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The Digital Literacy for Leadership programme

Introduction

The opportunities around digital culture can be huge and the challenges daunting. A thriving, successful museum needs digitally literate leaders and teams who recognise these opportunities and challenges and understand the ways in which digital technologies, content and culture can best serve their mission. This is more relevant now than it ever has been, but in a fast-changing, multi-layered environment, it can be hard to know where to start.

The Digital Literacy for Leadership programme, funded by Museums Galleries Scotland and Art Fund, will support current and emerging museum leaders in Scotland to develop their digital confidence, understanding and skills.

The collaborative learning programme will combine strategy, theory and expert insight with practical, actionable advice - putting you and your organisation in the position to understand these challenges and make the most of the opportunities.

The programme has been designed and will be delivered by Anra Kennedy and Jane Finnis of Culture24, with the support of digital leadership specialists including Dr Lauren Vargas and Patrick Towell of The Audience Agency Group. This experienced  team has run similar programmes for a wide range of arts and heritage professionals in the UK and internationally to great effect, including Leading the Sector, part of The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Digital Skills for Heritage initiative, Cultivator - Creative and Cultural Leadership Development Programme, and DEN Academy in the Netherlands.

Hero Image: A 3D scan point cloud of MV Spartan, a Clyde Puffer boat in the collection of the Scottish Maritime Museum. 3D scanned through the "Scanning the Horizon" project. 

Who is it for?

There are up 30 places in the cohort, made up of 15 pairs of participants - leaders and changemakers - from 15 museums in Scotland. Two people from each museum participate together to provide the best chance of effectively embedding their learning and development in their organisation.

At least one of the pair will hold a leadership position: CEO, director, trustee or senior leader. The other half of will be someone who makes change happen and gets things done, someone who manages a particular strand of work, perhaps - an emerging leader.

We know that ‘leaders’ come with a range of job titles, expertise, experience and digital confidence and we have welcomed that variety within this cohort. What is key is the desire and remit to make change happen within our museums.

 

What will be gained?

This is a cohort-based programme in which we will support participants to:

  • understand what ‘digital’ means in a museum context and where most value lies for their teams, organisation, communities, wider audiences and the collections you work with
  • learn how to become a digitally literate leader in a small, inclusive and supportive community of practice, with peers facing similar challenges
  • tailor their learning to apply in a chosen project at your museum, helping build their teams' digital skills and their organisations' digital maturity and capacity
  • build their own digital literacy, skills and confidence, in the context of their leadership roles.

When, where and time commitment

Over ten months, beginning in late April 2022 (see specific dates below), participants will receive a mix of strategic and practical guidance, including:

  • Three half-day online workshops focussing on understanding and applying digitally literate leadership
  • Three digital skills-focussed workshops of two hours each, involving other colleagues from their museum if relevant
  • Six individual 1 hour support sessions, tailored to their personal and organisational contexts, guiding them through a process of self-directed learning and digital capacity-building
  • Being part of a friendly, supportive group of peers all facing similar challenges, connected via an online community space.

In addition to attending the workshops and support sessions outlined above, participants will be required to spend time within their leadership role, learning, reflecting, connecting with peers and trying out new approaches.

We will help participants plan this self-directed learning around their particular needs and priorities.

  • Perhaps they will need to better understand their team’s digital skills and attitudes?
  • Maybe they want to understand and improve the impact of their museum’s public-facing digital work?
  • Or to improve the organisation’s collaborative work and efficiencies, using digital tools?
  • Perhaps they know that their museum needs to build its digital maturity, but they are not sure where to start?

These 1-2-1 sessions can benefit individuals to clarify goals and talk through challenges in a supportive space. They are an opportunity to reflect and gain greater perspective on their own development.

Whatever starting point the participants are at, the workshops and resources will help them figure out the changes they need to make and the team will then support them to try things out, putting theory into practice.  

We don't want participants to think of this as ‘extra’ time on top of their day job – our experienced team will support them in planning and trying out approaches that serve their museum’s mission and purpose, align with current (and/or future) projects and most importantly, are realistic and achievable. This is about building digital leadership in useful ways, not burdening people with ‘homework’ for the sake of it.

The workshops are integral to the process, and we expect our participants to commit to attending all workshops.

Workshop One - 3 hours

4 May 2022, 10 – 1pm

Workshop Two - 3 hours

6 May 2022, 10 – 1pm

Workshop Three - 2 hours

6 June 2022, 2 – 4pm

Workshop Four - 2 hours

7 July 2022, 10 – 12pm

Workshop Five - 2 hours

29 July 2022, 10-12pm

Workshop Six - 3 hours

22 September 2022, 10 – 1pm

 

The six support sessions will take place at regular intervals between May 2022 and March 2023. They will be scheduled at times that suit participants, once the programme begins.

Why is this of value for museums? And why now?

As the sector emerges from the pandemic, when for many museums, digital technologies, processes and services were centre stage as never before, now is the time for leaders to reframe and to take action.

Each organisation is at a different stage in its digital development, their contexts and priorities differ, but the fundamentals of effective digital leadership apply to all museums.

This programme will help leaders to become more informed, reflective, responsive, active and confident around digital, in order to help their organisations thrive and serve their strategic aims. It will support them to explore how they understand, value, manage, and use digital in the widest sense, across every aspect of their organisation’s activity.