TikTok among final additions to Museums + Heritage Summer Series line-up

Speakers from social media giant TikTok and heritage diversity charity Culture& have been added to the programme for the Museums + Heritage Summer Series, which gets under way tomorrow.

The two-day livestreamed event features 12 sessions, each dedicated to a different area of interest in the sector.

Final additions to the line-up have today been revealed, with TikTok’s media partnerships manager, Edel Flood, and Culture&’s artistic director and CEO, Dr Errol Francis, now confirmed as speakers.

Edel Flood, Media Partnerships Manager, TikTok

Flood joins representatives from Imperial War Museums, Black Country Living Museum and Museum of London on the Social standing panel (2pm, 14 July), in which the role of social media in the sector’s present and future will be thoroughly interrogated.

Dr Francis will jointly lead the Visible. Vocal. Vital. session (5pm, 14 July) with Culture& vice chair Svetlana Leu. This discussion will explore both the charity’s ground-breaking work and the wider topic of representation within the heritage sector.

Svetlana Leu
Dr Errol Francis

What’s on?

Nothing has remained the same during the pandemic. While the overnight cessation of many industry standard practices wrought chaos for countless museums, the need to interrogate well-worn ways of working has, in some cases, led to great progress.

In the event’s first session (Smashing the silo, 9:30am, 14 July) Richard Hall, Kate Harland and Mari Fullwood from West Cheshire Museums will discuss their experiences of a shift which has transformed knowledge sharing across their organisation’s four sites.

A wholesale adoption of digital has been one of the key transitions during the past 16 months. To assess how this trend will progress and what it will mean for the sector, a panel of speakers from institutions of varying size and scope – National Gallery, Brunel Museum, Smallest Gallery in Soho – will be joined for The digital dilemma (12:30pm, 15 July) by Dr Alessandro Merendino, co-author of The Museums Sector: Be Digital to be Strategic.

Time too tight?

With museums and heritage organisations in the midst of the reopening process, and having to battle with ever-changing government guidance, Summer Series sessions will be available to watch on-demand for those unable to attend live.

For access to the recorded talks, book tickets to the sessions that pique your interest and receive links to the video straight to your inbox.

Sticking to the digital theme, Game for a change? (11:00am, 15 July) brings together Linda Spurdle from Birmingham Museums and British Library’s Giulia Carla Rossi, both of whom have played a pivotal role in pioneering innovative and fun online offers to attract new audiences from around the globe.

Yet more industry innovators unite for Fundraising: making cents of new opportunities (2:00pm, 15 July), as speakers from RAF Museum, Tank Museum and the Dundee Cultural Recovery Fund share their insights gleaned from rapid response initiatives which brought in cash at invaluable moments.

For those organisations that had secured funding prior to the outbreak of Covid, several had to traverse the incredibly tricky terrain of completing major infrastructure projects amid the chaos.

Building better (3:30pm, 15 July) will see Tony Butler from Derby Museums and Paul Brookes of The Box in Plymouth share their unique experiences of leading ambitious, multi-million-pound schemes through these tough times.

The pandemic also served to highlight the boundless resilience, ingenuity and creativity of staff throughout the heritage sector. Harnessing this and supporting even greater workforce development may have been a challenge – during lockdowns and under social distancing rules – but several organisations still managed to deliver.

In Staff skills (12:30pm, 14 July) speakers from Powderham Castle, Museums Galleries Scotland and The Salisbury Museum are joined by artist Eloise Moody, whose The Caretakers series reimagined security staff as curators and tour guides during the first lockdown, to discuss the lessons learned from putting employees first during the most trying of times.

Focussing on both the need to support staff as well as the general public, Health and wellbeing (3:30pm, 14 July) will examine the role culture can play in the nation’s pandemic recovery, with Zoe Brown of Tyne & Wear Museums and Victoria Ryves from Heritage Doncaster sharing their insights.

Breaking barriers

One of the ramifications of Covid has been that many people are having to be more careful with money. With this in mind, the Summer Series has adopted a ‘pay what you can’ ticketing model.

Book onto all the sessions you’d like to attend and simply select whatever payment amount you feel comfortable with. 

While 2020 was undoubtedly the year of the pandemic, it also heralded a powerful shift in conservations around representation within collections and the need for repatriation and restitution.

Last summer’s global Black Lives Matter demonstrations in particular – and subsequent outpouring of pledges from museums to deliver meaningful change – intensified calls for the heritage sector to reimagine and reinterpret its offer.

Representing the reality (11:00am, 14 July) will welcome Sir Geoff Palmer OBE, chair of the independent steering group assessing how Scotland’s museum collections can more accurately portray the nation’s colonial history, and Hastings Museum & Art Gallery’s Damian Etheraads to share their insights into the processes required to facilitate frank, honest and sensitive storytelling.

Another session devoted to collections will be led by Dan Vo and Rachael Lennon, both of the Queer Heritage and Collections Network. Unlocking LGBTQ+ (9:30am, 15 July) will, as the title suggests, share the Network’s experiences of supporting institutions in better telling the lesser-known LGBTQ+ tales in their vaults.

Rounding of the two-day programme will be Strength in numbers (5:00pm, 15 July). Kirstie Hamilton from Sheffield Museums and Laura Hutchinson of Historic Royal Palaces will be sharing their organisations’ stories of building meaningful partnerships across various sectors – an approach which is becoming increasingly important amid insecurity brought on by the pandemic.

Looking for more information on the Summer Series? Click here.