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Museum Ideas 2022 Conference — 6 October 2022

Museum Ideas 2022 speakers

Explore the ideas shaping the future of museums. Join us at Museum Ideas 2022 to discover how museums can be reimagined as progressive, collaborative, and people-focussed organisations in a time of growing inequality, environmental emergency and political crisis.

Conference speakers include Aleema Gray, Collections Gallery Partnership Lead, Wellcome Collection, London; Rachael Minott, Head of Participation, Birmingham Museums Trust; Dr Ranmalie Jayawardana, Community Participation Lead, International Slavery Museum, Liverpool; Esmé Ward, Director, Manchester Museum; Carol King, Director of Programmes, Black Country Living Museum, West Midlands; Thomas Procter-Legg, Head Teacher, The Iffley Academy; and Miranda Millward, Arts Engagement Officer, Oxford University Gardens, Libraries and Museums; and Dr Nick Merriman, Chief Executive and Director of Content, Horniman Museum and Gardens, London.

The conference will be chaired by Dan Hicks, Professor of Contemporary Archaeology, University of Oxford, and curator, Pitt Rivers Museum

Book now to guarantee your place and join colleagues from Tate, V&A, National Museums of Scotland, National Museum Wales, Science Museum, Historic Royal Palaces, The National Gallery, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, King’s College London, Leicester Museums, Oxford University Museums, British Museum, South West Heritage Trust, Brooklands Museum, National Trust, Royal Museums Greenwich, National Portrait Gallery, National Museums Liverpool, and many others.

Tickets: The conference takes place on 6th October at the Museum of London. Click ‘Select options’ below to reserve tickets. Book with colleagues for multiple delegate discounts — tickets available on a sliding scale from £137 per person. Book your ticket online below or email if you prefer to be invoiced.

Now in its eleventh year, the Museum Ideas conference has welcomed thousands of museum workers from over 30 countries. Each year the conference brings together speakers to share transformative ideas in concise, powerful talks. What unites the conference is the passion, commitment and enthusiasm of contributors along with their desire to share valuable expertise and experience.

“Museum Ideas is the best museum conference. It secures superb, relevant speakers, who cover a rich and wide range of topics. It offers food for thought and feeds the soul with engaging and inspiring conversation, networks and ideas” — Helen Whiteoak, Head of Participation, National Portrait Gallery, London

“A packed programme with a breadth of insight into museums that is not otherwise accessible – diverse and inspiring” — Susan Eskdale, Lead for Community Engagement, Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton

“An impressive conference, expertly curated to bring together voices from across the world. I would highly recommend to colleagues and will definitely attend again in the future” — Laura Crean, Assistant Director, Strategy and Governance, Imperial War Museums

2022 Speakers

Aleema Gray is a Jamaican curator, researcher and historian based in London. Aleema’s work documents Black history in Britain through the perspective of lived experiences. Her research is driven by a concern for more historically contingent ways of understanding the present, especially in relation to notions of belonging, memory, and contested heritage. Aleema is currently the Collections Gallery Partnership Lead at Wellcome Collection and is completing her PhD entitled ‘Bun Babylon’ at the University of Warwick. Previously, Aleema was the Community History Curator at the Museum of London and co-founder of the Young Historians Project.

Rachael Minott is a Jamaican-born artist, curator and researcher. She is currently joint Head of Participation at Birmingham Museums Trust and joint Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the National Archives alongside work as a trustee of the Museum of Homelessness. Previously, Rachael has been chair of the Decolonising Guidance Working Group for the Museums Association, and co-author of ‘Support Decolonisation in Museums, 2021’; Curator of Anthropology with a focus on Social Practice at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, researcher and co-curator of the exhibitions The Past is Now: Birmingham and the British Empire (2017) and Within and Without: Body Image and the Self (2018) with Birmingham Museums Trust. As an artist she has exhibited in the 4th Ghetto Biennale in Port au Prince, Haiti 2015 and the Jamaica Biennial 2017 and in her solo exhibition Thinking about Jamaica, Willesden Gallery 2019.

Esmé Ward is Director of Manchester Museum, the UK’s largest university museum, where she is leading a transformative project to build the world’s most inclusive, imaginative and caring museum. Esmé is Professor of Heritage Futures at the University of Manchester, a Clore Fellow and Culture Lead for the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub, and is chair of the National Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance. She leads cross-sector collaboration with citizens and communities across the city to shape the museum they most need, with a mission to build understanding between cultures and a more sustainable world.

Ranmalie Jayawardana is a co-production and storytelling specialist whose past work spans Belfast, Warsaw and Colombo. She is currently the Community Participation Lead at the International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum in Liverpool, designing and delivering an ambitious strategy to redevelop both sites with communities most affected by the project’s themes. Ranmalie explored colonialism, insecurity and violence for her PhD in Social Anthropology and continues to advocate for intersectional approaches to poverty alleviation as trustee of Good Company.

Carol King is the Director of Programmes at the Black Country Living Museum, an award-winning open-air museum that tells the story of one of the first industrialised landscapes in Britain. Carol leads the museum’s £30 million project Forging Ahead, the single largest development in the museum’s history, which will see the museum build a 1940s, 50s and 60s town and industrial area. Carol previously managed the National Civil War Centre, in Newark, Nottinghamshire, and has held a number of engagement and participation roles in museums in London and the Midlands.

Tom Procter-Legg is the Head Teacher of The Iffley Academy, a special school in Oxford, part of The Gallery Trust. He has over a decade of experience in special education and has a background in the Arts, having completed a Fine Art Degree at Chelsea. The Iffley Academy has been recognised by Ofsted as Outstanding on multiple occasions and also holds the ArtsMark Platinum Award, the National Autistic Society Advanced Status and is a Registered Restorative Organisation. Tom is known for his work on embedding the creative arts sector within education and for his work on restorative leadership. He has recently completed an MA in Education and Social Justice at Lancaster University and has published academic work in this field.

Miranda Millward is an artist and arts educator/facilitator. Having initially trained in Fine Art at The Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University, Miranda has over 20 years’ experience working with young people and cultural organisations. An experienced project manager, Miranda is currently Arts Engagement Officer for Oxford University Gardens, Libraries and Museums. Miranda’s focus is on building person-centred relationships with young people with special educational needs and disabilities including those with social, emotional, and mental health issues in order that cultural organisations can better meet their needs.

Nick Merriman is Chief Executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London. From 2006–2018, Nick was the Director of the Manchester Museum. Prior to moving to Manchester, Nick was Director of Museums and Collections, and Reader in Museum Studies, at University College London, for eight years. Nick began his career at the Museum of London in 1986, as Curator of Prehistory and subsequently Head of the Department of Early London History and Collections. He studied archaeology at Cambridge University, and his PhD, on widening participation in museums, was published as ‘Beyond The Glass Case’.

Past Speaker Highlights
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.

Widening Participation
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 systemically excluded from conferences, students, freelancers, those working at independent museums, and people new to the sector. All reduced rate tickets have now been allocated and over half of all tickets have now been booked.

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.

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. An informal post-conference social / drinks will take place in the London Wall Bar — just next to the Museum of London.

Environmental Responsibility
To reduce waste we don’t provide lunch; all conference signage is made from recycled cardboard and is 100% recyclable; and conference bags are made from recycled paper rather than using traditional cotton tote bags.

Conference Sponsors
Art Fund • Absolute Museum & Gallery Products • BECK • Cogapp • Designmap • Haley Sharpe Design • Locatify • Meyvaert • Opus Instruments • Squint/Opera • Vernon Systems

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