I’m really excited to start work with Jane Austen’s House Museum in Hampshire on a marketing strategy project. It’s part of a broader range of work funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Resilient Heritage grant, aimed at improving the resilience of the museum by auditing and improving several key areas of operations, one of which is marketing. The project kick-off also coincides beautifully with my current bookclub read which is Persuasion by Jane Austen!
It’s just six weeks to go until the third annual conference organised by freelancers (Marge Ainsley and me), for freelancers.
New for this year is a Manchester location, and a series of fringe and social events wrapping around the conference day itself.
But the purpose of the event remains the same. Firstly it’s an opportunity for freelancers working in the cultural sector (and those thinking about it) to:
- get together and get to know each other;
- share stories, tips and issues with each other in a safe and friendly space;
- learn from a range of interesting and inspiring speakers;
- spend time out of the office reflecting on and developing their business at an affordable event.
And secondly there are broader benefits:
- the event raises the profile of freelancers as a valuable and critical part of the workforce in the cultural sector;
- the event develops the skills and confidence of freelancers and consultants, who can thereby contribute more effectively to the sector;
- it’s an opportunity for the Museum Freelance team to better get to know our community and thereby cater more to their needs in the future.
Some of the feedback from last year’s event included:
“I thought this was the most useful conference I’ve ever attended. Everything was directly relevant to me, the speakers were inspirational and I got to meet great people. I look forward to coming again next year.”
“Brilliantly well organised. Great to meet new people. Valuable resource for the freelance community.”
“It was really enjoyable, and the delegates were really nice! It was lovely to feel part of a ‘team’!”
“Great to have a safe space to talk about issues that everyone understands without worrying what impression it gives to a potential client!”
50 freelancers have already booked on and we look forward to welcoming them and some more to the event in March. Hope to see you there? Book now to join us.
On Monday 19 November I’m speaking at the SHARE Museums East annual conference about Working with Freelancers – how museums can find, choose and brief freelancers and consultants and thereby increase the diversity of ideas, experiences and approaches on projects. I’ll also explain common pricing structures and budgets, and share tips on how museums can work with freelancers to get the most out of the relationship.
The talk will draw on a guide I wrote for SHARE earlier this year, so I’m linking to it here for anyone who wants a more in-depth read. I’ll be updating it in 2019 so am interested to hear any comments or additional questions you’d like added in.
I’ll also be running a Museum Freelance Network Marketplace stand in the conference breaks with fellow consultant Claire Adler, hoping to chat to anyone who works with or is interested in working with freelancers, and freelancers or anyone who is interested in freelancing.
I’m delighted to have started working with The Norris Museum in St Ives, Cambridgeshire on a new marketing strategy for the organisation. The work follows its Huntingdonshire’s Heritage project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund which has transformed the museum with an extension, a complete redisplay and increased and improved accessibility, learning and outreach.
It’s an opportunity to review and develop the museum’s marketing and communications to reflect the transformed space, and to broaden and deepen its engagement with its audiences, both current and new.
The work involves:
- undertaking a marketing audit
- facilitating a brand and vision workshop
- running a content marketing workshop
- working with the team of staff and volunteers
- creating a new marketing strategy and associated supported templates and tools.
Following the success of the first ever Museum Freelance event back in March about Proactive, Empowered and Confident Freelancing, I’m really excited to be organising the follow-up. This time the theme is Resilient Freelancing – ‘resilient’ is a word banded about so frequently in the culture sector, but we wanted to explore what it means for a freelancer. What makes a freelancer resilient? What makes there business resilient?
In what promises to be an inspiring and thought-provoking session, speakers and the topics they will explore include:
- Christopher Barnatt, Futurist, ExplainingTheFuture.com: key future challenges and opportunities that no museum freelancer will be able to ignore;
- Mike Ellis, Director, Thirty 8: the tools and techniques that are useful in helping freelancers to balance their working lives and ultimately find time to do things other than work;
- Elizabeth Power, Head of Learning, London Transport Museum: a client’s point of view about what clients look for in freelancers;
- Bridget McKenzie, Director, Flow Associates: how freelancers can be more effective in relating to others;
- Ben Matthews, Director, Montfort: ideas and inspiration to break the cycle of trading time for services delivered, create regular recurring work, and increase your value to your clients.
Marge Ainsley will also facilitate a series of bitesize talks from freelancers as they share what tools, tips and lessons have made them resilient, and an optional social session at the end of the day.
I’m delighted to be working with Ensemble Dance Co again, after our work together on Still in the City last year.
This year’s project involves working with dancer and dance-maker Hayley Matthews on Home Solo, a contemporary dance solo with live music which explores what it is and how it feels to be at home in your own skin. Continue reading
I’ve been appointed by the South East Museum Development Programme to run a non-user consultation project with four museums in the region.
The project will involve writing a plan for consultation with a non-user group for each museum, training and mentoring as the museums undertake the consultation, as well as producing a best practice guide to non-user consultation.
I’ll be working with:
- Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum, Swanwick
- Fordingbridge Museum, Fordingbridge.
- Jane Austen’s House Museum, Cawton, Alton
- St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington.
I have just been awarded a new piece of work, which promises to be an interesting project against a beautiful backdrop: developing a marketing strategy and action plan for ‘Great Malvern: Route to the Hills’. This Heritage Lottery Funded project aims to “unpeel the hidden assets of Malvern’s distinctive cultural, built and natural heritage for the benefit of visitors and local people, by developing a cohesive heritage ‘route’ around the town using a range of innovative and tailored interpretive techniques together with an activity programme to engage and inspire target audiences.” I’m looking forward to my first site visit and getting my teeth into the project in early 2016.
A new network for museum freelancers is now up and running – @museumfreelance with a live discussion 8-9pm the last Wednesday of every month with #museumfreelance on Twitter and a group on LinkedIn. They have come about as a result of discussions during a @museumhour Twitter chat I hosted back in August about museum freelancing.
My co-founder Laura Crossley and I hope these will become invaluable resources for anyone working with museums as a freelancer in the UK, with shared ideas, issues, contracts and the potential for lobbying as a group.
Marketing and communications consultant Christina Lister, who specialises in working with museums and heritage sites, has been announced as Runner-up in the National Freelancer of the Year Awards 2015, run by IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed.
The Awards were announced at a ceremony in London on National Freelancers’ Day on 12th November, where finalists working across the country from a huge variety of sectors attended. The awards are designed to recognise excellence in freelancing, and applicants were judged on the strength of their portfolio and their passion and commitment to freelancing. Continue reading