Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG)

Co-production Framework at National Museums Liverpool

Architect's drawing and plan of the Waterfront Transformation Project in Liverpool

Waterfront Transformation, Liverpool

RCMG and National Museums Liverpool (NML) worked collaboratively to develop a Co-production Framework that could support the large-scale co-production process driving the Waterfront Transformation Project and redevelopment of the International Slavery Museum. The Framework needed to be able to provide high level, strategic co-ordinates to support the embedding of co-production across wide-ranging sites and teams at NML. Developed through a process of deep engagement with NML staff and stakeholders, the project generated significant insights into questions of organisational transformation in a large cultural institution, the sharing of power and opening up of museum processes and the conditions required for inclusive change to flourish across museum teams, processes and relationships. As well as delivering a Co-production Framework of direct use to NML leaders, staff and partners, the research revealed new insights and learning about the challenges of recognising and responding to the gap that many staff, particularly new staff, experience between the ambition of co-production and the day-to-day realities of doing the work in an organisation in transition. The Framework includes a statement about co-production at NML, a definition of co-production that is challenging and aspirational and a series of principles or co-ordinates to support NML and its partners to work together.


The action research was shaped around three key phases of work (1) Working with staff and stakeholders to draft the Co-production Framework; (2) Action Research where colleagues across the organisation picked the Framework up and began using it – large amounts of data were collected on these experiences; and (3) Final testing, refinement and dissemination. A Core Research Group, made up of RCMG and NML staff was established and a series of working papers were developed to draw together research of use to the framework and research process. The draft Framework was then tested across five test sites at NML. In the final stage of the project, we refined the Framework and used the large amount of organisational learning captured during the research to develop a Toolkit tailored to NML and intended to support NML teams.

You can access National Museums Liverpool’s Co-production Framework below.

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