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Local Matters: Manchester Museum announces pilot programme to tackle inequality

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Staff at Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester, will be trained as social justice researchers as part of a pilot programme for the cultural sector.

Local Matters, led by Dr Carl Emery and Louisa Dawes from the University, advocates for a different response to addressing the needs of children and families living in poverty.

Manchester Museum and Local Matters will work collaboratively to develop and deliver a pilot programme that addresses how poverty and disadvantage are understood and responded to within the museum and through its relationships and activities.

“This is a unique programme that will see museum staff become locally embedded social justice researchers and develop a better understanding of our communities. The aim is for future decision-making at the museum to be done through the lens of social justice, poverty and disadvantage”

Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum.

The programme will launch this November, and over the next 12-months the museum will carry out a large-scale research project in Ardwick. Staff will explore what is known about poverty, both locally and nationally, and apply this knowledge to make changes to museum practice and policy.

Manchester Museum is currently undergoing a huge transformation, which has not only increased the museum’s capacity to showcase spectacular collections, it has also led to new collaborations with the people of Greater Manchester. This is part of its ambition to become even more inclusive and caring for the communities it serves.

Dr Carl Emery, Research Fellow Disadvantage and Poverty, has said about the project:

“Too often policy makers and practitioners see poverty as having a simple beginning, middle and end. It is viewed as something that can be fixed if we all just ‘do better’. I am delighted to be launching this programme with the museum to use research to really explore what poverty looks like locally and how the museum and the university can respond to this through the needs of local people, local knowledge and resources.”

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