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Museum Ideas 2019 – Explore the Ideas Shaping the Future of Museums

© Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC. Cover image of issue 18 of Museum-iD magazine

Explore, share and advance the ideas shaping the future of museums

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

Museum Ideas 2019, Wed 11 and Thurs 12 September, London. This year we have seen the fastest uptake of tickets since the event launched 8 years ago. The conference is now sold out. Find out more and book your place today.

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

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

Museum Ideas 2019 – the eighth edition of the annual London-based international conference – will explore new models of collaborative and socially engaged participatory practice, progressive public engagement, social impact and much more – sharing pioneering ideas that will help shape and support 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.

Museum Ideas 2019 speakers

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.

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

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, friendly 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, honest 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 and varied range of speakers and topics, we also try to break down hierarchies and silo thinking. 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 accessible and 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 may 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, we made a commitment to ensure a quarter of all 2019 conference tickets were either fully funded or available at the subsidised rate of £77. This subsidised rate was available for students, emerging professionals, freelancers, those working at independent museums and smaller organisations, and for professionals often underrepresented at museum conferences. This new initiative proved popular and all these tickets have now been allocated and reserved. All the early-bird tickets have also been booked in record time. Standard rate tickets are £197 and there are multiple delegate discounts to make it easier to attend the conference alongside colleagues.

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

Museum Ideas 2019 is sponsored by

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