Take your partners

Sophie Duncan, 07.03.2017
Museums meet universities in a new initiative
Partnerships with universities have a host of benefits for museums, from improved visibility to developing and diversifying audiences, enhancing collections use and and creating sustainable business models.

But finding the right partner can be a challenge, particularly if you are a small- or medium-sized museum.

Arts Council England’s (ACE) Museums Resilience Fund has funded the Museum University Partnership Initiative (MUPI), which aims to make this process easier through a series of networking events across England.

So what can you expect if you get involved?

MUPI Match events are one-day long, with active facilitation, drawing museum and university staff and volunteers together to develop potential partnership ideas.

The event concludes with an opportunity to pitch for “thinking funding”.

Based on research that suggests one of the challenges in forming effective partnerships is the lack of time to develop thinking, this fund offers a unique opportunity to bring the partners together to discuss and plan the work they would like to do together.

The MUPI pilot last year found that this format is an effective way to establish mutually beneficial partnerships.

For example, Berwick Museum worked with academics from Teeside University to study medieval skeletal remains and associated material within the collection and engage young people and amateur archaeologists with their collection.

There are nine regional events and two national events - one to unlock the research potential of Designated Collections, the other to encourage collaborations across regions. Everyone is encouraged to get involved.

In addition, the MUPI project will test out and develop a digital networking platform to broker and map partnerships; work with funders to decode the funding landscape; create resources to support others to adopt the MUPI Match events methodology; and deliver symposia to share learning.

Sophie Duncan is the deputy director of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement

Links and downloads

MUPI events and symposia