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Focus On: Collaboration

Each month we’re taking a look at one of the ten priority areas of the strategy for Scotland’s museums and galleries.

This edition of Focus On takes a look at the collaboration priority area. Discover how your museum or gallery can achieve the collaboration aims of the strategy by reading through the advice and information on this page.

A rope dancer performs in a large industrial space as an audience watches from below. The space is bathed in pink and blue light.

What is collaboration?

Scotland’s museums and galleries will collaborate in and outside of the sector to tackle challenges, maximise opportunities, create efficiencies, and deliver mutual benefits for partners and communities.

This is one of the key aims set out in Scotland’s museums and galleries strategy. From informal meetings to long-term partnerships, a collaborative approach can introduce new perspectives to all areas of your work and increase the resilience of your organisation.

You can read the collaboration priority area and actions in full on our strategy hub.

If you’re looking to build collaboration into more of your work, you’ll find plenty of helpful information in the resources below.

Does your museum or gallery belong to any specialist networks or geographic forums?

Forums and networks are collaborative spaces which give museums opportunities to discuss challenges, exchange ideas, and develop new projects.

In our 2022 Survey for Scotland’s Museums and Galleries, we asked museum organisations about their participation in geographic forums. Of the 121 organisations that replied, 43 (36%) reported that they didn’t belong to any forums.

Several small groups of adults stand and engage in conversation.

Collaboration resources

Collaboration case studies

From innovative digital engagement hubs to creative community partnerships and joint marketing campaigns, our website has lots of inspiring examples of successful collaboration.

Top Ten Tips for a successful museum partnership

Set parameters, share experiences, and shout about success: these are just some of the top tips highlighted in this article by Emma Halford-Forbes from Dundee Heritage Trust and Sarah Burry-Hayes from University Museums in Scotland.

Going Places: Touring and shared exhibitions in the UK

Get an overview of touring and shared exhibitions in this report by Art Fund and Creative Scotland. You can also find out more by visiting the Touring Exhibition Group website.

Museums and galleries map

Remember to use the interactive museums and galleries directory on our website: it’s been designed to encourage connections and collaboration between museums.

GWL Origins: Pre-Internet Community Building

This exhibition explores how Glasgow Women’s Library organised and engaged with grassroots feminist activism in an analogue world.

A rope dancer performs in a large industrial space as an audience watches from below. The space is bathed in pink and purple light.
Do you know your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses?

It might be possible for your museum or gallery to overcome any vulnerabilities by sharing knowledge and resources with other heritage or community organisations.

Are you in touch with VisitScotland and local tourism organisations?

Working with these groups can offer your museum or gallery opportunities to support responsible tourism activities. Check out our advice guide to learn more about VisitScotland and Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) in your area.

MGS funding

We welcome partnership applications for MGS funding, and would really like to see more!

Have you identified opportunities for collaboration with other museums, galleries, and organisations? If so, our grants section has guidance on how to develop and submit joint funding applications.

A group of adults engage in discussion while seated around a table. There are marker pens and large sheets of paper on the table.

Collaboration, contracts, and procurement

We’re always seeking to work with new and existing partners across a range of projects and themes.

In order to create the most mutually beneficial partnerships, all our projects are established on a foundation of flexibility and collaboration in the areas of payment schedules, timetables, working patterns, and objectives.

Although we’re not currently authorised to provide legal advice on these areas, we’re always happy to chat about them, suggest resources, and recommend relevant contacts. Please get in touch if you have any queries.

Find out more

Collaborative approaches are key to all aspects of the strategy for Scotland’s museums and galleries. Achieving the strategy’s collaboration aims can have a positive impact on your progress towards the place, skills & confidence, and financial resilience priority areas, too.

Our next update will focus on the education priority area of the national strategy. If you have any resources, case studies, or questions relating to the collaboration or education priority areas, please get in touch.

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