Training and Events

Opportunities and training with a small coloured logo in the title, are those that have been organised, funded and facilitated by the South East Museum Development Programme.

The 'Mentoring and Museums' Conference is back!

Tuesday 27th February 2018

Museum of English Rural Life, Reading

Calling all mentors! Join us on 27 February 2018 to diversify your skillset to support you and your mentees, network with other mentors and exchange good practice methods. Whether you are mentoring museums for Accreditation, Catalyst: Inspiring a Culture of Philanthropy, the AMA, Heritage Lottery Fund or another scheme, the Museums and Mentoring Conference, at Museum of English Rural Life in Reading, is for you.

With mentoring as a growing mechanism to support the museum and heritage sector and its workforce, it is important that mentors can access regular skills development to support them in their role. This is why for the fourth year running, 2018 will see the return of the Mentoring and Museums Conference.

This conference will bring together mentors from across the south of England for a one day event designed for previous conference attendees and those who have not attended before.

Delegates will have the opportunity to refresh existing skills, as well as learn new ones. The event will enable attendees to learn from others’ experience and exchange good practice, as well as hear first-hand about forthcoming changes to mentoring in the sector and the resources which support mentors.

This event is organised by museum development providers in the South West and South East of England and the HLF Catalyst Programme, with support from Arts Council England and the Museums Association.

Please note: This conference is not intended as a first introduction to mentoring. If you are brand new to mentoring and have not had any training at all yet, please contact the organiser of your mentoring scheme who can point you in the direction of appropriate introductory training.


10.00 - 10.30am Arrival,registration and networking with refreshments

10.30 - 10.45am Welcome, housekeeping and introduction to the day

10.45 - 11.15am Key Note: Mentoring Perspectives: lessons from university museums

Kate Arnold-Forster, Director, Museum of English Rural Life | Director, University Museums and Special Collections Services, University of Reading

11.15 - 12.15pm Running a mentoring scheme, lessons learnt

Coordinators of three important mentor-supported schemes have agreed to share their learning with us:

  • Inspiring a Culture of Philanthropy: Orianne Tyndale, Project Manager
  • Museum Accreditation: Annette French, Accreditation Manager
  • Mentoring for All: Tamsin Russell, Professional Development Officer, Museums Association

Through this panel discussion chaired by Lucy Marder, Cultural Partnerships Officer of the South East Museum Development Programme, we will explore what works, what doesn’t, and how to make the most of the talents of our sector’s wonderful mentors. We welcome suggestions of questions that you would like to ask our panellists. Please submit your suggestions via your registration form.

12.15 - 12.30pm Supporting your workforce through times of change

Kate Arnold-Forster, Director, Museum of English Rural Life | Director, University Museums and Special Collections Services, University of Reading

12.30 - 1.00pm Museum visit

1.00 - 1.45pm Lunch and networking

1.45 - 2.00pm Movement into afternoon breakout sessions

2.00 - 3.00pm

Option A No museum is an island- getting the most out of a museum and mentor relationship

Annette French, Accreditation Manager and Ellie Collier, Senior Project Manager, Accreditation Review, Arts Council England

This practical workshop has been designed to feed directly into the Museums Accreditation Review. As mentors your knowledge of working first hand with smaller, independent museums is unsurpassed. The UK Accreditation Partners (Arts Council England, Museums Galleries Scotland, the Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Museums Council) currently supplies a handbook for mentors but nothing explaining to museums how they can best work with their mentor. As part of the Review we would like to refresh this guidance and develop a resource which better meets the needs of mentors and museums.

In this session you will help to create the key messages which museums need to understand when working with a mentor. What’s the mentor’s role? Whose “side” are they on? And other challenging situation you have encountered when dealing with museums.

This workshop will also allow space for delegates to share their own experiences with peers to enable you to work better with your museums.

Option B Body language: What are you really being told?

Elizabeth Neathey, Museum Development Officer, South West Museum Development

The mentoring relationship is one perceived to be based on verbal communications. However there are also subtle non-verbal signals which the mentor will need to recognise and interpret. This session will explore what we mean by body language and to recognise and respond to these in our mentoring relationships.

3.00 - 3.15pm Refreshments and movement into spaces for afternoon workshops

3.15 - 4.15pm

Option A: Mentoring agreements: a masterclass

Lucy Marder Cultural Partnerships Officer and Kate Hebditch, Accreditation Advisor, South East Museum Development

Clear, mutually agreed expectations are at the heart of successful mentoring. This interactive workshop will help you to set – or reset – the agreement that underpins your relationship with your mentee and get the best out of both of you.

Option B: Mentoring as a freelancer: is it really worth it?

Vicky Dawson, Freelancer and SW Technical Accreditation Advisor

Mentoring is promoted to employers as valuable CPD for their staff. For example a spell as a museum mentor within the Accreditation scheme for an employee of a sizeable museum gives them experience of aspects of running a museum that they would not always encounter in their place of work. This is also true for freelance workers, but how to justify the cost and how to protect your business interests?

This workshop will look at the challenges of mentoring as a freelancer: finding the time, justifying the expense, accessing the broad spectrum of information required, ethics and insurance. Following a brief session led by the workshop convener, participants will be encouraged to share experiences and tips.

4.15 - 4.20pm Return to main conference space

4.20 - 4.50pm Take your partners: speed networking for peer-to-peer mentor support

Elizabeth Neathey, Museum Development Officer and Vicky Dawson, Freelancer and Technical Accreditation Advisor, South West Museum Development Programme and Lucy Marder, Cultural Partnerships Officer, South East Museum Development

Peer support can be really helpful to mentors, supporting us to reflect on our practice and continue to develop our skills. This session will help mentors to find a compatible partner for mutual, informal peer support. It will also propose a simple discussion format that pairs may choose to use to support one another.

4.50 - 5.00pm Conference summation and reflection

*Travel bursaries may be available for some schemes, please speak to your scheme leader or email

This conference is organised by the South East Museum Development Programme, South West Museum Development Programme and the HLF Catalyst Programme with support from the Museums Association.

Details and booking