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Hastings Museum and Art Gallery: Creative Consultation

Culture Shift was commissioned in July 2015 to work with Hastings Museum and Art Gallery on a community consultation to find out more about what people think of their local museum.

This was part of an Arts Council England funded Finding Our Place: A New Vision for Hastings Museum and Art Gallery and ran alongside three other consultations into the use of space, museum governance and schools’ use of the museum.

The process was led by Catherine Orbach and artist, Sharon Haward, who devised a series of events and online consultation.

Over 600 people were consulted over a 3 month period to find out what brings people to the museum, what they value about it and what might stop people using the museum. Some took part in activities at the museum and at Priory Meadow shopping centre. Others filled in museum trails, short questionnaires following a museum event, or completed an online survey. People annotated maps of the museum, produced banners and placards, shared key impressions, and talked about the future of the museum.

Participants represented a cross section of age groups, as well as a mix of regular users, occasional visitors and people who had never been to the museum.

Who was involved?

  • Lead facilitators: Catherine Orbach and Sharon Haward
  • Museum team: Cathy Walling, Catherine Harvey and Sonia Rasbery
  • The following organisations took part: Horizons Community Learning, Residents from Amicushorizons, Big Local North East Hastings, WRVS, Hastings and Rother Rainbow Alliance, Museums Association, Hastings and Rother Disability Forum, Hastings Youth Council, SoCo Artists, Hastings and Saint Leonards Children’s Centres


Summary findings from the consultation were put together as an exhibition designed by Sharon Haward and were on show at the museum between February and April 2016.

Findings also fed into the Finding Our Place report, submitted to Hastings Borough Council.

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What 3 words sum up Hastings Museum and Art Gallery for you?
Out of the way
Eclectic, quirky, eccentric
Dead, irrelevant, old fashioned
Interesting, thought provoking
History, Hastings, Community

HMAG flattened panel 2 copy 2