– Proposals due by Sunday 15 March 2015 –

We are inviting proposals for sessions at the MCG Spring Meeting: ‘Innovation’: the Emperor’s new clothes? will be held on 14 May 2015 at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge.

Why are some projects described as ‘innovative’ while others aren’t? Have you ever been aware of pressure – from funders, from senior management, or from elsewhere – to come up with an innovative project?

Association with the innovation ‘label’ can be great in the short term for getting funding, but there is no point in ‘innovation for the sake of it’.

Or is there? You could argue that innovation (even ‘for the sake of it’)…

1. …attracts funding

2. …helps motivate people working on a project

3. … has its most lasting effect in the learning that goes on in the people involved in innovative projects, even where the nominal outputs are less successful

Innovation is, by definition, new for some people but not for others. When you look back at all the projects described as innovative, the reality is that only some of them have brought lasting value. What does innovation mean for museums? Does it go beyond new technologies to include new ways of organising our work or interacting with audiences? How do we assess which innovations are useful and which are distractions? Do you have any examples where the term innovation has proved positive in the short term and/or in the long term? Does innovation have to be revolutionary, or can it be evolutionary? Are you aware of any innovative ways of evaluating digital projects, or evaluating projects in general, using digital technologies or methodologies?

We are seeking proposals from people willing to share their successes and failures in projects that have or could be described as innovative. However we also welcome sessions focused on debunking the ‘cult’ of innovation or addressing the questions above.

We prefer sessions with a practical focus that will give delegates concrete ideas to take away and use in their own projects and in their own practice. We will also be looking for one or two more reflective presentations.

Have a think, and fill in the form:


The call for proposals ends at midnight GMT on Sunday 15 March 2015. We will get back to you by the end of March.

We look forward to hearing from you.