Within an increasingly diverse society how might UK museums grow attendance and engagement?
How do we move beyond talk to action in increasing diversity, inclusion and equity to start to make real and lasting change in the museums sector?
I’m delighted to be working with fellow consultants Mel Larsen and Pam Jarvis on a ground breaking project designed to help museums increase the diversity of their visitors.
The key focus of the project is on providing tools and guidance to help museums make long-term change. The sector has been talking about diversity for so long. Diversifying Museum Visitors provides a great opportunity to address and breakdown barriers. To help people take a first step and then the next, to make a meaningful, lasting, real change.
- What are the factors for success?
- What practical steps can museums take to improve visitor diversity?
- What do we need to change and influence both internally and externally?
The literature and practice review is highlighting that there is a complex interplay of factors which affect diversity and inclusion within museums. The project team are therefore considering all of the protected characteristics, but will place a particular emphasis on socio-economics as a key, cross-cutting influence on engagement.
The project steering group is led by the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) together with the Museums Association and four other organisations who are funding the project – Arts Council England, the Museums Archives and Libraries Division of the Welsh Government, Museums Galleries Scotland and National Museums Northern Ireland.
AIM has appointed a trio of consultants – Julie Aldridge, Mel Larsen and Pam Jarvis – to lead on this project and we have put together two groups of museums to help us co-create a suite of tools and guidance that works well for a broad mix of museums (of different types, size, geographical locations etc.)
The museums taking part are:
- Beamish Museum (pioneer)
- Black Country Living Museum (pioneer)
- Museum of Cambridge (pioneer)
- Cardiff Story Museum (pioneer)
- Colchester and Ipswich Museums (pioneer)
- Museum of Croydon (explorer)
- Derby Museums (pioneer)
- Doncaster Heritage Services (explorer)
- Egypt Centre, Swansea (explorer)
- Glasgow Women’s Library (pioneer)
- National Justice Museum (explorer)
- National Museums Liverpool (pioneer)
- National Museums Northern Ireland (pioneer)
- Paisley Museum, Renfrewshire (explorer)
- People’s History Museum (explorer)
- National Museum of the Royal Navy, Northern Ireland (explorer)
- V&A (pioneer)
- National Museum Wales (pioneer)
This is just the start. We will be reporting back to the steering group on recommendations for rolling out the tools and developing programmes of support to enable museums across the whole of the UK to diversify their visitors.
Project steering group: