The 2015 Annual Conference - Museums in Society: Navigating Public Policy was held on Friday 27 February - Sunday 1 March 2015 at the Ulster Museum, National Museums Northern Ireland, Belfast.
It examined how museums respond to, and negotiate, policy directions and focused in particular on museums' role in relation to social inclusion, education, economic regeneration, and tourism agendas.
Invited speakers and conference participants shared their experiences and expertise on the interdependent relationship between government bodies and museums: the ‘mirror and lamp' effect whereby public policies both reflect and guide the functions and missions of the museum and vice versa. The conference examined how museums can better position themselves to reflect changes within society and in government policies, while at the same time performing their historical roles of custodianship, presentation and scholarship. How should museums approach the difficult task of fulfilling these multiple, and sometimes competing, functions?
Invited and Selected Speakers were:
David Anderson Director General, Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales)
Rebecca Blake Regeneration and Community Partnerships Coordinator, Tate Britain
Lorraine Comer Head of Education, National Museum of Ireland
Hannah Crowdy Interpretation Manager, National Museums Northern Ireland
Paddy Gilmore Director of Learning and Partnership, National Museums Northern Ireland
Helen Johnston Museum Assistant, REACH project, Museum of Orange Heritage
Megan Johnston Director, The Model: Home of the Niland Collection
Michael King Curator, Down County Museum
Kim Mawhinney Head of Art, National Museums Northern Ireland
Declan McGonagle Director, National College of Art and Design, Dublin
Grainne Miller Director, GM Innovations
Paul Mullan Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Northern Ireland
Dermot Mulligan Curator, Carlow County Museum
Helen O'Carroll Curator, Kerry County Museum
Feargal O'Coigligh Assistant Secretary, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Mairead Quinn PhD student, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, University of Ulster
Cynthia Smith Acting Permanent Secretary, Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure
Michael Starrett Chief Executive, The Heritage Council of Ireland
Marie Taylor Scholar, The Hunt Museum
Brian Walsh Curator, Dundalk County Museum
Siebe Weide Director General, Museumvereniging (Netherlands Museum Association)
To view the programme, click here
To view Bios and Abstracts, click here for Friday, 27 Feb. and here for Saturday, 28 Feb
Selected papers from the Annual Conference are published in the Annual Journal, Museum Ireland, Vol. 25, 2015.