of museums, collections and public engagement at University College London.

She told attendees that the new MA board was focused on the needs of members and put these at the top of its forward plan. “Today is about listening to what you think we should be doing and networking with MA staff and each other.”

The event started with three group discussions about advocacy, new ways of work and the Welsh museum strategy.

David Anderson, director-general of National Museum Wales and a member of the MA board, then gave a presentation on the role of the national museum and the wider museum community in Wales, and the importance of culture as a “devolved responsibility”.  

He said: “Most London-based, UK-wide organisations are concerned with English politics, policies, funding and structures – therefore to say they are UK-wide is an assertion of control. The MA, for me, is the exception. It is the only museum body that operates with a sense of UK in the present reality of devolution.”

Carol Whittaker, museums development adviser at CyMAL: Museums Archives and Libraries Wales, also gave a presentation about the importance of partnerships and closer working in Wales.

There was then a panel discussion with Anderson and Whittaker as well as Mark Taylor, director of the MA, Rachael Rogers, president of the Welsh Museums Federation, and Barbara Bartl, the MA Wales representative.

In the afternoon, members attended group discussions on the MA and its activities, including Museums Journal and Museum Practice; financially-motivated disposals; and the MA’s work for museums and museum professionals in Wales.

Sally Colvin (nee Cross), collections coordinator at the MA, gave a presentation on collections knowledge, including an Effective Collections project in Wales.

The day ended with another panel discussion facilitated by MA members of staff, which saw attendees given the opportunity to ask questions about the MA and its work in Wales and the UK as a whole.

Mark Taylor said: "The MA wants to be more in touch with our members' needs and concerns, and we think getting out and meeting people is the best way to do this."

The next members' meeting will be held in Leeds in September. More details to follow soon.

MA Conference & Exhibition

The Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales offers grants for training and conferences, and is encouraging museum professionals to Wales to apply for help covering the cost of attending the MA Conference & Exhibition in Brighton on 3 and 4 October.

For more information and to apply, please email John Marjoram, development officer for the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales:

Click here for more about the MA Conference & Exhibition