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

Bookings  for Conference 2021 are due to open on Thursday 24th June.

The GEM annual conference is the landmark CPD event of the year for heritage learning in the UK. Through a combination of inspiring keynotes and practical sessions, GEM conference provides delegates with new ideas, original solutions and strengthened networks. We build a participatory space, by GEM Members, for GEM Members, uncovering new pathways and shining a spotlight on best practice and cutting-edge developments. GEM conference is a great opportunity to connect with the fantastic heritage learning community, sharing our challenges and celebrating our innovations. 

This year we are facing the significant challenge of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and adapting conference to ensure it is safe, accessible and compliant with UK restrictions. The conference will primarily take place online this year, with some optional in-person elements taking place in regions / nations around the UK.

We are always proud of the uniquely friendly, supportive and positive environment of GEM conference and are determined for that to continue in this online format. Throughout the three days we’ll be providing opportunities to share stories, network with sector colleagues, and reconnect with the philosophy of what we do. All of this will be underpinned by practical takeaways and support for individuals and organisations seeking to move forwards in a new world.


The Future of Museum and Heritage Learning
Learning from the challenges and innovations of lockdown

The Future of Museum and Heritage Learning will explore how learning and participation has had to adapt throughout prolonged closures during 2020 and 2021 and seeks to highlight how the sector can come back stronger by learning from our experiences. 

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.

The conference will reflect on the challenges faced by learning teams and the sector more broadly and share the innovative approaches GEM Members have taken to overcome them. Sessions will explore how museums and heritage sites have adapted their learning and engagement with the public since Spring 2020 and empower learning professionals to navigate a new digital, ‘post-COVID’ world. Ultimately, Conference 2021 will be an opportunity for GEM Members, both individual and organisational, to connect and learn together again.

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.

Taking part in The Future of Museum and Heritage Learning will be invaluable to anyone working in museums, heritage and cultural learning in organisations of any size. Please join us as we look forward to what comes next, connecting and learning together to spark inspiration and build a stronger heritage learning sector.

Call for Papers

We are pleased to launch our call for papers, inviting you to contribute a workshop or GEM Member Presentation (case studies) based on our Conference 2021 theme.

For more information about the sessions and how to apply please click here.

Submit your workshop application here: 

Submit your GEM Member Presentation / Case Study here:

Deadline for submitting your Conference workshop / presentation is Monday 21st June 2021. Please contact with any questions about conference sessions.

See GEM Conference 2019 here.

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