GEM Conference 2021

The Future of Museum and Heritage Learning:
Learning from the challenges and innovation of lockdown

Wednesday 8 September – Friday 10 September 2021, Online

We’re delighted to launch the booking system for GEM Conference 2021 and can’t wait to welcome you to participate from 8 – 10 September.

Book now

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has encouraged the sector to pivot and provide increased learning opportunities by delivering programmes and resources like socially distanced learning opportunities, webinars and videos, digital resources and more… The work of museum and heritage education professionals to respond and reimagine cultural engagement during a pandemic inspires and informs the future as we navigate the learning landscape.

GEM Conference 2021 will explore the future of museum and heritage learning focusing on future developments and areas of focus for example digital innovation, sustainable development, social justice, anti-racism, accessibility, and representation. Ultimately, Conference 2021 will be an opportunity for GEM Members, both individual and organisational, to connect and learn together again.

What to Expect: Conference Highlights


Ticket prices 

  • Individual / Freelance / Institutional Members: £50 per person
  • GEM Supporters / Non-Members: £65
  • Students / Unwaged: £30
  • Institutional Members (all staff): £175 total

Tickets are for the entire conference, no day tickets available.

Bursary tickets

At GEM we feel it is important to recognise that not everyone has equal access to careers and professional development opportunities in the museums and heritage sector. We’re also aware that for many in the sector, 2020 and 2021 have brought new challenges, financial difficulties, and in some cases redundancy.

GEM would like to offer 20 bursary places for Conference 2021. We’d invite people who meet any of the following criteria, and would otherwise be unable to afford the cost of attending Conference, to apply for one of these limited spaces.

  • Early career professionals
  • Freelancers
  • Those who identify as belonging to Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities.
  • Those who have experienced barriers to developing a career in museum education due to disability, LGBTQI+ identity, socio-economic background, caring responsibilities, or racial discrimination.

If you don’t meet any of this criteria but would still struggle to attend GEM Conference without a bursary place, please do apply anyway.

Please contact with 200 words max explaining why a bursary place would benefit you.



In 2019 we worked with the Disability Collaborative Network for Museums CIC (DCN) to ensure we ran an accessible event in respect to physical, sensory and cognitive access. GEM would like to ensure that despite being predominantly online our conference continues to be as accessible as possible. We will shortly be publishing more information about conference accessibility, but if you need any additional support or information in advance of booking your conference ticket please don’t hesitate to get in touch with


Conference Programme

GEM Conference 2021 will take place predominantly online, using a digital platform. All delegates will receive the Conference Programme and email instructions for accessing the online conference sessions closer to the event.

Wednesday 8th September (10.00 – 16.00)

  • Keynote speaker presentation
  • GEM Members presentations and panel discussions
  • Practical workshops 
  • Creative showcase
  • Social hangouts/ breakout sessions

Thursday 9th September (10.00 – 13.00)

  • Keynote speaker: We’re delighted that Professor Charlotte Williams OBE, will be talking about her role, in leading a new working group to advise on and improve the teaching of themes relating to Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities and experiences across all parts of the school curriculum in Wales. Alongside her academic career here and in Australia, Professor Williams is known for her groundbreaking text A Tolerant Nation? Exploring Ethnic Diversity in Wales and her award-winning memoir of growing up mixed-race in Wales Sugar and Slate, which won Wales Book of the Year 2003. More keynote speakers will be announced as the conference programme is confirmed.
  • GEM Members presentations and panel discussions
  • Practical workshops
  • Creative showcase
  • GEM AGM: Please join us for our annual GEM AGM, and help GEM update its Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association.

GEM regional area in-person meetups

On Thursday afternoon we will offer FREE, bookable regional area meetups and workshops for those interested in and able to travel meet colleagues in person who have purchased Conference tickets. These will be hosted by our wonderful GEM regional area reps at museums and heritage sites. We are currently exploring the option to open these up to non-Conference attendees for a small cost. More details to follow.

Friday 10th (10.00 – 13.00)

  • Keynote speaker presentation
  • Practical workshops and panel discussions

Conference materials available online

We will be making all the keynote, GEM member and workshop presentation recordings available after the conference for you to access in your own time.

Join GEM