Focus was delighted to send representatives to this year’s Association of Independent Museums (AIM) conference.
Held at the National Civil War Centre in Newark, Nottinghamshire, which opened as a new museum in 2015, the conference looked to build on recent research by TripAdvisor showing a growing desire for cultural experiences and bookings for cultural attractions rising sharply, with a 45% increase in 2018 compared to 2017.
The theme of the conference was how to be a ‘great destination’ and looked to offer delegates some fresh ideas on creative place making, becoming a great destination for the community, understanding audiences and creating an excellent visitor experience.
Speakers included Emma Chaplain, Director of AIM, Iain Standen, CEO Bletchley Park, Sejul Malde, Research Manager at Culture 24, Paul Baker from Creswell Crags and Rachel Adams, Curator at the Firing Line Museum.
There was also the opportunity to attend workshops on topics such as digital confidence in museums, volunteering, collaboration, working effectively with Friends groups and capital developments in small museums. A representative from the Nottingham office of Focus Consultants attended day one and gained some great insight into successful projects such as Bletchley Park and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. They also attended a useful workshop on attracting new audiences through stories of exceptional individuals.
A representative from the London office of Focus Consultants attended day two and heard from Chester Zoo and the Cooperative Heritage Trust. Attending the evening meal provided an occasion to meet others in an informal and relaxed environment.
The conference was a great opportunity to gain an understanding of what was happening in the museum sector, meet colleagues old and new, and network.