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University of Exeter

X-Fi Building



United Kingdom

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Event description


SWFed Conference 2018 'Confronting the Challenges: Visits & Collections'

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Further discounts available for SWFed members (join here).

Date: 4-5 July 2018

Venue: University of Exeter

About the conference

In partnership with University of Exeter & Honest Studio

All of us working in the Museums and Heritage Sector face daily challenges in appealing to a wide range of people:

  • "How do we reach that elusive audience?"
  • "What do we choose to let go from our amazing but overflowing collections?"
  • "How can we be more creative in engaging the visitors we already have?"

The 2018 SWFed Conference will confront these daily challenges of our working lives in tough financial times by sharing expertise, showcasing findings from live projects and partnerships, and providing hands-on workshops from specialists and museum professionals across two of the key fields in which we work, visits and collections. Both of which go hand in hand.

We are pleased to announce Helen Bonser-Wilton (CEO, Mary Rose Trust) and Kevin Gosling (CEO, Collections Trust) as our keynote speakers - each setting the tone for two great days of learning, sharing and challenge-busting.

Gain knowledge and advice that is suited to you

As a charity representing a huge variety of museums, heritage sites and galleries across the region, we recognise that many of those organisations have limited resources for staff development. To cater for this, we are excited to be introducing a new split-topic format this year, allowing staff and volunteers who can only attend one day to focus their attentions on either visits (4 July) or collections (5 July) with a specific keynote for each. Those who are able to attend both days will enjoy a varied programme that will enable them to think about how the two areas can support each other.

Like many of us, attendance at the SWFed conference may be the only conference you attend in a year. Our split-topic format ensures there will be something across the board that appeals to everyone.

An opportunity to network and share ideas

We understand that the best conferences allow space for people to share thoughts and connect with others. That is why we are including more time in the programme for networking and good old conversation than before. As with last year, there will be a fun social evening for those staying for the two days (those only attending Day 1 can also book to attend the evening event).

The conference is open to anyone and members can take advantage of discounted ticket prices.

We would like to thank our conference partners and sponsors

Logos for University of Exeter, Honest Studio, Volunteer Makers, and Tea Social

PROGRAMME (Click here to view full details)


09:30 Registration and coffee

10:00 Introduction and Welcome

10:15 KEYNOTE: Mary Rose - From Seabed to Showcase, the creation of a British Icon Helen Bonser-Wilton, CEO, Mary Rose Trust

11:15 Diversity goes mainstream - do diverse audiences hold the key to better access for all? Rachael Woodhead - Tate St Ives

11:45 Networking Break

12:15 Dressed to Impress: Engaging visitors through dress-up installations at historic house museums in the South West Rosalind Mearns - University of Exeter

12:45 ‘Out with the old, in with the new’ - evaluating the impact of new and old interpretation methods on the visitor experience. Catherine Goddard - AHRC Heritage Consortium

13:15 Networking Lunch

14:00 - WORKSHOPS choose one from three when booking (45 mins each)

  1. Making heritage accessible to families with children with disabilities Lynsey Robinson & Stuart Spurring - The Sensory Trust
  2. More than horrible histories: Engaging visitors with criminal justice at Dorset Shire Hall Iona Eastman & Dr Rose Wallis - Heritage Interpretation Consultant and University of the West of England
  3. 'The best thing about when we have ‘takeover’ is knowing that we are trusted by the museum' - How Takeover Days can engage more teenagers with your museum and make them want to visit again Alison Boyer - Kids in Museums

14:45 Networking Break

15:15 What is the role of Front of House in the modern Museum William Tregaskes and Alison Godfrey, Bath Roman Baths - Front of House in Museums

15:45 Technology in museums, how placement students can support the development of this, and the benefits of students to museums Jessica McKenzie — Bath Spa University and No1 Royal Crescent and Bath Roman Baths

16:00 Provocations South West Emerging Museum Professionals

16:30 Networking Break

16:30 SWFed AGM (all welcome)

17:30 End

19:00 Evening social event


09:45 Registration and Coffee

10:15 Introduction and welcome

10:30 KEYNOTE: All about that database Kevin Gosling, CEO, Collections Trust

11:15 Aerospace engineering for a family audience: Creating the new museum, Aerospace Bristol Linda Coode & Amy Seadon – Bristol Aerospace

11:45 Networking Break

12:15 Rationalising Archaeology collections - multi museum partner project Gail Boyle - Bristol Culture / Museum for Archaeology

12:45 Quickfire presentations (hear from our trade stands)

13:15 Networking Lunch

14:15 - WORKSHOPS choose one from three when booking (45 mins each)

  1. Packaging techniques – practical guide to packaging fragile objects Gabrielle Flexer, Objects Conservator & Heather Perry, Conservation & Museum Manager - Wiltshire Council, Conservation and Museum Advisory Service
  2. A Collection Review and Disposals Project: A Case Study from Thornbury & District Museum Jenny Newley and Sandi Shallcross - Thornbury and District Museum
  3. Integrated Pest Management in Museums, Libraries and Archives Bob Child – Historyonics

15:00 Networking Break

15:30 Quickfire presentations:

  • Museums Association
  • South West Museum Development Programme

15:45 Experimenting with fictional interpretation of collections, A reflection on the Small Victories Project (2016 – 2018) Rebecca Lewis - Heritage Management MA student, Bath Spa University

16:00 Exploring local art collections for untold stories of inter-cultural/inter-national exchanges Dr Nandini Chatterjee; Dr Andrew Rudd; Ms Holly Morgenroth – University of Exeter & Royal Albert Memorial Museum

16:30 Trail for Conference 2019

16:40 End

Event information

Visiting: The Conference is held on the Streatham Campus of Exeter University, a map and other related information can be found here: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/visit/directions/streathammap/

For transport details to get to the Campus please visit: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/visit/directions/streatham/

Parking: The Campus operates a pay and display system and charges apply between 08.00 and 18.00 hours. There are no reserved parking spaces. The University and SWFed encourage delegates to take alternative methods of transport to the Conference (see links under visiting).

Please note: for those booking overnight campus accommodation a residential parking permit is issued upon arrival which is valid until departure the next day.

Accommodation: Overnight B&B is available at the Campus, available on a first come, first served basis. Booking early is highly recommended. The SWFed is not able to reserve rooms on behalf of delegates. To book, please visit: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/eventexeter/accommodation/bedandbreakfast/ for accommodation FAQs visit https://www.exeter.ac.uk/eventexeter/accommodation/visitorfaqs/

Joining the SWFed: If you are not a Member and would like to join the SWFed before booking your conference ticket, please visit our online membership page on our website: https://www.swfed.org.uk/membership

Refund policy: You can request a full refund up to 30 days before the event. If you have purchased a ticket, you may transfer the ticket to another person at any time. If you have a SWFed Member ticket, the person you transfer to must also be an SWFed Member. In the unlikely event of a cancellation from the organiser, full refunds will be made. Refunds must be requested through Eventbrite, and we will respond to all refund requests within 5 working days.

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University of Exeter

X-Fi Building



United Kingdom

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Refund Policy

Refunds up to 30 days before event

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