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Consultancy Brief – Great Inventions: A Strategy To Increase Engagement With The Liverpool City-Region’s Museum Collections

Consultancy Brief – Great Inventions: A Strategy To Increase Engagement With The Liverpool City-Region’s Museum Collections Through STEM Subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths

The museums, galleries and heritage attractions in Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens, Halton and the Wirral, as well as some of the smaller city centre venues, are filled with hidden gems and cultural treasures. Venues across the region give visitors an opportunity to learn about the more personal histories of communities and industries that have formed the region, plus the legacies of major aspects of the industrial revolution – in glass, chemicals, transport industries, medicine and engineering- and its aftermath.

With the development of the Liverpool City Region, the heritage and cultural sector is increasing its collaborative working, with the ambition to develop a strong, connected visitor offer based on this theme, which attracts more people and different people who spend longer and spend more.

The STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths – provide a ‘lens’ through which to look at the whole offer from collections, displays and interpretation to learning and public engagement. It is appropriate to the city-region to focus on this aspect of our remarkable heritage (rather than trying to look at everything) – to look backwards at the region’s scientific, medical, industrial and engineering firsts, the remarkable individuals and stories, as well as looking to the future through learning and engagement.

There is an important opportunity to demonstrate the relevance of collections and programmes to this agenda, that will hopefully, strengthen organisational resilience. There is increasing emphasis on public understanding of science, and academic institutions are under pressure to deliver public engagement with their research, particularly in relation to communication and dialogue about science, technology and engineering. There is a commitment to strengthening learning and teaching of the STEM subjects; in order to provide career options for young people, but also because they enable individuals to be active citizens in an increasingly technological society; and that STEM subjects open doors, provide options and are vital to the modern age.

The LCR arts and heritage partners want a strategy to increase engagement with the Liverpool City-region’s museum collections through the STEM agenda. The potential of their industrial heritage ranges from unforgettable visitor experiences that get close to the dramatic glass blowing in St Helens; the chemical industry in Halton; and the birthplace of railways at Rainhill; as well as looking forward to a future located in science and technology; all set in the natural environment of the Mersey Estuary. They want to draw attention to some of the remarkable individuals who had played a role in these achievements: William Lever, Port Sunlight; and William Pilkington, Pilkington Crown Glass Company, St Helens, but believe that there are many other men and women whose contribution has not yet been recognised.

This freelance project is first step that will:

  • Cast fresh eyes over our collections and sites to make an assessment of their relevance and significance in relation to STEM subjects
  • Create a picture of the achievements and stories that our collections and sites tell in relation to STEM subjects – individually and collectively

The consultant will be expected to identify and report on opportunities for:

  • Strengthening understanding of our collections;
  • Improving interpretation and display of our collections;
  • Developing a strengthened, joined up narrative, learning offer and public engagement programmes, including anniversaries, festivals and special events, that explore links between STEM, art, heritage and culture
  • Identifying funding initiatives, individually and collectively, through heritage and STEM routes
  • Developing partnerships with higher education institutions and public understanding of science/STEM agencies
  • Strengthening advocacy for the impact and significance of our offer
  • Identifying robust and appropriate evaluation approaches

As well as to work with the Steering Group and partners developing their work together in order to:

  • Strengthen the arts and heritage network, and the Cultural Conversations group as part of the Liverpool City Region.
  • Identify shared stories and themes, drawing out common threads and ideas that may become a springboard for new strands of engagement
  • Help inspire and inform discussions about the future direction and activities of the partnership
  • Identify opportunities for staff training and volunteer development to increase confidence in relation to STEM subjects
  • Identify opportunities for improving the communications, marketing and delivery of our offer in relation to new audiences

They will be required to produce:

  • A report with recommendations presented to the Steering Group
  • Briefing and facilitated discussion with Steering Group to prioritise next steps
  • Report summary that can be used for advocacy and press purposes

This contract is to start in early January 2017 at the latest and be completed by 31st March 2017. The consultant is to be contracted by the Wirral Museums Service; and will work closely with the LCR arts & heritage Steering Group

The fee for this contract will be up to £4000 + VAT total fee including all travel costs and expenses.

To apply, please send or email your CV, plus a covering letter (up to 2 pages) the names and contact details for two referees must be included. Applications must be sent to Emma Anderson, Director, The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1DB;emma.anderson@sefton.gov.uk.

Applications must be received by noon on 2nd November 2016. Late applications cannot be considered.

If you have any queries about this research brief please do not hesitate to contact Emma on 0151 934 2322; 07971 033 275