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27th June 2017 Laurie Kremer

Conference Catch Up — Tony Butler

Tony Butler, Chief Executive at Derby Museums, will be speaking as part of the opening keynote and leading one breakout session at AMA conference 2017 — The Value of Everything. In this one-to-one he gives us a glimpse into his story and what you can expect from his sessions.

Tell us your story in under 50 words.

I’m a social history curator at heart, but intent on ensuring museums touch the lives of everyone, whether it’s through art, science, learning, seeing or making. I’ve been working in museums for 20 years during which time education, participation and entrepreneurialism have become core values to ensure museums are both resilient and relevant to their communities.

How does this year’s AMA conference theme — The Value of Everything — speak to you?

Cultural organisations create value in so many ways, but the only way we seem to able to robustly measure it is an economic sense. I want to explore how we can best articulate the cultural and social capital we create so than we can better turn it into financial value. I’ll be invoking Joseph Wright of Derby’s The Alchemyst.

What are the three key things delegates will take away from your session

I have the pleasure of being involved in two sessions. Between them I want to explore:

  • How museums can use their unique quality to explore the long view of history can make sense of the current climate of division and resentment of inequality.
  • Why we must show empathy and challenge our own privileges to really connect with people for who we do not matter.
  • Why it makes business sense to delve deep into the communities who don’t experience us, rather than super-serve an existing audiences.

What are you most looking forward to about AMA conference 2017?

I’ve long been an admirer of the AMA, but this will be my first AMA conference. In many organisations it’s often the Marketeers or Development people who are the agitators (in a good way), so I’m looking forward to be being pushed and challenged. And I have always had a great time when I’ve visited Belfast.

Find out more about the AMA conference 2017 programme and book your place.