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7th August 2018 Jemma Green

My AMA conference 2018 Experience — Shuk Kwan Liu

Shuk Kwan Liu, Marketing Officer, Horniman Museum and Gardens

I’m really glad I made the decision to apply for a bursary to attend the AMA conference and that my application was successful. Not only did I gain a wealth of inspiration and knowledge from the conference, but also, it reinforced that getting out of the office is crucial to nurturing one’s career and confidence.

There are three things I loved about this conference:

Firstly, that the issues of diversity, inclusion, representation and organisational relevance ran strongly throughout the conference amongst the theme of play. The first keynote session set the tone of the conference. Speakers Deborah Williams, CEO of the Creative Diversity Network, used humour to address the issues of representation within the arts and media and Alice Procter talked about her Uncomfortable Art Tours, which unravels the role colonialism played in the shaping and funding of major national collections, and challenges how the collections are displayed.  In the session Playing with Fear, Thanh Sinden and Sandra Shakespeare from Museum Detox used the White Privilege Test to open up discussions about racism, inequality and privilege and to provide an opportunity for delegates to reflect on their own backgrounds.

I valued the honesty of Cath Hume, CEO of the AMA who spoke about the recruitment mistakes she has made in the organisation’s journey to become more inclusive. I felt real hope in the AMA’s vision and approach to representation and inclusion, they are making determined changes to their recruitment process, staff, board membership and membership strategy. I hope other organisations can be as brave as the AMA so that access to culture is truly inclusive.

The second thing I loved about the conference was the range of socials. There were options to enjoy exclusive trips to Liverpool’s cultural gems such as the Beatles bus tour and the exhibition ‘China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors’ at the World Museum. The first-timer meet up and the opening night social were great ways to meet people and practice networking in a relaxed environment. I connected with people whom I will be able to develop reciprocal relationships to benefit my organisation and my career interests.

The third aspect that I loved about the conference was the variety of sessions available, from practical to strategic. Being able to attend strategic sessions has given me valuable insight into how I can contribute to strategic planning in the future. I also learnt how much play has been missing from my work life and the value of reintroducing it. Play removes ‘fear’, helps us learn how to do things better, creates a culture of collaboration and drives engagement with and loyalty from our audiences.

In summary, the AMA conference was of extremely high quality and I would recommend it to anyone working in arts marketing. It provides opportunities to think outside of the box, gain new skills and re-ignites passion for what you can do.

My AMA conference 2018 Top Three

— Increase in knowledge and resources which has improved my skill set and confidence

—  Tools to help identify relevant influencers

— The Empathy Map from the AMA’s Future Proof Guide, a potentially valuable tool to help create an audience development strategy for my organisation