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Museum Social Impact Summit


Choose Day

22 May 2024

All times are BST (the time in London)

14:00 (BST)

Partnerships & Social Practice as Innovative Changemakers

In 2023, our team Cassie Penn, Assistant Curator; Public Programmes and Georgina Kennedy Curator; PP at Tate St Ives, situated in the rural and coastal community of Cornwall, worked with a series of art and community partners to deliver programme with Tate’s vision; ‘Access to art is a human right’ and Tate’s aims which include ‘championing the right to the richness of art for everyone’ and that art should be Useful. We worked with partners including Shallal Inclusive Dance Collective, Hospital Rooms and the NHS. With art and artists at the heart, Tate’s rich collection and innovative exhibition programme, we have developed a programme drawing from these as a source of inspiration, hope, solace, care, and connection and worked towards enabling equitable and liberative space in the galleries.

14:30 (BST)

Museum as Community Space

In recent years, as museums grapple with their changing place in society and engaging specific audiences has become increasingly important. What does it look like for museums to engage their community not just as consumers, but as collaborators? What practices are key to success? Let’s aim our spotlight on case studies from the New Museum, where working in collaboration with our community has led to stronger and more meaningful programs. By creating dynamic ecosystems within our community instead of closed-loop systems we can build more lasting and rewarding relationships.

14:50 (BST)

Making Art Matter

A child who can imagine a positive image of themselves in the future and can turn that into a physical picture, is 9 times more likely to make that image into a reality. How can galleries and museums become gyms for the imagination and create generations of people who have creative resilience built in.

15:20 (BST)

Supporting People with Lived Experience of Alcohol-related Harm

Can an art gallery provide a safe space for people with lived experience of alcohol-related harm? Using our own project as a case study, we will describe a unique long-term partnership between the National Galleries of Scotland and homelessness charity Rowan Alba. We will show how we have successfully opened up the gallery to some of the most excluded and disadvantaged members of society who have previously rejected other services and interventions.

15:50 (BST)

Can a museum visit be an alternative to legal prosecution?

Insulting comments on social media, memes inciting hatred. A quarrel between neighbours that gets out of hand or jungle noises in a football stadium. Hate crimes can take various forms. Since 2021, Kazerne Dossin offers the perpetrators in such incidents the opportunity to follow a an individual, tailor-made guided tour in the museum as a learning experience, as an alternative to legal prosecution. What has been the effect so far?

16:20 (BST)

Pleasure, Connection, Purpose: How museums can leverage emotions to build greater public support

Co-commissioned by Art Fund and the Association of Independent Museums (AIM), this new area of research undertaken by behavioural research and insights consultancy M.E.L explores how museums can leverage the power of emotions to build greater public support across short-term campaigning and long-term museum work.

Learn how museums can better understand the emotions that drive public support and how they might use that knowledge across subsequent campaigning and museum work.

Plus, AIM will share how museums have been using this research in practice so far since it was published in early 2023.

Lucy Bird
Policy and Research Lead
Art Fund

Elliot Simmonds
Client Solutions Director
M.E.L Research

Matt Smith
Head of Communications
Association of Independent Museums

17:00 (BST)


17:30 (BST)

Finding creative ways for an art museum to engage in discussions of war

Would you change your exhibition calendar to respond to the current Russian invasion of the Ukraine? As your sole exhibition at your Museum, what strategies would you use to engage a variety of visitors on this topic? Over 137 days, the MAC’s Education Department piloted a variety of programs to engage in meaningful debates and creative dialogues on a politically charged current event – the war in the Ukraine – via the Museum’s Pussy Riot exhibition. Through partnerships, creative workshops, and a dedicated mediation space, the team found ways to engage in this dark subject matter and find moments of hope.

18:00 (BST)

Non-traditional apprenticeships to diversify the workforce in the arts

Hear how The Peale, Baltimore’s Community Museum, is helping diversify the workforce in the arts through the Accomplished Arts Apprenticeships program (AAA). Apprentices from marginalized communities in Baltimore are paid while they learn exhibition preparation and historic preservation trades under the direction of artist Jeffrey Kent, founder of the program. Kent and Nancy Proctor, founding director of The Peale, will discuss ways museums and galleries can diversify their teams while developing inclusive museum apprenticeships that engage communities and fight poverty while advancing social justice.

18:30 (BST)

How can an exhibition about poverty make an impact?

What can a museum offer locals who know the daily stress of not being able to make ends meet? Would an exhibition about poverty help them in any way? Stedelijk Museum Schiedam asked itself these questions for years before deciding: the only way to find out is by doing. But they knew they could never do it alone. The exhibition Out of poverty was created together with eleven Schiedam residents who are ‘experience experts’. One review described the exhibition as one that “crawls under your skin”- a call to action to those living in poverty and those who don’t.

19:00 (BST)

Stop performing community engagement and start engaging in community dialogue

Museums are facing a moment of reckoning and a need to reimagine their role to better serve communities and repair generations of trauma and harm caused by their own institutional practices. We are in the midst of a time that is exposing the need for new kinds of civic infrastructures that help truth-tell, that hold spaces of belonging, that acknowledge and complicate our differences, and that create new pathways for cultural inclusion. This talk discusses how an active, community partnership-driven model of codesign can help museums become more rooted in their local communities and have a stronger foundation for future efforts.

19:30 (BST)

Building Creative Confidence: Accessible Programming

The Taubman Museum of Art received a three-year grant from IMLS to launch its Happy HeARTs program, built to serve individuals with varied physical, intellectual and emotional abilities through therapeutic art processes. This programming provides opportunities for sensory-friendly interactions with exhibits as well as purposeful play and artistic expression with the goals of supporting participants in learning new skills and building self-esteem. Learn more about how the Taubman Museum of Art is working with a Registered Art Therapist as well as national and regional artists to develop Happy HeARTs programming, while also conducting research and program evaluation to ensure success.

23 May 2024

All times are BST (the time in London)

14:00 (BST)

Teenagers as curators

How to lure 500 teenagers into a city museum? Turn some of them into the curators of an exhibition about the district their school is located. In the presentation we will tell how we did it in 2023 at the Vilnius City Museum, Lithuania.

14:30 (BST)

Cultural Delivery in Your Mailbox

Have you ever received a postal package solely featuring culture and art products by local creators? We will introduce an innovative concept at the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana, showcasing the positive social and mental impact of art and culture. Born during the pandemic, our idea connects cultural enthusiasts through postal deliveries, now evolved into a unique brand supporting local artists.

15:00 (BST)

The power of an empathy exhibit to address violence in schools in Brazil

In recent years, Brazil has seen a rise in violent attacks on schools, resulting in fatalities and resulting in fear and distrust among teachers and students. Intermuseus, as a partner of the Empathy Museum/UK, took the exhibition “A Mile in My Shoes” to schools. This interactive installation offers an empathetic journey, provoking visitors to see the world from someone else’s perspectives. The experience promotes a moment of introspection and complicity that stimulates discussions on empathy-related topics, emphasizing the importance of understanding diversity and respect for everyone. This contributes to creating a more inclusive and collaborative school environment, essential for addressing school violence.

15:30 (BST)

Becoming Visible: Bringing American Women’s History Into Focus

Discover how “Becoming Visible,” the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum’s inaugural digital exhibition, was developed to shed light on stories from women’s history that have been excluded, erased, obscured, forgotten, and almost lost. Learn how we developed this exhibition using Smithsonian collection objects, dynamic illustrations, immersive motion design, and narrations by Smithsonian curators. Explore the process and power of digital media in making the invisible visible.

16:00 (BST)

Emotions in Museum or How Art Supports the Refugees from Ukraine

After Russia attacked Ukraine in 2022, Poland turned to be the neighboring country that hosted millions of people fleeing the war. The National Museum of Warsaw was looking for the ways to help this new audience in need. There were a few important steps that made the program for the people in refugee crisis to be not only supportive and even therapeutic, but also sustainable and growing. This presentation will answer the questions: What are the special methods of work with migrant and refugee groups in museums that have a visible impact? What are the most effective steps to support the people who need to anchor and feel seen in a foreign country and culture? How to launch at least a small program for the people in the refugee crisis?

16:30 (BST)


17:00 (BST)

The Neighbours Project

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) is located in downtown Oshawa, a city like many that experienced an increase in homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. We began to explore how we could extend care to some of our closest neighbours who have experience with housing precarity or homelessness, including those working to reduce barriers to services and offer direct support. In this session, you’ll hear about how we had tough conversations internally, built connections with new organizations, formed friendships, and together developed a project that supported creative community development through art-making experiences that fostered connection and personal well-being.

17:30 (BST)

Memory of Stuivenberg

What makes a neighbourhood to what it is today? And what of all those things and events do we find valuable and precious enough to share with each other and pass it on? Who could be better experts to give answers to these questions than the inhabitants and organisations in the neighbourhood? The Stuivenberg hospital shares since 1884 its name with the surrounding, superdiverse neighbourhood. Its closure will have an impact on its environment. A good occasion for ErfgoedLab Antwerpen to start a participatory program. Together with more than 40 local partners we explored the memory and heritage of Stuivenberg.

18:00 (BST)

The power of visitor teams to achieve social impact

What if there could be tens of thousands more staff in museums across the world working directly with visitors to achieve social impact? You may be surprised to hear that these people already exist, they just haven’t been adequately supported to have this impact. Visitor teams are the overlooked key to museums achieving what they set out to achieve; to have an impact on the lives of their audiences. The people who are the closest to that impact have a unique opportunity to enable it, and we’re only just beginning to understand how…

18:30 (BST)

Empowering Marginalised Voices for Social Justice

Established in Frankfurt in 2005, the Federal German Migrant Women’s Association brings together women from different regions in Turkey and joined the Library of Generations project, housed in the Frankfurt Historical Museum for 105 years (2000-2105). The applied participatory curatorship in the project instrumentalizes archival materials to enable migrant women to tell their stories. Hence, this talk prompts a call to reevaluate museum roles between curators and participants by advocating for amplifying marginalized communities’ voices in decolonizing museums. Consequently, this work contributes to the participatory discourse, emphasizing museums’ evolving role in advancing social justice.

19:00 (BST)

The museum to be in!

The MAH is developing a holistic approach to visits that prioritizes the well-being of visitors as the main objective of its mediation activities. Well-being is understood as the satisfaction of achieving physical, psychological, social, and emotional balance, enabling individuals to live happy and fulfilled lives. This is reflected in the development of an accessible and inclusive range of activities based on a multi-sensory and physical approach, encouraging cultural participation and exchanges. The projects developed focus on: – Museotherapy, utilizing the museum as a vehicle for resilience and healing; – Museum well-being as a living space; – The museum as a social player. – Cultural health: museums for the very young.