South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries
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Foundation Course: Effective Engagement (in partnership with SWFed)

Date: 28th September 2017 to 31st October 2017

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Foundation Course: Effective Engagement (in partnership with SWFed)
The South West courses have been developed in partnership with the South West Federation of Museums and Art Galleries using Museum Resilience funding from Arts Council England.

Course dates: 28-29 September 2017, Taunton; 16-17 October 2017, Bath; 30-31 October 2017, Wells

Book early and receive a 20% discount off the course fee. Bursaries are also available (more information below)

Application deadline: 25 September 2017 (limited spaces available)

Effective Engagement is intended for practitioners and volunteers in the early stages of a career in the museum, heritage and cultural sector. Participants are most likely to already have a public facing role, though the course is also for people wishing to take up such a position or adopting engagement duties into their existing role. Since it is a work-based course, it is a requirement that applicants should be employed or volunteering in an organisation within the sector. Effective Engagement complements the existing foundation course for educators: Museum Learning.

The course has been developed as part of GEM’s ACE-funded Learning & Sharing Centre (LSC) project. It will equip you for meeting the challenges of a changing sector while creating impactful and lasting experiences for visitors. It explores how to achieve Effective Engagement by:

  • Using collections, historic sites and public spaces for visitor engagement and learning.
  • Employing a wide variety of engagement strategies to suit different learning styles and interests.
  • Improving access.
  • Developing and maintaining partnerships and collaboration.
  • Improving communication.
  • Motivating and managing teams.
  • Managing projects, time and budgets.
  • Exploring careers and continuing professional development.
  • Creating sustainable legacies.

The course includes six full professional development days. Each pair of days will cover a different part of the course and will consist of seminars, workshops and visits to a range of museums.

  • Part 1. “Museums and engagement”: exploring methods of engagement, access and inclusion and reflective practice.
  • Part 2. “The importance of ‘And’: partnerships and collaboration”: exploring building partnerships and collaborations and developing communication skills.
  • Part 3. “Managing to thrive”: exploring sustainability and developing management skills.

The course will draw on the GEM core competencies to address the needs of the heritage workforce, experiencing stretched resources and multi-faceted roles. Participants are encouraged to work together and guided in forming a long-term peer network. Each person maintains a work-based reflective journal, but also shares their experiences, challenges and advice with the group in a friendly, supportive environment. They will also receive support from GEM throughout their reflective periods.

There are six full days of seminars, skills development workshops and site visits over a period of weeks, after which the participants design and complete a work-based visitor engagement project, which should be completed one month after the final professional development day. Participants will receive a certificate of satisfactory completion at a celebratory event two months after the end of the course. The course finishes upon the submission of the final assignment.

We are delighted to have Pete Brown as the course director. Pete is a learning and engagement professional with over 20 years’ experience in the sector, including responsibility for CPD and organisational development at senior management level and for devising and running training courses for learning, curatorial and visitor services staff.

To book, please visit the GEM website here:


GEM is offering four bursaries for each of this year’s Foundation Courses: Effective Engagement, taking place in the South West, North East and East of England. Each bursary is worth £250.

To qualify for one of these discounted places, it is expected that a course participant will be a museum, heritage or cultural educator at the beginning of their career, or possibly a career-changer. Priority will be given to those satisfying most of the following criteria, which are in order of importance:

  • be a regular volunteer in a museum, heritage or cultural organisation;
  • be earning the living wage or less, or otherwise unable to afford the course fee;
  • be volunteering or working in the area in which the course takes place;
  • be a GEM member.

For more information and details on how to apply, please visit the GEM website here: