Curating for Change: deaf and disabled people leading in museums

If our funding bids succeed, we are hoping to work with 18 museums across the country on a sector-changing programme to give D/deaf and disabled people career paths and influence in a sector where we are currently very under-represented.

Group of people from Wecil sit in front of the banner made for the Mshed exhibition.

The Accentuate team have been developing plans for a new Curatorial Development Programme, in partnership with 18 museums across the country.

Curating for Change: D/deaf and Disabled People Leading within Museums, will tackle the serious under representation of D/deaf and disabled people working within the museum sector through a leadership programme and series of curatorially-led events
Our plans include a work placement programme, peer to peer mentoring, training support and sector wide forums. We will be supporting:

• Curating for Change, which will nurture a new cohort of eight D/deaf and disabled leaders at the early stages of their careers. This process will also establish new networks as well as building confidence and skills within existing executive leaders working in the museum sector.
• Eight shorter ‘taster’ placements for deaf and disabled people – either eight weeks full time or three months part time focusing on curatorial, conservation or learning. At the end of the placement interns will have gained an awareness of leadership opportunities in the sector, learnt new skills and have been involved in producing an element for a display or event.
• 24 public engagement activities managed by Curating for Change Fellows, co-produced with D/deaf and disabled creative practitioners, ensuring a more diverse range of people are engaging with museums.
• New Disability Engagement Groups at each of the museums hosting Fellows, to ensure a wider group of D/deaf and disabled people influence the way museums display and share collections.
• There will also be a peer-to-peer Leadership Network and four sector wide CPD forums.

We are particularly focussing on those working in museums as this is where there is the most significant under-representation. This sort of work already exists in the arts sector, including Unlimited and the DASH Arts Curatorial Programme. Curating for Change will build on this work, but not duplicate it – there’s currently no equivalent in museums.

Who are our partners?

For the longer programme, we have lined up work in partnership with the Museum of Liverpool, Bristol Culture, The Thackray Medical Museum Leeds, The National Railway Museum York, The Pitt Rivers and Ashmolean Museums Oxford (this will be a joint placement, nine months with each), The Black Country Living Museum, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery and The Historic Dockyard, Chatham.

Our partners for shorter placement are The Imperial War Museum London, The Cumbria Museum Consortium, Kettle’s Yard and Sedgwick Museums Cambridge, North Hertfordshire Museums, Chelmsford Museum, Hackney Museum, Museum of English Rural Life Reading, Colchester and Ipswich Museums.

What next?

The Accentuate Programme, based within Screen South, will deliver Curating for Change subject to successful funding applications. Do continue to follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our newsletter for this new project to keep up to date with news as to whether our funding applications are successful and the subsequent launch of this new groundbreaking work.

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