Conference 2018 – Foreign Exchange?

Foreign exchange? University museums and international engagement

University of Cambridge, 3 July 2018

University Museum of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge

Booking is now closed.


University museum collections originate from many countries. Over decades and in some cases centuries, they were created and curated through scientific fieldwork and collecting that ranged worldwide. In the present, those interested in studying collections and in borrowing art works and specimens for analysis and exhibition represent, like our students, many nations. International engagement is anything but foreign to us.


At the University Museums Group’s 2016 conference, Matt Hancock, now Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, affirmed that museums and universities are ‘absolutely central to our post-Brexit future, open and engaged with the whole world, progressive and positive in shaping how Britain sees herself and is seen the world over.’ Universities similarly express ambitions to contribute globally. In 2018, academic and cultural collaboration seems more urgent than ever, yet also more difficult, as threats to global peace and security multiply.


The University Museums Group’s 2018 conference will explore how university museums can contribute to, and even lead, universities’ efforts to engage internationally. It will consider how smaller as well as larger museums can participate in, and benefit from, international programmes. Panels will offer presentations from sponsoring bodies and case studies from museum staff, ranging over practical experience and future opportunities. We encourage open discussion of challenges and constraints, while celebrating the accomplishments and the potential of university museums to make a positive difference through international work.



Morning session

09.45 – 10.45 Registration with refreshments

09.45 for tour participants

10.15 for all others

10.00 – 10.30


Tour of Museum of Zoology (pre booked only)

Led by Jack Ashby, Museum Manager

10.45 Conference opens

Welcome from Professor Chris Abell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, University of Cambridge

11.00 Keynote:
Diane Lees CBE, Director-General Imperial War MuseumChair: Nicola Kalinsky, Director Barber Institute of Fine Arts and Co-Chair, University Museums Group
11.40 Panel: The funding environment
Chair: Ghislaine Wood Deputy Director Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, UEAPanellists:

·         Rachael Browning, Art Fund

·         Dana Andrew, ICOM UK

·         Laura Carletti, Research Operations, University of Cambridge

·         Rodney Harrison, Programme Leader AHRC, UCL


12.55 Welcome to the Museum of Zoology
Professor Paul Brakefield, Director of the Museum of Zoology
1.00 – 1.45 Lunch
1.30 – 2.00 Tour of Museum of Zoology (pre booked only)

Led by Jack Ashby, Museum Manager


Afternoon session

1.45 – 2.20 University Museums Group AGM
2.20 Keynote:

Wayne Modest, Head of the Research Centre for Material Culture, National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden

Chair: Dr Mark Elliott, Senior Curator for Anthropology, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


3.00 Panel: Lightning Case Studies
Chair: Xa Sturgis, Director, Ashmolean Museum
Panellists·         Rachel Barclay, Curator, Oriental Museum

·         Mark Elliott, Senior Curator for Anthropology, Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology

·         Henry McGhie, Head of Collections and Curator of Zoology, Manchester Museum

·         Daniel Pett, Head of IT & Digital, The Fitzwilliam Museum

·         Bryan Sitch, Deputy Head of Collections, Manchester Museum

·         Paul Smith, Director Oxford University Museum of Natural History


4.30 – 5 Break with refreshments
5.00 Keynote: Kate Bellamy, Director of Museums, Arts Council England

in conversation with Nicholas Thomas, Director, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge, and Co-Chair, University Museums Group

5.40 Attendees walk to Kettle’s Yard
6.00 Reception at Kettle’s Yard
7.00 Close




Download the programme here: UMG Conference Programme 2018 final

Cost per delegate is £40.  Please book your place online via the University of Cambridge online booking system.