Archive: Workshop 2 call for participation (now closed)

group of students watching and note taking during demonstration involving taxidermied Australian animals
First Museums Association Diploma course at Liverpool Museum, 1935. Copyright NML. Reproduced with kind permission of the Museums Association

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

December 4-5, 2023, Online, University of Brighton

Calls are now open for participation the second workshop in the ‘Making Museum Professionals, 1850-Present’ project. How do museum professionals and museum professions come into being? How has this changed over time? What can we do to ensure fairer, more inclusive futures?

In this workshop, we will focus on how museum workers move through their careers. What kinds of pathways are possible? What kinds of training have dominated museum practice? What networks of support are required?

We are currently seeking proposals for short presentations from museum practitioners and scholars working on museum history or practice, on topics relating to training, careers, and networks of support in museum work, from a historical or contemporary perspective. Proposals might address the following questions:

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?

Confirmed speakers include:

Ayesha Fuentes, Issac Newton Trust Research Associate in Conservation, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK

Kate Guy, PhD Candidate, University of Brighton/British Museum, UK

Qanita Lilla, Associate Curator, Arts of Africa, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queens University, Canada

Conal McCarthy, Professor of Museum and Heritage Studies, Victoria University, Aotearoa New Zealand

Nuala Morse, Lecturer in Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK

We welcome proposals which deal with different types and sizes of museum and consider a range of museum professions (e.g. conservation, design, education). We value the perspectives of professional networks and campaign groups, and presentations which – where possible – consider links between different time periods.

We anticipate a full and enriching programme of knowledge sharing led by many different voices. In the first instance, please submit a summary or abstract of 150-200 words with a short speaker biography, describing the content of a short presentation, to Claire Wintle (University of Brighton) at Depending on the number and nature of proposals received, we may approach participants to present their ideas in alternative formats (e.g. roundtables, conversations, lightning presentations) to make the most of the day and encourage dialogue and a diversity of perspective. Proposals will be considered by a panel of academics and museum practitioners.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 22 September 2023. We will respond by 13 October 2023.

Bursaries: a small number of bursaries of up to £100 will be available to support the participation of minoritized researchers and/or practitioners without institutional support. This might contribute to loss of earnings/caring costs. Please mention when emailing if you would like to explore this further.

The Making Museum Professionals network is led by Kate Hill (University of Lincoln) and Claire Wintle (University of Brighton). It responds to growing campaigns in the museum sector for fairer recruitment and career structures. Across the world, campaign groups have highlighted the systems of inequality facing many of those working in and with museums. This new network will support such campaigns for fairness, inclusion and transparency by investigating the historical roots of the museum professions and the structures that supported them, from the birth of the modern museum (c. 1850) to the present day. It asks how museum professions came into being, and how they acted to produce particular competences and ways of working. Critically, the network also seeks to develop productive links between academics and museum professionals, creating spaces, practices and outputs for dialogue between past, present and future, and to conceptualise historical practice as a tool to improve accessible professionalisation today. The network’s opening workshop, ‘Museum Work: Hierarchies and Barriers, Exclusion and Inclusion’ took place in London in May 2023, with keynote presentations from Dr Errol Francis (Artistic Director and CEO, Culture&), Professor Fiona Candlin (Birkbeck) and Louise McAward-White (Fair Museum Jobs). A third workshop will take place in Berlin, in Spring/Summer 2024, focusing on transnational forces in the development of museum professionals.