Call for Papers: Education & Outreach Forum 2021

2 Feb 2021

The Irish Museums Association (IMA), in partnership with the NI Museums Council (NIMC), will be hosting the annual Education + Outreach (Ed+O) Forum as an online event taking place 18-21 May 2021 (International Museums Day/Museum Week).

The Ed+O forum is a key event in the calendar for museum practitioners and educators from the wider cultural sector to meet and discuss topics of interest to their learning programmes, with a focus on the impact of museum on our communities. It provides an informal and supportive platform for exchanges of learnings, reflections on practice, and engagement with colleagues. With ample time for debate, it is intended as a place for critical engagement, examination and experimentation of ideas; where a lasting contribution can be made to the development of life-long education in the museum context.

The IMA and NIMC wish to invite presentation proposals in the form of (200 word max.) abstracts. The closing date for receipt of proposals is midnight, Monday 8 March 2021.

In 2021, the forum’s selection panel will particularly welcome submissions that address:

  1. CHANGES IN PRACTICE. Critical thinking around learnings, how museum educators have adapted to the loss of access to on-site venues and physical engagements to continue to provide valuable interactions with existing and new audiences.
  2. CULTURAL DEMOCRACY IN PRACTICE. Examples of true shared decision-making and collaborative curatorship - both within the museum and across partners - by embedding active participation in all aspects of development of a given project so that it is debated, designed, and delivered with, by, and for everyone.

Submitting a proposal:

Presentations may take the shape of lecture-style presentations, conversations, panels or similar presentations that include the voice of the participant/community in examples of practice, but must be no longer than 15 minutes duration.

Submissions must be sent by midnight on Monday 8 March 2021 to Gina O'Kelly, Irish Museums Association, at and should contain:

  • Full name, job title and institution (if applicable)
  • Email address
  • Personal Biography (150 words max)
  • Style of presentation (lecture-style, conversation, etc)
  • Duration of presentation (15 mins max.)
  • Proposed Title of presentation
  • Presentation Abstract (200 words max)

Speakers must be available to present online via Zoom. The format of the forum will be four online sessions of 2 hours duration each, running from 18 to 21 May 2021. The language of the forum will be English.

Papers are selected by an advisory panel of museum professionals and educators, formed by Collette Brownlee, Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum; Lorraine Comer, National Museum of Ireland, Tadgh Crowley, Crawford Art Gallery; Jenny Haslett, NI War Memorial; Rachel McCance, NI Museums Council and Gina O’Kelly, Irish Museums Association.

Click here for information on previous IMA forums.

The IMA and NIMC gratefully acknowledge the input from panel of advisors and the support received from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media and The Heritage Council of Ireland, and the Department for Communities, respectively.