AIM National Conference 2016 Schedule, Speakers and Events

AIM National Conference 2016

‘The Elements of Success’

Schedule, Speakers & Events

What enables some organisations to prosper and succeed, whilst others struggle? There are many factors but key attitudes shine out regardless of size or type of museum: passion, resourcefulness, customer-focus, effective governance and leadership and willingness to change - all highlighted in the AIM Hallmarks of Prospering Museums.

The 2016 AIM National Conference is packed with examples of how independently spirited organisations are combining positive attitudes with good practice, to engage with visitors and deliver great experiences, within sustainable business models.

This year, AIM National Conference will take place from 23-25 June at The Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. We are delighted to be back in Scotland this year and the schedule of speakers, social events and activities will all reflect the theme of this year’s conference which is ‘The Elements of Success’.

Prices for conference are in line with last year’s fees to enable as many AIM members as possible to attend plus we will be visiting some historic venues as part of the Saturday study tour including the Royal Yacht Britannia, The National Mining Museum of Scotland and Rosslyn Chapel.

The schedule and conference information will be continuously updated over the coming months, so please keep checking back for news and further details. If you need any help, please contact or call 01495 774127. We look forward to seeing you in June!

Booking information: AIM National Conference 2016 - Booking

Day 1: 23 June 2016 - Leadership and Governance

Day 1 of conference will run for half a day and include lunch and an afternoon schedule of speakers. Speakers already confirmed include:

Matthew Tanner, Chair of AIM and Chief Executive of SS Great Britain

Conference welcome

Jane Ryder, Chair of Historic Environment Scotland and consultant,

Keynote: Talking about governance and organisational change


Bill Bound, Chairman, Groam House Museum and Caroline Worthington, Chief Executive, Bexley Heritage Trust

Share their organisations’ experience of change in times of growth and times of crisis


Julian Smith, Partner, Farrer & Co and Simon Mackintosh, Partner, Turcan Connell

An update for trustees and staff on legal changes affecting charities


Christopher Henry, Director of Heritage of the conference host museum, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, which re-opened in 2015 after a major refurbishment

Know your own body - the reinvention of Surgeons’ Hall Museums


Thursday breakout sessions:


Catherine Cartmell, Skills Development Manager, Museums Galleries Scotland and Bronwyn  McLean, Consultant, BOP Consulting

What attitudes, behaviours and skills are needed in the UK museum workforce in the next 10 years?


Steve Mills, Director BDRC

Will talk about Measuring Success with AIM VisitorVerdict


Sue Shave, Museum Director and Richard Berman, Flourish Project Coordinator, Chiltern Open Air Museum

Share their experience of Fundraising and Volunteers – A Good Mix?


Steve Prowse, Head of Heritage Project Delivery at Conference sponsor, Artelia

Only Dead Fish go with the Flow – Sustainability Through Change

Day 2: 24 June 2016 - Attracting Visitors and Delivering Great Experiences

Speakers already confirmed include:

Bob Downie, Chief Executive, The Royal Yacht Britannia 

Lead Case study: How to deliver World Class visitor experiences


Gordon Rintoul, Director, National Museums Scotland

Keynote: Reflecting on his career and museums’ future challenges and opportunities          


Sir Peter Luff, Chairman, Heritage Lottery Fund

Keynote speech


Nathaniel Hepburn, Director, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft

Pretending to be big: how a team of village attractions worked together to attract visitors and funding


Daniela Wellnitz, Industrial Museums Scotland Coordinator, Industrial Museums Scotland

Marketing Industrial Heritage: The Joint Approach of Industrial Museums Scotland


Steve Mills, Director BDRC

Visitor trends within the attractions sector


Stephen Connolly, Director, DC Research

Findings from AIM-commissioned research into the impact of charging policies on museums


Steve Prowse, Head of Heritage Project Delivery at Conference sponsor, Artelia

Make it Happen - Leading Successful Projects


Friday Morning and Afternoon Breakout Sessions:


David Mann, Director, Scottish Maritime Museum and Anne Kinnes, CEO, Black Watch Museum

Taking a commercial approach


Amy Cotterill, Museums Development Officer

‘Improv’ Your Museum – using comedy and improvisation to improve visitor tours


Stephen Connolly, Director, DC Research

Exploring tools to support museums thinking about charging policy and developing pricing strategy


Chaired by Richard Evans, Director, Beamish with Ruthanne Baxter, Edinburgh City Museums and participant from British Council tourism project

Tapping into new markets – group travel, international tourists and more


Wendy West, Skills Development Manager, Museums Galleries Scotland and Lara Friedman, Regional Manager, Southern Scotland, Social Enterprise Academy

Thinking beyond the museum sector: delivering training in sustainability for museums in partnership with the Social Enterprise Academy


Chaired by Tony Butler, Executive Director, Derby Museums Trust with Reyahn King, CEO York Museums Trust and Graham Watson, Highlife Highlands

Turn and face the Strange, Changes: Change in a changing world

Alison Boyle, Chair of Highlands Museum Forum, Katey Boal, Learning Manager at Culloden Battlefield & Visitor Centre and Emmie Kell, CEO Cornwall Museums Partnership

Collaborate to innovate – why the future of museums is sharing       




Office & Meeting Facilities During Conference

Need someone where to work or hold a meeting? Free to AIM Conference 2016 delegates, bookable desk space and meeting rooms are available within the Museums Galleries Scotland offices at Waverley Gate on 23rd and 24th June. Located right next to Waverley Station, please contact 0131 550 4120.

Conference Dinner at The Royal College of Surgeons - Thursday 23 June

Join us for drinks followed by a three course dinner in the impressive surroundings of the Prince Phillip Building at the Royal College of Surgeons.

Social Evening at The Scotch Whisky Experience - Friday 24 June


Discover the delights of Scotland's most famous drink with an evening at 'The Scotch Whisky Experience' in Edinburgh's Royal Mile. Sample a dram of Scotch whisky and learn about the history of whisky production on a tour of this five star attraction followed by a buffet and socialising.

Tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia, The National Mining Museum of Scotland and Rosslyn Chapel - Saturday 25 June


To complete conference there is a Study Tour visiting three historic locations in the wider Edinburgh area. Coach travel, refreshments and lunch are included. The tour will finish mid-afternoon in central Edinburgh.

The first stop will be The Royal Yacht Britannia, voted 'Scotland's Best Attraction' by VisitScotland. There will be a talk from one of Britannia's staff and the chance to explore and discover what life was like on board the Queen's floating royal residence.

We will then visit the National Mining Museum Scotland, winner of Best Visitor Experience in 2009 and 2013. As well as seeing the AIM Biffa Award funded projects. The final stop will be a visit to the 15th century Rosslyn Chapel, which shot to fame when it featured in Dan Brown's 'The Da Vinci Code'. The Director will explain some of the challenges presented by this sudden increase in interest.


You can find further information about conference, hotels, travel and prices on the relevant web pages or in the conference brochure which can be downloaded below.

AIM Conference Booking Information

AIM Conference Hotel and Travel Information

The sponsors of AIM National Conference 2016 are Artelia UK


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