Creative Collections Online Launch Event

Event Date:1 September 2021 10:00 am — 1 September 2021 1:30pm

This event is part of the Creative Collections Grant scheme. Find out more here.

Between September 2021 and March 2022 SEMD will be supporting museums in the South East to think more about the different kinds of activity that fall under the theme of collections development.

Good collections Development should ensure that collections remain an outstanding resource for challenging the way we all think and feel about our history, our society, our environment, our wellbeing, and our communities.

We will launch the grant with a half day online inspiration event to showcase projects which have been carrying out exemplar work in this field. SEMD will then facilitate 3x Zoom Open Forum’s to promote dynamic thinking around collections development. We will use independent practitioners and a variety of online tools to encourage these sessions to be interactive, exploratory spaces.


The work of the NPHT is focused on recent history from the 1940s to the present day. As a new organisation (2015), this has enabled us to put co-curation at the heart of our working practice alongside disability access implicit within heritage focused on the Paralympics. Our presentation will focus on two areas of work ‘Digital explorations’ working with disabled people to create a 3D gallery of our collection and ‘Stories from ….’ Co-curated regional exhibitions.

Vicky is the CEO of the NPHT. She has over 30 years’ experience in the museums and arts sectors, having worked for several national, local, and local authority museums, alongside freelance work. Two particular areas of interest and experience throughout her career have been digital engagement and disability access.


The Powell-Cotton Museum is currently undergoing a ‘re-imagining’. Based around our vision ‘people matter’, we are working on several interconnected projects across the site that look at flipping the narrative – turning the Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens, from a place of privilege to a site that truly has our community needs at heart. Within the collections strand of this work, we are undertaking a number of re-interpretation projects. At their heart, each project is focused on how we make space for previously silenced voices, and narratives, both within our historic collections and among our audiences globally and locally today. This presentation will look briefly at two of these projects. ‘Colonial Critters’ is a 3-year project to reinterpret the Museum’s 3 large rooms of natural history dioramas. Long considered specimens of scientific study, we are reappraising them in light of their colonial context.

The Powell-Cotton is also a partner organisation in the Oxford University run project ‘Devolving Restitution: African Collections in UK Museums Beyond London’. As part of that project, the Museum has been given £2500 of funding to work with a community partner in some way, on an area of the collection that links to the themes of the project. The Powell-Cotton chose to work with the charity Arts Emergency, to support one of their young people in a paid internship that would focus on museum research and interpretation.

Dr. Inbal Livne is the Head of Collections and Engagement at the Powell-Cotton Museum. She is a material culture anthropologist by training with specialisms in African and Central Asian material culture. She is a passionate advocate for the democratization of museum practice and the inclusion of perspectives and ideas from outside the sector within our everyday work. Much of her current work is focused on how we decolonise the colonial museum, and how we embed actively anti-racist practice in that process.


Research shows that Brighton and Hove have the highest LGB population per capita in the UK, and the city is also well-known cater to a sizable trans community. This talk will compare and contrast two displays at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery that increased the relevance of the museum to this local audience and LGBTIQ+ visitors: The Museum of Transology (2017–2019) and Queer the Pier (2019-). Each exhibition was conceptualised and delivered differently but shared the central premise that they would be curatorially community-led by a previously marginalised audience. In combination, they highlight both the strengths and challenges presented by this new wave of inclusive museology.

E-J Scott is Stage 2&3 Leader, BA Culture, Criticism & Curation, Central Saint Martins. They have worked on queering museum collections and practice right across the UK including: Queerate Tate, West Yorkshire. Queer Stories and Princess: 18C queer Georgian London for queer arts company DUCKIE in collaboration with British Museum, the V&A and London Metropolitan Archives. E-J founded the Museum of Transology in 2014, now a collection of over 400 objects housed at the Bishopsgate Archive, London.


What’s in the Box? is a museum collections-based community engagement project with Home Education, Refugee and LGBTIQ+. In my strand, home educating families helped us to document natural science collections. The project is funded through an Arts Council National Lottery Project grant. Despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic, a variety of activities took place in person and virtually. These activities included documentation of collections, a co-curated online exhibition, and creative workshops. This talk provides a summary of the project, lessons learnt and what the next steps might be.

My Name is Phil Hadland and I have worked in Museums since 2008 and specialise in Natural Science Collections. At Hastings Museum & Art Gallery, I am Collections & Engagement Curator of the Natural Science & Archaeology Collections. As the job title: Collections and Engagement Curator suggests, in addition to essential collections care and documentation work, I also work directly with our community, using our collections as a resource for their benefit.

12.50-1.30, Q & A / DISCUSSION


Sign up for this event here

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