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‘time to reflect’ …. ‘tremendously rewarding’ … ‘I’ve come away with lots of ideas for doing things back at work’

The Museum Ethnographers Group runs a lively and affordable programme of events for its members with a focus on continual professional development. Recent events have included visits to exhibitions at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge and the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, a training day in undertaking collections research using family and local history resources, a workshop about curating human remains in UK museums and a visit to the Museum of World Cultures (Världskulturmuseet) in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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We are very excited to announce that MEG will be going to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA) in Norwich to visit the Visions of Ancient Egypt temporary exhibition on the 11th of October 2022!
We will have a guided tour at of the exhibition by Curator Theo Weiss, starting at 11am and followed by lunch at the Modern Life Cafe in the SCVA (not included). Then you will have the opportunity to visit the SCVA permanent gallery, unique in the UK. 
More information on the Egypt exhibition:
The Sainsbury Centre presents a major new exhibition exploring the enduring appeal of ancient Egypt in art and design from the ancient past to the present day.
Over 150 works drawn from collections in the UK and internationally will examine how ancient Egypt has shaped our cultural imagination. From antiquity, when the Great Pyramid was revered as a wonder of the ancient world, to the Cleopatra of Shakespeare’s stage, this ground-breaking exhibition explores this ongoing engagement with ancient Egypt and charts its many forms across centuries of art and design. The exhibition examines how the iconic motifs and visual styles of Egypt have been re-imagined and re-invented over time – revealing a history closely entwined with conquest and colonial politics.
The exhibition coincides with the 2022 anniversaries of two key events: the bicentenary of Jean-François Champollion’s decipherment of hieroglyphs and the centenary of Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.
The exhibition will include painting, sculpture, writing, fashion and architecture, alongside photography, film and installation art. It will feature work from artists as wide ranging as Joshua Reynolds, Hector Horeau, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, David Hockney and Chris Ofili alongside works by modern and contemporary Egyptian artists, rarely exhibited in Britain
We have limited spots available on the tour, so please do get in touch with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank" style="color: #1155cc;"> soon if you are planning on joining us.
Monday 3 October 2022, 10.00-17.00
The MEG Subcommittee workshop will focus on early career development within the museum industry. The day will start with some introductions and a few talks from members of Kew staff regarding different career paths, followed by a tour of the Economic Botany Collection. After lunch, there will be more talks from external speakers, with a discussion and Q&A session to end. There will be opportunity for people to wander around Kew Gardens at the end of the day, before we head to one of Kew’s local pub to connect over a drink!
This workshop is intended to anyone who is in the first few years of their career in the museum sector or would like to join the sector in the future. 
If you are interested in participating in the event please sign up here:
If you have further questions please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
‘Keeping Connected’ coffee time online events
The last few years have been a challenging time for us all, with many of us working in isolation with limited contact with colleagues and peers. This was and is a particularly challenging at a time when the sector has also been under growing pressure to take action and implement change, when sharing support and advice with each other is so important. 
SInce 2021 MEG have been organising ‘Keeping Connected’ meetups on zoom. Our aim is to provide a safe space to support and care for our each other as we work through particular challenges or changes to practice. We will anchor each session on a particular issue, inviting colleagues and community members who have recent experience to share some of their reflections and work, previous sessions have focussed on terminology and photographic collections.  These events are an opportunity to ask questions, talk through barriers, share examples of best practice, chat to friends, and hear about the work that is being done in this area.

Keeping Connected: Practices of Care and Support for Museum staff

Date: Thursday 20th October 11-1pm

Online via Zoom


This session of the Keeping Connected series will explore practices of care for museum staff and how they can be embedded within an institution. This session involves three presentations from practitioners and academics who have been working on networks, policies and practices that are aimed at fostering support for employee across departments. We are delighted to have the following speakers:

Sacha Marson is a Visitor Experience Assistant, bringing Wellcome Collection's objects and themes to life for visitors through a range of activities. Sacha is particularly interested in exploring how philosophical and political thought relates to lived experience throughout history. They are part of the Collections Working Group at Wellcome Collection, formed to reconsider how it feels to tackle the challenge of dealing with a 19th century perception of race, gender and disability and to change Wellcome Collection’s perception of this. They will be talking about a Resource Booklet which is in the process of development and discuss how it aims to help new-starters and existing members of the team to access critical literature and sense-check their research methods, especially in relation to ethically sensitive collection items. They also discuss how this will support and ultimately develop Visitor Experience Assistant’s confidence in their research process by providing not only context to items but various points of contact to discuss their research approach.

Jasmine Brady (they/them) is a Front of House Team Leader at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the Chair of the Change Makers Action Group for the University of Cambridge Museums. They are particularly passionate about using leadership skills to create more inclusive, welcoming and nurturing working environments. They will be speaking about the experience of chairing the Change Makers Action Group and the importance of staff networks for solidarity and wellbeing.

Anna Woodham is Senior Lecturer in Arts and Cultural Management in the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries (CMCI), King’s College London. Her research focuses on contemporary challenges impacting museums and archives. Recent collaborative projects have focused the impact of climate change on heritage in the low-lying island nation of Kiribati and exploring emotion, care and enthusiasm in “unloved” collections. These projects and others have led Anna to become interested in the emotional labour involved in the development and management of museum and archival collections. Inspired by research on heritage and climate change conducted for two AHRC funded research projects, this short presentation briefly outlines an initial framework for how we can conceptualise emotional and affective labour expended by museum professionals during their work and concludes with some thoughts on where this leaves the sector in terms of training, support and leadership gaps. 

Presentation will be 10-15 minutes long. This will be followed by breakout room discussions, focusing on each of their topics, followed by a general discussion with all attendees. The event will be free but will only be open to MEG members. Please do not share the Zoom links to the room when you receive them.

The event is being produced by the Early Career Committee, a subcommittee of MEG comprising of early career researchers and cultural practitioners. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information for how to join.


Previous events

Cancelledl due to COVID. Last year Manchester Museum and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) announced the unconditional repatriation of 43 secret, sacred and ceremonial objects to the Aranda people of Central Australia, Gangalidda Garawa peoples’ of northwest Queensland, Nyamal people of the Pilbara and Yawuru people of Broome.  This decision was seen by many in the museum sector as a sign of changing attitudes towards repatriation. As calls for repatriation increase many museums are unsure of how to go about responding to requests.  The Museum Ethnographers Group are therefore delighted to announce that they will be co-hosting a workshp with AIATSIS and Stephen Welsh (Manchester Museum) to discuss their recent work and provide guidance to others.

The event will be held at Kings House Conference Centre,   AIATSIS

12th March 1-45pm until 5pm.

Tickets are available from eventbrite.

The event is free but registration is essential.  Please not this event is only open to MEG members.  Details of how to join can be found on the Membership section of this website.

Full timetable below.

1.45-2.00 Arrive

2-2.45 Research / Engagement Process

  • What does the community engagement process look like?
  • When do you need to undertake community engagement?
  • What provenance research did you undertake and what did it involve?
  • Who undertook the research?
  • How long did the process take? What resources were required (staff, financial costs)?
  • Whose responsibility should it be to undertake the research? Is it a shared responsibility (i.e. museum and source community)?


Material in collections

  • What material is Secret/Sacred, ceremonial or gender restricted? How does a museum confirm if an item is restricted?
  • What material can be displayed, how should it be displayed, and what should be removed from public display?
  • How should secret / sacred, ceremonial material be stored?
  • How should the material be handled and by whom?
  • How does this apply to digital images?
  • What material might be requested for return?
  • Return V repatriation, meanings and implications? i.e. RoCH definition.
  • What material could be considered as potentially appropriate for co-custodianship or similar?


Cultural Protocols

  • What cultural protocols did you implement / follow as part of your research and subsequent repatriation?
  • What protocols should museums be mindful of? i.e. access / use.
  • Are there specific protocols that Institutions need to follow for certain items?
  • Confirmation of cultural custodianship / competing claims
  • What process did you undertake to confirm cultural custodianship of the requested items?
  • How did you confirm there was no competing claim to the requested items?
  • Whose responsibility is it to confirm there is no competing claim?

Repatriation Logistics / Costs

  • What was the financial cost of the return? What did this include/exclude?
  • Who covered / funded the return costs?
  • How should this be funded in the future? Whose responsibility is it? (shared, holding institution or source community)
  • Any potential funding possibilities for hosting an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander curator/intern?
  • Permit / Legislation / Regulations
  • What permits or exemptions did you acquire for the repatriation?
  • How did you identify / obtain these permits?
  • Was there any costs involved in obtaining the permits?
  • What information did you need to provide?
  • Our Research / Recent returns
  • What response/s have we received from UK institutions?
  • How do UK institutions compare with other overseas institutions and Australian institutions?

There will be the opportunity to continue discussions more informally in a nearby bar.

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