With a progressive attitude and international approach, the Museum Ideas conference in London has welcomed thousands of museum professionals from over 40 countries to share and advance the ideas shaping the future of museums.
Museum Ideas 2019, London
“A conference for mind expanding conversations and international networking”
– Martin Payne, The British Museum
Museum Ideas 2019 – the eighth edition of the annual London based conference – will explore social impact, new models of collaborative and socially engaged participatory practice, activism, progressive public engagement and much more – sharing pioneering ideas that will help support and activate change in museums around the world.
Each year the conference brings together a deliberately eclectic group of speakers and challenges them to share transformative ideas in concise, powerful talks. The aim is for delegates to be challenged by perspectives outside their own specialism and locality. We want delegates to be inspired by speakers who can spark change in unexpected ways. What unites the conference is the passion, commitment and enthusiasm of contributors along with their desire to share valuable expertise and experience.
We want Museum Ideas to be a genuinely creative experience for delegates. An event where you can feel both deeply moved and joyous, welcome and challenged. As Julia Pitts from the Science Museum, who took part in the 2018 conference as a delegate, commented: “We felt good/ bad/ awkward/ happy… that’s a good mix.” We couldn’t agree more.
Our aim is for Museum Ideas to be a different kind of conference experience – collaborative, independent and authentic, not too expensive, corporate or over-produced, and not promoting self-styed ‘gurus’, ‘influencers’ or ‘thought-leaders’. Our aim is to simply put on a welcoming, meaningful, and surprising conference for a wide range of people to meet up, make new connections and talk about thought-provoking and creative museum ideas in an informal and supportive environment.
For example, at the 2018 conference award-winning playwright Linda Brogan spoke movingly about the ‘Excavating The Reno’ community project in Manchester’s Moss Side. Bringing together archaeologists, artists, social historians and the public, the project explores the story of a soul and funk club that became a sanctuary from racism in the 1970s. Linda’s talk was extraordinary – frank and compelling.
This is what Sandra Shakespeare from Museum Detox had to say about it: “Excellent to see the work of Excavating The Reno – an absolutely remarkable fresh change to see such honesty at a museum conference where the tendency is always to showcase the great and the good. It was deeply moving to witness vulnerability and authenticity.” This was echoed by Dhikshana Pering from the London Transport Museum: “Still thinking about the Excavating The Reno project at Museum Ideas 2018 – hands down no conference session in my life has left such an impact… thank you.”
As well as actively choosing a wide range of speakers and topics, we also try to break down silo thinking and hierarchies. One simple way of doing this is by not including job titles on delegate badges or in the conference guide. It’s just a small thing but all it’s part of trying to produce a collaborative event where unexpected conversations can take place, and where everyone is made to feel equally valued and welcome.
A crucial part of trying to be a more inclusive conference is also working hard to keep the cost of tickets low. Budgets are tight – especially at smaller organisations and for those new to the museums sector. Having a higher ticket rate can mean excluding people who should be represented and who need to be there to help move the conversation forward in a meaningful way. Otherwise there is the risk of museum conferences becoming an echo chamber for those privileged enough to be able to attend.
So, in addition to providing a good number of fully funded places, Museum Ideas also offers subsidised tickets at £77 for students, emerging professionals, freelancers, those working at independent museums and smaller organisations, and for professionals often underrepresented at museum conferences. Our super early-bird rate of is £127 and there are additional multiple delegate discounts to make it easier to attend the conference alongside colleagues.
Museum Ideas 2019 takes place 10-12 September in London.
Speakers at previous editions of Museum Ideas include: Bonita Bennett, Director, District Six Museum, Cape Town, South Africa; Manal Ataya, Director General, Sharjah Museums – United Arab Emirates; Whitney Donhauser, Director, Museum of the City of New York; Elizabeth Cotton, Head of Human History, Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum – New Zealand; Chris Michaels, Digital Director, The National Gallery, London – UK; Katrina D. Lashley, Program Coordinator, Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum, Washington, D.C. – United States; Sree Sreenivasan, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC; Kaywin Feldman, Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Jonas Heide Smith, National Gallery of Denmark; Mark Miller, Tate; Robert Stein, Dallas Museum of Art; Silvia Filippini-Fantoni, Indianapolis Museum of Art; Maria Ribas, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona; Peter Gorgels, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Chris Michaels, National Gallery; Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy; Elizabeth Cotton, Auckland War Memorial Museum; Seb Chan, Cooper-Hewitt, NYC; Francesca Rosenberg, MoMA; Pille Runnel, Estonian Museum; JiaJia Fei, Jewish Museum, NYC; Ken Arnold, Medical Museion, Copenhagen.
“Museum Ideas is the place to be inspired, renewed and enthused by great ideas!” – Theresa Nicolson, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Register now for Museum Ideas 2019 – with fresh insights you can take directly back to your team, the events will add tremendous value to your current work and are an active investment in the future and what you choose to do next. Tickets for independent museums, emerging professionals, start-ups and freelancers £7. With additional multiple booking discounts, super early-bird tickets start at £87.