Bmag test forced perspective
15 Sep 2016

Unique experience for students on new museums MA course

Students will be given a unique opportunity to gain hands on experience at some of Birmingham’s most historic and culturally significant sites as part of a new course equipping them for a career in the culture and heritage sector.

Birmingham Museums Trust has teamed up with Birmingham City University to provide one of the only courses in the country which mixes academic training with an integrated year long on-the-job experience in the heart of some of the UK’s most recognised sites. 

The Innovation and Leadership in Museum Practice Master’s Degree has been crafted to help plug a shortfall in the number of graduates boasting real-world experience, and meet the demands of the changing arts and cultural sector. 

It will also support the development of the Trust’s collection, renowned as the most important civic museum collection in England. Comprising of 800,000 objects, most areas of the collection are designated as being of national importance, including the finest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world.

The objects will be used as a learning and research resource for students hoping to become the next generation of museum managers, curators, programme developers and publicists. 

The course will see students placed at nine award-winning second city locations. Spanning more than six centuries, the venues include flagship sites Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum alongside Aston Hall, Blakesley Hall, Museum of Jewellery Quarter, Sarehole Mill, Soho House, Weoley Castle and Museum Collections Centre.

Toby Watley, Director of Collections at Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “We have a thriving cultural sector in Birmingham and this new Master’s Degree course will support the museum professionals of the future who will be equipped with the skills in innovation and leadership to help keep it alive.

“Partnering with Birmingham City University has allowed us to offer something truly unique which gives students unrivalled access to some of the most well known museum and heritage sites in the city, alongside the expertise and leading facilities of the School of Art.”

Lectures will be taught at Birmingham School of Art – part of Birmingham City University -, which opened in the city’s Margaret Street in 1843 and sits next to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

The course will encompass how technology and social media are changing the way people view archives and artefacts, and give students the opportunity to put their ideas into place at sites which attract more than 1.2 million visitors each year.

Hands on work will take in high profile Birmingham Museums Trust projects, like Collecting Birmingham, which involves consulting the people of Birmingham to develop a collection of museum objects which tell stories of growing up, living and working in the city.

Beth Derbyshire, Course Director at Birmingham City University, said: “This is a genuinely unique course which is all about making sure our students are not just educated, but are industry ready by the time they leave us.

“The reason we are actually able to provide this course is because Birmingham has such a unique array of heritage sites and one of the most significant collections seen anywhere in the UK.

“It is of course important for students to learn the theory behind their jobs, but partnering with Birmingham Museums Trust means they will also be given the vital experience at high profile and important locations to prepare them to start their careers.”


Notes to editors

Birmingham Museums Trust

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 1 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.

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