Risk and Reward

Oxford University Museums Partnership logo

Museums and cultural organisations are facing significant challenges in the current, fast-changing environment: digital is revolutionising the way individuals engage with the world, the demographic make-up of society is undergoing a significant shift, and traditional funding models are no longer sustainable.

In order to turn these challenges into opportunities, museums and cultural organisations need to be adaptive, entrepreneurial and innovative. This one day conference will explore how museums and cultural organisations are changing their organisational cultures and encouraging their teams to try new ways of working, break down traditional barriers, and embrace risk.


10.00-10.30 - Registration and Coffee

10.30-10.45 - Welcome

Lucy Shaw, Head of Oxford University Museums Partnership & Director, Oxford Cultural Leaders

10.45-11.30 - Keynote

Paul Smith, Director, Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Encouraging and imbedding a culture of innovation

Paul will discuss his experience of encouraging a culture of risk-taking and innovation in organisations, particularly the Museum of Natural History at the University of Oxford.  How can behaviours be changed?  How can risk be controlled? And how can innovation be sustained? 

11.30-12.40 - Session One: Alliances 

Liz Hide, University of Cambridge Museums Officer, University of Cambridge 

When ‘common ground’ is not as common as we thought… Developing the cross-disciplinary University of Cambridge Museums Consortium 

Liz will share the process and experience of bringing nine very different museums and collections together to form the University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) consortium, aligning organisations with different histories, priorities and working cultures. Liz will share the behind-the-scenes, ‘slow-burn’ innovation of this organisational transformation. 

Dr Oliver Cox, Knowledge Exchange Fellow, University of Oxford and Alice Purkiss, Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate, University of Oxford and the National Trust 

Crowdsourcing & Curatorship: Knowledge Exchange with the National Trust 

Using the case study of a new partnership between the University of Oxford and the National Trust, Oliver and Alice will explore how collaboration between heritage organisations and universities, institutions with different cultures, specialisms and resources, can accelerate development and encourage innovation. 

12.40-13.30 - Lunch

13.30-14.15 - Keynote

Traci Dix-Williams, Director of Operations, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust 

14.15-15.10 - Session Two: Aptitudes

Rachel MacFarlane, Projects Development Officer, Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service and Scott Collins, Training Museum Trainee, Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service

The Training Museum: Museum Skills Exposed 

Rachel will speak about ‘The Training Museum’, a three-year workforce development programme aimed at diversifying the museum workforce and developing professionals with the broad range of skills required for the museum of the future. As well as recruiting trainees today, the museum is working with children at multiple points during their school lives, taking a long term approach to diversifying the museum workforce. Rachel will be joined by one of CIMS’ current trainees. 

Jo-Anne Sunderland Bowe, Director, Heritec Limited, on behalf of the Creative Museum Project

Cultivating Creative Practice across Borders: the Creative Museum Project 

Jo-Anne will be sharing lessons from the Creative Museum Project, a 3 year Erasmus+ funded project involving 30 cultural organisations from across Europe. The project brings together museum professionals from varied organisations to exchange knowledge and experience, test new ways of working and develop new partnerships. 

15.10-15.40 - Coffee Break

15.40-16.35 - Session Three: Disruptions 

Lucy Marder, Cultural Partnerships Officer, South East Museum Development Programme

Better Business Bingo at the Bugsley Museum 

Lucy will be sharing learning from the South East Museum Development Programme's work supporting museums to become more enterprising - including the Business Innovation Fund and the Lean Systems Thinking Project. Prepare to participate in this interactive session as you apply better business principles to the ‘Bugsley Museum’. 

Elvin Turner, Director of Organisational and People Innovation, DPA 

How to create a culture of innovation: lessons from leaders in the commercial sector including a case study on Sony Music 

Elvin will share the example of how Sony Music implemented a global innovation culture programme to equip its leaders to create and sustain a culture of disruptive innovation. Elvin will take some key lessons from the major programme and give practical and pointed tips for the cultural sector. 

16.35-16.45 - Closing Remarks 

Booking Details: 

The delegate fee for this conference is £70 to help cover the costs of room hire, refreshments and speakers.

Book you place on the Oxford University Online Store.

If you require any assistance with the booking process please contact the events team: aspire@museums.ox.ac.uk | 01865 613784


Public Engagement with Research

Contact email: aspire@museums.ox.ac.uk

Audience: Open to all