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Community Partnerships:

Age Collective Supported by

Age Collective Seminar Belfast - Monday 29th April 2013 1. Age Collective - outline

pages 2 – 4

2. Questions put forward

page 5

3. Key discussion points

page 6

4. Key action points

pages 6 – 7

5. Priority Chart

page 8

Appendix 6. Attendees

page 9

7. Mind Map

page 10

8. Discussion write-ups

pages 11 – 13

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1. Age Collective – Seminar Series The British Museum is supporting a number of cross-sector seminars in the UK to explore how museums and galleries can better work with and for older people in their communities in partnership with organisations from other sectors. The British Museum is working with National Museums Northern Ireland, Manchester Museum and Glasgow Life. Each museum brings together local and national practitioners and representatives from a cross-section of organisations to discuss how through partnership and collaboration, museums and galleries can better support older people in their communities. Age Collective is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Aim The aims of the seminars are to:  Listen to the voices of older adults – explore the needs of diverse communities of older people and the varied provision for meeting these needs across the UK.  Share good practice – develop ideas to support museums across the UK to cater better for the older people within their localities in partnership with other organisations.  Develop inter-disciplinary partnerships – encourage social care, health and advice providers for older people to view museums as potential, valuable partners.  Formulate a shared action plan – create a cross-sector network to drive change, with the aim of increasing opportunities and wellbeing for the diverse communities of older people in different parts of the UK.  Research – improve the work that we do, formulate new ways of collaborating with other sectors and disciplines to locate new areas for collaborative research.

Methodology The seminars invite practitioners already working with older people with the aim of bringing together strong voices to facilitate a discussion where all attendees can raise relevant issues and ideas.

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The seminars use the ‘Open Space’1 technique to enable collaborative discussion between museums working with older people, and stakeholders beyond the heritage sector. With no pre-set agenda, the methodology ensures that the meeting is collaborative and the discussions best reflect the interests of all attending individuals. Centred on the theme of how museums and galleries can better work with and for older people in their communities in partnership with organisations from other sectors, delegates raise the discussion points focusing on actions to be taken forward. The discussion content and action points are then collated, prioritised and distributed as the work of the entire group.

Using this document The second Age Collective seminar was held at the Ultra Manor, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum on Monday 29th April 2013. The seminar brought together over 20 delegates to represent local and national organisations working with older adults. Sectors present included museums, arts, research, social care and community organisations. This document begins with a list of the questions put forward by the attending delegates and an outline of the key discussion points drawn from the wider set of questions. This is followed by a summary of the key action points and a chart of the priority areas selected by delegates at the end of the seminar as matters needing the greatest attention. The document ends with a more detailed outline of each conversation, a mind map linking the discussion topics and a list of organisations represented at the Belfast Age Collective seminar. This document will be circulated to all attendees and can be used by them as they see fit to move this work forward. It will be made available online and on-going debate and revision will be encouraged at every point. The main aim is to make a change – improve the work that we do, formulate new ways of collaborating between museums and galleries and with other sectors and disciplines and perhaps locate new areas for collaborative research.

‘Open Space’ is a way of facilitating a discussion as democratically as possible. Its methodology ensures that the meeting agenda and discussions best reflect the needs of all participants. Participants agree to attend to take an active part in a dialogue within a predetermined theme, all discussions focus on actions to be taken forward. 1

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Next Steps The next two seminars will take place in Glasgow and Manchester in May 2013. The host partners will be Glasgow Life and Manchester Museum. Each host partner will bring together local and national practitioners to ensure the conversations are as inclusive and far-reaching as possible. Each seminar is designed to gauge interest and explore the themes partners feel are important in their local areas. After all four seminars have taken place the resulting discussions and documents will be analysed to draw out key recommendations aimed at dramatically improving provisions and opportunities for older people. The recommended priority areas as identified by the range of sectors at the seminars will also be collated to identify a shared action plan for the museum sector to work towards. The final and key dissemination event will be a major conference where seminar attendees will present the most exciting outputs of the process so far to a wider audience. The conference is the opportunity for individuals not yet actively working with older audiences to learn from the experience of the seminar participants, respond to the programme outputs, and be inspired by the Age Collective process.

Further Information For more information about the Age Collective programme please contact Harvinder Bahra, Community Partnership Coordinator at the British Museum, via email: hbahra@britishmuseum.org. If you have any questions about the content of this report, please contact Antonio Benitez, postgraduate researcher at the University of Salford, via email: a.benitez@edu.salford.ac.uk.

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How can museums and galleries better work with and for older people in their communities in partnership with organisations from other sectors? 2. Discussion points put forward by participants Focusing on the theme of how museums and galleries can better work with and for older people in their communities in partnership with organisations from other sectors, the following questions were put forward by the delegates at the Belfast seminar: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

How can museums ensure they involve a more culturally diverse audience? How can museums engage underrepresented audiences (particularly men)? How can museums embed research into our programmes? How can museums address accessibility and communicate with isolated and diverse older audiences? How can museums ensure museum staff receive training to support people with sight and hearing needs? How can museums support engagement from group to independent visits?

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How can museums sustain their work with older people? How can museums sustain their work with people with dementia? 8. How can museums and community partners support each other and work in partnership? 9. How can museums work in partnership with the University of Third Age (U3A) and share the learning from the projects? 10 &11. Where can museums find funding to work with older people? How can museums work in partnership to access funding to work with older people? 12. How can museums develop volunteer opportunities that use the skills and experience of older adults?

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3. Key discussion points The key discussion points listed below have been drawn out from the wider set of questions and present some of the recurring themes from the second Age Collective seminar in Belfast.  How can museums embed research about older people into our programmes (leading to funding and sustainability)?  How can museums improve their accessibility and communication skills to increase and diversify their older audiences?  How can museums better work in partnership with other organisations to improve their offer to older audiences?  How can museums better use older people's knowledge and experience?

4. Key action points: The key action points below have been drawn out from the wider discussions and present some of the recurring points put forward at the second Age Collective seminar in Belfast.  Create a permanent network of individuals and organisations working with older people to share research, case studies and information (i.e. Age of Creativity).  Use this network as a “collective lobby” to increase awareness about the importance of working with older audiences (policy makers and funders).  Signpost individuals and institutions to other organisations doing this kind of work (e.g. Amazon “if you like this...you might like...).  Investigate how to diversify funding streams (i.e. corporate social responsibility).  Promote regular face-to-face meetings where individuals and organisations working with older people can share their experiences and learn from each other.  Find examples of partners (museums and community organisations) sharing training and skills.  Find ways to make connections and create partnerships with health and social services.

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 Acknowledge the importance of developing and maintaining relationships and partnership working.  Identify key agencies and resources to help identify groups of isolated older people or individuals.  Develop multiagency accessibility training for staff.  Develop more appropriate sessions for visitors (transport, length of time, comfort, seating...)  Make sure museums deliver what older people want, not what museums think they want.  Give attention to programming for older men.  Create pop up museums in community venues.  Look at the infrastructure of the organisation to ensure people/staff understand what volunteering is and the responsibilities involved.  Invest in staff training and resources to improve volunteering programmes (volunteering requires resources but brings a return to the organisation).  Develop a best practice framework for older volunteers.  Take volunteers to the community (out of the museum).  Approach companies to recruit pre-retirement potential volunteers.  Share good practice of volunteering programmes.  Involve older audiences in co-producing new volunteer led projects.

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5. Discussion Points – Priority Chart At the end of the Age Collective seminar in Belfast each delegate was allocated 5 stickers to distribute between the wider set of discussion points to indicate which they felt were of the most importance to take forward.

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APPENDIX 6. Attendees at the Belfast Age Collective seminar Representatives from the following organisations listed attended the Age Collective seminar at the Ultra Manor, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum on 29th April 2013:                  

Age Northern Ireland British Museum Engage with Age Forthspring Inter Community Group Glasgow Life Manchester Museum Montgomery, Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke (NICHS) Museums Northern Ireland National Museums Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Museum Council Reminiscence Network Northern Ireland Royal National Institute of Blind People Soundmor University of Salford University of The Third Age University of The Third Age Volunteer Now Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Museums

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7. Mind map of themes The mind map below presents the themes put forward at the Age Collective seminar in Belfast. They can be centred on two main points: 1. The importance of sharing skills, knowledge and experience with other organisations involved in this kind of work and also the need for museums to establish new collaborative partnerships with organisations from other sectors working with older people. 2. The need to consider the access needs and involvement preferences of older people, keeping in mind the diversity of this age group.

Museums & Older People Access & Involvement

Sharing

Diversity Partnerships

Networks

Knowledge

Culture & Arts

Shared learning projects

Skills-Training

Health

Multi-agency training

Research

Social care

Communication

Sustainability

Community

Communication

Awareness

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8. Discussion Write-up: Pages 10 to 11 are the notes taken from each conversation during the Age Collective seminar, including additional comments placed on the discussion wall for each conversation. The key discussion/action points for each question can be used as standalone suggestions for your own research in these areas. 1. How can museums embed research into our programmes (leading to funding and sustainability)? Refers to Discussion Points 3, 7, 10 & 11. 

Signposting to other individuals and organisations with expertise in this area of work (Amazon model). If you like this, you may like that...

Museums normally go to the same organisations to ask for funding. Museums need to think creatively about how they can diversify funding streams (i.e. using social responsibility from business and commercial organisations).

Museums must be much more entrepreneurial about where they are getting the funding from.

We need to broaden our definition of research and the idea about who does research (including commercial organisations). Other organisations may have existing research about older people and museums can learn from that.

Need for peer led research: research led by museums professionals.

We must acknowledge that the role of museums in society is changing. Visitors bring their own cultural capital with them and the roles of traditional museum (knowledge) and audience as recipient of knowledge is changing. Acknowledge that all visitors bring knowledge to the museums and bring collections to life.

In order to get public funding museums need to be accountable. Museums need to justify the benefits they bring to the community. Museums can't work in isolation.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) and the “Impact” agenda bring huge opportunities for museums to work with researchers.

Research Councils are very interested in funding collaborative research. Museums need to start working closer with researchers.

Museums must empower visitors and try to provide a much more personalised service.

Museums need to involve older people in shared learning based partnerships. Museums can learn a lot from older people.

Museums can't impose their agenda on older people. Museums need to consult and involve older people in developing their programmes.

2. How can museums improve their accessibility and communication skills to increase and diversify their older audiences? Refers to Discussion Points 1, 2, 4 & 5. 11


Museums can work with GP's and social care services to reach isolated older people

Museums shouldn't forget rural communities. It seems not many museums work with rural communities

Museums must address several areas about accessibility: staff training, access needs from visitors and creating partnerships with services working with older people to improve access, maximise resources and funding

Museums need communications staff that work with all these different organisations (museums, health and social care organisations). It takes a lot of time to find the right person.

Museums need to work closer with libraries. Libraries are very important community venues for older people.

Programming for older men can sometimes be a challenge for museums

It is important for museums to carry on doing outreach work. Not everybody can or feel comfortable to come to the museum.

Age Collective must establish a permanent network to lobby to increase awareness of the cause and support funding

How can we ensure museums have programs that engage audiences to work forward as well as back? Museums can use history to empower and to inform our actions now and in the future.

Dementia: social history and reminiscence activities working with people and their families.

3. How can museums better work in partnership with other organisations to improve their offer to older audiences? Refers to Discussion Points 8 & 9. 

Museums should provide a much more informal setting where people can just drop in whenever they like.

Activities should also be led by older people.

Providing a mixture of formal and informal activities

The real challenge is how to engage isolated older people

Museums need to work closer with health and social care groups (referral groups)

Museums need to sustain a platform to share examples of good practice

Staff training needs to be provided by museums, health workers and other organisations working with older people (i.e. U3A).

Where can we find examples of best practice of sharing training and skills? (museums and health and social care sectors)

Museums must also work individual to individual instead of always working with large groups. Getting isolated people in touch with each other.

Raising awareness of the importance of collaborative partnerships.

Some senior Managers don't see the benefit of investing time in building 12


partnerships because you are not delivering a project. Age Collective could raise awareness of the importance of investing time to develop partnerships. 

Working with older people should be about quality of engagement and not as much about numbers.

4. How can museums better use older people's knowledge and experience? Refers to Discussion Points 6 & 12. 

Museums need to acknowledge the diversity of the population over 50 (working age, residential care...)

Isolated people: museums must build confidence for people to come to the museum before becoming a volunteer.

Museums need to value older people's experiences and skills

Need to change the traditional perception of museum visitors and volunteers. Museums need volunteers with all kind of experiences and backgrounds.

Encouraging older people to think about volunteering as part of their day out. Giving visitor the opportunity to do something practical during their day out (recruitment of new volunteers).

Museums must think carefully about everything that is required when working with volunteers (resources and staff time). Organisations need to have a structure, staff and volunteering policy available.

Museum staff needs not to be frightened of volunteers.

Greater investment in training and resources is required.

Taking volunteering outside the museum setting. Community volunteers could encourage people to come to the museum.

Working in partnership with companies to offer volunteering opportunities to newly retired staff.

Promoting new ways of volunteering: family and intergenerational volunteering.

Organisations need to share examples of good practice working with older volunteers.

Co-production: involving older people in the development of new volunteering programmes.

Using older people's panels: older people acting as consultation panel for exhibitions and projects.

What kind of marketing is effective to recruit new volunteers?

Museums must be more careful when using marketing images to attract older people. No stereotypes.

Museums must be more flexible in recognising different approaches to volunteering.

Recruitment: if your confidence and self-stem is low, an application or formal interview is not the best way to recruit volunteers. 13

Age Collective: Belfast Seminar Report  

Age Collective is a UK-wide cross-sector conversation exploring how museums and galleries can better work with and for older people in their...

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