With a progressive attitude and international outlook, the Museum Ideas conference in London has welcomed thousands of museum workers from over 30 countries to share the ideas shaping the future of museums.
Museum Ideas 2022, the eleventh edition of the annual event, will focus on the ideas that are crucial to creating surprising and remarkable museum experiences and support the people who are working to advance the necessary and long-overdue changes required in museums. Informal and independent, the conference is there to challenge the status quo and will promote new ways of thinking and doing and prioritise the changes needed for museums to become honest, ethical, and empathetic.
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 experience, specialism and locality. 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 — a conference where you can feel both deeply moved and joyous, welcome and challenged. Our aim is to provide a space to explore how museums can be reimagined as progressive, collaborative, and people focused organisations in a time of growing inequality, environmental emergency, and economic and political crisis.
First Speakers Announced
The 2022 conference will be chaired by Dan Hicks, Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford, and Curator of World Archaeology at Pitt Rivers Museum. Melanie Keen, Director of Wellcome Collection in London, will be speaking at the 2022 conference. Further speakers will be announced soon.
Over a quarter of Museum Ideas 2022 tickets are either free or were made available at the reduced rate of £97. This rate was available for museum workers who are often underrepresented at conferences, students, freelancers, those working at independent museums, and people new to the sector. All reduced rate tickets have now been allocated. Book standard rate tickets below:
At the 2018 conference award-winning playwright Linda Brogan spoke about the ‘Excavating The Reno’ community project in Manchester’s Moss Side. Bringing together archaeologists, artists, social historians and the public, the project explored the story of a soul and funk club that became a sanctuary from racism in the 1970s. Linda’s talk was 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 — hands down no conference session in my life has left such an impact”
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.”
Other highlights from previous editions of the conference have included ‘The Right to Remember’ by Bonita Bennett, Director of the District Six Museum in Cape Town; ‘A Year in Museums’ by Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC; ‘The Good of Being Different in a Time of Sameness’ by Mike Sarna, Royal Museums Greenwich; ‘Immersive Theatre in Museums’ by Peter Higgin, Director of Enrichment at immersive theatre company Punchdrunk; and ‘Talking to Strangers’ by Rosie Stanbury from Wellcome Collection.
Since the conference launched in 2012, Museum Ideas has featured speakers from South Africa, Argentina, India, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, and UK — and has welcomed delegates from over 30 countries.
Room to Think
Museum Ideas has a dedicated quiet space so delegates have the option to take a break away from the busy conference programme. We recognise that conference experiences can often feel more suited to outgoing and neurotypical people. Networking areas especially can often be noisy and potentially difficult places to navigate and 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, stressed, or experiencing sensory overload. The room can also be used as a place for reflection, meditation, contemplation or prayer. It is part of trying to ensure all delegates feel equally valued and welcome.
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. An informal post-conference social / drinks will take place in the London Wall Bar — just next to the Museum of London.
We recognise that all events have an environmental impact. To reduce waste (and help keep ticket prices down) we don’t provide lunch; all conference signage is made from recycled cardboard and is 100% recyclable; delegate badges are printed on flower seeded paper; and conference bags are made from recycled paper rather than using traditional cotton tote bags.
Thank you to the Museum Ideas sponsors. Some have been with the conference since it launched 11 years ago and others have joined the event along the way. Thank you to each of them for supporting the museum community and helping to share ideas. The Museum Ideas 2022 sponsors are: • Art Fund • Absolute Museum & Gallery Products • BECK • Cogapp • Designmap • Haley Sharpe Design • Locatify • Meyvaert • Opus Instruments • Squint/Opera • Vernon Systems