MA2007 – Will Hutton keynote

The MA have asked to me blog their conference this year (along with some others….), they seem to want to try and open up more debate and are using a number of different devices that might do this – blogs, voting, even making a video……


The session was packed out for Will Hutton’s opening address and it is great to see people from outside the museum sector at these events.

He was in passionate form, with just a little too much finger wagging for me. Basically his position was an old one but absolutely still relevant – museums and galleries are part of the creative core of this coutry and as such, at the heart of the creative economy and creative industries. “you are all members of the greatest industries in the UK”

He talked about the fact that “we are all on the same page as the software designers, parks, film industry etc” and that “the knowlege economy is not just a bullshit phrase of Peter Mandelson’s”, but was true all over the UK”.

I was wondering how many of the people in the audience really don’t know this?

As someone who dosen’t work in one particular institution but has always worked on the borders, cross-overs between places and sectors, this has been obvious for a long time.

The fact the the MA feel that this message should frame their conference, seems to suggest that there are still parts of the musuem world that are not convinced and don’t identify under the creative industries banner. Discuss.

He also talked about how the fastest growing part of the creative industries is the development of experiences and services. This I welcomed him saying as the online world is only ever one of these things.

In fact, as well as blogging, I will be part of a plenary session tomorrow on crystal ball gazing about the future of museums in 2020. His remarks play well into what I am planning to say about the massive opportunites for museums to offer their rich cultural data to be found, mashed up and reused by the new kinds of services and online expereices that lie await for us in the future.

I would have liked to hear more from Will about what he called the “spillover” between the cultural core and the creative industries, for me, this is where things start to get interesting. I’d like to hear some creative thinking about strategies for encouraging this, spotting it when it is happening and crucially, about models for how MLA, DCMS, ACE can invest in the good stuff that comes to the surface.

Will follow up with the Work Foundation and lets see what else the conference offers.