News Column

MA Announces Successful Applicants to Transformers Programme

June 18, 2014



LONDON, June 18 -- The Museums Association issued the following news release:

The Museums Association (MA) has announced the 19 participants from England, Scotland and Wales who will take part in its Transformers (http://www.museumsassociation.org/professional-development/15042014-transformers-radical-change-in-museums) programme.

The programme is designed to help participants make changes to working practice in their organisations, with an emphasis on experimental ideas and fresh thinking.

Some of the ideas that were selected included embedding an ethical approach to commercialism across all of the museum's departments; setting up a social enterprise to drive tourism in a museum trust setting; marrying the local business sector with curatorial content to create a new business model; and creating an out-of-school learning centre to engage young people with the work of the museum.

Robin Chesters, director of the Almond Valley Heritage Centre and one of the participants, said: "I'm very chuffed to have been selected for the Transformers programme. It will give me the opportunity to think differently in different environments with different people.

"The timing is fortuitous as Almond Valley Heritage Centre is at a crossroads in its development. We have an opportunity to think broadly about the plans we have for reorienting a lot of what we do. We have lots of beads of ideas and Transformers will give us a chance to string those beads together."

Helen Charman, head of learning for the Design Museum said: "It's a time of rapid and intensive change at the Design Museum as we transition towards our new home in the former Commonwealth Institute in Kensington.

"I am delighted that our proposal to explore the notion of the active archive in the 21st century museum has secured a place on the programme and am determined to use the opportunity to explore a new model for our museum archive that will bring value to colleagues, to learners and to our wider communities.

"The active archive is envisaged as a sustainable archive that captures content from temporary exhibitions and generates legacy through new programming opportunities that create social value for today's complex world."

Jessica Turtle, the MA's project coordinator for the Transformers programme, said: "It is very exciting to welcome the first participants to the programme and we are delighted with the diversity of the cohort in terms of type of institution and regional spread.

"There is also an interesting mix of leadership level, specialist and change-management disciplines. These factors, along with the fantastic ideas pitched indicate that Transformers has real potential to create radical change in the sector."

Transformers will run from July 2014 to March 2015 and consists of residential events, coaching, a personal development plan for each participant, and the opportunity to pitch for micro-funding to realise one key idea for change.

Participants in the Transformers programme

Nazia Ali, curator, science and industry, Birmingham Museums Trust

Helen Barker, head of community participation, Beamish, The Living Museum of the North

Ruth Battersby-Tooke, senior curator, costumes and textiles, Norfolk Museums Service

Brendan Carr, community engagement curator, Reading Museum

Helen Charman, head of learning, Design Museum

Robin Chesters, director, Almond Valley Heritage Trust, West Lothian

Caroline Cutmore, sales and ticketing manager, National Portrait Gallery

Janet Dugdale, director, Museum of Liverpool, National Museums Liverpool

Jose Forrest-Tennant, community engagement officer, Black Country Echoes, Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Katie Hobbs, curator (collections management), Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton

Rachel MacFarlane, project officer/learning and engagement officer, Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service

Zara Matthews, project manager, Market Harborough Library and Harborough Museum Development, Leicestershire County Council

Ross McGregor, heritage officer, East Ayrshire Leisure

Rachael Rogers, heritage and culture service transformation lead, Monmouthshire County Council

Louise Sutherland, head of collections and engagement, People's History Museum

Ellie Swinbank, keeper, National Mining Museum Scotland

Jessica Suess, Oxford Aspire officer, Oxford University Museums

Jonathan Wallis, head of museum and museum and gallery development, Derby Museums Trust

Carl Warner, research and information manager, IWM Duxford

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