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The future of museums and galleries in the 21st century: Tristram Hunt, Frances Morris and Tonya Nelson

Festival of Ideas


Saturday 8 September 2018
5.30 — 6.30pm

This event has now ended

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Over the last 20 years there has been an unprecedented expansion in the number of museums. There are now over 2,600 museums in the UK, five times as many as there were 100 years ago. But do we need so many and is it sustainable? How can they remain relevant and appeal to new diverse audiences?

Three leading figures in the art world, Director of the V&A Tristram Hunt, Tate Modern Director Frances Morris and Director of Museums and Cultural Programmes at UCL Tonya Nelson, discuss the state of the gallery and museum industry today.

Dr Tristram Hunt is the Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London – the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance. Since taking up the post in 2017, Dr Hunt has prioritised support for design education in UK schools, and encouraged debate around the history of the museum’s global collections. He has overseen the opening of the new Road Quarter and will shortly oversee the opening of V&A Dundee, the redesign of the V&A Museum of Childhood, and the development of a new museum partnership with the Smithsonian Institution. Prior to joining the V&A, Dr Hunt was Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central and Shadow Secretary of State for Education.

Frances Morris is the director of the Tate Modern, London. She has played a key role in the gallery since she joined as a curator in 1987 and has been instrumental in developing its international reach and its representation of women artists. Frances was jointly responsible for the initial presentation of the opening collection displays at Tate Modern in 2000, which radically transformed the way museums present the story of modern art. She has curated landmark exhibitions, many of which were large-scale international collaborations, including three major retrospectives of women artists including Louise Bourgeois in 2007, Yayoi Kusama in 2012 and Agnes Martin in 2015.

Tonya Nelson is Director of Museums and Cultural Programmes at UCL where she is responsible for UCL’s public museums, including the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, Grant Museum of Zoology, and UCL Art Museum. Tonya ensures UCL’s world class collection of over 300,000 painting, artefacts and specimens are used to advance teaching, research and public engagement with arts and heritage. Last year she was seconded to DCMS to help research and write the Culture is Digital report and she teaches an undergraduate course called Technology in Arts and Cultural Heritage. She is also Chair of the UK Committee of the International Council of Museum (ICOM) and sits on the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery.

This event will be chaired by broadcaster John Wilson and followed by a Q&A.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

Saturday 8 September 2018

5.30 — 6.30pm

The Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

£16, £10 concessions