Just some of the organisations taking part in Museum Ideas this year

With a progressive attitude and international approach, the Museum Ideas conference in London has welcomed thousands of museum professionals from over 30 countries to explore the ideas shaping the future of museums.

Museum Ideas 2019 – Explore the ideas shaping the future of museums
Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 September, London

Book Your Ticket Today
This year we have seen the fastest uptake of tickets since the annual conference launched 8 years ago. Museum Ideas 2019 is now sold out

“A conference for mind expanding conversations and international networking”
– Martin Payne, The British Museum

Museum Ideas 2019 – the eighth edition of the annual international conference – will challenge the status quo, promote representation and collaborative cultural democracy, explore new models of socially engaged participatory practice and much more – sharing pioneering ideas that will help shape and support change in museums around the world. The conference will welcome delegates from 26 countries – from Brazil to Romania, Denmark to Australia, Canada to India.

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 inspired by perspectives outside their own specialism and locality. We want delegates to be challenged 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.

Museum Ideas 2019 speakers

2019 Speakers
Speakers this year include: Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, Smithsonian American Art Museum, United States; Joyoti Roy, CSMVS Museum, Mumbai, India; Nina Finigan, Auckland Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira, New Zealand; Ryan Jefferies, Science Gallery Melbourne, Australia; Masum Momaya, Open Society Foundations (former Smithsonian Institution and International Museum of Women); Abira Hussein, All Change; Aisling Serrant, Museum of London Docklands; Dan Hicks, University of Oxford; Martin Brandt Djupdræt, Den Gamle By, Denmark; Anna Hansen, Regional Museum, Kristianstad, Sweden; Emily Siddons, Museums Victoria, Australia; Lin Stafne-Pfisterer, National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Norway; Kati Price, Victoria & Albert Museum; Dafydd James, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales; Liam Wiseman, Bristol Old Vic; Kate Forde, Wellcome Collection; Clare Barlow, Wellcome Collection; Nicola Bird, Oxford University Museums; Dan Vo, LGBTQ Tours, V&A; Eilish Clohessy, Derby Museum and Art Gallery; Dani Parr, Almeida Theatre.

Conference Talks Include
Break the Wheel: Museums Challenge the Status Quo, Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, Head of Public Programs, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. As museum practitioners we can allow museums to be a tool of the establishment, the powered, even the oppressor. But through a reflective practice and a reimagining of our purpose, we can instead exercise the power of the museum towards challenging the status quo.

In Search of Power and Resistance in the Archive, Nina Finigan, Curator, Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, New Zealand. Power is at the centre of archival work: the power to retain, discard, and shape what is remembered and how. This presentation explores the various historic and contemporary ways archives and museums create, perpetuate and reinforce forms of hegemonic power.

The Future of Co-Curation in Museums, Joyoti Roy, Head of Strategy, CSMVS Museum, Mumbai, India. Museums are public institutions and a real and vital contact with the public can and should have many layers and reasons. This talk examines some key models of co-curation in both the UK and India and explores what they can learn from each other.

Multaka-Oxford: Meeting Point and Agency for Change, Nicola Bird, Community Engagement Officer, Oxford University Museums. This presentation highlights the unique role of museum collections in supporting people who are forced migrants settling in the UK. Multaka questions and challenges power dynamics in dominant discourse and approaches in museum practice.

Curating Justice by Courting Controversy, Masum Momaya, curator, writer and researcher. Although not always courted, controversy in museums can open up meaningful dialogue about difficult issues. Since museums are some of the very few non-commercial spaces where the public visit and engage, should museums actually do more to court controversy?

Museums, Networks & Active Memories, Emily Siddons, Producer, Exhibitions, Experience and Engagement, Museums Victoria, Australia. New and emerging approaches to the production and dissemination of cultural content are testing the definitional limits of what constitutes a museum. As platforms shift and morph with rapid fluidity, new models of museums are emerging that attempt to bridge the digital and physical divide and engage with all spaces in between.

What Museums Can Learn From the Theatre, Liam Wiseman, Relationship Manager, Museums, Arts Council England. Creating a miniature museum inside a working theatre is no easy feat, but that’s exactly what happened at Bristol Old Vic. Liam will share with you what he learned whilst working in a theatre environment, as well as what museums could be doing to become more theatrical.

Queer Eye in the Museum, Dan Vo, Project Coordinator, LGBTQ Tours, V&A. The award-winning LGBTQ tours at the V&A present non-binary and non-heteronormative narratives that explore a spectrum of gender and sexual identities through a selection of LGBTQ related objects. Dan led the research and will discuss how queer lives, culture and theory can be powerfully communicated through these tours.

“Museum Ideas is the place to be inspired, renewed and enthused by great ideas!”
– Theresa Nicolson, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Conference Venue
The Museum of London documents the history of London from prehistoric to modern times. The museum is located on London Wall and is a few minutes’ walk north of St Paul’s Cathedral, overlooking the remains of the Roman city wall and on the edge of the oldest part of London, now its main financial district. It is primarily concerned with the social history of London and its inhabitants throughout time. The museum is the largest urban history collection in the world, with more than six million objects. It welcomes more than one million visitors each year.

Event Dates
Wednesday 11—Thursday 12 September. The main conference day is Thursday and is designed so it can be attended as a standalone event. There is an additional day of pre-confernce talks on Wednesday but space is more limited.

Conference Chair
Tony Butler will be chairing Museum Ideas 2019. Tony has been Executive Director of Derby Museums since 2014. Derby Museums includes Derby Silk Mill, the site of the world’s first factory and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is currently in the midst of a £16.5 million redevelopment. Previously, Tony was director of the Museum of East Anglian Life for nine years where he repositioned the organisation as a social enterprise and led a major capital development programme. In 2011 he founded the Happy Museum Project, to create an international community of practice to explore how museums could contribute to a society in which well-being and environmental sustainability were its central values.

Widening Participation
This year over a quarter of tickets are either fully funded or were booked at the subsidised rate of £77. This rate was available for students, emerging professionals, freelancers, those working at smaller organisations or independent museums, and for professionals often underrepresented at museum conferences.

Environmental Responsibility
We recognise that all events, exhibitions and conferences have an environmental impact. In an attempt to help reduce our impact on the planet, this year we are making the default lunch options vegetarian and vegan, event banners and signage are made from recycled cardboard, delegate badges are printed on wildflower seeded paper which attendees can take home and grow, and conference bags are made in a more environmentally responsible way. We will also be making donations to Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and a charity which plants trees and protects woodlands.

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. .

Museum Ideas 2019 takes place 11-12 September in London.

“An inspirational conference! A coming together of museum minds from across the world – gaining insights, sharing ideas and making connections”
– Gillian Crumpton, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

Speakers at previous editions of Museum Ideas include: Bonita Bennett, District Six Museum, Cape Town, South Africa; Manal Ataya, Sharjah Museums, United Arab Emirates; Whitney Donhauser, Museum of the City of New York; Elizabeth Cotton, Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand; Chris Michaels, The National Gallery, London, UK; Katrina Lashley, 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; Seb Chan, Cooper-Hewitt, NYC; Francesca Rosenberg, MoMA; Pille Runnel, Estonian Museum; JiaJia Fei, Jewish Museum, NYC; Ken Arnold, Medical Museion, Copenhagen.

Museum Ideas 2019 is sponsored by

Discover more about the speakers, events, venues and more below:

Study Day and Workshops

“A packed globetrotting programme that gives a breadth of insight into museums that is not otherwise accessible – diverse and inspiring” – Susan Eskdale, Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton

Practical Workshops

We are currently in the process of putting together our 2019 workshop programme. We will send conference delegates full details of workshops as they become available. In the meantime, to give you a better idea of the kind of thing to expect, here are some of our previous pre-conference workshops and events:

Digital Engagement Seminar
• Leadership in a Digital World: Challenges and Opportunities – Tonya Nelson, UCL Museums and Collections
• Live Stream Tours – Giving Audiences the Remote Control – Jon Sleigh, Birmingham Museums
•  #ArchiveLottery – A Different Digital Engagement – Adam Corsini, Museum of London
•  How We Funnel Our Museums’ Personalities Through Our Own On Social Media – Russell Dornan, V&A Dundee
•  5 Things I’ve Learned Creating Digital Things For Kids – Sharna Jackson, director/writer/curator

Museum Activism Seminar
•  Claiming Space and Making Change: Activism, Art and Agency –  Adele Patrick, Glasgow Women’s Library
•  Never Going Underground: The Fight for LGBT+ Rights – Catherine O’Donnell, People’s History Museum, Manchester
•  Our Journey Establishing a Migration Museum for the UK – Emily Miller, Migration Museum Project
•  Activism, Homelessness and a New Kind of Museum – Jess Turtle and Matt Turtle, Museum of Homelessness

• All In Means All In: Democratising the Museum Environment – Bill Haley, Founding Partner, Haley Sharpe Design
• Digital Strategy for Museums: An Elegant Route To A Better Result – Alex Morrison, Founder and Managing Director, Cogapp
• Exploring New Museum Models for the 21st Century – Roger Walshe, Head of Programming, Cultural Innovations
• Building Community Through Storytelling – Nicole Emmenegger and Michael Hall, Historypin
• Museum Podcasting: How to Share Your Story and Reach New Audiences – Laura Sheeter and Ruth Barnes, Chalk & Blade
• Hands On Content Development: Script, Build and Test a Multimedia Tour – Marion McAuley, Lead Creative Editor, Imagineear
• Lessons From the Heart of the Chinese Museum Exhibition Design Industry – Matthew Jones, Lead Consultant China, Imagemakers
• Mobile Applications: Engaging Visitors with Immersive Experiences – Leifur Bjorn Bjornsson, Chief Technology Officer, Locatify

‘Collections and Communities’ Study Day at the National Maritime Museum

In 2018 we produced an exclusive ‘Collections and Communities’ Study Day at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, including sessions on ‘Working with Communities’ and ‘Transformational Change’ and special study tours of four new galleries and their new £12 million Conservation and Collections Centre. Over the past 4 years the Royal Museums Greenwich has been undertaking a dynamic journey in the development and delivery of the Endeavour Project. It has been working to facilitate historical, cultural and personal journeys through the collections in the development of four new galleries which will transform the visitor experience and new collections storage and conservation centre that will be open to the public. The galleries – which opened in September 2018 at the National Maritime Museum; Tudor and Stuart Seafarers, Polar Worlds, Pacific Encounters and Sea Things have been created to examine how women and men ventured beyond Britain’s shores to explore the ends of the earth in a quest for knowledge, riches, power and adventure from the late fifteenth century onwards. Visitors to the new galleries will not only discover how people and cultures encountered in the past were irrevocably changed by this contact, but also how Britain was and continues to be transformed by this process. By working with communities to unlock the full potential of the museums rich collections, the galleries will inspire and challenge new generations to set sail on their own voyages of imagination and understanding. The individual and collective voyages will highlight hidden histories and demonstrate contemporary relevance.

The Endeavour Project has created a sea change in the Museum – the journey has been a collaboration of staff, communities and designers. The outcomes include new approaches to community research, co-curation with the revised collection management processes needed and partnership working in the delivery of interpretation and programmes. This exclusive study day will showcase the process and outcomes of collaborative working and demonstrate how the legacy of the Museums own ‘voyage of exploration’ will impact on its future planning and facilitation of collections access. The day will comprise of a series of gallery tours and talks with an option for a group visit to the new Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre to view the new museum storage facility, learning and research spaces and conservation studios. The Endeavour Project is supported by Heritage Lottery Fund.


Exclusive tours of the London Mithraeum. The Roman Temple of Mithras, dating from the third century, nearly 1,800 years ago, has now been revealed in a unique reconstruction on the site of its original discovery in the heart of the City of London. The immersive temple reconstruction uses carefully directed lights, haze and sound to bring the temple’s remains to life, and to evoke the rituals and activities that took place within its cave-like walls. This memorable reconstruction marks a new direction for the interpretation and presentation of archaeological ruins. The project has taken ten years to complete and has been funded and created by Bloomberg, working closely with the City of London and a team of conservation specialists, in consultation with the expert team at MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology). The immersive display within the temple was created by an interdisciplinary team led by internationally-recognised design firm Local Projects.

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