Digital Engagement Guidelines

Digital Engagement work encompasses all the work Birmingham Museums Trust (BMT) carries out through facilitated sessions and live streamed activities. These activities can either be private sessions e.g. online sessions for schools or public sessions e.g. Curatorial Talks. Platforms for these activities include, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Facebook Live and YouTube Live amongst others.

These guidelines are to be followed in accordance with BMT’s Online Safety Policy (shown further below). This page provides more detail on how we plan and facilitate specific online activities.

Online Education Sessions

When running a school workshop on an online platform:

We will

  • Deliver the session from a museum account, never a personal one.
  • Where possible we will connect to the internet via an Ethernet cable rather than WiFi.
  • Password protect the platform so only those with passwords can enter.
  • Lock sessions once they begin to lower the risk of others gaining entry to sessions.
  • Allow only the museum staff to share screens (not students).
  • Ensure that there is always a schoolteacher or other member of teaching staff present in a session.
  • Restrict chat functions on platforms so that private conversations are not possible.
  • Disable the ability for anyone to join a session before museum staff.
  • Ensure that sessions are streamed from a suitable room. Where possible we will use virtual backgrounds or white walls with good lighting to ensure students are able to concentrate on the facilitator and don’t see personal items of the facilitator.
  • Staff will be professionally dressed with the camera kept at eye height.

We wont

  • Take any photos or videos of the sessions without specific written consent.
  • Share any photos or videos of the sessions without specific written consent.
  • Record any sessions.

Managing Behaviour

  • We will share the Online Safety Policy, these guidelines and the risk assessment for the session in advance, as well as how to access the session and what to expect.
  • We will mute all participants when they are not required to speak to ensure the smooth running of the session.
  • We will support teachers in managing the behaviour of their students. If needed, we’ll suggest taking a break to allow the teacher to resolve a situation and let the teacher know we will mute the class to allow privacy.

Community and Young People Workshops

The museum runs a variety of projects that involve online components with members of the community and young people. These projects may involve a group of people that all know each other, or they may be ‘virtually’ meeting for the first time. The risk assessment for each workshop will take this into account when planning the session. Many of the guidelines above also apply to these sessions. In addition, our facilitators will:

  • Ensure time for introductions for each participant in the workshop.
  • Set out any house rules for the session at the start, including how participants can interact with us and explain any functions of the platform we’ll be using.
  • Send out any material for the session in good time beforehand.
  • Facilitate the behaviour of participants in the session. If a participant becomes disruptive, we will inform them that they will be put on mute and if necessarily removed from the session. We will always follow up with participants after the session and provide support if needed.
  • Ensure there are always at least three people in a digital session with a young person or vulnerable adult, either two members of staff or another participant. This is to ensure safety of the participants and staff.

General Public

Online public events may include live streamed talks, tours, shows and/or demonstrations. Again, many of the above guidelines apply with the additional consideration to public behaviour:

  • We will mute all viewers on arrival to the session and outline the use of the chat function. The presenter will make sure viewers know when questions will be answered i.e. at set intervals, at the end etc.
  • If a member of the public becomes abusive or aggressive using this function, then comments will be deleted, and staff will not interact with the individual. Any threatening or racially abusive behaviour will be reported to the police.

Online Safety Policy and Procedures Summary

Birmingham Museums Trust recognises there are benefits and risks when communicating with children, young people and vulnerable adults online.

The online safety policy sets out the framework and procedures we will use to limit the risks to children, young people and adults when they take part in the online activity we run.

This includes:

  • Online school sessions
  • Livestreamed public talks and tours
  • Online consultation forums
  • Online chat groups
  • Social media
  • Email
  • Film and photography