There’s never been a more exciting time to be part of the ENVi committee! And yet sadly, I’m pausing… as I sit in my dressing gown whilst my fellow museum colleagues are at work, my newborn baby/future museum learner and advocate sleeps (I hope – the sleeping and museum learner!), and I can add to this report which Ian Watts has so kindly and expertly completed for me.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Committee, both collectively and individually for their efforts over the past two years. Thank you also for trusting me to be your president, its been both a pleasure and an honour to be part of a collective of wise, reflective, intelligent, warm and passionate people who are so committed learning in museums and the cultural sector, creating and sharing their knowledge in the transformative experiences they have been part of creating for our audiences.

The Committee is made up of volunteers, who all have busy lives and day jobs, and who meet bi-monthly to coordinate the series of experiences ENVi offer its members, advocate for education in museums and support new talent through bursaries.

We would also like to acknowledge the support of Museums Australia (Victoria), particularly in the management of bookings for our events, as well as collaboration on several events. Your work and passion for our events is invaluable, and we – the royal we – look forward to working with you in 2016 and beyond.

There have been many highlights over the past two years for MA ENVI, however these deserve particular mention.

In 2014-2015, we welcomed three new committee members, Helen Berkemeir, Jo Clyne, and Liz Suda. In gaining new members, we gain new insights, new contacts and… new venues! These new members allow us as a collective of learners to broaden our experiences and knowledge of museum education – a key objective of the committee. And over the past two years, we’ve held events in the following new venues:

  • MUMA
  • The Hellenic Museum
  • Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

As well as the new, we also celebrated the old… or rather significant; the 40th anniversary of MA ENVi.

There were representatives from every era:

  • VEOA (Victorian Education Officers Association) 1974-81
  • MEAV (Museum Education Association of Victoria) 1982-93
  • MEAG (Vic) (Museums Australia Education Special Interest Group) 1994 -2005
  • ENVi (Education Network Victoria) 2006-2016

I would like to thank everyone involved in the coordination of this event, particularly Ian Watts and Christine Healey. The night was a raging success, with interstate speakers, past presidents from every decade, and over 70 guests packed into a large room at the Old Treasury Building. Testament to the conversation provoking nature of the event, guests had to be forced out of the building – as the decades of collective museum learning wisdom couldn’t stop conversing in the corridors of Old Treasury.

In 2015 Museums Australia Education (MAE – the National Education Network) celebrated forty years of association at the Museums Australia Conference in Sydney. Victorian members were well represented at this event.

The ENVi website/blog has continued to develop during 2014-15 thanks to the efforts of Christine Healey. In 2015, there were 8 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 26 posts. The busiest day of the year was 20 February with 43 views. The most popular post that day was Belief, voice, opinions & facts.

The posts that got the most views on ENVi were: 1. Teaching World War I in the age of opinion 2. Belief, voice, opinions & facts 3. Make & Share: Narratives in Learning

Our online visitors came from 36 countries in all. Of course most were from Australia but the United States and India were not far behind.

And finally, in 2015 we embarked on an approach to programming on the theme of “Belief, voice, opinions and facts”, and it’s influence on the experiences we create for learners in our venues. Certainly for myself as a committee member, this created a novel and rich way in which to question our practice of museum learning; it sparked fascinating conversations with peers and gave our speakers a new lens through which to query and share their own work – and we received thanks from both participants and presenters.

So, to this end, thank you to all of the members and audience participants of ENVi, and to the amazingly talented committee members of ENVi. And as the outgoing president, and in the words of Winnie the Pooh…

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Priscilla Gaff & Ian Watts

President Museums Australia ENVi

February 2016

ENVi meeting
Congratulations Ian! 21 years involvement in Victorian Museum Education.