Make a statement. Be creative. Be curious. Blur the lines. Start a conversation. Play and make magic.

Hello, how are you doing at the moment? We’re hosting the next #EdSkillsShare. Want to know a bit more about us? In a nutshell, learning is truly at the heart of Leeds Museums and Galleries. Across nine very different museums and galleries, we have 1.3 million objects and artworks. We use them to inspire and engage people with stories and enable them to build their own interpretations and experiences of their heritage through our collections.

How do we do this? We believe in being:

Curious and experimental

We provide high quality, authentic learning experiences, where people can feel confident to try something new, or feel stretched, in a safe space. Practically, this means only using accessioned museum objects in our work, unless there is a valid learning or archaeological point behind using a replica. We don’t have a handling collection. All 1.3 million objects can be handled given the right risk assessment of people, place and object.

Creative and purposeful

We develop programmes in collaboration with audiences. We work on co-creation and co-curation principles, and are now aiming to work more through an Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) model. This means we are working through mutual beneficial, kind, local and very human ways. Working together cross departmentally as a service, across the city with other art and cultural organisations and with communities resulted in the Leeds Curriculum on

Accessible and welcoming

We provide tailored services and support for people with specific and complex needs and their carers. We are known for our inclusive practice and research in the field of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The Careers for All programme supports and develops meaningful work experience opportunities with young people with additional needs, helping them grow in confidence and skills for life. We also run Arts Awards, sensory and relaxed events and are working on making our spaces more welcoming by doing things like Makaton training all staff.

Enjoyable and sociable

We provide social and fun experiences where people can engage in debate and find their own meaning within the collections. We work with social care settings to provide safe spaces for accompanied family visits, young volunteers as co-curators through @presparty, home educators, and provide spaces and structures for peer led older people’s groups. These aren’t necessarily about the fine art details of a ceramic artwork, but they are about talking, laughing, and feeling welcomed.

Robust and meaningful

We are actively reflective on our creative processes and value differences in practice. We led long term research into areas of our practice. Recently, we have been working on research with SEND settings, initial teacher training, and children who are looked after and their carers. Some of the above can be quite hard to evaluate. We’re working on that at the moment!

Listeners and leaders

We aim to be innovative and collaborative, by working with audiences, engaging all our colleagues across Leeds Museums and Galleries in co-producing learning and public engagement programmes, and being part of the wider fabric of our city. We do a lot of digital learning, through (a national teaching resource website that we manage) and practical workshops, like a coding partnership with Libraries and making digital protest banners.


We are pretty big, In fact, we are the largest local authority museums service in England. We seem to have a big Learning team, but it’s really a Learning and Access Officer per site (and some on individual programmes), supported by some awesome casual Learning Facilitators and fabulous collections, front of house and commercial colleagues. Like most services, we engage with under-fives and their carers in families and through settings, primary and secondary schools, teachers and trainee teachers, further and higher education, family groups, young people, communities, adults and other cultural professionals.

What will we be talking about? You can ask us anything, and we will try to answer, or signpost you to someone who can answer better. But here are some starters for ten:

  • How do you put learning at the heart of your organisation? How can you work in a cross disciplinary manner, across departments and the learning love?
  • How do you not have a handling collection? How did that start? How do you make that work?
  • How can you engage meaningfully with secondary schools? Does it all have to be outreach? How do you make placements work?
  • How can you do simple, meaningful digital engagement at the moment, and in better times?

Looking forward to saying hi and chatting! @LeedsMuseums @mylearning_org