The North East Emerging Museum Professionals Group

18342281_419289128447568_8057625872647443527_nThe North East Emerging Museum Professionals Group (NEEMPG) is a new networking group set up to help those in the early stages of their museum, art gallery and heritage career.

Hannah Mather, who graduated from Newcastle University in 2016 with an MA in Museum Studies, launched the group in April and here she tells us all about NEEMPG, its aims and hopes for the future.

What is NEEMPG and why did you set it up?

It’s a networking group aimed not just at early stage professionals. We’re providing a fun and enthusiastic environment for members by welcoming new ideas and allowing them to comfortably ask questions, give honest advice and receive support. By building relationships with other professionals we can learn from one another, more established professionals can share their experience while those just starting out bring fresh ideas to the sector.

The group has very diverse members, ranging from dedicated volunteers to students all of which have a common interest in museums, history and heritage.

We’re about encouraging professional development but also representing and unifying the diverse roles within the sector. The Group is also keen to reach out to the numerous volunteers in this sector, who may be helping at museums and want to extend their networks and build their knowledge. We are celebrating the huge contribution that volunteers make to the museums sector and the benefits of being involved.

Sharing advice and good practice is essential for early career professionals, and the forum allows us to do just that. It’s great to be able to engage with people in this way, helping to open doors and to help each other.

How does NEEMPG work?

It’s very social media based at the moment, through Facebook and Twitter. One of the group’s key aims is to encourage participation in professional development opportunities, so we’ve been using the platforms to post or retweet about placements, jobs, exhibitions and the like, particularly those in the North East.

As well as the social media profile, we will be organising events too, meet-ups and socials, going to exhibitions as a group – so there is the real chance to meet and build networks.

How have things gone so far?

It’s been very popular. The interesting has been amazing, we have exceeded 100 members on both Facebook and Twitter in just a few weeks which is very encouraging. Members are inter-acting with each other, sharing opportunities and good practice. It’s great to be able to engage with people in this way, particularly opening doors and sharing knowledge.
Are there similar groups around the country?

Yes, NEEMPG is part of a growing network of EMP groups in the UK. There are currently two other EMP groups which we are working closely with, one in the West Midlands and another in London. I see this group which is based in the North East as an opportunity to celebrate what is being achieved in this region and not only do we wish to help professionals here but also to engage and build relationships with other groups and professionals around the country.

 What’s next for NEEMPG?

As for the future, we want the group to be very much about unity. Currently, we are North-East based, but we will be build our engagement and connections with the existing groups around the country. That will allow us to grow and to organise bigger events and meet up. It would be great to be part of a nation-wide network of early professionals working and volunteering in the museums sector. We are also currently working on exciting outreach which will allow us to connect with other areas both nationally and eventually internationally.

To find out more about NEEMPG join the Facebook group at  and Like the Facebook page

You can also follow the group on Twitter @NEEMPG


17 areas of development for public relations in 2017

wadds1Ahead of his latest lecture to PR students on Friday, February 10, our Visiting Professor Stephen Waddington explores some of the developments that students can expect to see in public relations in 2017. Each issue is the start of bigger conversation about the future of practice.



  1. The robots are coming

We’re starting to feel the impact of machines in at least three areas of public relations: content production; content distribution and publication; and workflow. Artificial intelligence is a growing issue in public relations.

  1. Algorithms and bubbles

Algorithms are commonplace for searching and organising how information is displayed. But be careful as they create bubbles that insulate us from contrary opinion. We need to work hard to break out of algorithmic bubbles.

  1. Over reliance on data

If you’re working on a campaign for 2017 use tools to establish a hypothesis and then put them down and go into the real world to talk, and more importantly listen to your publics.

  1. Rethink content formats

Most press releases aren’t written for the press. Instead they’ll be posted on a corporate website and carved up into a multitude of formats for customer emails and tweets. If press releases are your primary means of communication it’s time for a rethink.


  1. Internet shifts to video formats

2016 has seen innovation in virtual reality. Live video could be equally disruptive. It’s a powerful form of first person storytelling. Both Facebook and Periscope have invested in tools for video producers.

  1. Paying to play with influencers

Each new form of media from Snapchat to YouTube, and Instagram to Twitter, has given rise to a new breed of influencers. They provide a means of building trust with specific communities through third party storytelling.

  1. Representing the publics we serve

Public relations is a female-led industry yet there is a significant pay gap between in favour of men. Meanwhile 91 per cent of practitioners are white and 89 per cent identify as British. We need to better represent the publics that we serve.

  1. Social media monopolies

In the UK Google accounts for more than 85% of internet searches. Facebook has a strong and growing platform of services including Instagram and WhatsApp. Meanwhile Google+ has fallen by the wayside. LinkedIn, now owned by Microsoft, is pursuing an advocacy, content and learning strategy.

  1. Social media in the enterprise

The application of social media technologies internally within an organisation have shown early promise but adoption rates are low. Behaviour, culture and technology are all issues. Facebook’s Workplace offers a potential solution.

  1. Internet voice disintermediation

Amazon Echo and Google Home are internet connected devices which summon up services from the internet based on voice commands. They are set to bring about another wave of internet disintermediation.

  1. Corporate speak

Much corporate marketing remains focused on the organisation rather than the intended public. More enlightened organisations are using new media as a means of conversation.

12 Living your values: take back control and make America great again

Whatever your view of the EU Referendum or the US Election campaigns, they were both built on a solid message. Every campaign needs a clear purpose that can be summarised in a few words. Publics are looking for a point of view.

  1. Trump cycle replaces the news cycle

The Trump campaign during the US election turned the exploitation of the media into an art form. This wasn’t about news cycles, they’re long dead, but the Trump cycle. Opponents struggled to counter as Trump moved onto the next story.

  1. Integrated Measurement Framework

The Integrated Measurement Framework guides practitioners through a series of seven steps to create a measurement approach for a campaign. AMEC’s job for 2017 is to make its framework a standard in practice throughout the profession.

  15 Social capital: a community life force

Social capital isn’t something you’ll find on a profit and loss statement but it’ll be increasingly important for organisations seeking to build trust with their publics. Brands have an opportunity to help bring people together.

   16 Community of practice

A close working relationship between academia and practice is a hallmark of any professional discipline. In public relations this relationship is limited. We need to learn from the body of knowledge that academic colleagues are investigating and apply it to our day jobs.

   17 Are you any good?

How do you train in a profession where the skills you learn are likely to be outdated before you complete the qualification or training programme? Continuous professional development (CPD) integrated with your personal development is the only solution.

This post is based on a longer article and deck about public relations in 2017 that Stephen posted on his personal blog.

About Stephen Waddington

Stephen is a Visiting Professor in Practice at Newcastle University supporting the university and students through teaching and mentoring.

He is also is Partner and Chief Engagement Officer at Ketchum helping clients and colleagues to do the best job possible engaging with the public.