Storytelling With Digital Collections [Learning module opportunity]

Posted on: 17 July 2019

SEMD have partnered up with Culture24 to roll out a learning module which explores digital storytelling with museum collections. This opportunity offers ten museum places & will require two practitioners from each museum over a period of 6-9 months, beginning in September 2019. (Please see timetable below)

The learning module will look at ways of ensuring digital content is fit for purpose and help participants understand what that means within their unique contexts. As a result the museums will get the opportunity to consider how to embed that learning in their working practice, and get to showcase their fabulous collections!

With support from Culture24 project officers, participants will plan, carry out, track, analyse and iterate a series of simple digital content experiments. The aim of this is to give a safe space to try and test new ideas.

Outline of the Learning Module:

Culture24’s Learning Modules (LM) develop and embed new ways of working with collections, interpretation, learning and programming, through a process of collaborative, peer-supported learning with digital literacy and skills as the common thread.

The overall aims of each Learning Module are:

  • To embed a shift in thinking & practice in participating museums
  • To support museum professionals in collaborative action learning to develop digital literacy and skills, through workshops, experimentation and mentoring
  • To support professional development through identifying, modelling and supporting best practice in audience engagement with collections, through digital channels and tools.

Context of the partnership:

Learning Module partnerships are free; they are undertaken in a spirit of collaboration, within the remit Culture24 has to support museums in becoming more digitally literate and skilled. The support Culture24 will give partner museums is made possible thanks to funding from the Arts Councils England Sector Support Funding.

Culture24 will do its best to ensure we scope and plan all activity in sustainable, cost-effective ways and will be sensitive to museum partners’ resourcing and capacity limitations. We’ve shaped this project around the activity that museums will either already be doing or, if not, would like and need to be doing. This is about helping museums to work with what they already have.

Role of the South East Museum Development Programme:

SEMD’s MDO, Helen Derbyshire will be Project lead and will support Culture24 in: selecting and recruiting partner museums; shaping the focus of the learning module; providing/sourcing venues for the workshops; contributing to workshops/mentoring where relevant/useful.


Suggested Structure:

Timing Activity
Early Sept 2019 – late Oct –      Recruitment of museum partners and partnership agreements made

–      Agreeing workshop dates and booking venues

Late Oct 2019 –      Planning workshop/module content
Mid Nov 2019 –      Kick-off workshop held with all partners (all day)
Mid Nov 2019 – April 2020 –      Museums work on own experiments with SEMD & C24 support. Mixture of mentoring support, visits, calls.
Late Jan 2020/Early Feb 2020 –      Mid-module workshop with all partners (half a day)
Feb 2020 – March 2020 –      Individual visits by C24’s project lead to each museum partner’s venue, approx. 2 hours per visit (seeing collection and talking to participants)
April 2020 –   Final workshop with all partners (full day)
April – May 2020 –      Evaluation



Museum responsibilities:

Museums will be selected as project partners on the understanding that they are keen to take part and willing to commit the time and thinking space needed in order to reap the full benefits for their organisation. They will be expected to:

  • Provide two staff members or volunteers to take the lead on project activity, be the main point of contact, complete any necessary paperwork & evaluation, attend both module workshops and disseminate learning from the project amongst colleagues
  • Support their nominated participants in planning, carrying out, tracking, analysing and iterating upon a series of simple digital content experiments
  • Support their nominated participants in identifying and reaching their target audiences via the experiments outlined above in their own channels and also via Culture24 channels
  • Contribute, where appropriate, to Culture24’s & SEMDs activity at external conferences or workshops to share the learning about the project more widely with the sector if asked.


Examples of other museums work that have completed the learning module in other regions:

Culture24’s Learning Module in Digital Storytelling is currently overseeing ten experiments in museums in the East Midlands and East of England regions – ranging from a series of Instagram films exploring the collection at Creswell Crags to simple collections focused-storytelling via Instagram and Facebook at Ashwell Village Museum.


At Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse they are conducting a social media audit to analyse and optimise storytelling across their three social media platforms of Instagram,  Facebook  and Twitter, comparing audience behaviours whilst sharing different kinds of stories about the collection and a new LGBTQ project. At Rutland County Museum they are working towards an integrated approach to collections blogging whist fostering engagement locally via Facebook and more broadly via the Instagram channel .

All of these experiments vary in size but are tailored to each museum’s capacity and organisational aims. They are also supported by mentoring sessions and meet ups and supporting editorial on  The overall aim is to give museums the time and a framework to think about how and why they engage with audiences online.


Application details:

To apply to be part of the learning module please send a short expression of interest detailing; why you would like to take part; any ideas you already have to develop further; why this fits into your organisational priorities now in an email to by Friday 6th September 2019.

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