Participants in Transformers: Diversify 2017

MA to develop Framework for Participatory Practice in Museums

Patrick Steel, 18.07.2018
Toolkit to support the sector to deliver participatory and inclusive practice
The Museums Association (MA) is developing a toolkit to support the sector to deliver more effective participatory and inclusive practice, in partnership with and funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

A Framework for Participatory Practice in Museums will form part of the toolkit for Transformers: Influence and will be launched to the sector at MA’s annual conference and exhibition in Belfast in November.

“Participatory practice must start with a genuinely committed workforce, equipped with the skills and values to make lasting change,” says Sharon Heal, the MA’s director. “This framework will offer individuals and organisations the chance to benchmark themselves and set clear, achievable goals.’

Additional funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation will support the MA to work on an inclusion strategy for museums, informed by the learning from Transformers: Diversify in 2017.

One key piece of learning from the programme was that to create genuinely inclusive museums, the sector would benefit from some structured development that goes beyond circular discussions and project-based approaches to “diversifying” museums.

In summer 2018, the MA will publish a paper, co-authored by Diversify alumni, which addresses issues of allyship, power and change in museums. It will then work with Transformers alumni to co-produce actions for more inclusive museums.

“There is a rapid evolution happening regarding matters of diversity, equality and inclusion in museums,” says Jess Turtle, the MA’s inclusion manager. “The MA is delighted to be able to work collaboratively with Transformers alumni to push thinking and continue to create opportunities for further change in the sector in 2018 and beyond.”

Moira Sinclair, the chief executive of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, says: “There is a growing realisation that the status quo cannot continue - a transformation is needed to make sure museums feel genuinely open and relevant to the people they serve and the communities in which they are sited.

“PHF’s work with museums has demonstrated the need for fresh approaches and a change in organisational culture and mindset - we hope the Transformers alumni will be catalysts, challenging themselves and their peers to think differently and to bring in a range of voices and experiences to enrich the institutions and their work in the future.”

The MA's Transformers: Influence programme is aimed at people who believe in the social power of museums and who want to learn more about developing active partnerships within their communities, with the ambition of affecting the museum sector more widely.

Transformers: Influence is open for applications until 23 July.

Links and downloads

Transformers: Influence