Over the past three years CMP (Cornwall Museums Partnership) have focused on removing barriers to careers in the museum sector as part of their ongoing ambition to diversify the sector and promote an inclusive culture. Supporting museums to make a positive difference to peoples’ lives, addressing structures and practices which have traditionally excluded people.
Recognising that this will take time and that one size will not suit all, CMP have offered ways into museum work that have included:
Virtual work experience through the VWEX programme
Attendance at Careers Fairs
Working with Carefree Cornwall to improve access to museums and galleries for children in care and knowledge of museum careers for young people leaving care
Partnering with the National Gallery to support a touring exhibition programme including visits into school by staff, and engaging Forest School attendees
Support for the ARTiculate programme which engages young people with art, developing confidence and their ability to express opinion, thoughts and conclusions
Supporting museum partners offering ‘traditional’ work experience programmes while exploring what future opportunities could look like
Connecting with local schools in exciting and innovative ways has allowed CMP to introduce the museum sector in potentially unexpected ways. For example, working collaboratively with Software Cornwall and CMP, students have been designing and implementing new interactive elements to an existing static shipwreck model. With the challenge of making the model more appealing to younger visitors, students have developed ideas and begun coding lighting and sound effects while adding an interactive display; the model will become a centrepiece at St Ives Museum later in the year.
Innovative engagement has also formed a key part of the Cornwall-wide Tresorys Kernow (Cornish Treasure) project; CMP has worked with TecGirls to offer workshops designed to ignite a passion for technology, engineering and creativity with hands-on practical projects for school-age children and families.
In addition to their commitment to engaging schools with the sector, CMP has offered entry-level career provision with partner museums through the Trainee Curators programme (5 paid positions per year, over three years), skill-building for all ages thanks to the Citizen Curators programme (equipping volunteers with curatorial tools both in Cornwall and, since 2020, beyond the borders of the UK thanks to improved digital reach), support for the Future Museums Network (enabling those starting out to connect and gain knowledge) and through hosting the Green Museums Collective – supporting 5 young people to produce a guide for heritage organisations on environmental sustainability while developing new skills.
CMP has also benefitted from a commitment to improving access to the museum, heritage and charity sector by offering apprenticeship roles, Kickstarter placements and advocating for Young Trustees at board level. For CMP, focusing on the organisation’s core purpose of achieving positive social change with museums means removing barriers for everyone interested in working in and with museums.