University Edgbaston campus

The aim of this symposium is to explore some of the challenges and opportunities that heritage sites face in integrating the indoor and the outdoor. What benefits could more integration bring for visitor experience and wellbeing, biodiversity, sustainability and education? Winterbourne is the ideal setting in which to debate these issues. Originally created as a family home, Winterbourne is now a university botanic garden with a substantial living collection, and an Arts Council accredited museum with a diverse range of collections and archives reflecting Birmingham’s social, industrial, and horticultural heritage.

While the last few years have proved challenging for heritage sites, new opportunities have also arisen. The Covid pandemic raised public awareness of the importance of green spaces for both physical and emotional wellbeing. Climate change has focused attention upon the vital role that biodiversity plays in the health of our planet. More than ever before, heritage sites and museums are investing in their green spaces and using them to tell stories, engage people with nature and promote sustainable lifestyles.

This symposium seeks to:

  • Bring together professionals working in the heritage sector who have exciting projects to share, challenges to explore or ideas to contribute
  • Encourage a deeper understanding of the opportunities associated with integrating living collections and museum collections and archives
  • Encourage greater collaboration between horticultural curators and practitioners, museum professionals and researchers
  • Inspire ideas for creative and innovative projects utilising museum & living collections to support environmental sustainability and biodiversity within the heritage sector

The symposium will bring together museum and heritage professionals, horticultural professionals, students, academics and researchers.

We are seeking short presentations (maximum of 20 minutes). Topics could include:

  • Exciting projects or initiatives in which you or your organisation have been involved
  • Particular challenges facing your organisation

Speakers’ travelling expenses will be reimbursed.

Please submit a title, short biography (100 words) and abstract (maximum 300 words) to by 31 March 2024.