outline of the programme

VENUES & Timing

MRL has a number of regular venues, however we also vary the Programme each year and select host locations from amongst the MRL cohort or alumni organisations. In 2015 - 2016 we visited Coventry Transport Museum (Network Mapping), Bletchley Park (Enterprise Safari - how to develop a site) and the British Museum (Ethics and Governance).  In 2016 we were at the Jewish Museum in London (Ethics & Purpose) and MOSI, Manchester (Networks)  We're also returning to Bletchley Park in 2017.  Some venues for workshops in the 2017-2018 Programme will be selected from the new cohort's organisations, however the topic covered will remain the same.

All of the workshops run on a Friday between 9.30 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. (with the exception of the 2 residential retreats).

If you are participating in MRL 2017 – 2018 (or any future programmes) please remember that we expect attendance at all workshops – this is a condition of your acceptance on the Programme.  Exceptional circumstances may of course arise and you should discuss these with your MRL Mentor if you are accepted onto the Programme.  If you already know about a clash then tell us in your application. We're flexible and there are ways to catchup via material posted on the MRL shared server, in discussion with your Mentor and through your year's cohort.

Previous MRL cohorts also meet regularly at informal networking events at venues they arrange.


MRL is under continuous review by the Faculty. Whilst the dates for the Programme are fixed, we will be introducing new speakers for the 2017-2018 MRL year. For example, we are fortunate that one of the current cohort (2016-2017), Debbie Kermode now runs Midlands Arts Centre at Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham, a long established venue with deep roots in the diverse communities in Birmingham.  We are now planning a workshop at mac for the Winter of 2017 (see below) to look at social enterprises in the City across  a range of cultural and commercial areas.  We are currently in discussion with a number of exciting and inspiring speakers.


Reviews from participants on the 2016-2017 programme may be found here

MAY 10, 11, 12

Workshop 1 - Residential - Centre for Management Creativity, High Trenhouse, Malham, North Yorkshire

  • The art and science of leadership - a 360° examination of leadership with exercises and masterclasses taught by the Directors Nick Winterbotham and Stephen Feber, BCLM CEO Andrew Lovett, Dawn Yates-Obe and Arnie Skelton
  • Self reliance for you and your organisation
  • Your MRL year
  • Mentoring, coaching and MRL evaluation
  • Your Overseas Study Visit

12 Noon Wednesday May 10 to 3 p.m. Friday May 12


Workshop 2 - Enterprise in Action - Black Country Living Museum, Hobbs and Sons Fish and Chip Shop and Loaf, social enterprise, Stirchley, West Midlands

  • Hands on sessions - making fish and chips and making bread + the financial realities of these businesses in the not for profit sector
  • Know the numbers, see the patterns - running a museum as a surplus generating social enterprise - the view from Andrew Lovett, BCLM CEO and Mark Reeves manager for food and drink operations at the museum

There is significant emphasis on enterprise in the cultural sector - but how do you go about making genuine surpluses on trading and events? This workshop is designed to provide answers.

9.30 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.


Workshop 3 - Leadership, networks and developing a museum site - Manchester Museum of Science and Industry

  • With Sally McDonald, director of MOSI

Sally will be offering insights into her leadership journey, the development of the museum and the urban developments around the site which include residential, commercial and cultural.  How to map networks, develop a cultural organisation and develop connection.

9.30 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.

July, AUGUST, September

Overseas Study Visits 

  • Museums and cultural organisations - worldwide
  • Financial, structural and cultural resilience journeys


Workshop 4 - OSV Pecha Kucha presentations -Think Tank, Millennium Point, Birmingham

  • Resilience lessons from other countries + UK site development case study
  • Leadership challenge exercises based around the changing cultural landscape in Birmingham and the position of Birmingham Museums Trust in this changing environment

9.30 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.


Workshop 5 - Governance, Boards, Purpose - London

  • The Board, Chairman and the CEO - case studies of the good, the bad and the ugly
  • With Michael Day former Chief Executive of Historic Royal Palaces and international museum consultant Elaine Heumann Gurian
  • How the social and civic purpose of the museum is defined, shaped and led

9.30 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.


Workshop 6 - Social Entrepreneurship – Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham

How should museums and galleries broaden their reach and work with partner organisations? A day with leaders and social entrepreneurs from the cultural and social enterprise sector in the West Midlands, including:

9.30 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.


Workshop 7 - The social purpose of museums - National Holocaust Centre, Laxton and The  National Civil War Centre, Newark 

  • The social, cultural, political dimensions of the museum and cultural centre 

9.30 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.

See Stephen Feber's reflections on museum purpose here The Zeitgeist and the Museum



Workshop 8 - Leadership in Politics and Culture

  • Tristram Hunt, Director, Victoria & Albert museum - Reflections on leadership in culture and politics
  • Matt Hancock, DCMS Minister of State for Digital, responsible for broadband, broadcasting, creative industries, cyber and the tech industry - Culture and the digital future
  • Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum - Crossing continents - leading large organisations (TBC)

9.30 a.m. - 5.30 p.m.


Workshop 9 - Site Development Safari - Bletchley Park, with Sir John Scarlett

  • Putting the resilience lessons into practice - development masterclass for a museum site
  • How to make money running a cultural business

This is a whole day, in depth examination of a significant site on the outskirts of London.  Q&A with Iain Standen Director  of the Trust and Chairman of the Board Sir John Scarlett. Sir John is a retired British senior intelligence officer. He was Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service from 2004 to 2009. Prior to this appointment, he had chaired the Cabinet Office Joint Intelligence Committee.

9.30 a.m. - 5.00  p.m.

MARCH 14, 15, 16

Workshop 10 - Conclusion - Final residential - Centre for Management Creativity, Malham, North Yorkshire

12 Noon Wednesday March 14 to 3 p.m. Friday March 16