Image: Image courtesy of York Museums Trust (CC BY-SA 4.0)

ODI Fridays: Tapping the potential of UK museum collections

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Fri Dec 4, 2020 13:00

How tapping into data about 1,700 UK museums would help this data-rich sector survive and thrive in these difficult times

Join us on Zoom at lunchtime for our regular ODI Fridays talks. Once you’ve signed up, we’ll send you the link to join.

Back in 1888, the curator of the Yorkshire Museum invited his colleagues around the country to discuss how they might work together to compile ‘a compendious index of the contents of all provincial museums and collections …’

More than a century later, that goal remains elusive, despite there being no insurmountable technical barriers and no shortage of well-funded digital initiatives. It’s an increasingly urgent problem as museums struggle to engage their audiences online; respond to growing calls to decolonise; and even stay in business during lockdown and beyond.

Supported by ODI’s Stimulus Fund, a project called Get it together: realising the value of museum collections data is trying to build consensus around a framework for data-sharing that responds to sector needs, dovetails with existing initiatives, and pinpoints what still needs to be done. In this lunchtime talk, Kevin Gosling, Chief Executive of Collections Trust, explores how tapping the resources siloed in the databases of 1,700 UK museums would help this data-rich sector survive and thrive in these difficult times.

About the speaker

Kevin Gosling has been Chief Executive of Collections Trust since 2015. There, he has led digital consultancy projects for clients including DCMS and Luxembourg’s Ministry of Culture, and overseen the compilation of resources on digitising collections and presenting collections online.

As the Britten-Pears Foundation’s Director of Communications he developed the brand, communications strategy and website for Britten 100, the 2013 Benjamin Britten centenary that won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2014 Music Award for Audiences and Engagement.

Earlier in his career, Kevin worked at the Museum of London, for the museum-planning consultants Lord Cultural Resources, and at museums in Norway and St Lucia. He is a Fellow of the Museums Association.

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