Immersive Technology: Accessibility In Mind

wAVE Digital Project Administrator Apprentice, Ellie Smith, talks about voice control, day-to-day immersive technology, accessibility and virtual reality in her latest blog. Scroll down to read more on what she has to say.

If, like me, you’ve gone to the park in the pouring rain with your Pokémon Go app to catch Pikachu, or asked Alexa to play Beyoncé while you’re getting ready for work, then you’re one of the billions of people who use immersive technology everyday.

Now, as we welcome a new decade, the potential for immersive tech continues to grow. Bossing a digital voice assistant like Alexa around can make some of life’s small nuisances easier for an able-bodied person; mumbling “Alexa, turn the lights off,” when you’re too cosy to get out of bed or telling Google to put The Great British Bake Off on when you can’t find the remote for example! It’s estimated that 8 billion digital voice assistants will be in use by 2023. Clearly voice user interface (VUI) technology is going to become an increasingly commonplace part of many people’s lives.

What this really means is that people can now use their voice to control computers instead of a mouse or touch screen. A whole world of digital interaction is opened up to people with visual impairments and physical disabilities. Chatbots are, quite literally, opening doors. People are now able to use chatbots to control mechanisms throughout their home – this may be the back door opening when the dog barks or having the ability to adjust the heating with a verbal command. The capabilities of VUIs allows people with varying accessibility needs to further their independence just by using their voice.

We can also look to virtual reality (VR) to create a more accessible world. VR experiences can simulate access to spaces which may be otherwise inaccessible. Here in Cornwall, heritage site Geevor Tin Mine has created a 3D VR tour which has been developed alongside Heritage Ability and Soundview Media. Visitors who can’t physically access the underground part of the site will be able to access the space with a VR headset, an experience which is “as close to an actual tour as possible without it being the real thing.”

(3D VR Accessibility at Geevor Tin Mine. Image Accessed:

VR is also being used to provide support for people with developmental disabilities, such as autism, to create an environment where people can safely gain an idea of what a space is like. Organisations can also make their sites more inclusive for people with physical accessibility needs by creating a 3D map of their site, with information about accessible routes and toilets, to ensure that disabled visitors are able to navigate the space comfortably. A company that advocates for immersive accessibility is Ocean3D™, which became the first business in the world without a physical premises to be awarded the National Autistic Society ‘Autism Friendly’ award.

At Cornwall Museums Partnership we champion accessibility and inclusivity. Working on the wAVE project has introduced me to the potential immersive technology has to make the world a more inclusive place. Though it is clear there is not one type of ‘immersive solution’ that generates accessibility for everyone, it is important that the capabilities of this technology are adopted by organisations around the world. As part of the wAVE project we are providing free immersive digital skills sessions across Cornwall, to help organisations create accessible and open environments for all of their customers. This may be learning about opening your space through 3D photography scanning with Ocean3D or the potential of immersive marketing with Soundview Media.

The growth of immersive technology shows no signs of stopping, and I hope the focus on accessibility continues to grow with it. Immersive technology is incredibly fun, but it can also provide greater freedom for so many people who live in a world designed without them in mind.


Ellie Smith

wAVE Digital Project Administrator Apprentice



Apprentice Youth Worker – Carefree, Redruth


Apprentice Youth Worker


Terms:    30 hours per week

Job Purpose:    To work with Carefree and Cornwall Museums Partnership to promote access to museums and culture as part of supporting Carefree in its delivery of youth work. To enable young people in and leaving care to do things for themselves and others. To work with young people in and leaving care, promote positive emotional health and well-being and represent their views to others.

Reports to:    Line manager

Key Relationships:   

  • Young people in and leaving care
  • Staff and volunteers for Carefree
  • Foster carers, Social workers, key workers for young people
  • Key partners – including Cornwall Museums Partnership

Main Tasks:

  • To ensure that the organisation is meeting the needs of young people in care by involving them in all aspects of Carefree’s work
  • To undertake relevant training and accreditation as appropriate, including an Apprenticeship pathway in Youth Work level 2 or 3.
  • To work alongside the youth work team to deliver positive activities for young people in and leaving care.
  • To support the positive emotional health and well-being of young people in and leaving care.
  • To work with Carefree and Cornwall Museums Partnership to support young people to access museums and culture and to promote the new culture card which gives free access to museums.
  • To gain experience both as a youth worker at carefree and working within a museum environment for example; front of house reception work or helping with collections and curation.
  • To use own care experience, when appropriate and with the necessary support, to role model positive outcomes to other young people
  • To support the improvement of Care leaving services across Cornwall
  • To represent Carefree at national events, with appropriate support.
  • To study for a level 2 or 3 qualification in Youth Work


Terms of employment

Salary:    £ 8.33 per hour. Pension contributions matched at up to 5% of salary.

Contract:    30 hours (7 of which will be study hours) on a variable basis with some emphasis on holidays weekends and evenings.

Expenses:    All agreed expenses incurred in carrying out the work will be reimbursed. Car mileage from the office to work places can be claimed at 40p per mile, or second-class rail travel.

Notice period:    One month on either side.

Location:    Based at Carefree, Clinton Passage Redruth (with positive activities being delivered at a range of activity and youth centres across Cornwall)


How to Apply

All applications should be sent to by midday on Thursday 6 February 2020.

Interviews will be held on Tuesday 11 February 2020 at Carefree, Redruth.

All workers are subject to a Disclosure and Barring Check

Application Form

Cultural Heritage Drives Environmental Sustainability

There are more than 70 museums in Cornwall of great variety and individuality, including; art galleries, castles, mines, historic properties, industrial heritage sites and tiny community museums. Many more collections are held in community archives. Cornwall’s diverse heritage organisations offer something unique and special, they provide fantastic services for their communities and achieve high standards.

Cornwall Museums Partnership and SW Museum Development recognise the excellence within these organisations and want to reward the wonderful work you do and share your achievements through our Cornwall Heritage Awards 2020.

In this guest blog, we hear a little from one of our award sponsors, Tevi…

Building on last year’s successful partnership, Tevi is delighted to be sponsoring the Environment and Circular Economy category at the forthcoming Cornwall Heritage Awards. This time around, enterprises that apply for the award will also benefit from additional support by way of an invitation to join an exclusive workshop in the spring, jointly led by Tevi and Cornwall Museums Partnership, aiming to foster business success by diversifying audiences through sustainability initiatives.

Connecting Cornwall to Sustainable Development Goals

Tevi continues to support cultural heritage and creative industry initiatives because they lie at the heart of both circular economy and environmental growth, the programme’s key drivers. A circular economy designs waste out of the economy, including thinking more carefully about how we use our resources for creative and cultural ventures. Environmental growth, on the other hand, is a concept enshrined in a long-term Cornwall Council strategy, committing the county to increased available natural habitat, including green spaces and forests as well as the species that live there, as it continues to develop its economy and infrastructure.

Heritage sites and creative ventures, which are so vital for Cornwall’s cultural, social and mental well-being, are a key indicator for the county’s status within global sustainable development initiatives. Enshrined within Sustainable Development Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities, heritage is seen as a driver and enabler of sustainability. In addition to the widely documented social and other non-monetized benefits, this relationship is particularly salient within the cultural sector’s contribution to the global economy and poverty alleviation, with cultural heritage, cultural and creative industries, sustainable cultural tourism and cultural infrastructure all providing means of generating income. The growth rate of the cultural and creative industries worldwide reflects potentially highly sustainable economic opportunities, in particular in emerging economic regions such as the Middle East (17.6%), Africa (13.9%) or South America (11.9%).

People, place and planet

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s rich cultural heritage has been built from the ground up, a product of the 19th-century mining boom that featured over 400 active mines across the county. Today, the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site recognises this unique history on a local level. Cornwall’s mining heritage has also had a massive global impact, both socially, with over 6 million people around the world estimated to be descendants of Cornish miners, and in terms of infrastructure, with Cornish engine houses found as far away as Mexico and Australia.

Cornwall also has a particularly strong track record in the creative industries, where recent data show that the number of creative enterprises has grown by 41% to 1,400 since 2011. In this context, it is clear why Creative, Tourism, Mining, and Location are featured as four of the ten key sectors put forward by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with the potential to play a critical role in growing the county’s economy now and in the future.

Tevi’s contributions within the cultural heritage and creative sectors, therefore, have the potential to unlock progress towards the holy grail of sustainability; namely, to connect people, place and planet. Whether we are helping creative practitioners find by-products from other industries for use as novel and innovative materials, or supporting museums to reduce their waste or to increase their customer base by going plastic-free or simply by facilitating conversations between Cornwall’s rich patchwork of stakeholders, the Tevi team looks forward to continuing its successful relationship with Cornwall Museums Partnership.

Tevi is led by the University of Exeter in partnership with Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Cornwall Council and the Cornwall Development Company. One of the main aims of the programme is to deliver Cornwall Council’s Environmental Growth Strategy 2015-2065, which argues that the health of the county’s long-term economy relies on a thriving environment.

For more information, please email Manager Edvard Glücksman at

A Passion for Cornwall’s Art Heritage

There are more than 70 museums in Cornwall of great variety and individuality, including; art galleries, castles, mines, historic properties, industrial heritage sites and tiny community museums. Many more collections are held in community archives. Cornwall’s diverse heritage organisations offer something unique and special, they provide fantastic services for their communities and achieve high standards. 

Cornwall Museums Partnership and SW Museum Development recognise the excellence within these organisations and want to reward the wonderful work you do and share your achievements through our Cornwall Heritage Awards 2020.

In this guest blog, we hear a little from one of our award sponsors, The Art of Cornwall…

The Art of Cornwall are delighted to be sponsoring the ‘One to Watch’ award in the Cornwall Heritage Awards 2020, a great way to support future work, showcase best practice and share great ideas.

The Art of Cornwall are very passionate and proud to be sharing Cornwall’s heritage in art culture to the world. We would like to collaboratively work with and support Cornwall’s inspirational community of artists, artisans, galleries, museums, art societies and suppliers to showcase their exquisite collections, and advance our customers’ understanding of Cornwall’s heritage for arts and crafts.

Our mission is to invest in our members, partners and sixth form students, not just providing them with an online profile and gallery to sell their products and raise their brand, but to be placed directly in front of the consumer.

The Art of Cornwall is incorporated by PH Media, a small local company based in Roche, who have 25 years’ reprographic experience in high end fashion magazines. PH Media, having recently been awarded highly commended at the Print Week 2019 Awards, are a member of the Fine Art Trade Guild and uniquely placed as one of the few fine art printers in the UK to hold ArtSure accreditation.

PH Media can offer fine art scanning print services which will transform your images into museum grade Fine Art Giclée Prints. The Art of Cornwall members can utilise the remarkable qualities of our 3D scanning device which captures the relief of the original to a depth of 8mm. We are the only company in the South West to own a 3D scanner and The Art of Cornwall members will receive 10% discount off this service.

We will be exhibiting at Fowey gift fayre this coming weekend, 7th and 8th December, so please do come and say hello to The Art of Cornwall team and one of our members, Ray Youngs, Cornish Glass Jewellery, on stand number 23 in the Leisure Centre.

We look forward to seeing you!

For more information about The Art of Cornwall please get in contact with us.


For more information on the 2020 Heritage Awards and to apply, please get in touch with Bryony

Cornwall Heritage Awards 2020

It’s that time of year where the evenings are drawing in, museums close for the winter season and there’s time to reflect on the past year’s achievements. This is also a great opportunity to send in your applications for the Cornwall Heritage Awards 2020 – an evening where we will celebrate our museums and heritage organisations.

The Heritage Awards will raise profile within our local communities, across Cornwall, and within the wider heritage sector. It will showcase your best practice and share your great ideas, and what a great way to raise your museum’s profile to your stakeholders and within the media, whilst potentially raising some unrestricted funds. You’ll also hear about some great projects and gain plenty of inspiration for next year.

Lizzy Sharp Asprey; Secretary of Saltash Heritage said “We’ve used the awards as a way of demonstrating our impact to the Council and other partners, plus it’s a great way of kicking off celebrations at our annual volunteer party. It’s been brilliant and we’ll definitely be entering again this year.”

Cornwall Heritage Awards is the only local museum awards scheme that awards prize money to help support your future work. In addition, last year the Heritage Awards generated 10 radio interviews with individual museums and featured in many local press articles with a huge social media reach. And, it helped showcase your brilliant work to local businesses, community partners and heritage sector colleagues and funders.

Bryony Robins, Museum Development Officer for Cornwall says “There’s no doubt without your support and the applications you make, we wouldn’t be able to make a success of the awards. They are assessed by external judges, so we never know what will catch their attention. It’s always worth putting in an application, even if it’s not shortlisted, we might be able to feature it in our publicity campaign, and the application process is very straight forward with a short application form. You really have nothing to lose.”

Applications are assessed separately for larger museums and small community organisations. All heritage organisations with a collection are eligible to apply. Projects must have been undertaken within the last year.


Please get in touch if you have any questions, and for applications, further details and how to apply please click here.

Wishing you the best of luck!

Going for Gold

Trainee curator Imogen Crarer successfully achieved her Gold Arts Award during her six-month internship at the Museum of Cornish Life

I hadn’t heard of the Arts Award programme until I started at the museum, although it is well known in the arts sector. I was encouraged to take part and I’m so glad I did.’

Trinity College London in association with Arts Council England explains the Gold Arts Award as ‘a Level 3 qualification on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) designed for young people aged 16-25. To achieve a Gold Arts Award, young people collect evidence in an individual arts portfolio of their experiences of personal arts development and leadership of an arts project.’

Imogen explained, ‘for the Gold Arts Award, you have to develop an existing skill and learn a new skill. It helps if you pick something you are really interested in as it’s a lot of work. In my case, these skills were curatorial practice and creative writing – something I have enjoyed all my life. It was quite a challenge but I really wanted to achieve it for myself and for our wonderful museum, as completing the award in six months meant we would be the first museum in Cornwall to deliver a Gold Arts Award.

It was such a great learning experience for me and I had so much fun! It gave added structure and targets to my internship which encouraged me beyond my daily role to attend arts events and engage with lots of interesting creative people in a different way. I would encourage anyone who wants to develop their skills and is interested in the arts to look into having a go. You meet cool people and do cool stuff while learning new skills and getting a qualification along the way – what could be better!

Doing my Gold Arts Award has been hugely valuable for my C.V. It has helped my job applications to stand out as well as giving me lots of material for interviews, especially practical examples of project management and self-development. Although the Award is arts-based, the skills and experiences you gain are transferable to different careers, sometimes in ways you hadn’t anticipated! I am fortunate enough to be able to prove this directly. I have recently secured a Training Contract to become a lawyer with one of the biggest regional law firms. Throughout the application process I drew on my Arts Award experiences and during my final interview, I discussed how the process of learning my new skill of creative writing has broadened the way I think and work better, enabling me to approach problems creatively. My interview panel gave me feedback which noted this answer as particularly strong. I am proud to share this example to show that the skills you learn through a Gold Arts Award are transferable and useful within and beyond the heritage/arts sectors.

I am very grateful to the museum staff and volunteers for their endless patience and teaching me so much, and to CultivatorCornwall Museums Partnership and Arts Council England. Finally, thanks to the museum’s Community Engagement Curator and my Arts Award supervisor Isobel King for all your support.’

– Imogen Crarer

Imogen has a BA in History from the University of Exeter and a MA in Modern History from King’s College, London. If you want to see her Gold Arts Award exhibition ‘Curating Curious Cornwall’ and some of her other work, please take a look at her Facebook Live videos on the Museum of Cornish Life’s Facebook page (@musecornishlife).

Fun Palaces 2019

October is not only the beginning of autumn, it’s also the month where for two days, communities and culture come together in a blur of creativity. Fun Palaces is an annual free weekend and campaign which ‘promotes culture at the heart of community and community at the heart of culture’. Using a combination of arts, craft, science, tech, digital, heritage and sports activities, Fun Palaces is led by local people for local people, giving the opportunity for skills and passions to be shared across the community. Fun Palaces really is a weekend to celebrate cultural democracy.

An abundance of workshops were held across the first weekend of October, including many of the museums in Cornwall who took part in this fantastic campaign. Carry on reading to hear from 7 Cornish museums on their Fun Palace experiences.

Museum of Cornish Life – Helston

Museum of Cornish Life Fun Palaces

Museum of Cornish Life decided upon a Space Art theme where the 1st Landewednack Brownies came to the museum and explored their new exhibition; Lizard Point Residency. Isobel King, Community Engagement Curator for Museum of Cornish life said how, ‘the exhibition celebrates the work created this year at the Lizard Point Residency, as part of a summer of celebration focussed around Goonhilly Earth Station. The Brownies explored the art works and then set about making their own art using the theme of space as their inspiration.

‘Some of the Brownies worked in teams to recycle cardboard to make two giant rockets which they named The Brownie 1000; others made their own spaceships, pictures of galaxies far away and pictures of what life from another planet would look like.’

If you would like to see the art work from this Fun Palaces weekend, the rockets will be on display at the museum as part of the exhibition until the end of the month.

Penlee House and Porthcurno Telegraph Museum

Penlee House Gallery and Museum, Telegraph Museum Porthcurno and Whole Again Communities worked in partnership with Treneere Team Spirit to deliver the Treneere Fun Palace at the Lescudjack Centre in Penzance.

The Fun Palace was created by the Treneere Team Spirit community group, where they had 65 participants take part from the local community.

Penlee House Gallery returned to the event this year, building on their brilliant previous partnership work with Treneere Team Spirit, and delivered a wonderful ‘Collage on Canvas’ hands on activity.

Telegraph Museum Porthcurno hosted ‘I spy treasures’ and ‘Circus skills’ which included cracking a code on pirate doubloons in a sandy treasure chest, juggling with devil sticks and plate spinning! Families were given a ‘I’m a PK star’ sticker and/or a pirate temporary tattoo after taking part.

Kay Dalton of Porthcurno Telegraph Museum said, ‘it was great for us as an organisation to be able to be a part of Fun Palaces for the first time. There was a lot to do and the weekend brought together the communities and really showed off what Fun Palaces is all about.’

‘Great partnership working!’  Treneere Team Spirit.

‘The whole event had such a buzzing, lovely vibe!’  Penlee House Gallery.

‘Children came back to redo our activities again and again, it was great to see how much time they spent having fun together.’  Telegraph Museum Porthcurno.

Wheal Martyn

Wheal Martyn Fun Palaces

Wheal Martyn’s Fun Palace event went incredibly well, with approximately 60 people attending, all of which were families. They had 7 Makers plus Gemma Martin, Education Officer of Wheal Martyn museum, running the activities all day.

There was a wonderful selection of activities on offer, including:

  • Zenology Doodling with Laura Martin from their regular Social Prescribing Arts and Crafts Group
  • Paper Journal Making with Ruth Hills
  • Clay Fun Palace Models with Lynne Simms and Suzy Johnson
  • Story Collections and porcelain figures for the Bucawdden Project and, with Zenna Tagney
  • Planting and gardening workshops with Tam Pemberton from Perennial Harvest
  • Great Biscuit Show Stopper biscuit decorating with Gemma Martin, Wheal Martyn

A great time was had and plenty of lovely feedback with one attendee saying, ‘a lovely idea, my two loved all the different things to do and enjoyed the clay making and biscuit decorating. We’ll be back for more Fun days like this!’ Another person loved it so much that they already can’t wait for the next one, ‘lovely idea, so much to do, friendly atmosphere, something for everyone.  Please do another one soon!’

Falmouth Art Gallery and Library

Fun Palace in Falmouth Art Gallery was a collection of different experiences, run for the Community by Community groups. If you felt creative you could create poems with the Write Café, make your own woolly planet with Cornwool, try a Camel costume from Miracle Theatre, join the Global Cardboard challenge with the engineers from the University of Exeter or the LEGO club in the library, drawing in VR with INTERANIMA, make your own electronic textile bracelets with Touch Craft or have a go at weaving.

If music is your thing, you were able to play bells with Perran Rebells, improvise a song with SING! Choir or create electronic instruments with CO:NOISE project. You could relax in their boardgames café with cakes, tea and coffee from Falmouth Fairtrade. Source FM Community radio was also there interviewing all the community groups involved. It was a great day and one they can’t wait to repeat soon!

Cornwall’s Regimental Museum – Bodmin Keep

At Bodmin Keep, the theme was ‘Building, Making, Playing’, a theme that extended across the whole town, with 8 Fun Palace sites and one roaming Fun Palace. At the Keep, 12 makers produced theatrical wounds and gave reflexology. There was also badge and pom-pom making, engineering challenges with the local Cadets and healthy eating activities with Cornwall Council, as well as a whole host of games to play. There was a quiz to complete, part of a town wide Fun Palaces quiz, encouraging people to visit all the venues over the weekend.

Verity Anthony, Visitor Experience and Collections Manager of the museum said, ‘the day went fantastically, and participants and makers alike had a great time. We’re already thinking ahead to next year!’

Royal Cornwall Museum – Truro

The Royal Cornwall Museum had a plethora of different activities for people to explore, discover and create. Sophie Meyer, Marketing Digital Lead for the museum said, ‘you really felt the community spirit on Fun Palace day. A great range of people who had never been to the Museum before, suddenly spending hours exploring all the different activities on offer. It’s fantastic for the local community to come together and share skills and it’s a joy to host.’

The Royal Cornwall Museum had all sorts of activities such as;

  • Shallal 2 Dance performance inspired by their Face to Face exhibition. Be inspired and check out their video!
  • Lithium extraction and geology games with Cornish Lithium
  • Radio broadcasting with Pirate FM
  • Learning to sing with Hall for Cornwall
  • Learning Cornish
  • Gold Panning


If you’d like to take part in or host a Fun Palace weekend, please head to the Fun Palaces website for all the details. The next weekend of action is the 3rd and 4th October 2020.


– Jody Woolcock

Marketing and Impact Officer, Cornwall Museums Partnership

A Greener Museum

Bryony Robins

Bryony Robins, Museum Development Officer for Cornwall, recently headed to Brighton for the Museums Association conference. Alongside colleagues of CMP and The Castle Museum and Heritage Centre in Bude, Bryony highlighted the fantastic work which has, and continues to be carried out, throughout the small museums of Cornwall to tackle climate change. Read on to hear what Bryony has to say about the sessions and case studies from the conference. 

Green Museum Manifesto

I have long campaigned to raise the profile of the amazing and groundbreaking work by small museums that so often falls off the radar yet is something which we, in the wider sector could benefit from. I was delighted to have the opportunity to highlight some of the pioneering work they are doing to tackle climate change, at the Museums Association conference in Brighton earlier this month.

Plastic pollution is a particularly important issue for Cornwall. We have around 300 miles of coastline and you are never more than 20 miles from the sea. In Britain there is around 150 plastic bottles littering each mile of coastline and we use around 38 ½ million single use plastic bottles every day, of which less than half are recycled. Each plastic bottle takes 450 years to decay* – it’s clear to see we have an ongoing issue here.

Bryony - MA Conference

Photo – Rachael Rowley

Big Ideas, Small Museums was a workshop session with a film case study from Newquay Heritage Archive and Museum about tackling plastic pollution. The museum is a small independent charity which operates on an inside-out basis, meaning they concentrate their efforts on going out to where the people are through heritage walks, pop-up exhibitions, hotel talks and schools’ outreach, infiltrating heritage into any activity they can across the town. They work collaboratively within the heart of their community and are dependent entirely on the support of local partners, businesses and donations. You’ll find their short film, Together Against Plastic, at the end of this article.

The second case study was given by Janine King from the Castle Museum and Heritage Centre, Bude. Janine spoke about their ambition in becoming the UK’s greenest town and what the museum are doing to contribute towards this initiative through their learning activities, exhibitions and within the organisation through their operations, café and shop.

Participants at the session took part in round table discussions to share and brainstorm practical solutions that museums can adopt to improve their environmental impact. The ideas from this discussion coupled with those within the case studies and a further conversation within the National Museum Directors Council have fed into the following Green Museum Manifesto, designed for organisations to adapt and build on.

It was great to hear how many museums are already tackling this work, and the range of initiatives being taken towards reducing carbon footprint. As a sector, we can take a lead in reducing our carbon footprint and taking a stand towards a greener future.


– Bryony Robins

*Statistics from Surfers Against Sewage

The Firm Foundations Programme

Firm Foundations

The Firm Foundations Programme is a four-day masterclass for people about to embark on a capital development project in the heritage sector.

Firm Foundations offers delegates the opportunity to learn from respected professionals, to have candid and exclusive insights into the industry and how it works, from procurement and project management to risk management and contracting.

Delegates will be able to share ideas and challenges in a supportive, confidential environment, and draw support from experts and peers.

Our team of professionals with extensive experience in developing and delivering heritage projects, will show you how to prepare, plan, deliver and sustain a successful capital project.

In the below film, Elisa Harris of Krowji, who took part in Firm Foundations last year (2018), talks about her experience of the programme and how it helped her take on and deliver a more effective and impactful capital project.

For more information and to book your space on the 2019/20 Firm Foundations programme, please click this link; or email


Emerging Voices

Becki and Katie

The Emerging Voices bursary supports museum volunteers or emerging professionals to undertake training, research or placement opportunities that enhance their skills and bring new benefits to their host museum.

Becki Brattin and Katie Bunnell decided to apply for the bursary following their experience as Citizen Curators at Falmouth Art Gallery. They have been awarded the bursary to continue developing their project, “Gut Reaction” which focuses on audience responses to the Margaret Whitford Bequest, a collection of 48 contemporary prints and a sculpture acquired by the gallery through the Artfund.

The collection is remarkably vibrant and graphically strong and while individual pieces have been on display, relatively little is known about the provenance of the collection as a whole. Through their research on Margaret as the source of these collected works, Becki and Katie have discovered there are another 25 pieces located in 8 museums and galleries in the UK.

For this post Becki and Katie have answered three key questions:

Why did you want to continue your “Gut Reaction” Citizen Curators project? 

K: With the continuing support of Falmouth Art Gallery, the Emerging Voices Bursary will enable us to pursue research threads we have discovered through the Citizen Curators project, visit the other pieces in Margaret’s collection, find out what we can about their provenance and to chase stories as they emerge.

For us, the idea that it is possible to have a felt, physical reaction to an artwork is fundamental to enabling everyone to respond to art in their own way. From what we have read about Margaret we understand that this was her approach to choosing art and have used this as the basis for our “Gut Reaction” project. We would like to continue to develop this idea through the creation of the digital exhibit and for workshops that connect to it.

B: Our initial Citizen Curators project took quite a natural progression after learning more about Margaret once we spoke to some of her friends about the type of person she was within her professional and personal life. We are now faced with learning a whole lot more information about Margaret’s further collection which is spread around the UK. It seemed very obvious to try and bring an awareness of Margaret’s other pieces together, in this case through a digital experience – building a portrait of a female Cornish collector and celebrating the collection in its entirety.

What are your hopes and expectations for this project?

B: I’m hoping we can do the collection justice and bring about a beautiful digital exhibition with a very ambitious idea of perhaps, bringing some or all pieces together for a physical exhibition (one day!) Also, I will be keen to explore how we will be able to bring to the surface a little about who a female collector is? Is it important, and if so, how does this stance affect galleries today or previously?

We are expecting to document our journey within the project through the use of blogs, vlogs, Podcasts and Instagram. Hopefully building an informative and enjoyable journey for all to evaluate.

K: I think that the Emerging Voices Bursary opens the possibility of seeing Margaret’s dispersed collection, hopefully bringing it together as a digital exhibit that can be shared with many. Personally, I am really interested in trying to see it from her perspective, to understand a bit more about her motivations as a collector and how this relates to her work as a feminist philosopher, and one who started life in a Methodist community in Cornwall.

Why do you think it will be useful to Falmouth Art Gallery?

K: I think it is a great opportunity to try out new ways of creating a digital exhibit, using the story of the collector as a way in to seeing this dispersed collection as a whole. We would like to develop the digital exhibit as a tool that enables audiences to think about and respond to the artworks and the business of collecting from their own perspectives.

B: Falmouth Art Gallery is very fortunate to be the custodians of such a beautiful and vibrant set of prints from the Margaret Whitford Bequest; we like to think that our project will help to raise the profile of the bequest and give the community and beyond the chance to interact and access the collection as a whole, leaving a fantastic digital collection tool for all to explore alongside more extensive history files for Falmouth Art Gallery.


– Becki Brattin and Katie Bunnell

Falmouth Art Gallery

10 Tips For Making Collaborative Leadership Work

Collaborative Leadership

“Collaborative leadership needs people who can be open, flexible and responsive.”

For the last four years, Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP) has been helping museums across the county become more open and connected to the people they serve. We set out with a clear aim to effect some fundamental changes by creating a collaborative culture within our own charity and across the museum sector in Cornwall. As an infrastructure charity that doesn’t run or own any museums, influencing ‘beyond authority’ is core to our approach. We believe that the power lies in the team.

Emmie Kell, CEO of Cornwall Museums Partnership, has recently written an article sharing ten things she learned about creating a collaborative culture over the last few years.


Read: Collaborative Leadership


Emmie Kell

Author – Emmie Kell

Published – Arts Professional 12/09/2019

Cultural Democracy and Cultural Rights in Cornwall

What are our museums doing to respond to calls for greater cultural democracy and cultural rights in Cornwall? One of our major cultural democracy programmes is Citizen Curators. In partnership with the Curatorial Research Centre and funded by the Museums Association’s Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, the programme has two clear aims.

The first, to begin to democratise our museum collections by narrowing the gap between Cornish collections and communities; the second, to provide the start of an alternative pathway into museum work. We first piloted Citizen Curators at Royal Cornwall Museum as part of our Arts Council-supported Change Makers programme in 2017/18. Currently, seven NPO funded museums are taking part in the current three-year programme which offers 35 free places on this free curatorial training course.

Tehmina Goskar, Programme Leader, has recently written about how Citizen Curators was developed for Museum-iD magazine, and showcases some of the results and impact so far.

Read: Citizen Curators. An Experiment in Cultural Democracy.