Annual Conference: Reactivate the Collection

10 June 2016

Held at the Weston Theatre at the Museum of London on 13 May 2016 11.00-17.00

In the context of continued constraints to funding, how can museums work to engage with wider audiences and add value to their displays?  The 2016 Annual Conference looked at strategies including inviting artists to curate collections and innovative partnerships to open collections to new audiences through digital technologies.

Session 1:

Introductions by Francis Marshall, Senior Curator of Paintings, Prints and Drawings, Museum of London and Caroline Douglas, Director, Contemporary Art Society.

Dr. Claire Robins, Reader in Art and Education at UCL Institute of Education

Claire Robins talks about some of the histories of artists intervening in museum collections.


Gill Hart, Head of Education at the National Gallery and Kate Coyne, Programme Director at the Siobhan Davies Dance

Gill Hart and Kate Coyne present ‘Dancing Museums’, an EU funded project within which the National Gallery is working in partnership with Siobhan Davies Dance. The project brings together dance organisations, galleries and museums to explore new ways of engaging audiences with art collections.


Session 1 discussion with Dr. Claire Robins, Gill Hart and Kate Coyne, chaired by Dr. Ilaria Puri-Purini


Session 2:

Melvin Moti, Artist

Melvin Moti discusses the involvement and non-involvement with museums within his practice “the activation of a museum object through the temporal and fictional structure of film”.



Andrea Büttner, Artist, with Nicholas Thornton, Head of the Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Museum of Cardiff

Andrea Büttner and Nicholas Thornton examines her project Hidden Marriage, an installation developed from research into two diverse collections at National Museum Cardiff – the drawings of Gwen John (1876-1939) and mosses from the Museum’s herbarium.


Session 2 discussion with Melvin Moti, Andrea Büttner and Nicholas Thornton, chaired by chaired by Christine Takengny


Session 3:

Annie Fletcher, Chief Curator, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven

Annie Fletcher’s inclusion of contemporary artists within the collection of the Van Abbe has been an example for institutions.


James Putman, Independent Critic

James Putman recalls his exhibitions at the Freud Museum and at the British Museum.


Session 3 discussion with Annie Fletcher and James Putman, chaired by Caroline Douglas



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