Transformers 2016-18

Transformers - the scheme for UK museum professionals - is expanding
Between March 2017 and March 2018, the Museums Association will deliver a major expansion in the highly successful Transformers: Radical Change in Museums professional development programme.

There are three programme strands:

•    Strand 1 –Transformers: Innovate - applications now closed
•    Strand 2 – Transformers: Influence - applications now closed
•    Strand 3 – Transformers: Diversify - applications now closed

Together, they will support museum professionals to develop innovative ways of working, to influence more effectively and to create and manage change for themselves, their colleagues and their organisations. 

Who is Transformers for?

Before submitting an application to any of the programmes, please ensure you have read the guidance notes to check that the programme is suitable for you. Freelancers are eligible to apply for Strands 2 and 3.

Innovate and Influence are open to applications across the UK, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. Diversify is only open to applicants from England, Wales and Scotland. Applicants must work in or with Accredited museums.

We are keen to  build a diverse cohort. As some general guidance, you will have a minimum of three years' working in or for museums, there is no upper limit.

Previous Transformers have self-defined 'mid-career' broadly, and their roles have ranged from project officers, curator, volunteer co-ordinators, to more senior leaders and managers.

Most importantly you will have a desire to try new ideas, generate change and have a committment to professional and sector development.

If you are earlier in your career please consider our Moving on Up conference.

What does it cost?

Strand 1 - Innovate and Strand 3 - Diversify are fully funded (including travel and residency accommodation). Strand 2 - Influence has a one-off fee of £100 - this includes membership for one year as well as attendance at events on the programme - for full details see the information on this strand below.

Transformers: Influence
Transformers: Influence is open to applicants from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and is open to freelancers.

Transformers: Influence is for 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.

The programme will include three energising and practical days, developed in partnership with the Paul Hamlyn Foundation:

  • two learning days with content drawn from the Transformers Toolkit of Leading Self and Impacting Others and the successful Our Museum programme resources. There are three different dates in various locations around the UK to choose from for each learning day.
  • a 'Festival of Change' which will be part of the Museums Association Annual Conference in November. Attendance will be optional, but there will be an opportunity to contribute to the festival activity, and ideas shared in the Infuence programme will create topical programming and interventions throughout the conference.

Participants will come away with ideas and practical tools to develop their own practice and how to initiate steps towards change.

Applications to this fund has now closed.

Transformers: Influence has a fee of £100 per participant. Successful applicants will be sent an invoice for the fee. This fee includes your Museums Association membership for one year (existing members will have their current membership extended by 12 months), and attendance at the learnig days.

Transformers: Diversify

Transformers: Diversify is open to applicants from England, Wales and Scotland and freelancers and requires between 7.5 and 9.5 days of contact time.

How nuanced and sophisticated is our idea of diversity? Are we able to fully recognise the meanings our space, collections, and locations hold, and apply this effectively to our activity? Or are we still working to generalist quotas? How much thinking of this kind around diversity is currently active and is it being applied to the way that we develop relationships with people outside and inside our organisations?

Transformers: Diversify is for people who believe that museums cannot achieve their objectives unless they are founded on equality, diversity and inclusion and want to embed this practice into their own and organisational practice.

Transformers: Diversify includes a residential event, which draws upon the core Transformers Toolkit of Leading Self and Impacting Others with an enhanced emphasis on the issues and challenges of supporting diversity and inclusion in practice in its broadest sense. By pooling ideas and working in small groups, participants will develop and deliver ideas, initiatives and/or experiences on the theme of “What if…?”  The resource will encourage innovative thinking to explore, experiment with and challenge convention in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion in museums.

The cohort will work collectively to determine priority areas and the most innovative responses to create lasting change. As part of this there will be the chance to pitch for micro-funding to realise some of the ideas for change. This might be a change-making project or personal development which contributes to new ways of working, or a mixture of both.

This strand also includes an Action Learning day 'Diversity and Me' and provides the opportunity to attend the Gearing up for Change and Our Museum in Action days featured in strand 2 - Influence.

Applications to this fund have now closed

In order to apply for Transformers: Diversify you will need to have a Vimeo link to a short video presentation. Please ensure you have this in place before you complete the application form.

Transformers: Innovate - application for this fund have now closed

Transformers: Innovate is for people who have an idea for change that they would like to test out. This strand has approximately 10 days of contact time and a focus on innovation and ideas pitching.

The Innovate cohort will receive full funding and extended support to develop, test and implement a radical change project over 12 months. This will include:
  • two residentials built around the Transformers Toolkit of Leading Self and Impacting Others
  • a Myers Briggs Type Index (MBTI) Assessment to support self-awareness and critical reflection
  • a chance to pitch for micro funding of £2,500 for professional development and/or project implementation
  • a project coach for the duration of the programme.
Notification of application decisions will be given by Monday 13 February 2017.

What’s next?

Once you have submitted your application form you may be contacted by the MA with any queries, or if we feel that one of the other strands would be better suited to you.

For Transformers: Innovate you will hear by 13 February 2017, for Transformers: Influence and Transformers: Diversify you will hear by 27 March 2017.

If you need any of this information in an alternative format or you have any queries, contact Katy Swift, Transformers Project Coordinator,

Funded by: