Part 2: Dialogues

The second part of the process was to share the moments found in Part 1 with staff. They listened to each moment on their own terms, made links between them and everyday working-life at the museum, and then drew out the future directions for the museum’s relationship with Bradford. We did this in six small group discussions and a final large workshop.

At the beginning of the small workshops, we asked people to write down a newspaper headline they’d like to read in a year’s time. This revealed the quite different hopes that staff have for the museum. To end each workshop, we asked staff to suggest words that sum up the ethos they would like to see shape their work with Bradford. This showed enormous commonalities in terms of a desire to work collaboratively and in an open way.

The two exercises taken together revealed that the different paradigms or worldviews we had tried to probe through the working models were very much in operation. These discussions generated a series of responses from staff, presented here as edited quotes. In the final half of the sessions, we looked for possible links between the moments and the different roles staff play at the museum.

Through the small group discussions, it became clearer and clearer that the big story of the National Science and Media Museum’s relationship to Bradford is one of difficult-to-reconcile pulls. In preparation for the large final workshop, we sought to draw out and articulate these different pulls as tensions and then play through two different strategies for approaching the tensions, Alignments as Strengths and Tensions as Strengths.