Tag Archives: training

Team Museums at Night on the road again: join our free briefing sessions!

Interested in taking part in the Museums at Night festival and/or entering the Connect! competition to develop a participatory event with a contemporary artist?

We’re delighted to announce our second series of free, friendly Museums at Night / Connect! regional workshops in early February 2015, following our successful roadshows in London, the Midlands and Yorkshire in 2013.

In February we’ll be travelling to three different regions: the South West (Bristol), East of England (Cambridge) and North West (Manchester).

A group of Men In Black dancers parade through a town centre

The circus is coming! This isn’t Team Museums at Night – it’s artist Jessica Voorsanger leading a sci-fi parade through Scunthorpe for the 2014 festival. Find out how she did it at our workshops!

Who are these workshops for?

These afternoon workshops are completely free to attend, and are open to anybody interested in taking part in Museums at Night in 2015 and beyond. Museums at Night is Culture24’s annual after-hours festival showcasing the arts and heritage sector, which each year offers a great audience development opportunity.

Whether you’re a staff member or volunteer, MDO or Town Centre Manager; based in a museum, gallery, library, archive or heritage site; and whether your organisation has never taken part in the festival before or has frequently run events, but would like more inspiration or the chance to form a local cluster; you’ll find something of interest.

What is the Connect! competition?

Formerly known as Connect10, Connect! is the competition giving venues the chance to win a participatory artist-led Museums at Night event and a £3,000 bursary. Some aspects of the competition are changing in 2015, so please come along to find out more.

What can you expect?

You’ll find out about the benefits and challenges involved in hosting an after-hours event, what it takes to be a Connect! winner, and what it’s like to host a top artist from the people who have done it before.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to hear first-hand from a Connect10 artist, who will share their experience of developing a successful participatory event, and tips for venues interested in working with artists.

You’ll learn how to organise a local cluster of venues to take part in the festival, plus there will be plenty of opportunities to meet and chat with colleagues from your region.

Event timings:

Doors open at 1pm for tea and coffee, each event kicks off at 1:30 and will finish at 4:30pm. We can’t offer lunch, but hot drinks will be available.

Event and booking details:

East of England: Monday 2nd February, Scott Polar Museum, Cambridge

Speakers include:

  • A cluster coordinatorLaura Crossley, Heritage and Audience Development consultant who has successfully bid for funding and set up several Museums at Night clusters in North Norfolk
  • A Connect10 venue: Suzannah Bedford, who led the Renewal Trust’s campaign to bring top photographer Rankin to St Ann’s Allotments in Nottingham for Museums at Night
  • A Connect10 artist: Kelvyn Smith of Mr Smith’s Letterpress Workshop, who devised a unique letterpress printing experience at Walthamstow’s William Morris Gallery, taking inspiration from Morris’ writings and the venue’s collections

North West: Thursday 5 February, Manchester Central Library

Speakers include:

  • A cluster coordinator: Christina Grogan, who has grown Liverpool’s Light Night into an unmissable city culture crawl
  • A Museums at Night venue: Damon Waldock, who has successfully developed Yorkshire Sculpture Park‘s Museums at Night events over several years
  • A Connect10 artist: Janette Parris, who brought in fellow artists and performers to copy and re-present Cardiff Story Museum, and even wrote songs inspired by their collection objects

South West: Wednesday 11 February, M Shed, Bristol

Speakers include:

  • A cluster coordinator: Elaine Lees from Creativity Works, who successfully brought venues together from towns and villages across Pennine Lancashire in the Festival of Wonders cluster
  • A Connect10 venue: Lucie Connors, who led Cardiff Story Museum‘s campaign to bring contemporary artist Janette Parris to re-make and perform in their exhibitions for Museums at Night
  • A Connect10 artist: Jessica Voorsanger, who led a parade through Scunthorpe culminating in sci-fi themed art interventions that transformed the 20-21 Visual Arts Centre

Don’t miss out – book your free place today!

These briefings are supported by Arts Council England lottery funding.


Museums at Nightclub opportunity: expression of interest form

A few months ago we introduced the idea of Museums at Nightclub: an artist-led, touring event series taking place in Autumn / Winter 2015, produced by a consortium of venues in conjunction with Culture24, taking place in areas with low engagement in the arts. It will feature artists who specialise in participatory arts events, and who have worked on the Connect10 project in previous years.

We are developing a proposal to submit to Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Programme before Christmas, involving a partnership with venues. Could you be one of them?

Download the three page information pack to find out more about what will be involved.

We want to work with 16 venues from all over the country over the two year lifetime of the project, eight in the first year and again eight in year two. We want to submit the application with at least eight venues firmly committed to the project and at least eight more aiming for year two.

Venues from anywhere in England may express an interest but preference will be given to those identified by the Taking Part Survey (2008 – 2010) as being in the 118 local authority areas in the country with the lowest level of engagement in the arts.

We will read all the expression of interest forms submitted and contact everybody before inclusion in the final application. Inclusion in the application is not to be taken as a commitment by Culture24 to include your venue in the project.

The first stage of the project after receiving a positive decision would be to hold detailed discussions with the artists and interested venues. At this stage there are many aspects of the event that may lead us to need to prioritise one venue over another; diarising simultaneous events, artist schedules, facilities, technical considerations, progress of audience development planning and much more besides.

Want to get involved? Your next steps:

1) Download the Museums at Nightclub 3 page info pack and list of local authority areas of low arts engagement. You can still apply if your local authority isn’t listed here,

2) Discuss the opportunity with your team. Becoming part of the new Museums at Nightclub touring network will involve a lot of time and development work ahead of the events in autumn / winter 2015: do you have the capacity for this?

3) Phone Nick on 01273 623279 or Rosie on 01273 623336 for a discussion about how this opportunity would work for your organisation.

4) Want to apply? Download the list of application form questions, and start preparing your answers.

N.B. Please take a look at the list of questions from the expression of interest form first, to prepare your answers before filling in the form. The form is two pages long, involves a certain amount of detail about your target audiences, and must be completed in one sitting – you can’t save it and come back to it.  

5) Ready to submit your expression of interest? Please fill in this form by Friday 29 November.

Please get in touch with Nick or Rosie if you have any questions relating to this project, or if you can’t download the documents – we’re happy to email them to you.

Calling Welsh venues: free Museums at Night briefings in Cardiff and Wrexham

A man and woman smiling in a garden

Museums at Night project manager Nick Stockman gets a tour of Birmingham venue, Winterbourne House & Gardens

Following the success of our free briefing sessions in London, Birmingham and Bradford, where Nick and I discussed taking part in the Museums at Night festival and entering the Connect10 competition with lots of museums, we’re delighted to announce that we’re coming to Wales!

Working together with the Audience Development Team at All Wales Libraries, Archives & Museums (Llyfrgelloedd, Archifau ac Amgueddfeydd – Cymru Gyfan), we’ll be delivering two further briefing sessions in North and South Wales later this month.

These free morning sessions are open to staff at all Welsh museums, galleries, libraries, archives, historic buildings, heritage and sacred sites and cultural institutions.

Interested in taking part in Culture24’s Museums at Night festival and/or entering the Connect10 competition next year? Then come along to one of our free, friendly and focused sessions:

Wednesday 23rd October, Wrexham Museum & Archives, 10am-1.30pm

Thursday 24th October, The Cardiff Story, 10am-1.30pm

Museums at Night is the annual after-hours festival showcasing the arts and heritage sector, which each year offers a great audience development opportunity. Connect10 is the competition that gives ten venues the chance to win an artist-led event and £2,000 as part of the festival.

Find out about the benefits and challenges involved in hosting an after-hours event, the advantages in working together with other venues and what it takes to be a Connect10 winner.

Learn how to organise a group of venues to take part in the festival, and what it’s like to host a top artist from the people who have done it before!

There will be plenty of opportunities to meet and chat with colleagues from your region, and refreshments and a complimentary lunch will be included on both days.

To claim your free place on one of these workshops, simply sign up below.

Wrexham briefing, Wednesday 23 October – https://museumsatnightwrexham.eventbrite.co.uk/

Cardiff briefing, Thursday 24 October – https://museumsatnightcardiff.eventbrite.co.uk/

We look forward to meeting you!

Sesiynau gwybodaeth Amgueddfeydd yn y Nos – agored i staff holl amgueddfeydd, orielau, llyfrgelloedd, archifau, adeiladau hanesyddol, safleoedd treftadaeth a sanctaidd a sefydliadau diwylliannol yng Nghymru!

Oes gennych chi ddiddordeb mewn cymryd rhan yng ngŵyl Amgueddfeydd yn y Nos, Culture24 ac/neu roi cynnig ar gystadleuaeth Connect10 y flwyddyn nesaf? Dewch draw i un o ddwy sesiwn gyfeillgar a phenodol yng Ngogledd a De Cymru ym mis Hydref 2013.

Gŵyl flynyddol y tu allan i’r oriau arferol, yw Amgueddfeydd yn y Nos. Mae’n arddangos yr adran gelf a threftadaeth sy’n cynnig cyfle gwych i ddatblygu cynulleidfa bob blwyddyn. Connect10 yw’r gystadleuaeth sy’n rhoi cyfle i ddeg lleoliad ennill digwyddiad dan arweiniad artist a £2,000 fel rhan o’r ŵyl.

Dewch i ddarganfod mwy am y manteision a’r sialensiau sy’n rhan o gynnal digwyddiad y tu allan i oriau gwaith, manteision cydweithio gyda lleoliadau eraill a beth mae’n ei olygu i fod yn enillydd Connect10!

Cewch ddysgu sut i drefnu bod grŵp o leoliadau yn cymryd rhan yn yr ŵyl a sut brofiad yw croesawu artist amlwg gan y rhai sydd wedi gwneud hynny o’r blaen! Bydd digon o gyfle hefyd i gyfarfod a sgwrsio gyda chydweithwyr o’ch ardal chi.

Darperir lluniaeth a chinio bwffe am ddim.

Wrecsam: https://museumsatnightwrexham.eventbrite.co.uk/

Caerdydd: https://museumsatnightcardiff.eventbrite.co.uk/

Marketing update: making the most of Museums at Night

A group of people looking at a bookshelf in a historic library

Visitors at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire (c) National Trust Images / Paul Harris

Early publicity: a good example

Kelham Island Museum have been talking about their entry in the Connect10 competition on Twitter, where they attracted the attention of a local journalist. They quickly followed up this contact with a press release and a set of images, which has already lead to an article about their plans in the Postcode Gazette – congratulations!

This is a great example of how Museums at Night marketing works: we’ll be promoting the festival as a whole through targeted PR activity aimed at national and regional media, but there’s no substitute for doing your own local marketing as well, using all the channels available to you to get the word out!

Help us to promote you:

1) Register your Museums at Night events in our database as soon as possible, describing them to make them sound exciting!

2) Send us your publicity photos for our media image library.

3) Tell your local audiences and media what you’re planning – I’ll be reissuing an updated version of our Museums at Night PR Toolkit very soon to help you with this.

Spreading the word through Twitter

In addition to retweeting your tweets about your event plans, @MuseumsAtNight will be tweeting a different Museums at Night event highlight every working day from now until the festival kicks off in May.

The Museums at Night 2013 hashtag to use is #MatN2013.

Idea development – call us!

This week I spoke at a meeting of members of the Historic Houses Association about the benefits of taking part in Museums at Night, and particularly how the festival marketing campaign can help with audience development.

One of the key points I took away was that the kind of idea generation and marketing coaching I’ve been offering informally over the phone is very much appreciated, and probably something I should be talking about more!

So, if you’re considering running a Museums at Night event – if you’ve had a look at the Big List of inspiring event ideas, and our tips on audience development, and you’d like to talk through your plans, give me a call on 01273 623336. Let’s have a 15 minute brainstorming chat about making the most of your skills and resources, pitching the event to appeal to your target audience, and how you’re going to market it. Everyone who I’ve had these focused phonecalls with has found them useful – so please don’t feel shy about giving me a call.

And finally, a lot of our work around Museums at Night is about connecting museums, staff and volunteers through different networks; building capacity and sharing skills and learning from across the arts and heritage sector. With this in mind, it’s interesting to read the latest update from the Happy Museum Project.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Social media in museums

I was recently invited to talk about social media platforms to Sussex museum staff and volunteers at the Arts Council England / Museum Development Service training day “Doing Digital: Using Social Media in Museums“.

I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare an image-heavy presentation with lots of screenshots, so livened up these rather text-heavy slides and made the presentation more social (and Christmassy) by cracking open a Chocolate Orange and sharing segments with every audience member who called out a question, idea or case study.

An open chocolate orange

Chocolate orange segments are a great inducement to sharing and interaction! Image shared under a Creative Commons licence by Flickr user VerseVend

As always, the most interesting challenges were raised in the Q & A session afterwards!

Take a look at my slides for a whistle-stop tour through different social media channels and a few examples of how museums and galleries are using them:

This event also brought home to me the importance of local networks and learning from each others’ experiences: it’s immensely valuable to be able to compare notes about what’s working well and what you’re finding challenging with similar organisations in the same position.

My top recommendations for getting started with social media

If you’re not sure what terms like Twitter or RSS mean, I highly recommend watching the super-simple CommonCraft videos for step by step introductions to all kind of online services like Twitter and blogging: http://www.commoncraft.com/videolist

Set up free Google Alerts, and you’ll get a weekly email linking to any mentions of your museum that have been published online: this won’t send you all the press coverage you receive, but it can help track what bloggers and people using social media are saying about your organisation.

You’re not alone!

If you have any questions about how other arts and heritage venues are tackling projects, and would like the support of a great community of professionals, I recommend joining two mailing lists that both send out a daily digest of questions and answers:

1) GEM, the Group for Education in Museums
2) The MCG, the Museums Computer Group

Are there any essential social media resources or sources of support that are useful to you? Please let me know in the comments or via Twitter!

Let’s Get Real conference 2011: Evaluating online success in the cultural sector

Culture24 are delighted to announce our first ever conference in the UK!

Let’s Get Real conference 2011: Evaluating online success in the cultural sector

When: Tuesday 20th September, 5pm-9pm
and Wednesday 21st September, 9am-6pm.

Where: Watershed, Bristol

Cost:All-inclusive early bird price: £150 (£180 after August 31)

The Let's Get Real conference logo

Do we really know what we are doing online? Does counting the visitors to our websites really tell us anything? Do we need all the social media channels we start? Is there evidence of real engagement happening online? Do we really know what we are trying to achieve and who it is for?

These are difficult questions that everyone developing online services needs to ask themselves. It has almost become a cliché to say that online technologies have touched our lives, changed our behaviour and altered our expectations. The cultural sector is not immune to these changes, but how do we know if we are actually doing well?

Come and join Culture24 for some honesty, plain-speaking and troubleshooting. You can listen to great presentations, find out about our latest action research and most importantly join in the workshops, Crit Room, helpdesks and breakout sessions. You will leave with a better understanding of not just what success online might look like, but what it can mean for your organisation.

Click here to book your tickets now!

Conference highlights

Session with Matt Locke (Storythings.com)

Lessons on “failing forwards” from Action Research partners (see list below)

Practical workshop strands looking at both strategy and tactics

Crit Room: submit your site’s problems for some friendly group therapy and constructive analysis

Informal Talk Tables to meet with key industry players for problem solving and troubleshooting

Evening social event with yummy ‘Real’ food & drink sourced locally, and the chance to play games and have fun

Keynote: Tom Uglow

A man wearing a hat and scarf

Tom Uglow

Creative Lead at the Google Creative Lab, Tom Uglow will talk at Culture24’s Let’s Get Real 2011 conference about the role of digital for cultural institutions.

Tom will focus on how pervasive digital has become, how it is no longer a broadcast channel, or a ticket sales outlet, but is expected to be an entire world that has to sit alongside whatever you do in the traditional, physical world. Looking at what a cultural institution’s role is – whether that is to preserve, to curate, to educate, or simply to inspire – he will explore how you can align your organisation around both platforms of digital and physical space.

He will also talk about the importance of understanding your mission, your audience, your ‘users’ and how every activity you undertake flows both to and from your online and offline presence. The keynote will stress the importance of being open to experimentation, building, packaging and iteration – identifying your successes and accepting your failures. Hopefully, adds Tom, “with a few actual things that are useful thrown in”.

Culture24’s Action Research Project: How to Evaluate Online Success?

Following the How to Evaluate Online Success presentation at Museums and the Web 2011, Culture24 and partners are delighted to launch the findings of our Action Research Project at our first UK conference.

Find out more about the Action Research Project here.

A group of people standing in front of a mural on a sunny day

Action Research Project partners outside Culture24's office in Brighton

This collaborative project involves 24 organisations and agencies from across the cultural heritage and arts sector in the UK: British Library, National Gallery, Science Museum, Tate, British Museum, Kew, National Maritime Museum, Imperial War Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Watershed, Royal Shakespeare Company, National Museums Scotland, National Museum Wales, Design Museum, English Heritage, Roundhouse, Powerhouse Museum, DCMS, Arts Council of England, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums, Libraries & Archives Council (MLA), University of Leicester, Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery and Culture24.

Click here to book your conference tickets now!

The full conference agenda will be available soon. To receive email updates about the Let’s Get Real conference, the Action Research Project, and Culture24’s other work please sign up here.

Tell us what you’d like from a Museums at Night travelling roadshow!


A friendly man and woman. They're talented, they're confident, they're knowledgeable, and they could be coming soon to a town near you to spread the Museums at Night joy.

Nick and Rosie are planning to take Museums at Night on the road with regional training workshops

Many of you have told us that you’d like the chance to meet up in person, to network, learn from and share ideas with other venues who took part in Museums at Night. You asked – and we’ve listened! We’re building a case for a fundraising bid that would pay for outreach to key areas where we see evidence that participation levels could increase in 2012.

Would you want a Museums at Night roadshow, starring Project Manager Nick Stockman and me, to visit your area for a day of learning?

We’d invite representatives from council-run and independent museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites, along with other campaign partners including representatives from local English Heritage, National Trust and Historic Houses Association properties. We’d welcome Town Centre Managers, council representatives, Visit England Destination Managers to represent the local tourism sector, and anyone else who is keen to learn about participating in the campaign.

By bringing together people who have run Museums at Night events before, and people who haven’t, we hope to build stronger local connections and informal

We’d like to gauge demand for this.

1) Would you attend a one-day workshop like this?

2) Where would you suggest we hold a workshop like this?

3) What would be particularly useful for you to learn? What would you like to leave with in terms of resources and knowledge?

If you’re interested, please email me: rosie@culture24.org.uk – and if you can offer us space to hold an all-day workshop in, that would be even better!