An Imagined Museum

An Imagined Museum: Collaborative Models Impact and Possibilities was commissioned by the An Imagined Museum partnership via the lead organisation, Tate Liverpool, with the aim of investigating the collaborative working element of the An Imagined Museum exhibition. Undertaken separately to the formal summative evaluation on the wider impacts of the programme, this research, conducted by Sue Potts, sought to unpick the successful elements of this unique collaborative project and to uncover how working together impacted on staff and organisational practices.

Funded by Creative Europe, An Imagined Museum was an ambitious and innovative project which brought together key works from three national collections (Tate Liverpool, Museum fur Moderne Kunst, and Centre Pompidou Metz) in a unique touring exhibition. Inspired by Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451, the exhibition examined the value of art through the dystopian lens of censorship and loss — asking audiences to imagine a future without art works and to devise re-enactments of the key works on display.

Findings from the research confirmed a positive and inspiring collaborative experience with beneficial impacts for all partners, as well as outcomes which could not have been achieved without the partnership and cooperation that the project involved. The most successful aspect of the project was the collaborative curatorial experience, with the cross-institutional team best positioned to reap the benefits from collaboration. However, a key recommendation for future collaborative projects is to actively look to maximise opportunities for collaboration between staff outside the curation team, given the often confounded efforts to collaborate across other teams involved in the project due to scheduling issues and tight deadlines.

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