In 2009, Paul Hamlyn Foundation commissioned Dr. Bernadette Lynch1 to work with a study group of 12 museums and their community partners across the UK, to gauge the real nature and effectiveness of the engagement practices of museums and galleries. We are delighted to publish this report by Dr. Lynch, summarising her work with the study group. We acknowledge the work undertaken by these institutions and their partners, and thank them for the openness and trust they demonstrated during the research process, which revealed many fundamental issues that are not often discussed within the museums sector.

The outcomes of this research will help the Foundation, and other funding bodies, to direct future support to the area of deepening participation and meaningful engagement in our museums and galleries. We hope you will find this report an interesting and useful read, and that it will fuel debate about issues which we believe are vitally important.

Kate Brindley

Director, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art
Advisor, Paul Hamlyn Foundation Arts Programme Committee


  • 1 Dr. Bernadette Lynch has many years’ experience in senior management of museums in the UK and Canada, specialising in the theory and practice of engagement and participation. She is now a freelance writer, researcher and consultant to museums and galleries and lectures widely on the subject of participation and active engagement