Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG)

Leaders in Co-creation?

Why and how museums could develop their co-creative practice with the public, building on ideas from the performing arts and other non-museum organisations.

Leaders in co-creation? is a piece of research undertaken by Dr Louise Govier, MLA Museums Clore Leadership Fellow 2008-9.  Supervised by RCMG, this research project was an integral part of the Clore programme.

Louise introduces her work:

'For 18 months, I was the MLA Museums Clore Leadership Fellow. The Clore Leadership Programme is an initiative of the Clore Duffield Foundation which aims to strengthen leadership across a wide range of cultural activities, through short courses and intensive fellowships.

As the Museums Fellow supported by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), I have been able to develop my leadership and business skills through an individually designed programme of training, mentoring, coaching, secondments to other organisations and research. I’ve also learned a great deal from discussions with the other 21 Fellows in my year, who work in theatre, dance, film, libraries, contemporary arts, music and many other spheres.

RCMG and the School of Museum Studies at Leicester University were my first choice for academic supervision for the research project that is an integral part of the Clore programme. I wanted to work with people who are at the cutting edge of museum studies theory but are also very much rooted in museum and gallery practice.  I had been impressed by RCMG’s evaluation of the Madonna of the Pinks programmes when I worked at the National Gallery, and by the many graduates of the School of Museum Studies at Leicester that I had met over the years; indeed, this turned out to be the perfect environment in which to explore the questions I had about a particular aspect of participatory practice.

My project asks colleagues in museums and galleries to examine and perhaps re-think our co-creative work with our audiences, the projects where we aim for a deep level of collaboration with our publics in order to create something new together (an exhibition, a space, some meaning or interpretation: there are many possibilities). Are we thinking broadly enough about what co-creation is and could be? Are we thinking big, are we being ambitious enough for this work? And are we leading it – what does that mean, and how could leadership really help us to develop our co-creative practice? This paper looks outside the museum world for inspiration, particularly to some innovative examples of co-creative practice in the performing arts. What could we learn from these different contexts.'


Leaders in co-creation? Why and how museums could develop their co-creative practice with the public, building on ideas from the performing arts and other non-museum organisations (Report, 2009) (PDF, 718.46KB)

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