Gina Koutsika FMA

Case study
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Gina Koutsika, head of national and international, learning and engagement, Imperial War Museums

My teams and I look after cross-branch learning, digital learning, learning research and evaluation, national and international programmes and partnerships, as well as special projects such as War Story (contemporary collecting and programming), the Short Film Festival, Changing Times (outreach in prisons) and the First World War Centenary Partnership Programme (www.1914.org).

We work across branches and teams and we model collaboration, transparency, sharing, ownership of decisions and mistakes, reflective thinking and working for a common vision.

Museums are conduits of thoughts, ideas and possibilities. Since I remember myself, I have loved being in museums and galleries: getting lost amongst statues, scientific instruments and stuffed animals; imagining; sketching; making new friends and encountering new ideas; and since university I have contributed to their missions and programs either as a volunteer or a paid employee. Undertaking the FMA and entering the circle of advanced museum professionals was a natural thing to do.

All of the FMA criteria resonate with my professional ethos. Through practicing continuous learning and encouraging others to do the same, I share new findings, knowledge, skills and relationships with other inside and outside my organisation.

Learning leads to change and I have developed expertise in institutional change and in enabling cultural institutions and teams to reflect and reinvent ourselves, to develop sustainable partnerships and remain relevant to diverse communities.

The FMA process enabled me to contemplate my professional trajectory, especially what really matters to the cultural and educational sectors, my organisations, past and present, and to me personally.

Being an FMA has increased the responsibility I feel towards our sectors, our colleagues and our publics. It has increased my drive to advocate and influence; and to enable others to achieve their goals and dreams.

Anyone in museums with experience, skills and passions could benefit from undertaking the FMA as it will provide them with the impetus to reflect, review and focus on what is meaningful to them, their institutions and beyond.