The Happy Museum held an annual Symposium each year between 2012 and 2014 and a further gathering in 2018.  These events brought together members of the growing Happy Museum Community of Practice with key thinkers from museums, galleries, economics, wellbeing and the wider cultural sector to help think through the challenges and potential for museums and galleries in a ‘transition’ to a high well-being, sustainable future.   To find out more read the summary reports of the events:

Symposium 1 – January 2012, East Anglia

Symposium 2 – February 2013, Cheshire

Symposium 3 – March 2014, Lincolnshire

Symposium 4 – April 2018, Lincolnshire

Links to a blogs and reports from the events can also be found below:


Symposium 2013 – blog by Ailsa Strachan

A personal perspective from Ailsa Strachan of Manchester Museum This year’s symposium felt different to last year’s. Last year, I was part of a new commission. Everything was new and uncertain and I didn’t really know what to expect. I went to the symposium thinking sustainability wasn’t really related to our project: happiness and wellbeing, yes, ...

Symposium 2013 – Blog responses and Report

Between 6-8th February, 45 attendees made their way to the beautiful Trafford Hall in Chester for the second Happy Museum symposium. Commissioned projects, speakers, and guests from across the museum, culture and environment sectors came together to discuss issues including related to how museums can foster individual wellbeing, resilience, stronger communities and environmental sustainability. Here, ...

Symposium 2013 – blog by Sian Thurgood

The word I used when asked to sum up the Happy Museum Symposium on Friday was ‘proud’. However reflecting on it a few days later on a miserable wintry evening, one word seems woefully insufficient. The ideas of active citizenship, resilience and coproduction explored at the symposium are fresh on my lips. I can ‘be the ...

Short film of the 2013 Symposium

Clive Ardagh of Onward Productions  has put together this great compilation of symposium footage – we hope it gives you a flavour of the event. Happy Museum Symposium 2013 Watch out for Clive’s short film of the Happy Museum Project coming out shortly!

Pursue mutual relationships – 2012 symposium discussion

Notes of a discussion of this principle from the Happy Museum paper at the Symposium This principle inspired a wide-ranging discussion.  The starting point was the kind of relationship with which, whether as a museum or funder, we were all familiar – a partnership, probably established for a particular project, perhaps motivated by the need to ...