MA to carry out research on bullying in museum sector

Yosola Olorunshola, 14.05.2019

Understanding and tackling bullying in museums

The Museums Association (MA) is launching a sector-wide research project into bullying in museums.

The research will gather responses via an online survey, set to launch in the coming months. The results will be published in early 2020 alongside recommendations on creating a healthy organisational or team culture, where bullying is not tolerated and can be addressed effectively.

The initial results will inform a workshop at this year’s MA Conference in Brighton (3-5 October) entitled “Sticks and Stones: bullying in the museum sector”.

“During my conversations about careers, people have been very honest about how the culture in which they work has a deleterious impact on their ability to develop or think about their careers, or make more meaningful contributions,” said Tamsin Russell, the professional development officer at the MA.

“In one breath we highlight the need to be inclusive and in the next we ignore or perpetuate behaviours that exclude. I am really excited to be beginning some preliminary research in this area.”

Freelance interpretation consultant Alexandra Woodall, who proposed launching a working group on bullying in museums after last year’s conference in Belfast, said: “I am all too aware of the devastating and long-lasting effects that bullying can have on an individual’s work and life, and I am also aware that my own story is not an isolated one.

“There are many colleagues working in museums where bullying goes on, and sadly it is often unchallenged. I am absolutely thrilled that the MA is taking this issue seriously.”

We are currently seeking participants to join the working group and help co-ordinate the research over the coming months. If you would like to be involved in any capacity of this project, or would like to be kept up-to-date on its progress, please email tamsin@museumsassociation.org

The MA Conference & Exhibition runs 3-5 October at the Brighton Conference Centre. The full programme will be published on the MA website shortly.