Janita Bagshawe in Q&A ahead of MA conference

Geraldine Kendall, 27.09.2011
Bagshawe coordinating sessions on innovation, creativity and crisis
Janita Bagshawe, head of Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton & Hove, led a Twitter Q&A yesterday inspired by her upcoming sessions at the Museums Association (MA) Conference and Exhibition 2011.

Bagshawe is coordinating a number of conference sessions under the theme of innovation, creativity and crisis at the MA conference, which takes place next week in Brighton.

One takes a look at historic house interpretation, with case studies on the National Trust and Brighton’s Royal Pavilion, while another asks how museums can ‘sweat’ their assets and collections to survive tough economic times.

A third session poses the question of whether science collections in their present form are an endangered species, and a further workshop entitled Beyond white cubes and black boxes aims to stimulate fresh ideas about object presentation.

During yesterday's Q&A, participants asked Bagshawe questions on everything from making money out of digital assets to the impact of the environmental agenda on natural history collections.

In response to the former, she said: “Initially, you need to identify images that are of popular interest, and get them out on relevant channels. That could be Flickr or Facebook, but could also be a museum’s website or a digital asset management system.”

Regarding natural history collections, she said: “They’ve always been valuable. But the current environmental agendas particularly relating to sustainability mean that they are valuable in so far as they help us understand the impact of society on the natural world.”

Another participant asked Bagshawe about the biggest challenge currently facing women leaders in the cultural sector. She replied:  “[The] current crisis shouldn’t be used as an excuse to turn back the clock on equalities. There could be a threat in closure of workplace nurseries, less flexible working.

“I’d also say that we have to use this as an opportunity to be creative, and not just negative. When the conference was in Brighton in 1911, the press warned of invading suffragettes.”

To read a full transcript of the Twitter Q&A session, click here

The MA Conference and Exhibition 2011 runs 3-4 October at the Brighton Centre, Brighton.

For more information and to book your place, click here

Sessions on innovation, creativity and crisis

Monday 3 October

Are science collections an endangered species?

Beyond white cubes and black boxes

Tuesday 4 October

Innovative historic house interpretation

Adaptation and commercialisation: working our assets