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Lockdowns spur Scottish museum body to launch two digital skills programmes

Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) has launched two new programmes to address the digital skills gaps in the sector after COVID-19 lockdowns reveal ‘acute’ need for more robust online capabilities.

The Digital Literacy for Leadership and Talking Digital: Coaching Conversations for Digital Confidence programmes will be delivered through its MGS Skills Academy.

It said that while digital skills development has been a growing area of focus for the workforce at the 400 museums and galleries it supports, the consequences of recurring lockdowns had forced many organisations to rethink their approach to digital development.

Acute need for increased digital skills

“Working to increase digital skills across the sector was already a focus for MGS,” Kelly Forbes, Digital Manager at Museums Galleries Scotland said. “However, in those pre-pandemic days, no one could foresee how quickly, or how acute, this need would become. We’ve all needed to adapt and cope, but it can be difficult to really thrive under those more pressurised conditions.

“Now is the time to embed good digital practice throughout the sector. Through listening to the needs of the museum and gallery workforce we have created two programmes that focus on the idea that good digital practice is about people, not the technology that’s used to deliver it. Which is why we’ve put people at the heart of our two new digital development programmes.”

150 organisations identify digital skills gaps

Last year digital skills gaps were self-identified by 150 heritage organisations through the MSG grants programme Recovery & Resilience awards.

This has been echoed by the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Digital Attitude & Skill for Heritage Survey Dash Report 2020, which had feedback from 4,120 people from the UK working in the sector. It showed staff wanted more time to develop digital skills. The 2021 Dash survey opened last week and is again asking for feedback in a push to continue the data collection in this field.

“The importance of digital skills for the continued resilience of the sector is a common factor among all of these programmes,” said Forbes. “MGS has learned from this collective work to develop a multi-approached digital skills development offer.”

The two new programmes

Digital Literacy for Leadership

With funding support from Art Fund this one-year digital skills-based development programme is for organisations looking to drive forward digital transformation across their operations and become an example of best practice in the wider heritage sector. The programme will support both an organisation leader and an identified digital leader who can work together on both the vision and practical aspects of delivery. This will enable digital change at all levels in the organisation.

Applications for organisations open now.

Talking Digital: Coaching Conversations for Digital Confidence

This is a pilot skills development programme created to help people in the museum sector have a greater understanding of the context digital has in their roles and organisations. Working with coaching and facilitation partners, Kinharvie, this “people-led” approach aims to help participants to gain more digital confidence and discover the steps they need to take to progress their digital skills development.

Applications for individuals open on 18 October.

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