Staff wrote a newspaper headline that they would like to read in a years’ time. The headlines revealed a wide range of different priorities from seeking national status to desiring local recognition, from centring the museum collections to prioritising community needs or democratic involvement, from working towards large audience numbers to hoping for audiences that are representative of Bradford. The diversity of headlines served to reinforce the significance of the variety of ambitions and intentions of museum staff and set the scene for the rest of the workshop discussions.

We asked every member of staff to contribute a headline, imagining what they’d like to read about the museum if they picked up a newspaper in a year’s time. This was partly an ice breaker and designed to be part of the introductions, but it also opened up where the different priorities lay.

The headlines showed how ideas of the local and the national are active in quite different ways in the imagination of the museum. There were headlines that desired national status and those that wanted local recognition. Some headlines were driven by the museum’s collections and themes, while others were motivated by community needs or democratic involvement. There were headlines that valued large audiences and ones which desired audiences that were representative of Bradford.

Cutting across the headline were also quite different was of conceptualising the museum and people in Bradford, reflecting elements of the working models developed with the Staff Action Research Group. In some headlines people in Bradford are positioned as having needs the museum could address (e.g. via a food bank or by volunteering). In another it was hoped people in Bradford might take over the governance of the museum. Some headlines centred the museum, while another deliberately decentred the museum and focused only on Bradford.

Headlines written by staff. Image credit: Bradford’s National Museum

The headlines exercise served to reinforce the significance of the variety of missions and intentions of the National Science and Media Museum and created a useful touchpoint for the rest of the workshop discussions and the final large workshop where strategies for dealing with the tensions were explored.

Below are the headlines workshop participants wrote, clustered to indicate the different emphases that emerged.

Local needs, local recognition, local governance

  • Bradford Science Festival Success for Local Communities
  • New Volunteer Scheme Gives Back to the Community
  • The Museum Launches Series of Open Days Across Bradford
  • Pop-Up Museum Brings History to Bradford
  • Bradford Stories on Bradford Screens
  • NSMM brings Bradford Together Again
  • Museum Opens Community Café or Runs a Food Bank
  • Local Museum Voted Warmest Welcome in COVID Awards
  • Museum Asks its Audience what it Actually Wants
  • Bradford’s Media Museum Becomes the First National Museum to Pass into Community Ownership after Successful Campaign for Greater Accountability of Major UK Cultural Institutions

Headlines written by staff. Image credit: Bradford’s National Museum

Local and Regional Strategy – post coronavirus

  • Bradford Shortlisted as Best City to Live in the UK
  • NSMM to Contribute Toward a Successful Bid to City of Culture 2025
  • NSMM Helps Lead a Cultural and Economic Rejuvenation in Bradford
  • NSMM is Open and Leads the Region’s Cultural Recovery
  • Museum Educates on Pandemic
  • The Museum Open as Usual

Digital Innovation

  • NSMM Wins Website Accessibility Award
  • Local Museum Sets Out Exciting Digital Road Map
  • NSMM Pioneers Digital Delivery and Engagement
  • NSMM Brings its Collections to You, Inspiring Programme Online and Offline

Headlines written by staff. Image credit: Bradford’s National Museum

Large audiences, representative audiences

  • Attendance Figures at the Museum Breaks New Records
  • National Museum Voted Local Favourite Amid Sell-out Exhibition
  • Museum in Bradford Becomes the First National Museum Whose Profile Represents its Local Communities

National Recognition

  • NSMM a National Treasure… Recognized with National Award

Headlines written by staff. Image credit: Bradford’s National Museum

NSMM Collections and Themes

  • NSMM Launches Incredible STEM Inspired Early Years Programme

NSMM as a place to work

  • Bradford Museum Wins Inclusive Employer Award