All our Stories support

Lead Research Organisation: Science Museum Group
Department Name: Science Museum Research

Abstract

The Science Museum Group (the Science Museum, London; The National Railway Museum, York; The National Media Museum, Bradford and Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester) has a strong commitment to working with community groups, opening-up its remarkable collections and research to individuals and groups that wish to explore them. The constituent museums work with groups so as to maximise the pleasure and learning that the groups acquire from the collections, displays and research. But the museums are also eager, under its public history programme, to learn from lay people with existing knowledge in, and enthusiasm for, the museums' collections and subject areas. This is in part to gain insights into the ways in which visitors understand the past of science and technology so that we can produce more effective displays for future visitors.

The current project, enabled by the HLF's 'All our Stories' initiative, enables the Science Museum and the National Railway Museum to work with and support ten identified community groups - and probably many more funded under the scheme who have not already contacted us. This mutually beneficial project will give the community groups access to professional skills and collections, and provide the Museums' staff programming and insights. The ten named community groups are: British Wireless for the Blind, Brunel Museum, Clapham Film Unit, CoolTan Arts, Dagenham Bangladeshi Women & Children's Association, Gendered intelligence, Grove Part Community, Life Wisdoms, Maximal Learning, and Sound Architect. Outputs vary from group to group, but include: displays, events, films, oral history archives and trails.

Planned Impact

Beneficiaries of this project can be thought of as occupying several concentric circles around the core All our Stories projects:

A. The ten active participant groups in our partner projects will gain research skills and insights into the Science Museum and the National Railway Museum. This can be expected to enhance their confidence levels; capacity to help others in research, and to make the participants more engaged and critical museum visitors.

B. The Museum staff who come into contact with the lay researchers in the All our Stories groups can be expected to gain insights into lay understanding of their subject areas and direct feedback about how visitors consume museum products, including displays. This will assist them in making more effective displays in the future.

C. The Museums themselves may well be enabled to collect new items for their collections by virtue of the specific knowledge and contacts of the All our Stories groups, enabling more effective displays and research in the future.

D. Visitors to the Museums will be able in the shorter term to enjoy displays and events produced with the input of the All our Stories groups. In the longer term, visitors will be able to have access to more effective kinds of displays influenced by the insights gained in research of this kind conducted with client groups.

E. The Heritage Lottery Fund will be assured of a successful outcome for their All Our Stories programme as represented in the Science Museum Group collaborations.

F. All such impacts together enhance the effectiveness of the Museum, indirectly rendering it more effective commercially as visitors spend more in cafes, bookshop, etc, and attracting more investment from commercial organisations.

G. Success in these kinds of impacts is likely to influence the museological community more generally.

Publications

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Description Connected Communities: All Our Stories at the Science Museum
Kayte McSweeney
Grant Reference: AH/K007793/1
Executive Summary
The All our Stories project enabled the Science Museum Group to gain insights into the needs of community heritage groups and to develop services to assist them in their research. Investigating our collections through the different lens they provide illuminated new perspectives on our practices of collecting, classification and study. The results include not just the particular public outputs of the core heritage groups, but also tools for working with others. The projects also showed the potential to generate understanding and the production of new and alternative knowledge which can help us with creating more inclusive and representative future exhibitions, displays and interpretation.

We learned that providing access to our collections is not straightforward; the best outcomes need the right support, audience and direction. We found that our medical and psychology collections touched our partners deeply, and this evidence will have a lasting legacy on our practice. Above all the research highlighted a desire from the public to be involved in the re-making of history, and to have authority over how the past (especially a past they feel connected to) is collected, presented and communicated.

Researchers and Project Partners
Researchers
Kayte McSweeney, Science Museum, Research Coordinator
Dr Sarah Chaney, University College London, Early Career Researcher
Dr Serena Iervolino, Universities of Warwick and Leicester, Early Career Researcher
Project Initiators
Annika Joy, Science Museum, Principal Investigator
Dr Tim Boon, Science Museum, Co-Investigator
Ed Bartholomew, National Railway Museum, Co-Investigator
Community Group Partners
Gendered Intelligence - a community interest company that looks to engage people in debates about gender that places young trans people at the heart of our organization.
Engagement: co-production project partner and co-research, project facilitation and hosting, in-depth advice and training,
CoolTan Arts - service user led charity aiming to promote positive mental well being.
Engagement: co-production project partner and co-research, project hosting, in-depth advice and training,
Clapham Film Unit and the Friends of the Herne Hill Velodrome - a group looking at how much cycling means to people now and in the past.
Engagement: advice, research facilitation, research skills training, event host
British Wireless for the Blind Fund - collating the history, heritage and technology related to specially adapted radio and audio sets that have been issued to visually impaired people over the last 85 years
Engagement: advice, research facilitation, research and conservation skills training,
Muslim Women's Welfare Association - focusing on the influence of South Asian born migrants and British born Asians on British medicine between 1960-2000
Engagement: advice, museum tours, research skills training
Grove Park Heritage- a local heritage group looking at the impact of the railway on the history of Grove Park, London.
Engagement: advice, research skills training
All our Stories Grantees who attended research and training seminars:
Sydenham Community Library, Toft Historical Society, Stories of Becontree project, Hampstead Garden Suburb, Diseworth Parish Church. A Thousand Years of History', Great and Gruesome Gosport, Sturmer Local History Group, Milford Community Organisation', The History of Lower Bevendean Farm, Muslim Women's Welfare Association, Metro-land: the birth of Amersham, Derwent Valley Mills, Grove Park Heritage and literary trail, Brixton Windmill, Scarabeus, Talking Trees Ltd, Wolverhampton Civic and Historical Society , Outside Centre, Wolverhampton, Thorner Historical Society, Speaking Out CIC, Caistories, Lawnswood's Great War Stories, Whitby - Then & Now, Pocklington Stories project, York Archaeological Trust, Lawnmowers Theatre, Art in the Park, Friends of St. Oswald's Church, Queen Mary's School, Ouseburn Trust,

Key Words
Co-production, Research, Public History of Science, Public Understanding of STEM, Community Engagement


Summary Report
Background
The Science Museum Group (SMG) has a strong commitment to working with community groups, increasing access to its unique collections and research and creating mutually beneficial partnerships with groups who want to explore them. SMG is also keen (through its audience engagement activities and under its public history programme) to learn from and gain greater insight into a non-expert understanding of the past of science and technology so we can produce more engaging and effective exhibitions and cultural offers in the future. By investigating our collections through a different lens we also hope to gain new perspectives on our practices of collecting, classification, study and interpretation.

With this in mind the Connected Communities All Our Stories initiative enabled the Science Museum to work with, support and co-research with a number of community groups or communities of interest as we called them. We worked intensely with two specific partners CoolTan Arts and Gendered Intelligence. These groups were offered bespoke support with their activities, including space and facilities for developing their events, access to collections, staff and information and project guidance and advice. We also worked closely with 4 other groups (Clapham Film Unit, Grove Park Heritage Group, Muslim Women's Federation and the British Wireless for the Blind Fund) providing them with guidance, access to our collections and skills training. The team also provided research based training opportunities for members of many other grantees.

The project was delivered, researched and documented by Kayte McSweeney as the Coordinating Researcher (Science Museum) and two early Career Researchers; Dr Sarah Chaney (University College London) and Dr Serena Iervolino (Universities of Warwick and Leicester).

In addition, for those who wanted it the Museum provided a platform and developmental support to showcase their projects for example, CoolTan Arts delivered six guided tours at the Science Museums LATES events and Gendered Intelligence co-created a temporary display in the Museums Who Am I? gallery. In the context of the All Our Stories project these outputs were considered a 'means to an end' for the Museum but crucial for the groups and often a major benefit of the collaboration. That is not to say the Museum did not treat these 'outputs' seriously or support them appropriately. The intention is to stress that, from the Museum's point of view, the research component of the project was deemed fundamental.
For the museum, being involved allowed for a deep analysis and exploration into this type of public engagement. To maximise our learning we set ourselves a series of research questions;
1) What is the value of this kind of public engagement for SMG?
2) To what extent do collaborations with All Our Stories groups give SMG a greater insight into non-specialist understanding of our collections and the History of Science?
3) Can collaboration with All Our Stories groups enable the Museum to challenge patriarchal, heteronormative, racist assumptions often engrained in 'Western' scientific collections?
4) How can working with community groups give rise to new questions about collections and interpretation opening up new avenues for research and research methods?
5) How can an understanding of historical research and research methods empower community groups in other areas?

While not a requirement of the grant the project also produced a number of physical outputs and engagement events. These included:
• 5 Research Seminars for All our Stories grantees in London and York. These research training and skill-sharing sessions were delivered to approximately 40 people from across the UK
• Joint Public History of Science Technology Engineering and Medicine (PHoSTEM) and All Our Stories projects research event titled "What is the past?" attended by 30 people in September 2013
• One day Bicycle themed event at the Science Museum in September 2013 including screenings of 'Life of the Bicycle' film for approximately 100 members the public and curatorial talks.
• 6 CoolTan Arts directed guided walks at Science Museum LATES events (monthly adult only evenings) over a one year period. Each LATE event was attended by about 50-60 people
• One Day cross disciplinary Workshop called "Whose Medical History is it anyway?" attended by 40 people in January 2014. Attendees included All Our Stories grantees, museum professionals, SMG staff, academics and other community groups.
• Who Am I? update case - 5 month display called 'What makes your gender?' co-created by contemporary science team and Gendered Intelligence exploring Trans heritage and identity in relation to history of medicine. Launched in Feb 2014, the group also created a series of activities in the Who Am I? gallery.
http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/Plan_your_visit/exhibitions/who_am_i/gender_display.aspx


Figure 1: Gendered Intelligence Display Case Figure 2: Research Training Day, London
Achievements:
The Grant with the research and new knowledge it enabled have led to the following achievements:
• Through the curators and staff involved in the project there is now more buy-in and support for new ways of exploring, researching and interpreting the museums collection by working with the public and communities of interest. The intention is to turn these new supporters into advocates for this approach.
• Through working closely with traditionally hard to engage audiences (e.g. Volunteers from CoolTan Arts and young people from Gendered Intelligence) to run events and create displays we attracted new visitors to the museum who, without this project, might not have felt welcome or that the museum was a place for them.
• Through collaboration with Gendered Intelligence the Museum was able to produce an evocative and insightful new display about gender in its Who Am I? gallery
• Investigations with All our Stories partners has created new and enhanced our existing collections knowledge which will be utilised in future projects.
• Both the CoolTan Arts tours at the LATES events and the 'What makes your gender?' display case have brought new voices and new perspectives into the museum that didn't exist before. Both have proved engaging to and welcomed by our visitors. This has also allowed the museum to critically reflect on how it delivers interpretation and how we can be more inclusive in how we include multiple voices in our narratives.
• Exploring our collection through a different lens has identified where limitations exist and has suggested ways in which shortcomings in both objects and information can be addressed. Through the collaboration with Gendered Intelligence the Museum has been able to acquire new objects which have enriched our medical collection.
• By working with communities of interest as opposed to experts for this research project we have had to think deeply about how this process works effectively. By creating a safe space for the participants we were able to facilitate a good and mutually beneficial working environment that can be repeated for future projects.

Research Findings
The 'value' of this kind of public engagement for the Science Museum Group:
The 'value' referred to here can be understood as the impact on the institution and the way in which the project initiated new ideas and different ways of thinking. Early on it became clear the partner groups fell into two categories - those who already had an interest or knowledge of our collections, e.g. British Wireless for the Blind Fund and those who we called 'communities of interest' whose subject matter was connected to the Museums core topics but who weren't overly familiar with our objects and research e.g. CoolTan Arts. The former groups are closer to our traditional research partners - the family historians, subject enthusiasts who have previously worked with the Public History and Curatorial teams. The latter are a new research audience. The type and level of support offered to these groups differed immensely and from a museum learning perspective it was these 'communities of interest' who proved most interesting to our research. They offered an opportunity to work with, what have been defined as, 'hard to engage' audiences and gain a greater insight into a non-expert/non-subject enthusiasts understanding of the History of Science and their responses to the museums current interpretation approaches.

The collaborative projects showed the potential to generate understanding and produce knowledge in new areas (e.g. mental well-being, transgender medical heritage) which would greatly influence and enrich the work the Science Museum does. Along with the production of new knowledge the project also showed that through increasing access to the collections alternative perspectives and new avenues of research can be created. This new alternative knowledge can help with creating more inclusive and representative future exhibitions, displays and interpretation. The Science Museum Group is keen to expand and enrich its collections and the co-research element of the Gendered Intelligence project, for example, offered valuable recommendations for how we could make our medical collection more representative of transgender heritage. Upon review and exploration the collection was deemed 'lacking' and working together the partnership set in motion an object acquisition drive.

For those directly staff involved in the projects they now feel more experienced, skilled and therefore more confident to be able to initiate similar endeavours in future - this is essential if the legacy of these partnerships is to reach beyond the life of the All Our Stories scheme. Value awareness was not only practical (e.g. collecting objects) or unique to the curatorial staff but enabled other staff to critically reflect on the position of the Science Museum. For example, one of the Events team was particularly thoughtful, seeing the relevance for the overall tone and impact of LATES by continued involvement with community groups: "I feel like we're a little bit arrogant in the way that we run things We do this sort of thing, and you'd like to be a part of it! If there was someone who went out to communities and saw things that were fantastic and invited them in to reach another audience that would be great. We're always on the look-out for different views - it's an untapped resource"

While the research training seminars were great at extending the reach of the All Our Stories project and supporting the wider network of grantees, the direct impact on the project research was limited. No further collaborations were formed and while the attendees valued the expertise and knowledge held in the institution they were not interested in exploring the collections or contributing to our research agenda. The more bespoke research packages built around the individual needs of the groups we worked closely with were far more beneficial to the museum and indeed to the participants who had their needs tailor met and provided for. However, in terms of promoting the Museum as a Research Institution and showing its usefulness as a potential trainer and service provider offering these introductory courses to research, museum skills and collections could be of great benefit in the future.

The extent to which collaborations with All Our Stories groups gave the Museum a greater insight into non-specialist understanding of History of Science and its collections:
The majority of the Science Museum Groups collection has been gathered and documented by experts of some kind - curators, collectors or scientists. However, most of our audiences are not experts. Through working with community groups a non-scientist/expert led interpretation of scientific knowledge can be collected and presented to audiences e.g. in the CoolTan Arts guided tours they connected the technical objects with personal stories. In certain instances, these collaborations with groups can also provide the museum with an opportunity to acquire understanding in areas in which the 'community' groups may hold more knowledge than the museum's specialist staff. This results from the detailed nature of these groups' knowledge that, in the museum sector, cannot be covered by a collection specialist.
Throughout there was a particular interest in the idea of non-experts (as many in the groups described themselves) investigating the past. They saw this as a relatively new thing that was empowering 'ordinary' people to have some kind of authority over how the past is presented or interpreted. It is no longer solely academics or scientists who do this work nor is it just about researching famous characters, illustrious battles or influential inventors. They saw this kind of research as re-making history, or as a kind of 'history from below'. They also shared their desire to not find out about the past solely from 'experts' but to hear the voices of those directly involved e.g. the patients in medical history, the workers in industrial developments

Challenging the patriarchal, heteronormative, racist assumptions often engrained in 'Western' scientific collections:
Throughout the project CoolTan Arts were keen to raise significant questions around the concept of 'normalcy' in health and medicine and its history: 'What is normal?' they asked, 'and who decides what is normal?' In European museum practice, the dominant normative perspective, incorporated into both collecting and cataloguing, tends to be white, western, male, heteronormative and middle class. This is prevalent in medical and scientific collections and especially apparent in mental health collections, where objects enter the collection primarily from institutions: either those associated with treatment (asylums, psychiatric hospitals) or research (universities, hospitals). The patient or service user does not tend to be represented either physically through objects or through the information collected about the objects we do have.

During the "Whose Medical History is it anyway?" workshop many of the participants questioned the idea of a how you interpret an (anything but) straightforward view of the history of medicine and the often narrow definition of 'medicine', many felt endorsed by the Museum. They felt this is often portrayed as something which is 'done' by doctors 'to' patients. Instead, it was felt the Museum needed to acknowledge the variety of professionals, caregivers, service-users and patients involved in 'medical' encounters. The way 'alternative' medicine or therapies are described or indeed not talked about in the Museum was also mentioned during the workshop and noted during visits to the stores at Blythe House, when the groups noticed that objects are separated into western and non-western artefacts rather than by theme

Through collaborating with Gendered Intelligence, whose 'mission' is to raise awareness around the variability of gender identities and expressions, the project grasped the opportunity to highlight the normative nature of the museum's collections, particularly in terms of the ideas of gender. Annika Joy, the All Our Stories Principal Investigator, had an interest in investigating what bringing the 'trans eye' or the 'queer eye' to the collections, the museum's displays and programmes could be. This project raised questions around the collections and drew attention to its nature. Its inherent normative nature was one reason why it was substantially left aside when the young people were producing their final display for the Who Am I? case. They felt the current collection didn't represent the stories they wanted to tell and instead they acquired objects from within their own community which could be then shown to visitors.

Opportunities for new questions about collections, interpretation and opening new avenues for research:
Not only do community collaborations bring different experiences and opinions to existing narratives, but suggests alternative questions for exploration. Some of these might not have been previously considered by museum staff or may be under researched but can suggest avenues that would be appealing or relevant to other museums' audiences. An example of this can be seen in CoolTan Arts efforts to ask 'who is the "we" in the Science Museum?'; a 'we' they said can sound exclusive. This was highlighted as something that would be investigated in future.

The idea of stories not just objects was also key to the communities of interest we worked with and perhaps a new way for the museum to contemplate and interpret its collections. The different way in which heritage professionals and community interest groups framed their objectives is an important element to consider in future. Both groups start with a clear set of values which initially seem similar. However for museum people, the collections and displays are very often most important, and the stories and voices form a secondary level of interpretation. For the community interest groups the stories and voices came first; collections and display are a means of illustrating, emphasising and exploring these voices. It is important to acknowledge these differing perspectives, ensuring that discussions can offer opportunities to explore issues from both sides.

Involving and valuing 'experts by experience' is something that Science Museum staff have said they are going to both investigate further and advocate for the inclusion of in future developments. Many of the groups the Museum worked with considered themselves 'experts by experience' rather than subject or collection specialists. They advocated for their type of expertise to be showcased alongside specialists in the development of gallery or research interpretation, especially in areas such as mental health, disability, gender. This they claimed ensured a rounded and more holistic view of a story can be told not just a neutral or top down authoritative approach. To include these voices would ensure future interpretation is about the experience of health, illness and medicine, not just medicine as something which is undergone by anonymous people

Community empowerment as a result of the project:
While the Science Museum has in no doubt benefited, the groups also reported feeling empowered through their contributions in the All Our Stories project. Many mentioned that collaborating with the museum gave them access to new audiences which forced them to think of innovative and alternative ways of communicating with those often unfamiliar with their agenda. This was a good learning exercise and gave them new skills which can be utilised in future. For the organisations partnered with they also suggested they had gained a sense of recognition and appreciation by working with SMG. They voiced the belief that these collaborations will strengthen their reputations and raise awareness about their existence and work, potentially reaching new audiences.

Critical thinking skills were also reported by some of the group participants. They stressed that they had been given an opportunity to think more deeply about things they previously had taken for granted - even if this was sometimes very difficult. Confidence and new skills in research and communication were also mentioned as beneficial outcomes of the project for those who got involved.

Gendered Intelligence, in particular, reported that through this project and looking closely at the relationship between the world of medical science and transgender heritage, they felt 'empowered'. It should be noted that all the young people involved in the project expressed a strong belief that the gallery display will play a role in changing the negative attitudes of the museum's visiting public towards Trans people. This effect was thought to be exponentially increased due to the large number of people who will visit the gallery and see the display during its life. A four-month display case alone cannot activate change but can nonetheless foster discussion and contribute to a process of shifting belief systems.







Lessons learnt:
Overall the All our Stories project at the Museum was a great success. However, it's important to acknowledge that no project runs flawlessly and below is a selection of lessons learned.
1. A crucial finding for future projects is the difference between what the museum considers granting access to groups and what these groups actually think this access means. As a National Museum we hold our collections in trust for the nation, protecting and storing them. With this comes a strict policy of how objects can be used, touched and interacted with. All of the groups worked with were able to understand and appreciate these restrictions but this didn't alleviate the frustration they felt when not able to engage with the collections when and how they would have ideally wanted. For the Herne Hill bicycle enthusiasts, for example, being able to see our historic bike collection in our stores was really interesting but limited in that they wanted to touch, move and ride the bikes - engage with them in a tactile way more aligned to how they normally appreciate bicycles. Access to them meant seeing how the bikes would have been used (or indeed ridden) rather than just appreciating them in a hands-off fashion. The museum couldn't allow this type of interaction due to the potential for damage and the group understood this but there was obvious disappointment. We say we are giving access but our idea of access and those unfamiliar with museum practice is very different. We are not opening our doors and letting people do as they wish, it's a limited access that comes with rules, planning and by necessity is mostly look and don't touch-much. The level of access is also dependent on the needs of the groups and as the All our Stories project proved one size access does not fit all.

2. Alongside an assumption that by opening up our collections we were meeting the needs of the groups there was also, perhaps, a naïve feeling that by providing research facilities, including access to objects, staff and information, there would be an immediate impact on the content of the outputs produced. This was often not the case with many groups viewing these activities as an added extra, a 'behind the scenes' view: something that would improve their confidence and general abilities, but not always specifically related to outputs themselves. The reasons for this are varied. For Gendered Intelligences 'What makes your Gender' display the Museum simply didn't have objects that were relevant to the group or their projects focus and it was only through the project process that this was highlighted. It could be suggested that because of the strongly normative framework in which objects have been traditionally collected it was tricky for the group to see how our collections could be used and they worried that using them may reinforce notions of gender rather than challenge them. For CoolTan Arts however, the objects were simply secondary to the stories they wanted to deliver as part of their project -they were less concerned (certainly less than the Museum) with making direct links.

3. A barrier encountered early in the project was the mismatched timelines between the funding available to the research institutions through the AHRC and when the All Our Stories partners received their grants from the HLF.
• This time misalignment meant that we were contacting potential partners well into the development of their projects and found it difficult to offer productive support at that stage.
• For the groups we knew we wanted to work directly with the time lag caused frustration, confusion and for one group a lack of trust in the museum's commitment to the project.
• Although those who did attend the research workshops appreciated the opportunity to gain skills for future projects, the time discrepancy meant that many All Our Stories grantees declined to attend on the basis that the assistance was too late for their particular projects.
While overall this meant that SMG worked with and reached fewer groups this didn't affect the overall quality or impact of the work. In retrospect focussing on fewer projects enabled a much deeper engagement with more time and resources to support the groups and a more effective research study. However, in future it would be preferable to have better alignment of funding.

4. The project revealed the need to consider the differing working practices and methods between community groups and museums. Museums work at a faster pace and are more bureaucratic than the majority of community groups. The main challenges arose around conflicting timescales and pressure to produce deliverables for the physical output elements - the LATES tours and display case. The community groups didn't always understand the reason for these procedures and felt under pressure and at times resentful of the museums demands. In future, we will implement better systems of communicating needs and mutually planned lists of deliverables.

5. The research elements of this project were a priority but often overshadowed by the demands to deliver the groups' final products. While focusing on those outcomes helped to guide and motivate the projects (crucial at time for these inexperienced researchers) it meant that an opportunity to explore more unexpected avenues or to have really in-depth studies of particular topics or themes was lost. The groups requested these outputs (raised their organisations profile, gave them a focus) but they also felt that without these taking up their time they may have had more of a long-term impact on museum practice e.g. by providing guidance on future object acquisitions. Future research projects of this kind could be planned without the need for a public engagement outcome e.g. no tour, talk, display and concentrate the output on being affecting institutional change. This co-research rather than co-production is an exciting next step for the museum.


Dissemination
We are planning to disseminate widely the findings and lessons learned from this project within the academic and museological field and by partnering with the community groups identifying new places to present thus broadening the reach and impact of the work. Confirmed conference presentations include Connected Communities and the 'Impact of Co-Production: From Engagement to Social Justice Seminar, London, Aug 2014 and 'Between medical collections and their audiences': The European Association of Museums of the History of Medical Sciences Congress, London September 2014. Also at least two journal papers, not promised in the application, are in preparation and expected to be published in the next year. To ensure that the learning acquired during the project is shared and utilised across Science Museum Group a suite of internal documents and feedback sessions is currently underway

References and external links
Paul Ashton, Hilda Kean (ed) People and their Pasts: Public History Today (2012)
Chaney, Sarah and Frampton, Sally, Challenging the Normative View of Medical History - report from the 'Whose Medical History is it Anyway' Workshop held at the Science Museum London 31 Jan 2014. London 2014 (unpublished available upon request)
Chaney, Sarah. There are as many different truths as there are people: CoolTan Arts and the Science Museum in partnership. London 2014 (unpublished available upon request)
Chaney, Sarah. Enabling Individual Voices: A research report about CoolTan Arts and the Science Museum in partnership. London 2014 (unpublished available upon request)
Durant, John. Museums and the Public Understanding of Science, (Science Museum with COPUS, London, 1992)
Flinn, Andrew and Sexton, Anna. Research on community heritage: moving from collaborative research to participatory and co-designed research practice. London 2013
Geoghegan, Hilary. The culture of enthusiasm: technology, collecting and museums. Diss. Royal Holloway, University of London, 2008.
Iervolino, Serena. Learning to Change for the Better. Who Am I? Hacking Into the Science Museum: a Gendered Intelligence project co-produced with the Science Museum. Leicester 2014 (unpublished available upon request)
Iervolino, Serena. Hacking Into the Science Museum: a Gendered Intelligence project co-produced with the Science Museum Project Report. Leicester 2014 (unpublished available upon request)
Lynch, B.T., Whose cake is it anyway? A collaborative investigation into engagement and participation in 12 museums and galleries in the UK [online] (last accessed 31/03/2014)
Lynch, B. 2013. Custom-made Reflexive Practice: Can Museums Realise their Capabilities in Helping Others Realise Theirs? Museum Management and Curatorship. 26(5): 441-458.
McCall, Vikki & Gray, Clive. Museums and the 'new museology': theory, practice and organisational change, Museum Management and Curatorship, 29:1, 19-35, (2014)
NNCPE, Research for Community Heritage Summit: Summary Report https://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Research%20for%20Community%20Heritage%20Summit%20Short%20Report%20FINAL.pdf (last accessed 31/03/2014)
Roy Rosenzweig and David Thelen, The presence of the past: popular uses of history in American life (New York, Columbia University Press, 1998)
Simon, Nina, The Participatory Museum (Museum 2.0, 2010).
Exploitation Route Museums/heritage organisations considering co-research practice to develop collections knowledge.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
Description Development of funding applications for future museum galleries.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Community Partnerships 
Organisation British Wireless for the Blind Fund
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Training in research methods (material culture) support to develop exhibition display case support to develop events
Collaborator Contribution development of new narrative for aspects of the collection. acquisitions of contemporary objects critical reflection with community partners on existing museum narratives and interpretation
Impact • 5 Research Seminars for All our Stories grantees in London and York. These research training and skill-sharing sessions were delivered to approximately 40 people from across the UK • Joint Public History of Science Technology Engineering and Medicine (PHoSTEM) and All Our Stories projects research event titled "What is the past?" attended by 30 people in September 2013 • One day Bicycle themed event at the Science Museum in September 2013 including screenings of 'Life of the Bicycle' film for approximately 100 members the public and curatorial talks. • 6 CoolTan Arts directed guided walks at Science Museum LATES events (monthly adult only evenings) over a one year period. Each LATE event was attended by about 50-60 people • One Day cross disciplinary Workshop called "Whose Medical History is it anyway?" attended by 40 people in January 2014. Attendees included All Our Stories grantees, museum professionals, SMG staff, academics and other community groups. • Who Am I? update case - 5 month display called 'What makes your gender?' co-created by contemporary science team and Gendered Intelligence exploring Trans heritage and identity in relation to history of medicine. Launched in Feb 2014, the group also created a series of activities in the Who Am I? gallery.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Community Partnerships 
Organisation Clapham Film Unit
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Training in research methods (material culture) support to develop exhibition display case support to develop events
Collaborator Contribution development of new narrative for aspects of the collection. acquisitions of contemporary objects critical reflection with community partners on existing museum narratives and interpretation
Impact • 5 Research Seminars for All our Stories grantees in London and York. These research training and skill-sharing sessions were delivered to approximately 40 people from across the UK • Joint Public History of Science Technology Engineering and Medicine (PHoSTEM) and All Our Stories projects research event titled "What is the past?" attended by 30 people in September 2013 • One day Bicycle themed event at the Science Museum in September 2013 including screenings of 'Life of the Bicycle' film for approximately 100 members the public and curatorial talks. • 6 CoolTan Arts directed guided walks at Science Museum LATES events (monthly adult only evenings) over a one year period. Each LATE event was attended by about 50-60 people • One Day cross disciplinary Workshop called "Whose Medical History is it anyway?" attended by 40 people in January 2014. Attendees included All Our Stories grantees, museum professionals, SMG staff, academics and other community groups. • Who Am I? update case - 5 month display called 'What makes your gender?' co-created by contemporary science team and Gendered Intelligence exploring Trans heritage and identity in relation to history of medicine. Launched in Feb 2014, the group also created a series of activities in the Who Am I? gallery.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Community Partnerships 
Organisation CoolTan Arts
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Training in research methods (material culture) support to develop exhibition display case support to develop events
Collaborator Contribution development of new narrative for aspects of the collection. acquisitions of contemporary objects critical reflection with community partners on existing museum narratives and interpretation
Impact • 5 Research Seminars for All our Stories grantees in London and York. These research training and skill-sharing sessions were delivered to approximately 40 people from across the UK • Joint Public History of Science Technology Engineering and Medicine (PHoSTEM) and All Our Stories projects research event titled "What is the past?" attended by 30 people in September 2013 • One day Bicycle themed event at the Science Museum in September 2013 including screenings of 'Life of the Bicycle' film for approximately 100 members the public and curatorial talks. • 6 CoolTan Arts directed guided walks at Science Museum LATES events (monthly adult only evenings) over a one year period. Each LATE event was attended by about 50-60 people • One Day cross disciplinary Workshop called "Whose Medical History is it anyway?" attended by 40 people in January 2014. Attendees included All Our Stories grantees, museum professionals, SMG staff, academics and other community groups. • Who Am I? update case - 5 month display called 'What makes your gender?' co-created by contemporary science team and Gendered Intelligence exploring Trans heritage and identity in relation to history of medicine. Launched in Feb 2014, the group also created a series of activities in the Who Am I? gallery.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Community Partnerships 
Organisation Federation of Muslim Women
Country Canada 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Training in research methods (material culture) support to develop exhibition display case support to develop events
Collaborator Contribution development of new narrative for aspects of the collection. acquisitions of contemporary objects critical reflection with community partners on existing museum narratives and interpretation
Impact • 5 Research Seminars for All our Stories grantees in London and York. These research training and skill-sharing sessions were delivered to approximately 40 people from across the UK • Joint Public History of Science Technology Engineering and Medicine (PHoSTEM) and All Our Stories projects research event titled "What is the past?" attended by 30 people in September 2013 • One day Bicycle themed event at the Science Museum in September 2013 including screenings of 'Life of the Bicycle' film for approximately 100 members the public and curatorial talks. • 6 CoolTan Arts directed guided walks at Science Museum LATES events (monthly adult only evenings) over a one year period. Each LATE event was attended by about 50-60 people • One Day cross disciplinary Workshop called "Whose Medical History is it anyway?" attended by 40 people in January 2014. Attendees included All Our Stories grantees, museum professionals, SMG staff, academics and other community groups. • Who Am I? update case - 5 month display called 'What makes your gender?' co-created by contemporary science team and Gendered Intelligence exploring Trans heritage and identity in relation to history of medicine. Launched in Feb 2014, the group also created a series of activities in the Who Am I? gallery.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Community Partnerships 
Organisation Gendered Intelligence
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Training in research methods (material culture) support to develop exhibition display case support to develop events
Collaborator Contribution development of new narrative for aspects of the collection. acquisitions of contemporary objects critical reflection with community partners on existing museum narratives and interpretation
Impact • 5 Research Seminars for All our Stories grantees in London and York. These research training and skill-sharing sessions were delivered to approximately 40 people from across the UK • Joint Public History of Science Technology Engineering and Medicine (PHoSTEM) and All Our Stories projects research event titled "What is the past?" attended by 30 people in September 2013 • One day Bicycle themed event at the Science Museum in September 2013 including screenings of 'Life of the Bicycle' film for approximately 100 members the public and curatorial talks. • 6 CoolTan Arts directed guided walks at Science Museum LATES events (monthly adult only evenings) over a one year period. Each LATE event was attended by about 50-60 people • One Day cross disciplinary Workshop called "Whose Medical History is it anyway?" attended by 40 people in January 2014. Attendees included All Our Stories grantees, museum professionals, SMG staff, academics and other community groups. • Who Am I? update case - 5 month display called 'What makes your gender?' co-created by contemporary science team and Gendered Intelligence exploring Trans heritage and identity in relation to history of medicine. Launched in Feb 2014, the group also created a series of activities in the Who Am I? gallery.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Community Partnerships 
Organisation Grove Park Community Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Training in research methods (material culture) support to develop exhibition display case support to develop events
Collaborator Contribution development of new narrative for aspects of the collection. acquisitions of contemporary objects critical reflection with community partners on existing museum narratives and interpretation
Impact • 5 Research Seminars for All our Stories grantees in London and York. These research training and skill-sharing sessions were delivered to approximately 40 people from across the UK • Joint Public History of Science Technology Engineering and Medicine (PHoSTEM) and All Our Stories projects research event titled "What is the past?" attended by 30 people in September 2013 • One day Bicycle themed event at the Science Museum in September 2013 including screenings of 'Life of the Bicycle' film for approximately 100 members the public and curatorial talks. • 6 CoolTan Arts directed guided walks at Science Museum LATES events (monthly adult only evenings) over a one year period. Each LATE event was attended by about 50-60 people • One Day cross disciplinary Workshop called "Whose Medical History is it anyway?" attended by 40 people in January 2014. Attendees included All Our Stories grantees, museum professionals, SMG staff, academics and other community groups. • Who Am I? update case - 5 month display called 'What makes your gender?' co-created by contemporary science team and Gendered Intelligence exploring Trans heritage and identity in relation to history of medicine. Launched in Feb 2014, the group also created a series of activities in the Who Am I? gallery.
Start Year 2012
 
Description an informal, day-long workshop which built upon the All our Stories project by exploring the ways in which community heritage can feed into museum practice around medical collections 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Involving and valuing 'experts by experience'
The workshop highlighted the importance of involving 'experts by experience' alongside specialists
in the development of the history of medicine gallery, especially in key areas such as mental health,
disability, gender.
? It became clear that it seems to these experts that their opinions are most valued when they
are not treated differently from curators and specialists, i.e. when group sessions include all
types of participant and none is seen as more important than another.
? Any workshop or consultation requires clarity about the outcomes: community interest
groups need to know exactly how and when their input is going to impact on displays.
? The Science Museum needs to be pro-active in seeking out groups across different
community interest fields and, in particular, to include more ethnically and culturally diverse
representation.
Research opportunities for community and professional groups
There are several potential types of research opportunity that the workshop indicated would be of
value to community and professional groups in the history of medicine if offered by the Science
Museum.
? A series of workshops and/or events which allow further collaboration between the
different groups represented at the workshop, but with each focusing more tightly on one or
two of the key topics described in the report. All three groups involved emphasised the
importance of working together to explore the ideas outlined, which feeds into one of the
key objectives for community interest groups and the Science Museum by tying multiple
stories into interpretation and displays without appearing 'tokenistic'.
? The facilitation of community-led 'witness seminars', to record lived experiences in a group
setting and allow community group volunteers to explore the ideas of their peers.
? The opportunity for community interest groups to explore historical 'patient' narratives and
the personal and emotional context of different voices across the history of medicine.
? This type of consultation and co-working needs to be built into all exhibition plans at an
early stage, so that it is not just seen as an add-on but a fundamental element of exhibition
planning and production that is allocated adequate resources.
Engaging Science Museum visitors in the history of medicine
It was apparent that working with community and specific interest groups can help the Museum to
more effectively engage visitors in the history of medicine.
? One of the ways in which this can occur is through the museum acknowledging the different
starting point curators had from other groups. For the former, objects become more
important than the people and stories they illustrate. The emphasis of community interest
groups on stories and voices may be shared by visitors, or visitors may come from a third
3
perspective entirely. Making explicit the way voices and objects work together as part of an
exhibition will help many visitors in interpreting and understanding displays.
? The workshop also drew frequent attention to emotion as a key factor in engaging audiences
with medical narratives: this was a strong element of the interpretation of life stages by all
groups, as well as being associated with particular aspects of medicine (e.g. death and dying)
or with the different voices within medical history (including users and medical
professionals). Considering the emotional content of a display will assist in audiences'
engagement with complex medical and historical ideas.
? Building on this idea, one of the unexpected areas in which community interest groups may
assist with public engagement is through the use of the values and emphases of these
groups in re-framing other actors in medical history, for example the medical profession. An
interpretation that looks at narratives and emotions encourages a shift away from the 'great
man' perspective (which can distance doctors from patients and the public) towards a more
empathic view of medical professionals.
Interpreting and displaying the history of medicine
Throughout the day, many recommendations were made as to the ways in which displays might be
framed and interpreted. These can be summarised as follows.
? The Science Museum should acknowledge its history, background and role in producing a
normative view of medicine and medical history as a key part of exhibitions in medical
history, aiming to make visitors open up to other possible ways of viewing the subject than
the normative, white, western perspective on scientific medical advance.
? The medical gallery must include multiple voices to build on this process of opening up
perspectives. Voices are more important than objects or themes for community interest
groups, and may be for other audiences. This will also help to avoid the impression that the
Science Museum is speaking 'for' somebody, or trying to represent an entire minority group.
? There is a need for the museum to be up front, and explicitly state its perspective on any
particular topic. The use of a generic 'we' or dominant voice in displays should be avoided,
as it encourages a standard 'normative' view. Instead, the Science Museum should indicate
the source of views within displays, and not shy away from difficult topics, such as the
historic role of collecting practices in constructing norms around different categories,
including sex, gender and disability.
? Questions should be raised at an early stage about the framework through which the display
has been shaped and interpreted: in particular, acknowledging the arbitrary nature of any
'life stage' categories used and the way in which these might perpetuate normative ideals.
? Health is a better focus than medicine, in that it opens the subject up to incorporate broader
voices, as well as elements of the 'life stages' that are not about western medical practice.
Health also better explores the breadth of the Science Museum collections, which often
extend beyond the modern western medical arena.

Colleagues felt open to the idea of engaging more diverse groups in discussion about the collection.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014