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Cornwall Museums Partnership

A Listening Exercise

I am motivated by the passion of people working in museums across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and therefore what role an independent charity, without the responsibility of a building or a collection, could play in supporting our rich rurally dispersed museum and heritage sector. What contribution and leadership could we collectively bring for Cornwall to create nationally recognised professional practice, activity and to contribute to the UK’s leading rural creative economy?

So, I embarked on a listening exercise – meeting the team, our Board and Committee members, and a range of museum staff and volunteers. The questions were simple: ‘What would you keep the same?’, ‘What needs to be prioritised?’, ‘What could be done differently?’ and ‘What are the concerns and challenges?’ – the answers were broad and rich. It was a brilliant exercise, and I was so grateful for the openness, insight, and challenge that it gave me.


The Outcome…

What I heard was that CMP is valued and that our expertise, capacity, agility, and positivity are needed and welcomed. In a region with over 70 museums and heritage settings, mainly small in their size but big in their impact, passion and ambition, CMP is needed and seen to play a critical role as a convenor of people and ideas; an enabler of collaboration and problem-solving; experts to call on who are responsive and there to help; a representative body who provides the strategic knowledge, leadership and advocacy; having the operational ability and capacity to manage projects and programmes; and, importantly, to unlock additional investment at scale for the many not just the few.

There were areas where people wanted improvement and clarification, including who was part of the partnership; what was our offer and how could it be accessed; stronger leadership and direction; being bolder in leading on key areas of social impact; reliance on one funding source being risky and exclusive; and more support for more museums whatever the size or scale.

So, we listened and reflected, and have created three clear strategic aims:

CMP is there to drive social change – and over the next two years, we will be focusing on environmental responsibility and inclusivity, accessibility, and social justice.

CMP is there for the sector – we understand the needs, priorities, and ideas of our museum sector and workforce; we will land additional investment; we will advocate and create space to celebrate; we will provide a strategic voice and continue to play a pivotal role in convening networks, ideas, and partners.

CMP is committed to making a positive and impactful contribution to Cornwall’s cultural ecosystem – by promoting our creative capital, working in partnership with cultural and third-sector partners, and continuing our focus on place and communities.


-Tamzyn Smith, CMP CEO

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