I’m Esme Ward and am currently a Clore Fellow exploring cultural leadership, figuring out what museums are for and exploring the social, learning and civic purpose of arts and heritage. My usual day job is leading participatory work and teams at the Whitworth and Manchester Museum at the University of Manchester. I also work as the Strategic Culture Lead for Age-Friendly Greater Manchester and lecture in Creative Learning and Museology.
I’m now halfway through my Clore Fellowship and it’s leading me to pastures new, introducing me to smart, inspiring people, both on the doorstep and further afield. From Middlesbrough to Gdansk, Barrow-in-Furness to San Francisco, I will be wandering, flaneuse-style, through heritage; sharing insights and observations from site visits, everyday and extraordinary places, projects, people and conversations. Keeping an eye on imaginative, smart ideas from the world of museums, heritage and beyond. Grappling with future-thinking and social change.
As part of the fellowship, I’m on secondment to the strategic team at the Heritage Lottery Fund, investigating how to support communities to catalyse heritage activity and activism. This blog will also, in part, chart this process.
Inspired by field notes, I’ll aim to record descriptive information (date, time, settings, actions, behaviours) and reflective information (my thoughts, ideas, questions, concerns) about the places, work and people I encounter. If you read this and it touches a nerve, do share your thinking. Ever learning, ever curious..