A photo from the London Transport Museum's #JourneyToPride project. One of the museum's documentary curators, Ellie Miles, is speaking about the ethics of contemporary collection at the MA's Empower Your Collections conference

Discover how to make your collection empowering, relevant and dynamic

Rebecca Atkinson, 28.11.2019
One-day conference to share examples of collections practice with a social impact
The Museums Association (MA) is holding a one-day conference sharing examples of empowering, relevant and dynamic collections practice – from contemporary collecting, digital engagement and disposal to co-production and decolonisation.

Empower Your Collections: Creating Dynamic and Relevant Museums takes place on 3 February at Nottingham Contemporary. Structured around three key themes – Empowering, Dynamic and Relevant – the conference includes case studies and provocations, as well as opportunities for discussion, personal reflection and peer-to-peer support.

The conference follows on from the publication of the MA’s Empowering Collections report in April, which made 11 recommendations, including a culture change in collections practice.

Speakers under the Empowering theme:

  • Ellie Miles, a documentary curator at London Transport Museum, explores some of the ethical considerations around contemporary collecting.
  • Kelly Foster, a Wikipedian-in-residence for the Making African Connections project, discusses digital repatriation as a strand of decolonial practice.
  • Rebecca Machin, the curator of natural sciences at Leeds Museums and Galleries, looks at how natural science collections can be used to explore contemporary issues.

Speakers under the Dynamic theme:

  • Anna Rhodes, the curator and collections manager at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, shares its approach to a major rationalisation project.
  • Kathleen Lawther, a curatorial consultant, discusses documentation as a tool for access.
  • Kevin Gosling, the chief executive of the Collections Trust, looks at dynamic collections management and how can museums can better capture and use collections data.

Speakers under the Relevant theme:

  • Catherine Ross and Lynda-Louise Burrell, the founder and creative director of MuseumAnd, share how they are working with museum collections to commemorate and celebrate Caribbean stories.
  • Gemma Ashby, a project co-ordinator at Tyne & Wear Museums & Archives, reflects on how the lessons from the participatory Women of Tyneside project are being embedded into the organisation.
  • A member of the curatorial team at Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales) discusses how its community engagement work and the Empowering Collections report are shaping collections practice at the organisation.

The conference is chaired by Simon Brown, the curator of collections at Newstead Abbey, a project curator at the National Justice Museum and MA board member.

Sarah Briggs, the MA’s collections development officer, will hold one-on-one Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund surgeries during the day, and Sharon Heal, the director of the MA, will share the association’s next areas of focus following the Empowering Collections report.

With Benevolent Fund funding the Museums Association has 10 free places available, focused on the following: ethnicity, disability, socio-economic status and LGBTQ.
Click here to complete the Events Inclusive Place Request Form