Colin Mulberg AMA

Director of Colin Mulberg Consulting
I run Colin Mulberg Consulting, which specialises in improving the visitor experience for museums, galleries, historic properties and commercial sites.

Though I have worked in museums for more 20 years, I saw the Associateship of the Museums Association (AMA) scheme as a great way to think about the future and the long-term direction of my work.

The AMA structure was particularly useful as a means to focus on multi-year planning cycles, defining/checking delivery and changing direction when necessary.

The key for me was using the scheme as a reason to experiment and investigate new areas and approaches. It is tempting to just focus on doing what it takes to pass, but this is a dull way to spend the time.

More interesting is to try things out, even if they do not give immediate benefits. For example, I spent time studying the visitor experience outside the museum and heritage sector. From this, I have a wide range of approaches that clients can adapt for their own museums to make things better for visitors.

Access to a mentor is extremely valuable and something to use to the full. It is a wonderful opportunity to gain from accumulated experience, knowledge and ideas. My mentor also ran a consultancy, so was aware of some of the issues that I faced. I know this type of advice would be extremely expensive in the commercial sector, yet it is free as part of the AMA.

The AMA scheme is a useful tool for pushing yourself to a higher level. My mentor challenged me to use my design background to come up with ways of communicating the visitor experience more clearly to clients.

As part of my continuing professional development activities, I researched infographics and attended a masterclass at the Guardian to explore different ways of analysing and presenting information and data. I now use these techniques on different projects to create graphics to explain what is happening to visitors.
The AMA is really useful as a driver for change, yet ultimately this has to come from the individual. 

You get out of the AMA what you put in. It is the process that is the long-term reward and the award at the end is just recognition of the journey.