Spectrum in action – CT conference 2018

SS Great BritainOne year on from the launch of Spectrum 5.0, our 2018 conference explores how the latest version is being put into practice.

Join us at Bristol’s SS Great Britain on 13 September to explore Spectrum in action. An excellent line-up of speakers will be considering how Spectrum 5.0 has been used by museums, plus there will be opportunities to network, and a chance to explore the magnificent ship and new Being Brunel museum. Each delegate will get a free copy of Banishing the backlog, our new practical guide that we’ll be launching at the conference. Book your tickets here.

Pre-conference dinner

There will also be a chance to catch up with museum colleagues on 12 September over a pre-conference dinner at Riverstation, located on Bristol’s iconic harbourside. Book your tickets for dinner here, with a choice of two or three courses.

How to get to the conference

Please take a look at SS Great Britain’s website for helpful guidance on how to get to the venue, including how to arrive by ferry.

Important note about car parking: A car park run by Bristol City Council is situated next to the SS Great Britain site, on Gas Ferry Road. However, please do not use the pay-and-display ticket machine, because the maximum stay it offers is only 5 hours. Instead, please go to the SS Great Britain steward on the main gate for an all-day parking pass. Passes are £2.50 payable in cash only. Please clearly write your vehicle’s registration number and the date in numerical form on the ticket. Passes are valid until midnight on the day of the conference.

Conference programme

Thursday 13 September, 09:30-17:00, SS Great Britain, Bristol

09:30 Registration
Viridor Theatre
Collections Trust staff will be on hand at the registration desk from 09:30. Tea and coffee will be served, and there will also be the first opportunity of the day to talk to our Spectrum Partners exhibiting their systems.

10:00 Welcome – Hadrian Ellory-van Dekker
Great Eastern Hall
The chair of Collections Trust introduces the day. Hadrian also chairs Arts Council England’s Accreditation Committee for museums and galleries in the UK. He was previously Director and Chief Executive of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Trust, and Head of Collections at the Science Museum.

10:05 Keynote – Laura Pye: What next for collections?
Great Eastern Hall
The recent Museums Association taskforce report argued that ‘museums need to decide what their priorities are and review the impact of collections development policy and practice over the last decade to make collections more sustainable.’ In the conference keynote, Laura Pye considers the gap between collections management theory and practice and sets out the challenges as she sees them. Laura Pye, Director of National Museums Liverpool, was until recently Head of Culture for Bristol City Council, and chaired the taskforce convened by the MA in 2016.

10:35 Scott Furlong: The revised Museum Accreditation Scheme
Great Eastern Hall
Later this year Arts Council England will launch the revised Museum Accreditation Scheme. Scott Furlong, ACE’s Director of Collections and Cultural Property, will explain how the Scheme is being refreshed and how it will dovetail with Spectrum 5.0. Before joining ACE in 2012, Scott Furlong was Head of Collections Management at Royal Museums Greenwich.

10:55 Sharon Heal: Collections 2030
Great Eastern Hall
The Museums Association is conducting groundbreaking new research into the future use and management of our collections. Sharon Heal, the MA’s Director, will outline the key themes emerging from this wide-ranging study including radical new approaches to dynamic collections management and use. Sharon Heal has been the Director of the Museums Association since 2014, having previously edited the Museums Journal.

11:15 Morning tea/coffee
Viridor Theatre

11:45 Jo Moore: Making molehills out of your mountain – dealing with documentation backlogs in bite-sized chunks
Great Eastern Hall
Jo Moore, Curator, Wheal Martyn
Following Wheal Martyn’s experience of tackling a large backlog, Curator Jo Moore will be discussing the role of existing collections-related paperwork and her new documentation plan, as well as highlighting the things which went smoothly and those which proved more challenging in the process. Jo has been the Curator at Wheal Martyn since 2012. As part of the Cornwall Museums Partnership she has also advised many other museums in Cornwall on collections management. Previously Jo worked for the National Trust for 21 years, her last post being Curator for Cornwall.

12:05 Meg McKavanagh: Billions of beads – banishing the backlog at the Museum of Brisbane
Great Eastern Hall
Easton Pearson was one of Australia’s most successful fashion houses, gracing catwalks and showrooms across the world. The Easton Pearson Archive is the largest textile collection from a single Australian fashion house held by a museum: more than 4000 garments; over 6000 accessories, sketches, range-plans, look-books, films and photographs; and billions of beads. When the Archive arrived at the Museum of Brisbane in 2016, more than half of it was undocumented. Meg McKavanagh explains how she used Spectrum to banish the backlog in preparation for a major exhibition and a dedicated public access facility. Meg McKavanagh, Easton Pearson Archive Coordinator at the Museum of Brisbane, has over 15 years’ experience working with collections in England and Australia, and is passionate about connecting people with objects in real and meaningful ways.

12:25 Linda Gordon: Seeing double – digital reproduction
Great Eastern Hall
Every year Bristol Culture reviews and adds to its documentation procedures, based on the newest version of Spectrum. In 2018 a new section, Reproduction, was added to the folder. Linda explains why and how the procedure was implemented, giving examples from the collection. Linda has worked as Documentation Officer at Bristol Culture since 2016, with previous collections roles at National Museums Scotland, Tate, Lord’s Cricket Museum, Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre, and the Ben Uri Jewish Art Gallery.

12:45 Sarah Brown: Banishing the backlog
Great Eastern Hall
Collections Trust’s Outreach Officer, Sarah Brown, has been encouraging a number of museums across the country to tackle their inventory backlogs. Here she reflects on some common problems that keep coming up, and also previews our forthcoming practical guide to Banishing the backlog. Sarah has been with Collections Trust since 2016, working closely with the museum development network to deliver free, ACE-funded events. She originally trained as a conservator and has worked in various collections management roles.

13:00 Lunch
Viridor Theatre

14:00 Optional Q&A session on choosing collections software
Great Eastern Hall
In this optional lunchtime session for anyone thinking of buying collections software, experts from some of our Spectrum Partner suppliers will answer your questions on how to choose between the various systems available. The panel includes:

14:30 Kate Grimley Evans: Collections documentation and data protection Q&A
Great Eastern Hall
The steady stream of enquiries we’ve had suggests that many museums are unsure how the recent changes in data protection law apply to personal information contained within collections documentation that may go back many decades. Can such data be kept without having to go back and seek consent? Can it be kept indefinitely? Can it be shared? Here is a chance  to put these and other questions to top data protection lawyers. Kate Grimley Evans is Head of Information Law at solicitors Stone King. Tom Murdoch, a partner in the firm’s charity and social enterprises team, will also be on hand.

15:00 Kathleen Lawther: Review, reflect, re-evaluate
Great Eastern Hall
In early 2017 Hastings Museum and Art Gallery was working on developing a pilot collections review framework as part of an ACE-funded resilience project. Collections Curator Kathleen Lawther explains how Spectrum’s new Collections review procedure – first in draft form then as the published standard – helped the team continually rethink and refine the process, helping them focus on the museum’s objectives, on which collections to prioritise, and on how to record and analyse the review. Kathleen Lawther is Collections Curator at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, responsible for local history, natural history and archaeology collections. She also works as a freelance consultant on collections projects.

15:20 Kevin Gosling: What’s the use of Use of collections?
Great Eastern Hall
You may not yet have read the revised Use of collections procedure nestling towards the end of Spectrum 5.0. Yet, as museums almost everywhere struggle to capture and manage knowledge about their collections from a wide range of sources, Kevin Gosling argues that the innovations in this revised procedure might prove the most useful in the long run. Kevin Gosling has been Chief Executive of Collections Trust since 2015, and co-edited Spectrum 5.0 together with Gordon McKenna.

15:40 Collections Trust 2018 award
Great Eastern Hall
The Collections Trust award recognises the often-unsung achievements of those who manage the collections that lie at the heart of all museums. In this final session of the conference, we will reveal the winner of this year’s award and hear what difference Spectrum 5.0 has made to their work.

16:00 Afternoon tea/coffee
Viridor Theatre
A final opportunity to network, and talk to our Spectrum Partners, over afternoon tea.

Photo: David Norton, courtesy of SS Great Britain Trust.