Jun 1st 2017

Good leadership is the key to the future of heritage


Over 50 senior decision makers from Cornwall’s heritage sector gathered last week, to discuss the vital importance of good leadership to the future of the UK’s museums and galleries. Cornwall Museums Partnership, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, hosted its first Trustee’s Gala Lunch, which took place at Heartlands in Pool on Thursday 18th May.

Recent conspicuous failures in governance in the not profit sector headlined by Kids Company, but with some notable difficulties in museums too, have highlighted the need for all Trustees to take leadership seriously. Cornwall Museums Partnership is at the forefront of raising awareness of the need for excellent levels of leadership and governance.

Attendees discussed the need for ongoing trustee skills development in order to help heritage organisations to survive and thrive in challenging times. Opening Keynote speaker Paula Sussex, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, reinforced the critical importance of the Board in a charity’s performance saying “when a board is not performing you are highly likely to start to see failures within the organisation.”

Michael Day, Chief Executive of Historic Royal Palaces and Chair of the Board at Battersea Arts Centre illustrated the importance of strategic leadership and the critical role Trustees can play in fundraising for their charities. Michael Day explained: “I’m delighted to have been invited by Cornwall Museums Partnership to speak at such an event. Boards need to be focused on the here and now, creating unity of purpose within their institutions. By looking at their drive and their desire for their organisations, the foundations of good governance can begin to form.”

In addition to this, delegates also took part in workshops throughout the day, providing them with the opportunity to influence the future direction of heritage leadership in Cornwall, lead by Sir Ferrers Vyvyan, Chair of Trustees of Cornwall Museums Partnership and Emmie Kell, CEO of Cornwall Museums Partnership. The key outcomes from these workshops will be developed into practical and deliverable key actions as part of Cornwall Museums Partnership’s drive towards excellence in leadership.

Michael Day explained: “I’m delighted to have been invited by Cornwall Museums Partnership to speak at such an event. Boards need to be focused on the here and now, creating unity of purpose within their institutions. By looking at their drive and their desire for their organisations, the foundations of good governance can begin to form.”

The day was closed with an open Q&A session, directed to all the day’s speakers on the various challenges and opportunities museums face on recruiting, retaining and communicating with their trustees. Focus was particularly given to the relationships between CEO’s and Chairs, and how governance should help to build successful and lasting connections within organisations.

Emmie Kell, CEO of Cornwall Museums Partnership said, “The opportunity to have two prestigious keynote speakers such as Paula and Michael here in Cornwall has been a real privilege for the heritage sector. We are delighted that they have been able to share their experience, knowledge and expertise, helping us to ensure a bright future for the UK’s heritage.”

For more information about the leadership and governance support offered by Cornwall Museums Partnership contact Clare Pennington at Cornwall Museums Partnership by emailing clare@cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk or calling 01209 500750.

 

EDITOR’S NOTES

  • The Trustee Gala Lunch was organised and hosted by Cornwall Museums Partnership with support from Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • Cornwall Museums Partnership existing to help museums to work together; helping create a strong voice for heritage in Cornwall.
  • The ‘Manifesto for Leadership Workshop’, was hosted by Sir Ferrers Vyvyan in the morning, Chair of Cornwall Museums Partnership