More details announced for the AIM National Conference 2014 #2014AIM

We are delighted to announce a fantastic line-up of speakers for AIM Conference 2014 – Upcycle Your Museum: make more of what you’ve got. This year’s conference will include presentations from leading independent museums including Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Beamish, Black Country Living Museum, The Garden Museum, Avoncroft and many others.

You can book your place at conference here, for as little as £40 for a day. Grants are available.

We will also have lots of practical help and ideas on everything from diversifying your Trustees to creating apps and adapting to the new National Curriculum.  Our keynote speaker is Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman of Arts Council England.

Read on for a synopsis of all the great sessions that are planned.

More information about conference, hotels, travel and evening entertainments etc can be found here.

We would like to thank Development Partners for sponsoring AIM Conference and Axiell ALM Ltd (formerly Adlib) for sponsoring the AIM Dinner.

Synopsis of Key Sessions

Thursday 19 June 2014 – 1.30pm to 4.45pm

The Entrepreneurial Museum – Matthew Tanner, Chairman of AIM   Keynote case study: Shakespeare Birthplace Trust – Making Access & Conservation Your Business Diana Owen, Director The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) relies on visitors for 86% of its income and has grown that income by 60% in the last 5 years to over £7million. In parallel the SBT has increased its reach, resilience and ambition – Diana Owen will share lessons learnt and her biggest challenges. Diana has over 25 years experience in the independent Museums sector having worked in the National Trust for 20 years and as Chief Executive of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust since November 2007.   Keynote case study: The Garden Museum Christopher Woodward, Director The Garden Museum is an independent Museum without public funding, property assets or Endowment, but has a role unique in Britain. He will explore how cash income from day to day activities has increased from under £250,0000 to over £600,000 in five years through incremental change as opposed to a major capital project. Christopher Woodward is Director of The Garden Museum, London; he was formerly a Trustee of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Director of the Holburne Museum of Art, Bath.   Get Set, Ask Judy Niner, Development Partners How to get your organisation ready for fundraising, based on Development Partners’ work with some museums that received Catalyst funding.   Visitor Verdict case studies: the power of knowledge Steve Mills, BDRC-Continental Examples of museums that have been using AIM Visitor Verdict to help them understand the experience their visitors are receiving and how it compares to other museums. Examples of how this information has led to positive changes will also be shared.   Legal update: Gift Aid, VAT, SORP and more Julian Smith and Laetitia Ransley, Farrer & Co In this session charity law specialists Farrer & Co will review a range of legal issues which are likely to be of particular interest to museums, including recent cases (notably The Lightbox, Woking VAT case) and developments relating to Gift Aid, conflicts of interest, Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) and the new charity SORP.

Friday 20th June 2014 – 9.15am to 4.00pm


Case studies from three open air museums – Black Country Living Museum, Avoncroft and Beamish.

Looking at the past, present and future of open air museums. Black Country Living Museum – Andrew Lovett, Director Details to follow   Avoncroft Museum – Simon Carter, Director Avoncroft Museum was founded in 1963 and opened in 1967 as the first open-air museum of buildings in England.  Over the last fifty years it has rescued and restored over 30 historic buildings facing demolition or collapse, most of which have been re-located on a 19-acre site in Worcestershire.  The Museum went through a period of decline but with a ‘make-do and mend’ attitude and some relatively-small but judiciously-used grants Avoncroft is moving into a period of further development.   Simon will outline some of the measures the Museum has used to grow audiences, increase earned income and transform the Museum’s site. Simon Carter joined Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings as Director in 2007 and was formerly Deputy Curator at the Palace of Westminster   Beamish – Richard Evans, Director Beamish is the largest open air museum in England with nearly 600,000 visitors per year, 300+ staff, 350 active volunteers and a growing turnover of £7m+. Over the past 5 years visitor numbers have doubled and more than £4m invested in new exhibits using operating surpluses and private donations. In the next 5 years a further £16.5M will be invested to create new attractions including a 1950s Town and Farm, overnight accommodation in exhibits and a dedicated centre for people living with dementia together with their families and carers. In this session Richard will consider if Beamish’s recent experience might yield any practical tips for other museums. He will examine the key factors that have underpinned their sustained growth and explain work underway with colleagues in Denmark and Sweden to better understand what defines open air museums and how they use collections to engage with the public.  Can this help inform practice in other museums and perhaps help them prosper?

Keynote Speech Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman Arts Council England Sir Peter Bazalgette will be this year’s keynote speaker. He is Chairman of Arts Council England and President of AIM member Crossness Engines Trust.   Q&A with ACE and AIM John Orna-Ornstein, Director of Museums, ACE; Clare Titley, Director of Philanthropy, ACE; Matthew Tanner, Chairman, AIM Your opportunity to ask Arts Council England and AIM about the issues that matter most to you.   AIM AGM

Seminars A: Delegates choose one of the following four sessions:

Shared Leadership: personal experiences from the Museums & Resilient Leadership Programme – Stephen Feber and Dr Nick Winterbotham  This session will be your opportunity to hear first-hand the experiences of five aspiring museum leaders, who recently completed a twelve month programme, funding by Arts Council England, designed to strengthen their leadership as well as personal resilience skills, to put them firmly on course to be the museum leaders of the future. Augmented Reality – introducing apps to your museum – Marilyn Scott, The Lightbox and Helen Treharne, University of Surrey  This session will be an opportunity to see how mobile technology can improve the visitor experience.  The University of Surrey and Pervasive Intelligence Ltd are developing a mobile application which can open collections and archives through additional layers of interpretation, such as textual and audio descriptions, archive images and video. They are working in partnership with AIM member, The Lightbox. We’ll share with you what we’ve learned through the user trials. We’ll also talk about issues such as affordability for smaller museums and top tips to think about when considering whether to adopt such technology in an exhibition or museum.
Reducing energy usage and saving money – Kenneth Shaw, AIM Energy Action GroupThis session will explain about getting the best possible prices for energy through joining the AIM Energy Action Group and the case for smart metering of energy supplies. It will include a practical example of work in progress at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.Speaker Ken Shaw – Energy Consultant and Head of Enterprise at DTA Wales. Ken formerly managed and developed the Centre for Efficient and Renewable Energy (CEREB) at the London South Bank University.

Developing your digital offering and building it in to your marketing strategy – Emma Halford-Forbes, Black Watch Museum and Nick Poole, Collections Trust

  Emma Halford-Forbes, Manager and Curator at The Black Watch Castle & Museum, will talk about her experiences of developing thriving digital and social media offering for the Museum to complement an effective marketing strategy. She will be joined by Nick Poole of Collections Trust to talk about their Digital Benchmarks tool for the cultural sector, which looks at how can you take a holistic view of technology in your organisation.


Seminars B: Delegates choose one of the following four sessions:
Who’s in charge of your brand? – Sarah Codrington, Brand Manager and Victoria Wallace, CEO, Leeds Castle Brands are not just for the fashion conscious. How you and your customers think of your organisation matters – and that understanding of your identity can really help you and your trustees define your strategy, and articulate what your values are.  And it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Sarah Codrington and Victoria Wallace have just led Leeds Castle through a re-branding exercise. They’ll tell you how they did it; what they learned; and how it has helped them. Diversifying your trustees – Hilary McGowan and museum trustee, Simon Wilkinson Find out what motivates people to be trustees and what might put them off. How can you appeal to younger and/or different types of people to become trustees? What can they bring to the Museum? What skills and knowledge do you need on your Board? What skills and knowledge would different sorts of trustees bring with them? Learn how not to be scared of those under 30!Hilary McGowan is a leading consultant who specialises in helping museums to stand on their own two feet, be strong and survive into the future. With over 30 years experience of the sector, she has worked with over 60 organisations since setting up her own business in 1996.
Supporting industrial Heritage – Ian Bapty, Industrial Heritage Support Officer Sustaining, developing and presenting industrial heritage museums is a major challenge.   At a time when key resources such as visitors, grant aid and volunteers seem ever harder to attract, particular issues for managers of industrial heritage attractions include looking after extensive sites, maintaining big and complex historic buildings and caring for and operating working machinery. While there are no magic wands to wave, this session will look at the potential to develop self-help approaches including forming local support networks, establishing innovative new partnerships, and collaborating on marketing, funding, volunteer support and technical assistance.Ian Bapty is the English Heritage funded Industrial Heritage Support Officer (IHSO) for England based with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. He has over 20 years’ experience delivering and facilitating community based heritage and environmental projects. Adapting learning offers to the new National Curriculum, science and numeracy – Suzanne Carter, Development Officer Birmingham Conservation Trust and Sue Pope, Freelance Interpretative Learning Professional Newman Brothers, a former coffin fitting factory in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham will open as a museum in September. Last July we employed a freelance learning professional to create site-based resources for us, funded through AIM Biffa. This was at a time when changes in the National Curriculum were afoot. Not knowing where we might best fit within delivery of the new curriculum, and having to spend a time-limited grant, we decided to create numeracy skills-based learning resources so we could compete and be relevant whatever happens to teaching history. We will be sharing our ‘Travelling Salesman’ resource with you, but you may want to swot up on your pounds, shillings and pence before you come! 

Saturday 21st June 2014 – Study Tour

On Saturday there will be a Study Tour looking at examples of successful upcycling with presentations and tours at three Birmingham museums within the Jewellery Quarter.  We start with The Newnham Brother Coffin Works accompanied by Simon Buteuax, Director. Our next visit will be to the Pen Museum with an introduction to the museum from Chairman, Larry Hanks and Curator, Colin Giles. The final visit will be at The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter with a tour and talk from Oliver Buckley, Museum Manager. Lunch will be provided at the Museum.

You can book your place at conference, now.

AIM Training Grants are available for those who need help with the cost of travelling to conference, accommodation or conference fees. Deadline to apply is 1st June 2014.


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