Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG)

Socially purposeful organisations

RCMG has powerfully shaped the way we understand the social roles, potentials and responsibilities of museums, galleries and heritage sites. Through a trajectory of interlinked, experimental and collaborative research projects — ‘thinking with’ international, national and regional cultural organisations — the Centre has generated new insights and concepts, methodologies and practices, that have enabled museums to re-focus their aims and ambitions in relation to social needs, concerns and challenges.

Research has revealed an in-depth understanding of what it means for museums to be socially purposeful, proactive and relevant organisations that have meaning and resonance for individuals and communities. This work has had a profound impact upon professional practice and policy in the UK and internationally enabling cultural organisations, large and small, to become dynamic, ethical and inclusive and to play a central role in the social, cultural and civic life of their communities.

(Code: R: = Research, E: = Event, P: = Publication)

R: Open House, December 2020 - September 2021

P: Position or no position? Museums, Leadership and Social Change (Sophie Leighton, Clore Leadership Fellow, 2019)

R: Museu do Samba, Brazil, April 2016 - March 2017

P: Museu do Samba Research and Evaluation Report (PDF, 908KB) (RCMG and Museu do Samba 2017)

E: Building dynamic, inclusive and socially purposeful museums and archives, 17-21 October 2016

E: Museum 2015: The Agile Museum Conference, January 2015

E: The Cultural Value of Engaging with Museums and Galleries, February 2015

R: The Cultural Value of Engaging with Museums and Galleries, February – June 2014

P: Cultural Value. User value of museums and galleries: a critical review of the literature (PDF, 382KB) (RCMG & AHRC 2014)

R: New Walk Museum Vision, October 2012-April 2013

P: Establishing a Vision: New Walk Museum and the Story of Leicester (PDF, 3,312KB) (Arts Council England, Leicester City Council and RCMG 2013)

R: Developing a Research Network to Advance 21st Century Museum Ethics in Theory and Practice, August 2011 - 2013

E: The Mindful Museum, February 2013

R: Evaluation of Mapping the Change Phase 2, Hackney Museum, May 2011 - December 2012

P: The Impact, Success and Significance of Mapping the Change (Hackney Museums and RCMG 2013)

R: Growing the Social Role of Botanic Gardens: Communities in Nature, January 2012-November 2012

R: Growing the Social Role of Botanic Gardens, September 2010 - September 2011

P: Let's Talk, A Case Study: Change Growth Impact (BGCI and RCMG 2012)

P: Growing the Social Role: Partnerships in the Community (BGCI, 2011)

R: Redefining the role of Botanic Gardens - towards a new social purpose (PDF, 1,373KB), July 2009 - June 2010

P: Towards a New Social Purpose: Redefining the role of botanic gardens (2010)

R: A Catalyst for Change: The Social Impact of the Open Museum, October 2000-August 2002

P: A Catalyst for Change: The Social Impact of the Open Museum (PDF, 423KB) (2002)

R: Developing new audiences and promoting social inclusion: National Museums and Galleries of Wales, January 2002-July 2002

R: Not for the likes of you: A Resource for Practitioners, September 2001

P: Not for the Likes of You: A Resource for Practitioners (PDF, 797KB) (2001)

R: Including Museums: Perspectives on museums, galleries and social inclusion, July 2001

P: Including Museums: Perspectives on museums, galleries and social inclusion (PDF, 761KB) (2001)

R: Small Museums and Social Inclusion, October 2000 - March 2001

P: Small Museums and Social Inclusion (PDF, 484KB) (RCMG for MLA 2001)

R: Museums and Social Inclusion: The GLLAM Report, November 1999 - October 2000

P: Museums and Social Inclusion: The GLLAM Report (PDF, 1,091KB) (2000)

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