“See research as the start of something”

Takeaways from the Museum Association’s MP seminar on Getting to Know You: Using Visitor Data Intelligently at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, 20 September 2017.

Yesterday I spoke at this one-day conference which aimed to explore the different ways data can be used, from diversifying audiences and supporting fundraising to planning exhibitions and events.

My  topic was ‘Demystifying non-user consultation’, talking about how museums can undertake their own research with people and organisations who aren’t currently engaging with them or their services. My aim was to share practical tips and methods that cost very little and could be carried out by museum staff or volunteers. You can find links to links that I referred to in my presentation here.

Here are a few takeaways from some of the other presentations of the day, linked to Twitter accounts: Continue reading

Flintspiration inspiration

In 2015 the Norwich Historic Churches Trust (NHCT) committed to:

  • Playing a major role in Norwich’s tourism offer by presenting the Trust’s portfolio of churches and their architectural, historical and cultural significance in a way which is accessible, exciting and relevant;
  • Developing the Trust’s infrastructure and resources to enable it to deliver an extended programme of public benefits.

This led to a successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant of £68,400 to devise and deliver what became Flintspiration, a long weekend of events for all ages celebrating Norwich’s outstanding collection of medieval churches, their role in the city over the centuries and their importance as heritage assets, community and cultural venues and places of worship today. It took place on Saturday 29 April to Bank Holiday Monday 1 May 2017.  Continue reading

Non-user consultation programme

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.

Museum Freelance event success

I originally wrote this blog post about the first Museum Freelance event day for the London Museums Group. To find out more about the event it’s worth checking out the Storify capturing the day’s tweets that Marge Ainsley kindly did, and also her insightful reflections on the day.

Fellow freelancer Laura Crossley and I founded the Museum Freelance Network following a #museumhour chat I guest-hosted in the summer of 2016 on freelancing. It seemed there was an interest and demand for some kind of platform for freelancers working in and with museums to come together, learn from each other, share ideas, jobs and issues.

We began with the @MuseumFreelance Twitter account, #museumfreelance discussion hours on Twitter, a LinkedIn group (now with 350 members) and an orange logo with a teapot!

Fast forward 18 months and I’ve just run our first event, with 52 freelancers and people thinking of freelancing attending. Entitled Proactive, Empowered and Confident Freelancing, it aimed to plug a gap in the market by providing high quality, relevant and good value training and time for reflection, organised by freelancers for freelancers and covering some of the main topics that regularly come up in our Twitter discussions.  Continue reading

New event for museum freelancers, by museum freelancers

After many months of behind-the-scenes work I’m hugely excited that a pipe-dream of running an event for museum freelancers is finally coming to fruition.

I co-run the Museum Freelance network with Laura Crossley, which we started after we found there was appetite for a forum bringing together people who freelance in and for museums.

After 18 months of live Twitter conversations and a LinkedIn group for discussions with over 300 members, we are now holding our first actual event!

We’ve planned an insightful, valuable and practical day of training and networking, at London Canal Museum on Monday, 13 March 2017. The event is aimed at freelancers working across all disciplines in the museums and heritage sector who wish to access excellent yet affordable training that is tailored specifically to them. It will also be relevant to people considering embarking on a freelance career.  Continue reading