Participants in the second year of Transformers (c) Alex Nicholson-Evans

Transformers exceeds expectations, report finds

Patrick Steel, 27.04.2016
MA’s workforce initiative increases impact of participating museums
An independent evaluation of the second year of the Museums Association’s (MA) Transformers scheme, a workforce initiative aimed at people in mid-career looking to change the way they work, has found that the scheme exceeded participants’ expectations and increased the impact of participating museums’ work.

Atticus Research, an independent market research consultancy, also found that participants found Transformers gave them excellent mentoring and coaching, exposure to new thinking and ideas, peer support, a space to realise personal and professional strengths, and valuable connections outside their institution.

A total of 27 participants across England, Scotland and Wales took part in the second round of Transformers, which ran from July 2015 to March 2016, and was funded by the MA, Arts Council England, Museums and Galleries Scotland, and the Federation of Museums and Galleries Wales.

Participants were selected as recognising a commitment to exploring and challenging themselves as well as transforming their approach to their practice.

One participant told the evaluators: “My project has evolved over time, but Transformers has helped me make a massive difference and really led organisational change. This would not have happened otherwise.”

Another said: “The transformers programme has exceeded my expectations in all aspects. It has been transformative in terms of giving me the time and space I really need to reflect and consider the person I am at work, and the person I’d like to be.”

Participants found that the scheme increased their ability to engage with experimental ideas from within the museum sector, and increased their ability to “sell” the museum to partners.

And champions – senior staff members at participating museums who had agreed to support participants – also found that the scheme led to the development of more innovative practices at participating museums, enhanced their role at the heart of the community, and increased the impact of their work.

“We are delighted that this second year of Transformers has been such a success,” says Jessica Turtle, the MA’s project coordinator – Transformers.

“Our evaluation shows that the programme has improved further still, exceeding participants’ expectations.

“It has given our participants not only the opportunity to create change in their organisations but has also re-ignited their passion for the sector.

“We are also very pleased to discover that our alumni from year one are continuing to deliver values based change in their organisations, in some cases securing further funding to develop their projects.

“We are excited about the potential for Transformers to create a change-making network across the sector in the long term.

Sharon Heal, the MA’s director, says: “We are now fundraising across all four nations for a third, even more impactful version of Transformers, which will scale up the programme and support more people to deliver change for themselves and their organisations.

“This new iteration will bring the benefits of the programme, such as honing influencing skills and learning to advocate for a values-led approach, to a much wider pool of mid-career professionals.”

Links and downloads

Transformers evaluation summary (pdf)


Transformers case studies