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International Peer Learning Project

How can museums improve what they do through international peer exchange? What are the benefits of learning with international colleagues? How can you make sure your international peer exchange relationships work effectively with benefits for all partners?

In 2015, the Mary Rose Trust embarked on an exciting joint project funded by the South East Museum Development Programme with the participation of WIRP (Working Internationally Regional Project). The project aims to establish, test and disseminate a collaborative peer-to-peer model of support between international museum partners, through supporting, evaluating and disseminating learning from the Mary Rose Trust’s partnership with the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. Both museums preserve, display and interpret historic warships, but rather than to view one another as competitors, they actively collaborate to exchange knowledge and skills. Through this project, the relationship has been formalised through a structured and systematic approach to peer reviews, to ensure optimal learning for both partners.

The South East Museum Development Programme aims to be a leading source of professional support enabling the region’s museums to evolve and flourish, raising ambition, driving excellence, building resilience. The programme is supported using public funding by Arts Council England. The South East Museum Development Programme has committed to increasingly directing its efforts towards supporting collaborative, peer-to-peer models of delivery and to supporting the significant culture change required to make this sustainable for the future. This project has made a key contribution by creating a toolkit of resources to enable other museums to embark on successful peer learning exchanges, a seminar on international peer exchanges in October 2015, a case study and an associated video.

The International Peer Learning Project contributes to the 2015-18 Strong Leadership theme.