Museum Ideas 2021 takes place on Thursday 7 October 2021 at the Museum of London
“Museum Ideas is the best museum conference there is. It constantly pitches high and secures superb, relevant speakers, who cover a rich and wide range of topics from international perspectives. It offers food for thought and feeds the soul with engaging and inspiring conversation, networks and ideas” – Helen Whiteoak, National Portrait Gallery
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 2021 – the tenth edition of the annual conference – will explore how we can reimagine museums as ethical, community focused organisations in a time of growing social inequality, environmental emergency, and in the midst of the most extreme economic crisis the museums field has faced.
The conference will argue for representation, solidarity and social justice, exploring new models of collaborative and socially engaged participatory practice; anti-racism work in museums and the urgent work of dismantling structures that perpetuate racism; restitution, repatriation, and decolonisation; how museums can respond to climate change and ecological collapse; and building trust in co-production and creating equal partnerships for social justice. The 2021 programme will be inspired by the words of our 2019 keynote speaker Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell: “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.”
Booking Your Ticket
If you booked for the 2020 conference your ticket remains valid and has been transferred to the 2021 conference. In response to the financial problems coronavirus has caused to both individuals and organisations, all the remaining tickets for the 2021 conference are now available at our lower early-bird rate. There are also additional savings available for multiple tickets booked at the same time by the same organisation. As with our previous conferences, we made 25% of tickets available free or at a reduced rate for professionals often underrepresented at museum conferences.
There are now only 71 tickets available before Museum Ideas 2021 is sold out. Book your ticket by clicking the ‘select options’ button below or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you prefer to be invoiced.
Reduced Rate Tickets: A quarter of Museum Ideas 2021 tickets are either fully funded or were made available at the subsidised rate of £97. This rate was available for students, emerging professionals, freelancers, those working at smaller organisations and independent museums, and for professionals often underrepresented at museum conferences. A crucial part of being an inclusive and relevant event is trying to keep the cost of tickets low. Having a higher ticket rate means excluding people who should be represented and who need to be there to help move the conversation forward in a meaningful way. All the reduced rate tickets are sold out.
“Museum Ideas is a fantastic showcase for inspiring, creative projects and a great opportunity to meet and network with museum colleagues from across the globe. Looking forward to next year already!” – Lucy Morris, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
“A conference for mind expanding conversations and international networking with a platform for shared discussion” – Martin Payne, The British Museum
Museum Ideas Speakers
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 frank, honest and extraordinary. 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: “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.”
Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, Head of Public Programs at Smithsonian American Art Museum, opened the 2019 conference and set the agenda with her compelling talk ‘Break the Wheel: Museums Challenge the Status Quo’: “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.” Dr Lauren Vargas from the University of Leicester commented: “This may have been the best museum conference presentation I have ever witnessed – thank you for reminding museums of their role in challenging the status quo and how power is determined by relationship with social justice.”
Highlights from previous editions of the conference also include: The Right to Remember by Bonita Bennett, District Six Museum, Cape Town; Talking Trash by Alexandra Johnson, Science Museum; A Year in Museums by Sree Sreenivasan, Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Good of Being Different in a Time of Sameness by Mike Sarna, Royal Museums Greenwich; Museums as Vehicles of Social Change by Manal Ataya, Sharjah Museums; Immersive Theatre in Museums by Peter Higgin, Punchdrunk; and Talking to Strangers by Rosie Stanbury, Wellcome Collection.
The Museum Ideas conference has featured speakers from India, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, and England, Scotland and Wales.
We are currently confirming the speaker line-up for 2021…
“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
Environmental Responsibility: We recognise that all events, exhibitions and conferences have an environmental impact. In an attempt to reduce the environmental impact of Museum Ideas 2021 all lunch options will be vegetarian and vegan; all conference banners and signage will be made from recycled cardboard and will be 100% recyclable; delegate badges will be printed on flower seeded paper; and conference bags will be made from recycled paper rather than using traditional cotton tote bags. We will continue to look for further changes we can make to help reduce our environmental impact.
Room to Think: Museum Ideas 2021 will have a dedicated quiet space so delegates have the option to take a quiet break away from the busy conference programme. We recognise that conference experiences can often feel more suited to outgoing people. Lunch and networking areas especially can often be noisy and potentially difficult places to feel comfortable. We felt the addition of the dedicated quiet space goes some way to improving the conference experience for delegates who are feeling anxious or experiencing sensory overload. It is part of trying to ensure all delegates feel equally valued and welcome.
Widening Participation: A quarter of Museum Ideas 2021 tickets are either fully funded or were available at the subsidised rate of £97. This rate is available for students, emerging professionals, freelancers, those working at smaller organisations and independent museums, and for professionals often underrepresented at museum conferences. A crucial part of being an inclusive and relevant event is trying to keep the cost of tickets low. Having a higher ticket rate means excluding people who should be represented and who need to be there to help move the conversation forward in a meaningful way. In response to the financial problems coronavirus has caused to both individuals and organisations, all the remaining tickets for the 2021 conference are available at our lower early-bird rate. And there are additional savings available for multiple tickets booked at the same time by the same organisation.
“It was an impressive conference that was expertly curated to bring together voices from across the world to discuss the universal issues museums are addressing. I would highly recommend to colleagues and will definitely attend again in the future” – Laura Crean, Imperial War Museums