Museums+Tech 2021 will be hosted virtually on 1 and 2 December 2021

Update (21 Sep. 2021): Submissions have now closed.

Data, information, statistics. For better or worse they are part and parcel of our world, gathered and used as an influence in decision making, or in defence of a decision made. The pandemic has probably been the most data rich epidemic in human history, and we are all familiar with how the reading of it altered throughout. The collection and use of data is itself not neutral, and can be used to fight causes. Our own museum world is awash with data, and that is increasingly becoming ‘joined up’ with moves such as ‘Towards a National Collection’. Collections of data in themselves can be regarded as collections in their own right, rather than data about something else. 

With these perennial questions about data, combined with the increasing scrutiny of data and shift in how museums may identify themselves and their audiences after the pandemic, this year’s conference is calling to discuss our relationship with data. We want to talk about how our sector is using it, what insights it has brought to our work, and how to use it. We are interested in the collection and curation aspects, how it affects interpretation and communication. 

What does and what can our data tell us about our museums (good and bad), what are the opportunities and what are the pitfalls?

The MCG’s Museums+Tech 2020 virtual conference seeks proposals for presentations addressing these issues. It’s time to celebrate good work, and share ideas for helping museums and other cultural institutions do better. We’re open to suggestions, but topics might include:

  • What different types of data do you collect and own about your organisation, collections and audiences, and how do you use it?
  • What stories does your data tell? What does it hide?
  • What is our relationship to data, and the notion of technocrats in museums?
  • How can we help each other use data to bring about change in our organisations, e.g. decolonisation?
  • What sensitivities lie around data in the cultural sector, e.g. the impact of data collection on user trust?
  • What has data shown about the projects your organisation has embarked on and how can it inform or support future digital initiatives?
  • Building communities with organisations and individual users on a national and international level, e.g. collaborating and crowdsourcing
  • How can data from different organisations be integrated, and is this always desirable?
  • Using, remixing and visualising big and small data
  • Datasets as born-digital collection objects

The MCG’s annual conference attracts speakers and participants from some of the most innovative cultural organisations, agencies and university programmes in the world. We’re keen to hear from practitioners, researchers, funders, and those from related cultural heritage and technology sectors. All submitted papers will be reviewed by experts in the field.


The conference this year will be hosted remotely. The programme will include:

  • Short presentations (10 minutes + Q&A) are a great way to share the main learning points from a topic or project
  • Lightning talks (5 minutes + Q&A) are best for sharing useful ideas that others in the sector can try, or to present a provocation

Please note that we may group these presentations into panels with a discussion component. We will also include themed breakout groups, to be arranged closer to the conference.

Our audiences love our mixture of old and new voices, and we have a great track record in presenting a diverse range of speakers. We can also provide some bursaries for speakers who would benefit from assistance with funds for travel, childcare etc. Please also read our Guidance for Speakers before submitting your proposal. Our events have a code of conduct designed to help everyone enjoy the event.

Submission details

Proposals will need to note preferred format and include: 

  • a title and brief abstract (200 words max)
  • a biography (150 words max) for the presenting author
  • a brief (one or two sentences) non-technical summary of what attendees will learn from the presentation
  • a brief (one or two sentences) explanation of how the paper relates to the conference themes

We will also ask whether the paper or project has been presented at any previous conferences, and we encourage potential speakers to share links to their videos, slides, blogs etc to help us get a sense of their presentation style.

Proposals deadline extended

The deadline for proposals is 23:59 on the 20th September. If you have any questions about submitting a proposal, please contact us at