Feedback from the NW members MA meeting at the Museum of Liverpool

On Wednesday 12 September there was a meeting for NW members of the Museums Association at the Museum of Liverpool – a chance for members to meet with each other, to meet members of the MA team and to discuss the key issues for the museum sector in the region.

After an opening session led by Gaby Porter, one of the MA’s Board members, the first part of the day gave an opportunity for three key players in the region to map the regional landscape and discuss the future for museums in the NW.

Steve Garland, Acting Chair of the NWFED, set the tone by referring to the current state of flux and the demise of previous structures and resources. Steve referred to the recent consultation with NWFED members about the future of the NWFED and the decision by the Board to reintroduce institutional membership. The NWFED plan to hold 4- 6 networking meetings per year offering opportunities to network with other members and details will be available soon. Steve emphasised that institutions should continue to invest in the development of their staff especially at times of crisis. The NWFED hope to have a role working closely with the MA in strengthening regional representation.

Emma Anderson, Partnership Manager for the Manchester Partnership, represented Museums Development North West, and discussed how they have now entered a period of stability with a business plan structured around the Arts Council five goals as set out in Culture, Knowledge and Understanding; Greater Museums for Everyone. She referred to the Museum Development work they are delivering in partnership with Cumbria and the Sustainable Improvement Fund small grants scheme. Information on the fund and its closing deadlines can be found on the Manchester Partnership blog < a href=''museumdevelopmentnorthwest homepage
Emma outlined how local museums and partnership are delivering considerable results but identified that there still needs to be some consideration as to how Museums Development NW can work with nationals in the region as well as with the NWFED to meet the needs of smaller to medium sized museums and to add value to existing or new partnerships.

David Fleming, Director of NML, reminded everyone that this is a time of hardship for many museum professionals and that there should be no reconciliation for the resources lost. Survival and strategic positioning for the future are the way forward. He summed up that museums must not lose sight of the bigger picture and of their achievements although there a danger that some may backtrack to old models of working. The MA has a crucial role to play nationally in lobbying for museums and educating the Arts Council. NML is uncertain about its role in the region but has always been, and continues to be, a willing partner.

The afternoon session was structured around an interactive Museums 2020 workshop, led by Maurice Davies from the MA. Participants examined how museums can make an impact on indvidiuals, communities, society and the environment and explored what may be needed in order to deliver the range of impacts identified by the group.

The day was full of excellent debate and discussion and members gained a lot from the meeting.

For more information about the MA’s work in the region go to

or contact Katy Archer, the NW MA rep at
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