Latest Posts

My time at SJAM

7 May 2015

Hannah May 2015 for blogFor the last few weeks I have been on placement with the Social Justice Alliance of Museums (SJAM), as part of my Museum and Heritage Studies MA from Liverpool Hope University. I choose to do my placement with SJAM, as I was interested in learning more about social justice and to see how different museums have addressed the issue.

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Free online course: Behind the scenes of the 21st Century Museum

24 March 2015

How can we understand museums today? How are they made and who makes the decisions about what to put in them and whose stories they tell? Who are the museums for?

Museum of Liverpool (c) Ben Kirkpatrickfor web

Part of the highly successful FutureLearn portfolio of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course), SJAM Founder members the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester and National Museums Liverpool are offering a free online course looking at the role museums play in the 21st century. The course will explore how museums engage with audiences, how we respond emotionally to museum objects and spaces, and how museums can play a role in the pursuit of social justice, human rights and health and well being.

Designed and created by leading academic researchers and museum professionals, the course is suitable for anyone with an interest in museums, or as a taster for thos interested in finding out more about  studying Museum Studies.

The course lasts six week, with approximately two hours of study time per week. There are no entry requirements.

To register for the free course go to:

Trust in the Museum – take part in this new piece of research

24 March 2015

If you have 10 minutes,  why not consider taking part in an interesting piece of research on staff values and community engagement?

This research is being conducted by Victoria Hollows, PhD candidate at the University of Leicester on Trust in the Museum – aligning the organisation’s values internally and externally.

The purpose of this survey is two-fold: to identify how staff in organisations actively thinking about community engagement hold a range of values and whether this varies across the organisation; and to seek possible connections with how trust is perceived.

You are invited to participate because you are member of the SJAM network and anyone working for a museum organisation can take part. Ideally you could circulate it across their whole organisation for a really full picture.

The research is in compliance with the research ethics guidelines of the University of Leicester

Completing the survey should take no more than 10 minutes.

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Historian Phillip Seitz talks about History and Reconstruction

23 January 2015

History and Reconstruction Web

Difficult history is a continuing challenge for museums and other historical organizations. A new project is now testing how such material affects people, and what measures are needed to support them as they learn.

Pew’s Center for Arts and Heritage has funded a project matching academic historians in the field of African American history with Reconstruction, Inc. a grass-roots organization of black ex-offenders, for the purposes of personal transformation and empowerment. Historians have talked to them about (for instance) the early laws of Virginia, and how the colony worked to separate whites and Africans from each other and to enforce evolving regulations controlling black behavior. In this case, the purpose was to look at the origins of state control of racial issues and of structural racism. We had three other sessions as well. Read more…

#Museums respond to Ferguson – Things must change.

15 January 2015

uncataloged museum

In December 2014, a group of museum bloggers in the States called for museums to address contemporary issues in the light of events in Ferguson and New York. The aim is to encourage a movement towards greater cultural and racial understanding and  better communication which needs to be supported by the culture and education sector. Museums are central to culture and education, so what should the museum’s role be in addressing difficult contemporary issues?

In these blogs and through a joint Twitter event following #museumsrespondtoferguson, many museums joined the debate, shared ideas and resources. In order to keep the pace with 21st century issues, museums  as education providers must join such debates if they want to have an impact and change lives.

More information at:


SJAM featured on The Incluseum

19 November 2014

SJAM was recently interviewed by The Incluseum for their 100th blog post. The Incluseum is a project based in Seattle, Washington seeking to encourage social inclusion in museums. Their website features a series of resources and regular blog posts that address museums and social inclusion. You can read the full piece here.



What does social justice mean to you? by David Fleming

26 August 2014

Photo Ken Walker Courtesy of April Ashley A few weeks ago I gave a lecture in Seattle, USA entitled Museums and Social Justice, which I subsequently wrote up for Museum, the Journal of the American Alliance of Museums. While I was preparing that paper I realised that the term “social justice” has vastly different meanings around the world. It may refer to education, housing, income, welfare, gender issues, health, human rights – pretty much anything where inequality or discrimination is an issue. Read more…

SJAM launched at Museums Association conference

22 November 2013

Social Justice Alliance for Museums logoThis week lots of National Museums Liverpool staff have been busy at the UK Museums Association’s annual conference, held this year in Liverpool. We are told this was the biggest ever MA conference (and it’s been around for more then 100 years!) and possibly the best, with lots of topical sessions. Read more…