Collections-based learning during COVID-19

Collections-based learning during COVID-19 – Online Workshop Session with Case Studies from England

Wednesday, June 24th
11:30-13:00 CEST (Central European Summer Time)
10:30-12:00 BST (British Summer Time) / WEST (Western European Summer Time)
12:30-14:00 EEST (Eastern European Summer Time)

Duration: 90 minutes

As university museums are in lockdown or face strict social distancing measures, how has this affected access to and learning with collections? What opportunities does digital object-based learning bring and how are university museums adapting to the new circumstances?


The roundtable will bring some current examples of collections-based learning, alongside the challenges, hopes and concerns to resume museum work after the pandemic, focusing this time in case studies from England, addressing the following questions:


What approaches to collections-based learning and student engagement were being used prior to Covid-19 pandemic?

What challenges are we facing in moving collections-based learning online?

What strategies have been devised to address these challenges, successful or otherwise?

What elements of your new working environment will you keep post COVID?

Join us for a long coffee break with the Universeum network, June 24 2020 to share our experiences of managing university collections and learning in the COVID-19 crisis.

There will be 6 speakers from various english institutions sharing their experience and expertise:

  • Kate Arnold-Forster, Museum of English Rural Life

Kate Arnold-Forster has a long-standing career in museums, and since 2002 she has been Director of the Museum of English Rural Life and Special Collections at the University of Reading, and for the strategic development of the University’s other museums and related collections, where she has led a major programme of capital re-development and renewal. She has undertaken extensive research into the sector through the national (UK) survey of university museums and collections.


  • Sam Beath, Manchester Museum

Sam Beath is the senior conservator and collections care manager at Manchester Museum.

She specialises in educational technology and is in the process of completing her doctoral research on the development of digital touch museum replicas. Her focus is on improving access to museum collections in a sustainable way, particularly taking into account the needs of visitors who have sensory and learning impairments.


  • Amanda Ford-Spora, UCL Institute of Archaeology

Amanda Ford-Spora is a PhD student at the Institute of Archaeology at UCL researching how people’s interactions with artefacts from Egypt and Sudan impact the narratives they form about the past. Besides her research, Amanda is actively involved in collections-based education, running handling sessions at the Petrie Museum for public outreach and working as a teaching assistant for UCL’s museum studies course.


  • Zoe Hendon, Middlesex University

Zoë Hendon is the Head of Collections at the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MoDA), Middlesex University. She and her team work closely with colleagues across the University to ensure the museum’s collections are well used in learning and research within Middlesex and beyond. Her research interests sit  at the intersection of histories of design, museum studies and histories of art and design education, with a particular focus on the use of collections for creative inspiration.


  • Thomas Kador, UCL Culture

Thomas is senior teaching fellow at UCL Arts & Sciences (BASc) where he leads one of the University’s flagship Object-based learning modules – Object Lessons – as well as a number of others that link cultural engagements (in their broadest sense)with learning and wellbeing. While extremely varied, among Thomas’ research interest are the learning and wellbeing impacts of authentic experiences in relation to both objects (material culture) and learning spaces.


  • Judy Willcocks, University of the Arts

Judy Willcocks is an Associate of the Museums Association with twenty years’ experience of working in museums, and has a long-standing interest in developing the use of museum collections to support teaching and learning in higher education. Judy runs the Museum and Study Collection at Central Saint Martins and teaches an archiving unit for the College’s MA in Culture, Criticism and Curation. Judy is also interested in developing relationships between universities and museums in the broader sense and is the co-founder for the Arts Council funded Share Academy project, exploring the possibilities of cross-sector partnerships.


Following their presentations there will be time for Q&A.


The meeting will be moderated by the organisers of the Universeum Student Engagement Working Group, Ana Baeza Ruiz (Middlesex University, UK) and Annelies Van de Ven (Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium).



In order to register, please use our Eventbrite page or send an e-mail to by Tuesday, June 23rd.

Before the workshop, we will send you all the webinar link so that you can participate.

Technical Information

We will use the Microsoft Teams live event platform in order to allow the maximum number of people to participate. There will be a Q&A section for ongoing participation. If you experience any difficulties connecting contact us via e-mail and we will try to help.


Annelies Van de Ven, <>

Ana Baeza, <>


We warmly invite you to watch the video of the last meeting of the 7 May 2020 : Universeum Voices During COVID19: Reconnecting Online

Watch the video