Entrepreneurship in Cultural Heritage Workshop

B5 5SE, Birmingham, Fazeley Studios, The Old Ikon Gallery
Thursday 2 February 2017 (10:00-17:00)

Email Ironbridge@contacts.bham.ac.uk to book your place


Over recent years the heritage sector has been hit by cumulative cut-backs in public sector funding, reductions in visitor spend and increasing competition for visitors. At the same time, a multitude of new opportunities continue to emerge relating to technological innovation, new audiences and communication networks and new management approaches.

In the context of this developing landscape for the heritage sector, this workshop explores the increasing need for museums and heritage organisations to become ever more entrepreneurial in their approach in order to increase their resilience to the changing environment and also to identify ways and means to build profile, audiences, income and opportunities to communicate the heritage at their heart. Through presentations by speakers who, in different ways, are involved with innovative approaches  to the heritage and museums sector and through discussion, this workshop aims to identify some of the more entrepreneurial management practices of the heritage sector and to explore challenges and opportunities for future entrepreneurial actions. 

Key Themes:

  • Working towards resilience
  • Partner working outside of the heritage sector
  • The role of the creative industries
  • Going global
  • Building audiences and income

Speakers include:

  • Professor Mike Robinson, Ironbridge Institute for Cultural Heritage
  • Professor Kiran Trehan, Professor of Leadership and Enterprise Development, University of Birminghan
  • Dr Chris Ferguson – Auckland Castle 
  • Harvey Edgington – National Trust 
  • Traci Dix-Williams – Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust 
  • Colin Chester – The National Gallery Tony Trehy – Bury Art Museum 
  • Elliot Goodger – Birmingham Museums Trust Enterprise Committee


£45 Early bird rate (deadline: 13 Jan 2017)

£55 Full rate (applicable after 13 Jan 2017)

This event is organised in association with the West Midlands Museum Development programme. The WMMD programme aims to develop the museum sector, building capacity, resilience and skills to create a sector that inspires and builds diverse audiences. The work covers the counties of Birmingham and the Black Country, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. WMMD responds to the needs of Accredited museums and those officially working towards Accreditation.

 WMMD was established in April 2015 with funding from Arts Council England and is managed by Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.

 Find out more here: mdwm.org.uk 

Speaker profiles:

Prof Mike Robinson (Ironbridge Institute)

Mike Robinson is Professor of Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham UK. He is also Director of the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage and Trustee of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and World Heritage Site. For the past 25 years Mike’s work has spanned the broad fields of heritage and tourism and he has published numerous books, articles and chapters on the various ways in which the realms of heritage and tourism collide. Recent books include Tourism and Emotion with David Picard (Ashgate), Encounters with Popular Pasts with Helaine Silverman (Springer) and World Heritage, Tourism and Identity (Ashgate). Mike has worked with UNESCO at national and international level relating to the agendas of World Heritage, tourism and sustainable development and cultural diversity. He is a former member of the Culture Committee of the UK National Commission for UNESCO and regularly advises on policy issues. He was a Government appointed member of the UK’s Expert Panel to determine the UK’s Tentative List for World Heritage and part of the UNESCO Expert Panel to assist with the development of a Programme in World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism. He is a former Visiting Professor at the Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, Università degli Studi di Trento, Italy and is Visiting Professor at National Taiwan University and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Illinois. Mike has undertaken work on heritage and tourism in over 30 countries.

Dr Chris Ferguson (Auckland Castle)

Chris joined Auckland Castle Trust in July 2013. With a background in museums, he previously worked at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Since completing a D.Phil at the University of Oxford, Chris’ academic research has focused upon the material culture associated with early medieval monasticism and settlement in Northumbria. As Curatorial Director he has brought a focus and vision to Auckland Castle’s collection and visitor offer and is instrumental in developing interpretation, exhibition and learning and education programmes through a team of museum professionals.

Harvey Edgington (National Trust)

In 2003 Harvey created the centralised National Trust Film unit allowing filmmakers access to over 250 heritage building 700 miles of coast and 500,000 acres of   iconic and often protected landscapes in England Wales and Northern Ireland. Despite strict protocols the unit have successful shot a diverse range of productions including Wolf Hall, Snow White and The Huntsmen, Game of Thrones, Pride and Prejudice (and the Zombie version), Downton and Poldark. The Trust has 3 crews a day on its land.

Previously he worked for Film London coordinating shoots such as Tomorrow Never Dies (the Thames boat chase), 101 Dalmatians and Spooks. Before that he was London’s first full time film officer  having set up a Film Unit at Greenwich dealing with Patriot Games, Secret Agent, Nil by Mouth and hundreds more.     

Harvey’s talk will be how the Trust manages filming and how they convert the exposure to generate visitors and therefore income.

Traci Dix- Williams (Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust)

Traci Dix-Williams is the Director of Operations at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and has over 28 years of experience fulfilling various roles throughout the Trust. She brings to the role experience in curating social history, managing and redeveloping museums, developing retail and hospitality offers as well as the day to day management of a multi-site museum. Having worked her way up through the ranks Traci has a wealth of hands on practical experience as well as strategic overview which she lecture and provides guidance on for a range of organisations.

 The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust has a reputation for being entrepreneurial in its approach, from opening up multi-site museums to developing new event ideas or producing and designing retail items for its shops.  Traci will showcase a number of the initiatives Ironbridge has done both in terms of commissioning unique products for its shop, undertaking in-house manufacturing and also developing ideas for shop products by working creatively with its staff and volunteers. 

Colin Chester (Head of Buying, The National Gallery)

Colin is Head of Buying for the National Gallery Company and is responsible for the retail and licensing ranges.  Prior to NGC, Colin worked as Head of Retail Services for the Ambassador Theatre Group and held various buying positions at Debenhams. Colin is currently undertaking an MA in International Heritage Management at the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham.

The presentation will be Buying and Licensing at the National Gallery: Making Old Master Paintings relevant to consumers in the 21st century.

Tony Trehy (Director, Bury Art Museum)

Tony Trehy is the Director of Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre:  http://buryartmuseum.co.uk/

Bury Art Museum in Manchester opened in 1901 with an impressive collection of Victorian narrative paintings, including work by JMW Turner and Sir Edwin Landseer, plus a strong collection of 19th century ceramics. More recently it has been building specialist collections of contemporary works.

Twenty years ago, Tony Trehy set out to reinvent the mission of the Museum entering the 21st Century and respond to the cultural implications of globalisation. From small beginnings of simple cross-border conversations and exchanges of ideas with other European Museums, Bury set out to define itself and its host location as a globally connected cultural economy. Professional curators and arts staff from Bury have developed in depth experience of working in many countries and through this co-ordinated individual museum partnerships to large scale gallery networks. The Art Museum primarily focused on partnerships with European museums for 10-15 years; however, in response to the financial crisis, Bury applied its extensive foreign experience to develop an income-generating model of cultural trading in exhibitions and museums services. It is nationally recognised as a leading expert in new cultural market opportunities in China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

Presentation abstract:  The key to entrepreneurship is not pursuit of making money, it's new thinking - Tony Trehy, Director of Bury Art Museum, explains how to ask fundamental questions about how your service works and how to trade on your collections, your services, and sell your uniqueness.

Elliot Goodger- Birmingham Museums Trust Enterprise Committee

Elliot Goodger is a BA History graduate who is currently undertaking an MA in International Heritage Management at the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham. Elliot has been an active volunteer in the heritage sector in a number of roles over the last few years. He started a vinyl record e-commerce business in 2014 and joined the Birmingham Museums Trust enterprise committee during its formation last year. He will be giving a lecture entitled ‘Resilience and Free Enterprise for the Birmingham Museums Trust and Threats to the Wider Museum Sector’ which will  discuss the progressive movement in the heritage sector towards the free enterprise structure and also promote the strengths of the Enterprise Committee model undertaken at the Birmingham Museums Trust.

Prof Kiran Trehan- Professor of Leadership and Enterprise Development, University of Birmingham

Kiran Trehan is Professor of Leadership and Enterprise Development at Birmingham University and Co- Director of the Enterprise Diversity Alliance. Kiran is a key contributor to debates on leadership, enterprise and diversity, and how they can be applied in a variety of organisational, small business and policy domains. She has led a number of leadership development initiatives and extensively published a number of journal articles, policy reports, books and book chapters in the field. Her current research focuses on applying critical leadership approaches to enterprise development with entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and the role human, social and financial capital plays in developing business growth among diverse small firms. Professor Trehan   work has been supported by grants from a full range of research funding bodies; including research councils (ESRC, AHRC), government departments, regional and local agencies and the private sector. Professor Trehan is Editor of Action learning, and has been Guest Editor in a range of reputable journals, and has taken up national advisory roles that shape debates and policy in leadership, and enterprise development. Professor Trehan academic work has achieved national and international research reputation and as a result led to a number of visiting fellowships.