Laura Crossley is our featured spotlight speaker for this week. She will be running a workshop about supporting staff wellbeing and resilience on day one of the conference. She is a freelance museums consultant from Norfolk – learn more about her here and do find her at GEM Conference 2019!

What are you most looking forward to at GEM Conference 2019?
“I’m really excited by this year’s conference programme. It’s going to be hard to choose which sessions to attend! It’s great to see a focus on developing lasting partnerships with communities. Partnership working can be hugely rewarding and beneficial but it’s so important we build and develop partnerships in an ethical, sensitive and strategic way. This will be my first GEM conference and I’m looking forward to meeting lots of brilliant people who work in education roles across the sector. I always enjoy the informal chats that happen at conferences over coffee and lunch. As someone with a keen interest in programming in museums, I’m also looking forward to experiencing the murder mystery trail at Torquay Museum.”

What is your favourite museum, gallery, or heritage site and why?
“Tough question! We’re so lucky to have so many incredible museums across the world; that’s one of the reasons I love working in this sector. As a Mancunian with a huge interest in political history, I am a big fan of the People’s History Museum. I love that the museum isn’t just about the past, but is also about inspiring people today to get involved and be active in fighting for ideas like equality and social justice. It serves as a great reminder to us all that we can’t take these ideas for granted and have to keep fighting for them. I also love the National Football Museum for its fun, friendly atmosphere, great stories, and fascinating collections – everything a football fan such as myself could want! As a committed dog enthusiast, I love Pickles, the dog who discovered the stolen Jules Rimet Trophy, and it’s such a treat to see the medals he was awarded for his efforts. If I’m permitted to have a third choice (I’m probably being greedy now…), I’d also like to say the East End Women’s Museum; it’s been inspirational to see the museum develop from scratch and I love the Museum’s commitment to promoting representation and celebrating the diverse women who lived and worked in the East End.”

What is your best heritage education top tip?
“I think it’s really important to rigorously evaluate education programmes in order to get robust qualitative and quantitative data that demonstrates the impacts programmes are having on participants (e.g. raised attainment, increased confidence). As well as meaning I can make improvements to programmes where necessary, I also use the data to advocate to teachers, group leaders, funders, and other stakeholders, which can raise the profile of programmes, bring in funding, and increase numbers of participants.”

Where can people find you at GEM Conference 2019?
“I’ll be running a workshop about supporting staff wellbeing and resilience on Day One of the conference. I’ll be at the conference for the full three days and am looking forward to meeting people and having lots of great conversations.”

Book now for GEM Conference 2019