Museums Galleries Scotland programme to improve country’s participation in culture 

Image: Trimontium Museum (Olami Images)

The ‘Delivering Change’ project, backed by £770,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, has been designed to address “systematic exclusion within the sector”

Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) has announced receipt of £770,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) to support a three-year programme to improve the country’s access to culture. 

The project, Delivering Change, has been designed to address “systemic exclusion within the sector – where systems (economic, social, political and cultural) intentionally disadvantage groups of people based on their identity, while advantaging members of the dominant group”.

Delivering Change will also be supported by £250,000 from the Scottish Government. 

It has been developed by MGS, with support from an expert advisory group who worked with MGS to establish a plan for training, support, interventions, and funding to support change in Scotland’s museums. It has been informed by the lived and professional experience of those who have experienced barriers to participation in culture. 

The programme has also been informed by research calling for museums to develop participatory approaches that include those who have experienced exclusion because of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, language, or disability. 

In 2022 Grampian Transport Museum, an independent industrial museum based in the North East of Scotland, took part in the ‘Delivering Change’ pilot programme. Its Manager Ross McKirdy said: “We participated in the pilot session on Becoming an Anti-Racist Organisation. The session explored our existing knowledge regarding race equality and anti-racism, developed it further, our organisational culture, and amongst other things encouraged us to look at how we operate and how we are perceived by others in this space.  

“We have committed to several actions off the back of the session including a body of work looking at our audiences and diversity. We would look to use this information to ensure our museum caters for all cross-sections of the community – and hopefully build relationships with diverse audiences to help us tell different stories in the museum.” 

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland added: “We know that this kind of transformational change takes time, and we are committed to helping Scotland’s museums and galleries build the connections and relationships that will ensure our work, community and visitor spaces are places that all can feel and be part of. 

The programme consists of three parts; a Museum Learning Programme, a Funding Programme, and Leadership Programme. 

Information on how to participate in Delivering Change will be posted on the MGS website. Programme delivery will begin next year.