I have over 35 years’ experience at a senior level in the culture, arts and museum sector, with a passionate belief that arts, museums, heritage and culture can have a positive impact on people’s lives. What drives me is the potential of culture as a creative force that measurably affects people and brings them together in dialogue and debate.
I have a wide range of experience across national, university, independent and local authority museums, and in cultural planning and public art management in regeneration areas aimed at developing community cohesion. I have an excellent network of contacts across the cultural, museum and arts sector.
An independent consultant since 2009, I have delivered projects and strategies for local authorities, national and independent museums, arts organisations, private foundations and community trusts. I have worked on organisational change, strategy development, developing community consultation and participation, and cultural planning, including managing public art programmes, empty shop projects, and creative cultural engagement in regeneration projects.
Clients have included:
- Paul Hamlyn Foundation (Project Director of Our Museum: Communities and Museums as Active Partners, 2011-18)
- National Trust (development programme for NT 'influencers')
- Association of Science and Discovery Centres (consultant on Explore Your Universe 4 participatory programme)
- Shambellie House Trust (Project Organiser to develop the house for workshops and residential courses on photography, arts/crafts. history, environment and wildlife)
- Wordsworth Trust (interpretation strategy)
- Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales (critical friend)
- Stretch Widening Participation (evaluation)
- Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Creativity Works (cultural planning, public art, empty shop projects)
- Lincolnshire One Venues (young people’s participation)
- Birmingham Museums Trust (organisational change to embed participation)
Change management and community participation
I developed and directed the largest ever programme of organisational change in the cultural sector for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, working with nine organisations over seven years to embed community participation and learn what works and what doesn't (see www.ourmuseum.org.uk for details, final reports, and 200+ multimedia resources). I developed an influencing strategy to stimulate change across the UK museum sector, working with all the key strategic sector agencies and funders. I have also worked with museum networks in the Netherlands, Belgium and Hungary to help them find innovative and practical ways of embedding participatory practice.
- Deputy (and Acting) Director of Manchester Museum
- Professor of Archaeology and Museology, University of Manchester
- Chair, North West Federation of Museums and Galleries - leading its radical strategic programme for the north-west, Rethinking the Museum (www.nwfed.org.uk/thinkpieces)
- Head of Antiquities, National Museums Liverpool
My background is in archaeology, particularly of the Middle East and Egypt, on which I have published widely. I also write on change management and ethical issues, and have an international profile as a practitioner and researcher on the theme of cultural institutions sharing authority with communities. See the Books and Reports tab for major publications and amazon.com/author/piotrbienkowski.