SAVE THE DATE: Explore the ideas shaping the future of museums at Museum Ideas 2024 on Thursday 10 October 2024
Discover how museums can be reimagined as co-produced, people-focussed, community-led organisations. An international programme of speakers will inspire you to push the boundaries of the museum experiences you create by building deeper connections, rethinking power and agency in the museum space, and reimagining the audience experience across digital, physical, and human interactions. Explore uniquely co-created projects with emotion, imagination and new possibilities and walk away from the conference with actionable ideas you can take back to your museum.
Sponsored by Art Fund, Museum Ideas 2024 takes place on 10 October and will be chaired by Dan Hicks, Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford and Curator of World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum. 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 the UK — and 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
Book Tickets: Click ‘Select options’ below to reserve your ticket today. The conference is always sold out so please book your ticket early to guarantee your place. Book with colleagues for multiple delegate discounts.
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Past Speaker Highlights
Past speakers have included Bonita Bennett, Director, District Six Museum, Cape Town, South Africa; Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC; Joyoti Roy, Head of Strategy, CSMVS Museum, Mumbai, India; Manal Ataya, Director General, Sharjah Museums, UAE; Kaywin Feldman, Director and President, Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, Head of Public Programs, Smithsonian American Art Museum; Esmé Ward, Director, Manchester Museum; Nina Finigan, Curator, Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, Aotearoa New Zealand; Maria Ribas, Head of Audience Development, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona; Winnie Lai, Curator, Learning and Interpretation, M+ Museum, Hong Kong; Christian Díaz and Romina Frontini, HABEMUS//, Bahía Blanca, Argentina; Ranmalie Jayawardana, Community Participation Lead, International Slavery Museum, Liverpool; Rachael Minott, Head of Participation, Birmingham Museums Trust; Aleema Gray, Collections Gallery Partnership Lead, Wellcome Collection, London; and Nick Merriman, Chief Executive, Horniman Museum and Gardens, London.
Speakers at the 2023 conference included Puawai Cairns, Director of Audience and Insight, Te Papa Tongarewa, Aotearoa – New Zealand; Jennifer Scott, Director and Chief Curator, Urban Civil Rights Museum, United States; Helen Arfvidsson, Curator of Global Contemporary Issues, National Museums of World Culture, Sweden; Afia Yeboah, Senior Producer: Community Partnerships and Participatory Practice, V&A East; and Khalil Thirlaway, Creative Producer: Community and Youth, Natural History Museum.
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.