Workshop 2

First Museums Association Diploma course at Liverpool Museum, 1935. Copyright NML. Reproduced with kind permission of the Museums Association

Navigating Museum Careers: Pathways, Training and Communities, 1850-Now

Co-hosted with the Centre for Design History, University of Brighton

December 4-5, 2023, 12-5pm GMT.


This online international conference brings academics and practitioners together to consider the past, present and future of museum work. The specific theme of the workshop focuses on careers, exploring training, networks, journeys and the interaction of individual careers with global and social challenges. Together, we will ask:

  • How have policies and processes of training, promotion and pathways through museum careers shaped the museum sector?
  • How have individuals and communities negotiated and challenged mainstream career paths?
  • What kinds of training – informal and formal – support the museum sector?
  • How are museum careers shaped?
  • How do museum career pathways produce particular competences, hierarchies and ways of working?

All welcome.

Please click HERE to book. For enquiries, please email Dr Claire Wintle at


Monday 4th December

12:00 (GMT)/7:00 (EST)/14:00 (EET) Welcome and Opening Remarks

12.15pm-1.45pm: Session 1: Training

  • How have various informal and formal training programmes shaped the sector over time?
  • What are the origins of these initiatives?
  • What are their characteristics? In what kinds of spaces have they emerged?
  • What are their limitations and possibilities?

‘The obstacle course’: The training of pioneering female museum directors Dr Laia Anguix-Vilches, Radboud University, The Netherlands

Shaping the sector: An examination of the interdependence of US conservation training and practice Anisha Gupta and Dr Joelle D.J. Wickens, University of Delaware, US

Norfolk Museums’ Teaching Museum Trainee Program Sarah Gore, Norfolk Museums, UK

Professional Development in the 21st Century Tamsin Russell, Museums Association, UK

1.45-2.15pm: Break

2.15pm-3.45pm: Session 2: Networks

  • What kinds of networks have emerged in support of museum careers over time, within and beyond the museum?
  • What are their origins and characteristics?
  • What role do networks play in developing museum careers and shaping the sector?
  • How have communities of support/practice negotiated and challenged mainstream career paths?

Breathing Space – Sustaining Highland Heritage Nicola Henderson and Helen Avenell, Museums and Heritage Highland, UK

“Self Help Is Obviously the Order of the Day”: Forging the UK Registrar Profession Stuart Bowes, University of Leeds and the Royal Armouries, UK

Establishing the Museum Ethnographers Group: Subject Specialist Networks and Professional Practice Dr Claire Wintle, University of Brighton, UK

TheMuseumsLab: The future of museums in both Africa and Europe? BeKuto waSirya a.k.a. Anthony Kalume, Diversity Lewes, UK

Because you (still) can’t eat prestige: Looking at PASTA MoMA for shared struggles and triumphs in U.S. Art Museums Amanda Tobin Ripley, Ohio State University, US

3.45-4.15pm: Break

4.15-5.00pm: Workshop Discussion (Part I)

Tuesday 5th December

12:00 (GMT)/7:00 (EST)/14:00 (EET): Welcome and Opening Remarks

12.15pm-1.45pm: Session 3: Career Journeys

  • How are museum careers shaped over time?
  • How do museum practitioners become ‘professionals’?
  • How can we understand and define museum careers?
  • How do museum career pathways produce particular competences, hierarchies and ways of working?

Establishing Museum Exhibition Design at the British Museum Kate Guy, University of Brighton, UK

Career Journeys of South African Museum Professionals Dr Qanita Lilla, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, Canada

Māori museology: Training, qualifications and museum practice in Aotearoa New Zealand Prof Conal McCarthy, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Museum Career Stories – Exploring Professional Journeys Dr Nuala Morse, University of Leicester, UK and David O’Brien, University of Manchester, UK

1.45-2.15pm: Break

2.15pm-3.45pm: Session 4: Global and Social Challenges

  • How have museum practitioners navigated global and social challenges throughout their careers?
  • How are professional identities shaped by personal and political beliefs?
  • How can museums support the people they work with (including employees, freelancers, artists, volunteers and communities) to navigate these challenges?

When do I take my shoes off in the museum? On capacity building and critical engagement for collections care in the southern Himalayas Dr Ayesha Fuentes, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK

The artist-museum encounter: Reclaiming decolonial and radical care practices Benazir Basauri Torres, Peru/Denmark

“Ready to deal with anything”: How public-facing staff navigate political conversations Laharee Mitra, University of Brighton, UK

Navigating a Museum Career through the Communist Past in Romania Delia Bran, University of Bucharest, Romania/Bucharest Municipality Museum

Through Medicine, Photography, and Archaeology: Chen Wanli (1892–1969) and the Making of a Museum Professional in Twentieth-Century China Dr Feng Schöneweiß, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz Max-Planck-Institut

3.45-4.10pm: Break

4.10-4.50pm: Workshop Discussion (Part II)

4.50-5.00pm: Concluding remarks