News & Events

News & Events

Keep up to date with the latest news, views and happenings at Kinharvie institute and beyond.

Facilitating Glasgow Museums to Increase Community Engagement

By Paul Cummings, 28-Mar-2013

It was planned that a warm and sunny early spring morning would welcome participants to Glasgow Museums conversation on expanding community engagement and partnership.  Instead, near sub-zero temperatures and unseasonal, intermittent snow was what we had to settle for - as facilitators, we're good at planning but our powers don't reach as far as meteorological miracles.  

Paul introduced himself, remembering a weather related incident as a stark contrast to the winter conditions of the day.  At the same time last year, the UK enjoyed temperatures of 20 degrees.  It was Paul's birthday and on a trip with friends to the Lake District, it was half way through the journey that he looked down and exclaimed in shock, 'I've still got my slippers on!'.  There's nothing quite like a good bit of facilitator public humiliation to get participants feeling good about themselves.


The purpose of the day was to bring together museum staff and partners to reflect on experiences of partnership and collaboration and to explore how to expand such opportunities.  We used an Appreciative Inquiry method, which encouraged participants to explore stories of success. Working in pairs, people interviewed each other and helped one another identify the elements that led to their successes in previous partnership and collaboration efforts. Having formed groups of four to share stories, participants were then asked to create a six word story that captured the themes emerging from all the stories they heard.  Here is a sample of what was produced:

  • "Surprising ideas sprout through conversations"
  • "Open minds + shared values = goals achieved"
  • "Community partnerships with biscuits equals success"
  • "Adventurous sharing creates authentic positive partnership"

Later in the morning, we focused on wishes for the future of partnership and collaboration.  There were many key themes - sharing, relationship, need for time, sharing power and more...

Sixty-five people attended the event which was described as a real success by participants who enjoyed the opportunity to get together informally to explore, in positive terms, the partnership and collaboration agenda.  

For Paul and Ronnie who facilitated the event, it was a real joy to work with so many enthusiastic participants who created an amazing buzz as they engaged energetically in a topic they were clearly passionate about.  More engagement opportunities for the future will be planned in due course.