Meeting the Audience Challenge

Audience engagement is a directive, an approach to looking at museums afresh and focussing on the way they interact with their audiences. In an increasingly challenging landscape, museums are constantly evolving and changing that interaction. In this discussion we will be asking 'How do you attract new and more diverse audiences while taking your current audiences on the journey with you?' A discussion which looks at the challenges museums face as they strive to diversify their audiences, embrace technology and/or change the narrative around their collections.

Speakers: Siobhan Beatson, Dan Cottam, Vanessa Martin
Chair: Katey Boal


    Katey Boal
    Visitor Services Manager Engagement for the Culloden Cluster, National Trust for Scotland

    Katy has been working in Museums for the past 20 years, starting in Historic houses in Western Canada and for the past 12 years has made the North of Scotland her home. While in the UK, Katy has worked in local authority museums and latterly for the National Trust for Scotland. She has served as the Chair for the Group for Education for Museums Scotland, has been both committee member and chair of the Highland Museums forum and is one of three MA representatives for Scotland.


    Vanessa Martin
    Curator, West Highland Museum, Fort William

    Vanessa Martin has volunteered in museums across the country including the British Museum, Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, and the Tunbridge Wells Museum since the mid-1990s. She volunteered at the West Highland Museum for seven years assisting the curator prior to our appointment in 2018. She was a member of the museum’s Management Committee for five years. Vanessa has an MA in History from the University of Exeter. She is currently studying towards an MLitt in Museum and Gallery Studies at St. Andrews University where the focus of her recent studies has been on how museums should be adjusting to working in the Digital Age. She is currently working on content for the museum’s new website which will allow the museum to be more interactive and present part of its collections online.

    Dan Cottam
    Manager, Grantown Museum

    Dan has been manager at Grantown Museum since 2015. He came into the sector from a background in community arts, events management and youth work. He has previously been a youth development officer for the YMCA as well as managing the museum works as a freelance exhibition and interpretation designer. He has been chairperson of several professional fora and volunteer groups including Youth Opportunities Badenoch and Strathspey (YOBS) Inclusive Cairngorms and the Grantown Initiative. He is currently working towards a masters degree in Museum Studies.

    Siobhan Beatson
    Manager, Ullapool Museum

    Siobhan Beatson has been with Ullapool Museum for 18 months after moving to the area from Ayr in South West Scotland. Siobhan comes from an NHS background after working for 12 years with Ayrshire and Arran NHS and is now leading Ullapool Museum in times of great change, supporting them to develop innovative projects and engage more digitally and with younger audiences all while studying for her BA Honours in Scottish History with OU and Dundee University.


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