13 Oct 2016

Birmingham Museums Trust secures diverse leadership funding

Arts Council England is investing almost £136,000 to support Birmingham Museums Trust to host a training placement with a bursary for senior museum professional Sara Wajid.

Sara will be working at Birmingham Museums Trust throughout 2017. The funding comes from the Arts Council’s Change Makers programme which is aimed at increasing the diversity of senior leaders within England’s arts and cultural sector.

Birmingham Museums Trust is one of 20 organisations nationally to receive a share of £2.57 million from the programme.

This major investment is aimed at supporting disabled and Black and minority ethnic leaders from across the country to gain the relevant experience, knowledge skills and confidence needed to compete for Artistic Director, Chief Executive or other senior leadership positions in the future.

Sara is currently a senior manager at the National Maritime Museum in London, and an active campaigner for diversity within England’s museums, championing LGBT, women’s and BAME networks.

As part of her placement at Birmingham Museums Trust she will lead a programme to reinterpret the collections on display at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery to reach a wider audience.

Alongside a formal training programme, Sara will gain significant leadership experience by taking the reins of plans to use the Trust’s collections in news ways to engage and inspire the population of Birmingham, which is one of the largest, youngest and most diverse in Europe.

Sara Wajid said: “As a lifelong Londoner I felt excited visiting Birmingham and seeing the energy of the city’s young and diverse community. As the demographic continues to develop it is vital that our cultural assets reflect local audiences and take advantage of the creativity and knowledge of the people that make the city what it is today. I’m thrilled to be taking on this Change Maker role and feel there is a strong foundation within Birmingham Museums Trust to build on. As we plan for the future this project will help to ensure the Trust has a workforce, collection and range of programming that is truly representative of this great city.”

Ellen McAdam, Director of Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “Birmingham’s collection is one of the greatest civic collections of the UK. It is encyclopaedic in reach and historic in significance. We want to interrogate it to engage with new audiences among Birmingham’s young and diverse communities. The Change Makers funding will support us in developing multiple interpretations for the cultural heritage of a global city.”

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England said: “The Arts Council is committed to ensuring the diversity of contemporary society in England is reflected in the arts and cultural sector, from its senior leaders to the work being created. It will be great to see our Change Makers programme supporting Sara’s placement with Birmingham Museum Trust. She is a leading voice in the conversation about accessibility and diversity within the museums sector and we hope this will be a valuable opportunity for her to shape the future of how people can engage with Birmingham’s history and heritage, as well as preparing her for the next step in her career.”


Notes to Editors

Birmingham Museums Trust is an independent charity that manages the city’s museum collection and venues on behalf of Birmingham City Council. It uses the collection of around 800,000 objects to provide a wide range of arts, cultural and historical experiences, events and activities that deliver accessible learning, creativity and enjoyment for citizens and visitors to the city. Most areas of the collection are designated as being of national importance, including the finest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world. Attracting over one million visits a year, the Trust’s venues include Aston Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Blakesley Hall, Museum Collections Centre, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Sarehole Mill, Soho House, Thinktank and Weoley Castle.