AIM National Conference: Speakers & Topics

Day 1 – Thursday 20 June

Day 1 – Thursday 20 June

Our schedule of Conference speakers and events will be constantly updated in the coming months and a detailed overview of all timings including coach picks ups and drop offs will be posted here soon.

Thursday 20 June – Will start at 11.00am and end at 4.15pm (4.15 – 4.45pm: AIM AGM)

Please keep checking this page to find out more and for all timings.

If you have any questions about conference, emailing us is the fastest method of contact. Please contact or

*FULLY BOOKED – the lunch for first time conference delegates is now fully booked*

Day 1 – Thursday 20 June 2019

9.15 – 11.00am: Delegate registration & opportunity to view the National Civil War Centre & trade stands

11.00am: Conference starts       

11.00 – 11.15am: Welcome and Introduction to AIM Conference 2019

Location Palace Theatre Auditorium

Emma Chaplin (Director, AIM), Richard Evans (AIM Chair) and Steve Prowse (Director of Heritage Project Delivery at AIM National Conference sponsors, Artelia)

11.15 – 12.30pm: Creating a great destination

Location Palace Theatre Auditorium

Transforming Bletchley Park

Iain Standen (CEO, Bletchley Park Trust) and Hilary McGowan (Trustee, Bletchley Park Trust)

@IainStanden @HilaryMcGowan

How Bletchley Park was transformed from a quaint and quirky site to a vibrant, high quality and educational heritage attraction. In 2011 Bletchley Park was a quaint but rather shabby collection of wartime buildings with loads of character but little focus, hosting 120,000 visitors a year.  Today it is a high-quality heritage attraction with over 250,000 visitors a year. This talk will explore that journey and the lessons it offers.

Iain Standen started work as CEO of the Bletchley Park Trust in January 2012, after 28 years as a commissioned officer in the British Army.  He has a lifelong interest in history and heritage and has relished leading Bletchley Park through an exciting and transformational period in its development.

Hilary McGowan is a Trustee of the Bletchley Park Trust and a museums consultant, following a career in local government in York (deputy at the Castle Museum), Exeter (director of Museums & Arts) and Bristol (director of Museums & Heritage).  She also served as a Trustee of the Museums Association.

Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site – a Great Place

Rebekah Howey (Project Officer, Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site)


Re-imagining our sense of pride and building a foundation for driving change.

Beki has lived and worked in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire since 2011, managing Partnerships to connect heritage, landscape and people. A qualified project manager, Beki in now concentrating on the layers and connections in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site that reach into our lives today.

Welcome/ Placemaking in Newark

Richard Huthwaite (Tourism Marketing Manager, Newark and Sherwood District Council)

What does destination management mean for Newark? How the medium-sized market town is being repositioned and promoted as the place to be for an experience of English history through the ages. Richard will present Newark’s developing approach to working in partnership.

Richard is a strategic marketer with experience in the education, health, recruitment and technology sectors. He moved into tourism at Royal International Air Tattoo and joined Newark and Sherwood District Council as their first Business Manager for Tourism in 2018. He has lived in Newark since 2004 and seen the market town change dramatically.

12.30 – 1.45pm: Lunch served in the Community Space

First Time Delegates’ lunch hosted by AIM Council members will be in the Ninteen20 Area

1.45pm – 2.30pm: Breakout sessions

A: Open Up – How are we doing?         

Location: Palace Auditorium

Chaired by Rhiannon Goddard (Assistant Head of Projects, Historic Royal Palaces) with Charlotte Morgan (Museum Manager, Cynon Valley Museum) and Tonia Collett (Museum Manager, Tudor House Museum)

This session draws on learning from the ‘Open Up: museums for everyone’ toolkit launched at the 2018 AIM National Conference

@charmorgan @cynonvalleymus

Charlotte will be talking as part of the session on Open Up, discussing how the museum has used this toolkit to identify weaknesses within their current audience development, and how it has helped them to highlight new ways of diversifying their audiences. The Cynon Valley Museum’s strategy for audience development has used a “say yes” model, which the toolkit helped them to identify.

Charlotte Morgan is the Museum Manager for the Cynon Valley Museum Trust. She was responsible for overseeing the 20-month asset transfer process for the Museum to become independent from 2016 – 2018. She now works with a team of 4 other paid staff, and over 50 volunteers to manage the strategic direction of the museum and for it to achieve self-sustainability in the next 3 years.

How can small museums, with very limited budgets, put diversity and inclusion at the heart of what they do? Tudor House has managed to do just that with simple measures that have made a big difference, putting the museum at the heart of the community.

Tonia has worked in the museum sector for nearly 20 years, focusing on small, independent museums. Her first role, “heritage assistant” at the Almonry, lead to the manager’s job, followed by a stint as Operations & Volunteer Manager at the Coffin Works. Currently she manages Tudor House Museum in Worcester.

B: Getting in the groups

Location: Ninteen20 Café area

Katherine Lynch (Director of Heritage, Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT) and Kate Daly (Visitor Experience Manager, Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT)


PSVT was awarded an AIM Hallmarks Award in 2017/18 to pilot a new approach to increasing group visitors. The project was part of a wider strategy to realise the potential of Port Sunlight as a leading visitor destination. Together Katherine and Kate will explore the project aims and outcomes, and the successes and lessons learnt so far.

Katherine has worked in the museum and heritage sector for 20 years. She previously held positions at The Tank Museum in Dorset, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, and Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums. Her current portfolio at PSVT includes responsibility for heritage policy and conservation, destination management, formal learning, fundraising and income generation, and community engagement.

Kate joined PSVT in 2017 having completed an MA in Museum Studies at the University of Liverpool. She has extensive experience in the catering industry and also volunteered at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port. Kate’s responsibilities at PSVT include the development of new visitor products, promoting the visitor destination, public programmes, and income generation.

 C: History Makers – Highlights from the AIM Biffa Award History Makers Programme. Attracting new audiences through stories of exceptional individuals   

Location: Byron Room

Year 1 Project – Clifton Suspension Bridge Hawkshaw and Barlow Untold – Kat Tudor, Year 2 Project – British School Museum – Mark  Copley, Year 3 Project: TBA

D: Understanding your audiences – VisitorVerdict/ Audience Finder- importance of good data and how to tips…  

Location: Learning Space

Marilyn Scott (Director, The Lightbox), Simon Brown (Project Curator, National Justice Museum) and Carolyn Graves-Brown (Curator, The Egypt Centre, Swansea University) @simonianbrown @JusticeMuseum @TheEgyptCentre

Marilyn Scott will discuss why in this era of high competition for leisure time really understanding who comes to your museum and for what purpose is so important. Marilyn will discuss segmentation of your audience and the bewildering range of ways to do this and what she has found to be most effective.

Marilyn Scott is an AIM Council member and Director of the award-winning Lightbox in Woking Surrey. She is also a Trustee of a number of independent museums and works as a mentor and consultant to the heritage and museum sector.

Simon Brown, Project Curator, National Justice Museum

The National Justice Museum was awarded NPO status by Arts Council England in April 2018. As part of this status, the museum is required to use Audience Finder to collate its audience data. Simon will discuss how this has been implemented, and how the data has already been useful to the organisation.

Simon Brown is a curator in Nottingham. He divides his time between the National Justice Museum and Newstead Abbey. Simon is a board member of the Museums Association. He has written for Museums Journal, SHCG and various other sector publications. He is also on the steering group for Culture Now and co-hosts their regular podcast.

Carolyn Graves-Brown, The Egypt Centre, Swansea University

This will be a brief overview of Visitor Verdict explaining why The Egypt Centre decided to use it, what they liked and didn’t like about it, and any problems they have had.

Carolyn’s first paid job was in 1983 as the Assistant Curator at Appleton Gate Museum! She stayed in that post until 1989 when she moved to Littlehampton as the Curator, then on to Neath. These were all local authority museums. However, she is now working at Swansea University as the curator of Egyptian Antiquities. Carolyn lives in Llanelli with her husband and four greyhounds.

E: Building Digitally Confident Museums: Latest findings from the ‘One by One’ digital skills project

 Location: Magnus Room

Ross Parry (Professor, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester) and Sophie Frost (Digital Fellow, ‘One by One’ project, University of Leicester)

@rossparry @soph_frosty

Sharing mid-project insights and findings on this 30-month AHRC-funded initiative involving AIM, the Museums Association and Arts Council England. Ross will provide an overview of One by One’s work to date, while Sophie will present its interventions in one specific research site – Royal Museums Brighton and Hove (RPM) – where her research question has been: how might we develop digital confidence in the museum workforce and empower greater personal storytelling around its collection using technology?

Leading the national ‘One by One’ project, Ross teaches and researches museums and technology. He is Chair of Trustees for the Jodi Mattes Trust (for accessible digital heritage) and has published two books (one on museums thresholds and entrances, the other on museum media and communication) in the last year.

 Sophie is an interdisciplinary scholar of Visual Culture and Creative Industries, based in London. Prior to being Digital Fellow for ‘One by One,’ Sophie was AHRC Creative Economy Engagement Fellow at CAMEo (Cultural and Media Economies research institute) at University of Leicester, where she undertook a digital impact study of Phoenix Arts Centre which led to the publication of ‘A Digital Roadmap for the Arts’ (2019). Sophie lectures on the BA Arts and Festivals Management course at De Montfort University and works as a research consultant for a range of cultural organisations, including Southbank Centre and Freelands Foundation.

F: Walking tours of Newark – “Behind the scenes on a costumed town tour”

Location: Reception Area

A historical tour for young audiences should be lively, visual and relevant to their lives. At the National Civil War Centre, our “Last Town Standing” Tour weaves together stories about the people and places that made Newark a key strategic stronghold in the civil wars.  A centrepiece of our Learning offer, this character led tour includes fun, archival evidence, built heritage and gore in equal parts.  Specially for AIM conference delegates, our Learning and Participation Manager will accompany the tour to combine the theatrical experience with advice and thoughts on creating engaging guided tours. (Please note this tour takes place outside so appropriate footwear and clothing should be worn).

2.30 – 3.00pm: Tea break

3.00 – 4.00pm: Creating an excellent visitor experience

Location: Palace Auditorium

5 Star, on a Budget

Quonya Huff (Commercial and Audience Development Manager, National Mining Museum for Scotland), Helen Bonser-Wilton (Chief Executive, Mary Rose) and Becki Morris (Director, Disability Collaborative Network C.I.C.)

@NatMiningMuseum @MaryRose_CEO @MaryRoseMuseum @museumDCN

The requirements to be 5 Star have never been higher. What does an organisation do when the focus is no longer on just offering a great customer service experience, but also on maintaining the fabric of a historic industrial estate to exceptional standard in times of economic uncertainty? Follow the National Mining Museum Scotland our journey to deliver a 5 Star experience – on a budget.

Quonya Huff is the Commercial and Audience Development Manager at National Mining Museum Scotland. She has worked in various commercial and visitor experience roles throughout Scotland. Starting her management career at the height of the recent Recession Quonya focuses on offering a quality visitor experience, on a budget.

Tears, Joy and Seasickness –creating an emotionally compelling visitor experience

Helen Bonser-Wilton, Chief Executive, Mary Rose

CEO Helen Bonser-Wilton will outline practical learnings from creating an emotionally compelling volunteer-led visitor experience at Mary Rose.

Helen started her career in marketing, before joining the National Trust, where she worked as Tyntesfield Project Director, National Change Programme Director and Operations Director (South West). Helen became Chief Executive of Mary Rose Trust in 2015 and recently led the launch of new exhibition ‘The Many Faces of Tudor England’.

The Visitor Journey

Becki Morris, Director, Disability Collaborative Network C.I.C.

Becki will talk about barriers affecting disabled and neurodivergent people when planning their visits to museums and heritage organisations. This will include what to consider and initiatives happening across the country in relation to the Accessible High Street.

Becki is a museum professional formerly in collections, now working with museums with strategy, auditing, positive action and support towards compliance and developing systematic inclusive practice in the Heritage Sector. She works across sectors as well as creating collaboration with disabled and neurodivergent people working in and visiting museums.

4.00 – 4.15pm:  Updating the AIM Economic Impact Toolkit – Emerging Findings

Location: Palace Auditorium

Stephen Connolly (Director, DC Research Ltd) and Jonathan Durnin (Director, Durnin Research Ltd)

@DCResearchUK @jonathandurnin

A presentation about the AIM-commissioned project that is updating the well-established, and widely used, AIM Economic Impact Toolkit, as well as assessing the Economic Impact of the Independent Museum Sector.  The updated Toolkit will be launched in the summer, and this presentation will highlight the emerging findings from the study.

Dr Stephen Connolly has 25 years research experience and is the Director of DC Research Ltd – an economics, heritage and culture research company based in Carlisle, working throughout the UK.   Established in 2008, DC Research has developed a national reputation for providing high-quality research across the heritage and cultural sectors.

Jonathan founded Durnin Research in 2018 and has over 25 years of experience as a research economist, analyst and evaluator.  Previously a founding director of DC Research, Jonathan is Fellow of the Regional Studies Association, a Member of the Institute of Economic Development, and Chairman of Welland Valley Cycling Club.

4.15 – 4.45pm: AIM AGM

Location: Palace Auditorium


Day 2 – Friday 21 June

Day 2 – Friday 21 June

Our schedule of Conference speakers and events will be constantly updated in the coming months and a detailed overview of all timings including coach picks ups and drop offs will be posted here soon.

Friday 21 June – Will start at 9.30am and end at 4.00pm

Please keep checking this page to find out more and for all timings.

If you have any questions about conference, emailing us is the fastest method of contact. Please contact or

Day 2 – Friday 21 June

8.15 – 9.30am: Registration and coffee                       

9.30-9.40am: Introduction to AIM Conference – Day 2 

Location: Palace Auditorium

Emma Chaplin (Director, AIM)

9.40 -10.45am: Great destinations for communities

Location: Palace Auditorium

Charlotte Smith (Head of Discovery and Learning, Chester Zoo), Zara Matthews (Market Town Museums Manager, Leicestershire County Council) and Carl Bell (Managing Director, The Whitaker) and Jackie Williams (Creative Director, The Whitaker)

@chesterzoo, @learnatCZ, @charlotte_sss @LeicsMuseums   @zaramatthews1 @WhitakerMuseum

Chester Zoo: A destination for people and wildlife

Sharing Chester Zoo’s experiences working with communities to both create memorable days out and support its mission of preventing extinction.

Charlotte Smith is Head of Discovery and Learning at Chester Zoo, with responsibility across exhibitions and interpretation, education, outreach, public programme and volunteering. Prior to this she was Head of Learning and Access at IWM North and has also worked for the Museum of Science and Industry, The World of Glass and Stockport Heritage Services. 

Growing the Museum – how small changes made a big difference at Melton Carnegie Museum

Creating a safe space to share and learn through a new network, which changed how we approach the Museum’s place in the local community.  Working with Museum Development East Midlands with Arts Council England funding.

Zara’s currently works with Charnwood, Melton and Harborough Museums.  Previous roles include Project Manager for the Harborough Museum and Market Harborough Library refurbishment, Keeper of Harborough Museum and Curator at Ely Museum, Zara was a Museums Association Transformer in 2014 and a former Board member of East Midlands Museums Service.  

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

The Whitaker starts with the people and their needs first; choosing to think beyond historic perceptions of museum behaviour and expectations to ensure our ongoing journey is one that is shared with all who visit. Through our integrated programming, events, quirky interpretative style and award-winning restaurant experience we aim to cement our unashamedly northern roots but also inspire a bold, questioning and curious exploration of our wider world.

When asked for a bio for AIM Conference, Carl said: “Jackie is stylish, and Carl has working-class teeth.”

10.45 – 11.30am: Breakout sessions

A: Open up your volunteering…

Location: Palace Auditorium

Sarah Hayes (Museum Manager, Coffin Works), Josie Wall (Operations & Volunteer Assistant, Coffin Works), Wendy Hunwick-Brown (Volunteers and Operations Manager, Ripon Museum Trust) and Gemma O’Connell (Volunteering Development Officer, Ripon Museum Trust)

@HayesSarah17 @Cem_Res @Ripon Museums

The in-kind contribution: volunteers and their economic impact at the Coffin Works Museum

This session draws on learning from the ‘Open Up: museums for everyone’ toolkit launched at the 2018 AIM National Conference

Volunteers have contributed over £500,000 of in-kind support since the museum opened in 2014. This talk will focus on how the dynamic and diverse volunteer team are now a vital part of business planning, and how a skills audit has identified where they can fill gaps and support museum development.

Sarah has worked across the museum sector in the West Midlands since 2005. She was part of the original team who set up the Coffin Works Museum in 2014 as Collections & Exhibitions Manager. Since 2016, her role as Museum Manager has focussed on leading the Coffin Works to stability as a self-sustaining operation outside of the grant-funding period.

Josie Wall is Operations and Volunteer Assistant at the Coffin Works but started as a volunteer tour guide and researcher. This is Josie’s dream job; combining her love of heritage and working with people, with her expertise in 19th century funerary practice. Josie hopes to complete her doctorate in 2020.

Volunteering for the Soul

Wendy Hunwick-Brown (Volunteers and Operations Manager, Ripon Museum Trust) and Gemma O’Connell (Volunteering Development Officer, Ripon Museum Trust)

Ripon Museums are passionate about offering an inclusive and supportive environment for all volunteers. We will focus on our young volunteer program and supported volunteer placements and share the outcomes from our Volunteering for the Soul Project, leaving you with practical top tips to diversify and expand your volunteer base.

Wendy Hunwick-Brown is an experienced manager having worked in the public, private and charitable sector. As volunteer manager with Ripon Museum Trust for the past 8 years she has recruited, trained and managed all volunteers across 3 sites.

Gemma O’Connell has a background in education. Her experience in SEND and promoting good mental wellbeing has allowed the museum to increase its offer and diversify its volunteer base.

B: Collaboration in UK Army Museums

Location: Magnus Room

Kelsey Loveless (Regimental & Corps Museums Liaison Officer, National Army Museum), Julian Farrance (Head of Learning, Public Programmes & Regimental Museums Liaison, National Army Museum), and Christine Bernáth (Assistant Director of the Gurkha Museum)

@NAM_London @GurkhaMuseum

In the past several years, the UK army museums have come together in regional networks to collaborate in order to help them become more sustainable in the future. This session will explore the various ways that these museums have strengthened their communication in order to explore new ways of working together.

Christine Bernáth has worked for a number of military museums, including the Black Watch, Shropshire Regimental Museum and the Gurkha Museum. She additionally has been involved in three of the regional networks of army museums.

Julian Farrance and Kelsey Loveless make up the Regimental Museums Liaison Team at the National Army Museum and work to support the army museums through providing advice, training and other forms of support.

C: Cafes, shops and more… Maximising the potential of your destination – cafes, shops and other experiences…

Location: Nineteen20 Café Area

Bryan Snelling (Chief Executive, The Gordon Highlanders Museum) and Paul Baker (Executive Director, Creswell Crags)

@ghmuseum @paulbakerma61

If at first you don’t succeed….Change!

The Gordon Highlanders Museum is changing. Following a serious shortage in income a few years ago we recognised that change was needed and have had to identify new ways of delivering what we do through staff restructure, governance and operations.

Bryan Snelling is the Chief Executive at The Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen. He has been in the role for around 5 ½ years after answering an ad for maternity cover and with no previous museum experience! Previously to that he worked for 17 years in the Students’ Union sector in as ‘far flung’ places as Portsmouth, London and Aberdeen. He was one of the first cohort on the AIM Hallmarks Leaders Programme in 2015.

Should your shop or café be a destination in its own right?

Why do so many unique visitor experiences offer generic retail and catering spaces. With so much creative talent in our organisations why are we not challenging expectations more often and embedding our offer as a part of our narrative?  Can a museum shop and café be too successful?

Paul has been recognised with a variety of accolades including the prestigious European Heritage in Motion Award and honoured as a Laureate at ‘Best in Heritage’; the annual, global conference celebrating award-winning museum, heritage and conservation projects. Prior to graduating in Heritage Management, he had a successful career in Retail.

D: Working Effectively with Your Friends

Location: Byron Room

Alex Walker, Chair (British Association of Friends of Museums), Ian Bean (Projects Director, Friends of Beamish Ltd) and Richard Gough (Director, Shropshire Regimental Museum)

@BAFM_UK @alexwalker100 @Beamish_Museum

How do you get the most out of your Friends?   A representative of a successful group and a museum director with volunteer management experience will give practical insight into how you can ensure a successful and fruitful relationship. Also learn how BAFM, the umbrella organisation for Friends, can support your group.

Alex Walker is the former head of the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, which has a successful Friends group, and Chair of BAFM.

Ian Bean has over 30 years work with the Friends of Beamish in administration and practical activities.

Richard Gough is Director of the Shropshire Regimental Museum and Vice Chair of the Heritage Volunteering Group.

E: Laying the Foundation to creating a Great Destination – The Business Appraisal made easy

Location: Learning Space

Steve Prowse (Director of Heritage Project Delivery at AIM National Conference sponsors, Artelia)


Have you been there?  You go to your Trustees and say I’ve got a great idea to improve our Museum. However, to get the idea off the drawing board they require an informed justification for investing in it and you’re back to square one.  Artelia has been congratulated for producing succinct and credible business plans which aid organisations to obtain that all important funding decision. We’d like to share our experience with you in a short workshop session where we’ll pick an idea or vision and create the basis of an HMG Treasury “Green Book” business appraisal which will give your organisation the credibility to invest in.  Come and join us for some tips, tricks and fun!

Passionate about the museums and heritage sector, Steve has been helping AIM Members and other clients deliver award winning capital projects for more than 20 years.  His role as a National Lottery Heritage Fund Consultant, means that Steve has a thorough understanding of what makes a successful grant application and the key ingredients for achieving outstanding outcomes for visitors and local communities.  Steve learned his project management skills as a Captain in the Royal Engineers, leading technically challenging defence and engineering programmes.  Since leaving the Army he has refined those skills with central government departments and most significantly the Heritage Sector, where he was humbled and honoured to gain recognition by being awarded the Association for Project Management’s (APM) Project Professional of the Year.

F: Walking tours of Newark – “Behind the scenes on a costumed town tour”

Location: Reception Area

A historical tour for young audiences should be lively, visual and relevant to their lives. At the National Civil War Centre, our “Last Town Standing” Tour weaves together stories about the people and places that made Newark a key strategic stronghold in the civil wars.  A centrepiece of our Learning offer, this character led tour includes fun, archival evidence, built heritage and gore in equal parts.  Specially for AIM conference delegates, our Learning and Participation Manager will accompany the tour to combine the theatrical experience with advice and thoughts on creating engaging guided tours. (Please note this tour takes place outside so appropriate footwear and clothing should be worn).

11.30 – 12.00am: Coffee break

12.00 – 1.00pm: Charity finance and legal updates

Location: Palace Auditorium

Charity Finance Update

Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive of Charity Finance Group

@caronlb @CFGtweets

Caron Bradshaw is Chief Executive of Charity Finance Group.  She joined CFG in June 2010 from the ICAEW, where she was Head of the Charity and Voluntary Sector. In addition to supporting a number of small charities and community organisations Caron is a member of the NCVO’s National Assembly, sits on the Charities SORP Committee, on a number of government working parties, is a member of the Church of England Pension Board’s Audit and Risk Committee, and is Chair of the Board of the Directory of Social Change. She is named in the top 30 UK social influences in Risk, Compliance and Regtech 2017. Caron is a trained Barrister and has a wide array of experience across charity, regulation/law, policy, member support, and professional ethics.  In 2015 she was named Charity Principal of the Year at the Charity Times Awards.  In 2016 she received the Association Excellence Award for Leadership.  Caron is an avidly ‘social’ CEO and was been named in the top 30 social CEOs in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Legal Update for Charities

Location: Palace Auditorium

Julian Smith, Partner, Farrer & Co

Julian will be providing a legal update for charitable museums and galleries.

Julian is a Partner in the Charity Team at Farrers and has been advising museums and other cultural organisations since 1994. He is a member of the firm’s Management Board and a Partner in its Charity & Community team. Julian writes and lectures regularly in the sector and Chairs or acts as a trustee of six charities.

Participation session – Sponsored by Development Partners: We’re a great destination because…. Location: Palace Auditorium

What makes your museum or heritage site a great destination? Tell us all about why you provide a brilliant visitor experience by writing a short description at our reception desk – you can enter as many times as you like! AIM’s Chair, Richard Evans and AIM’s Director, Emma Chaplin, will be choosing their Top Five favourite entries before the audience decides which one should win the bottle of champagne!

1.00pm – 2.00pm: Lunch

(Optional) Industrial Heritage Lunch – hosted by Tim Bryan, AIM Council member and Chair of the Association of British Transport & Engineering Museums (ABTEM)

Location: Nineteen20 Café

The chance to eat, network and hear updates from Joanna Turska (Industrial Heritage Support Officer for England), David Mann (Go Industrial) and representatives from Arts Council England.

2.00 – 2.45pm: Breakout sessions

A: Museums & Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief (MGETR)

Location Magnus Room

Kirsty Murray (Corporate Tax Director, Scott-Moncrieff) and Scott Craig (VAT Partner, Scott-Moncrieff)


MGETR provides a cash repayment or tax saving for Museums with new exhibitions.  The relief is available for museums, galleries, libraries, arts centres and historic houses. This session provides an opportunity to confirm your position. It will also provide advice on common issues, the claim process and tips for maximising claims.

Kirsty Murray is a Director at Scott- Moncrieff with over 16 years of corporate tax experience.  She specialises in charities and not for profit sector bodies and is an expert on Museum and Galleries Exhibitions tax Relief.  To date she has obtained repayments of over £8m from HMRC for her clients.

Scott Craig is a Partner at Scott-Moncrieff with over 30 years of VAT and gift aid experience.  Scott specialises in charities, public sector and not for profit bodies especially those in the arts, culture and heritage sector. Scott increases his clients’ VAT and gift aid claims and ensures they are not challenged by HMRC. 

B: Technology for good

Location: Palace Auditorium

Phil Lyons MBE (CEO, National Holocaust Centre and Museum)


Technology is transforming our thinking and reaching new audiences. NHCM is finding solutions to the most urgent issues in Holocaust education today – How do we keep the lessons of the Holocaust accessible, relevant and engaging? And how do we enable the voices of survivors to resonate when they are no longer with us to reach a young, diverse audience?

Technology and creativity are enabling the museum to develop innovative approaches that communicate with impact and engage with audiences beyond the museum site in rural Nottinghamshire. Phil’s presentation highlights the potential and pitfalls of using technology in a museum setting.

Phil is the CEO of the National Holocaust Centre and Museum. He has an extensive background in organisational development and leadership in Further and Higher education. He has worked for organisations including the Commonwealth Foundation (South Africa), UNICEF (the Balkans), the UK Know How Fund (Russia) and the EU (Sweden).  At home he has managed and chaired Strategic Partnerships, Employment and Skills Boards and Big Lottery Groups and worked as consultant to the NHS.

C: Capital development…Small museums- transforming your destination with a capital development          

Location: Learning Space

Lynn Podmore (Museum Development Officer (CCBC), Dawn Lancaster (Llandudno Museum, Project Manager), Suryiah Evans (Penmaenmawr Museum, Project Manager) and Helen Goddard (Conwy Culture Centre, Project Manager)

@ArchifauConwy @Llandudno Museum @Museum_Pen

Conwy County is enjoying a cultural renaissance, thanks to National Lottery and other major funder investment.  Two independent museums are undergoing capital transformation projects while a new Culture Centre is improving access to Council collections. The projects are working in partnership to undertake consultation and improve collections interpretation. ‘Renaissance Conwy’ is strengthened by collaborative working and shared learning between projects.

Dawn is a heritage professional with degrees in Archaeology, Historic Landscape Studies M.A. and a research M.Phil.  Prior to joining the Chardon Trust in 2016 Dawn worked on a number of projects for The Churches Conservation Trust helping bring buildings and their heritage to life for local communities to use and enjoy.

Suryiah is an independent consultant who works with heritage and community organisations.  She worked with Penmaenmawr Museum for two years to support them in strengthening their governance, undertaking consultations and preparing their funding bids to secure a new premises and funding for refurbishment and activities over the next three years.

Lynn is Conwy Council’s Museum Mentor and supports museum development projects and accreditation work. She has a broad experience of working with the National Trust, independent and council run museums. Lynn has a Master of Arts in Museum Studies, received the Sandford Award for excellence in museum education and is interested in social and industrial history.

Helen is a former community archaeologist and community development worker who has spent much of her career working in the Scottish islands on community heritage projects. She has been working with Conwy County Borough Council since 2011 during which time has gained her postgraduate qualification in Museum Studies. Helen specialises in interpretation, fundraising, and organisational capacity building and is currently the Project Manager for the Conwy Culture Centre project.

D: Hallmarks in action…. How the AIM Hallmarks have helped two member museums

Location Café Area (Nineteen 20)

Heather Lomas (Consultant Facilitator of the Museum Development East Midlands Organisational Health Review programme) and Liz McIvor (Trust Manager, The Co-operative Heritage Trust (Rochdale Pioneers Museum)

AIM Hallmarks – Eight steps to a stronger future

Using the AIM Hallmarks Museum Development East Midlands is supporting museums to review their organisational focus and plan for a resilient future. Heather Lomas will outline the eight steps and provide useful tips and quick wins ahead of the Hallmarks Awards reopening for museums in England on 1st July.

Heather Lomas is a highly experienced heritage consultant, with a focus on governance, board development and organisational health.  One aspect of her consultancy is facilitation of the Museum Development East Midlands Organisational Health Review programme, which works intensively with museums to enable and support organisational change and effective development.

‘Investment for the future pays dividends’ – Achieving financial sustainability for Rochdale Pioneers Museum (the birthplace of the Co-operative Movement) in a challenging marketplace.

Why the Trust applied for the AIM sustainable improvement grant to support income generation and what it means in an age of austerity.

Liz McIvor has been the Manager of the Co-operative Heritage Trust since 2017 which is the charity responsible for running the Rochdale Pioneers Museum (home of the world’s first successive consumer co-operative society in 1844) and the National Co-operative Archive in Manchester which holds the records relating to the UK movement and other historic business records. Liz has a curatorial and collections background in social and industrial history and has had the pleasure of working in National, Local authority and independent museums since the 1990’s.

E: Chairs in conversation           

Location: Byron Room

Caroline Worthington (Director, Royal Society of Sculptors and Board member for the Association of Independent Museums) with Stephen Coates (Chair, Bakewell Old House), Sue McKendrick (Chair, Moira Furnace Trust) and Janet Lewis (Chair, Newtown Textiles Museum)

Panel discussion hosted by Caroline Worthington. ‘Chairs in Conversation’ will explore the challenges (and rewards) of being the Chair of an organisation.

Hosted by AIM Council Member, Caroline Worthington, our panel of Chairs from a range of AIM members will discuss how they view the key role of Chair and how they have approached the opportunities and challenges that they have encountered.  The session will be of interest to other Chairs but also trustees who might be interested in stepping up to the role and staff members and volunteers who might want to gain a better understanding of a Chair’s perspective. We hope that there will be a good discussion between panel members and delegates- and plenty of useful tips and learning to take away.

F: Walking tours of Newark – “Behind the scenes on a costumed town tour”

 Location: Reception Area

A historical tour for young audiences should be lively, visual and relevant to their lives. At the National Civil War Centre, our “Last Town Standing” Tour weaves together stories about the people and places that made Newark a key strategic stronghold in the civil wars.  A centrepiece of our Learning offer, this character led tour includes fun, archival evidence, built heritage and gore in equal parts.  Specially for AIM conference delegates, our Learning and Participation Manager will accompany the tour to combine the theatrical experience with advice and thoughts on creating engaging guided tours. (Please note this tour takes place outside so appropriate footwear and clothing should be worn).

2.45 – 3.00pm: Break        

3.00 – 4.00pm: Final session

The National Lottery Heritage Fund: Introducing the new strategic framework

Location: Palace Auditorium

Fiona Talbott (Head of Museums Libraries Archives, The National Lottery Heritage Fund)

@fitalbott @heritagelottery #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

What the new funding framework from the National Lottery Heritage Fund means for you. An outline of our new approach to funding over the next five years including our strategic priorities, opportunities through funding campaigns, streamlined approaches to grants and a new regional structure.

Fiona Talbott has worked in the heritage and culture sectors for over thirty years. She is Head of Museums, Libraries and Archives at the National Lottery Heritage Fund where she is responsible for strategic and policy across those sectors alongside leading on the Fund’s Mendoza review work.

The Independent museums boom

Location: Palace Auditorium

Fiona Candlin (Professor of Museology, Birkbeck, University of London)


Over the past three years the Mapping Museums research team has been working to document and analyse the development of the UK museum sector from 1960 until the present day. In this lecture Fiona Candlin will outline their findings on the dramatic rise in numbers of independent museums.

Fiona Candlin is director of the large-scale research project ‘Mapping Museums’ ( and a specialist on small independent museums. Her books include Micromuseology: An analysis of small independent museums (Bloomsbury 2015), and Art, Museums, and Touch (Manchester University Press 2010).

Q&A and conference round up 

Location: Palace Auditorium

Richard Evans (AIM Chair)


Artelia: Sponsors of AIM National Conference 2019
Artelia: Sponsors of AIM National Conference 2019

AIM National Conference 2019 is sponsored by Artelia

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