Professional development (CPD)

Investing in your own development is the single biggest impact you can make on your work, your outlook and your prospects.

Curatorial skills are not just for people who are or want to be art or museum curators–although we cater for you too! Our curatorial model and methods are highly transferrable to any area of work life that involves knowledge generation and communication.

As a research active organisation you can be sure that all of our CPD programmes will be backed up by the latest thinking and applications. We also provide individual mentoring based on our experience as trained and accredited facilitators.

Develop CPD for your workplace, college or programme

We are experienced course and class programme developers. We can co-develop bespoke professional development short and long programmes or one-off masterclasses and workshops.

Should you wish for a blended learning approach we can supply a combination of workplace and online learning. We use the experiential learning cycle as our framework (based on Kolb) which means learning through doing and active reflection. This makes our learning experiences much more appealing for non-book learners and helps to create a more satisfying experience for mixed groups, such as volunteers.

Heritage CPD with Truro and Penwith College

In February 2020 we began working with Truro and Penwith College (accredited by the University of Plymouth) History, Heritage and Culture (HHC) teaching team (led by Marilla Walker and Stuart Falconer) to develop a brand new CPD short-course drawn from a module entitled Innovation, Sustainability and Enterprise in Cultural Heritage Today. The project was commissioned by the ESF Innovation in Higher Level Skills project which is part funded by the European Social Fund.* The IHLS team organised both the learning forum and masterclass, led by Laura Hames.

Starting with concept design rapidly led to organising a learning forum — in the space of 4 weeks — where we facilitated a workshop with professionals and wannabe professionals in the field of heritage, culture and tourism. It was important to test ideas quickly so we could adapt and develop content so it absolutely suited the needs of those wanting to do the full course.

The learning forum’s aims were to identify the key challenges the sector faces and the skills needed to meet those challenges. CPD development is a very different activity to academic course development, requiring the framework of experiential learning (for example that of Kolb). We were also able to bring facilitation and professional development experience to the co-design process including useful tools for self-development such as the Johari Window and GROW model.

Participants agreed that having Tehmina Goskar of the Curatorial Research Centre supporting the delivery of the session, had been a very positive experience. Participants recognised Tehmina’s expertise and depth of understanding of the key themes that affect the sector, as well as her ability to provoke critical thinking, as important elements that help elevate the course from undergrad to CPD level.

Heritage in Danger, Heritage Saved CPD Masterclass feedback, July 2020.

Heritage in danger, heritage saved

Following evaluation of the learning forum in March 2020, we immediately started adapting to online delivery, in light of the unpredicted constraints of working during a pandemic. The adaptations did not just mean converting class-based learning to online learning, and the technical and delivery challenges they pose, but also adapting the content so they were fully reflective of a massively different and still shifting world situation–the pandemic and global consciousness of health injustice, inequalities, systemic racism, world politics.

Delivering the Masterclass online also afforded new opportunities, particularly in light of the development and delivery of a fully accredited CPD short course (also called a SUCCESS course) – professionals and businesses outside Cornwall could be reached and we could test our ideas and examples on a potentially international audience.

As this was a taster, we looked at the different themes currently covered in the academic module. We felt ‘heritage in danger, heritage saved’ encapsulated so many issues of the moment it felt like a powerful way to market the masterclass. It also enabled us to question the very meaning of heritage, whose heritage and who are its audiences in today’s context?

The Heritage in Danger, Heritage Saved masterclass took place over a day on 6 July. We had 40 participants, far exceeding expectations and targets. Participants came from across the UK as well as overseas, such as India. Half of those were those known to the CRC and our networks and we were pleased to bring this new learning audience to the College as part of our promotion of it.

Discussion going on around a round table with three people, two men and a woman. One man is wearing a brown velvet jacket and has short dark brown hair. The other man has grey curly hair and a woolly jumper. The man in the brown jacket is showing the man in the jumper a 3D model using augmented reality on an iPad. The woman is looking on. She is wearing a pattered jumper with rows of diamond, stars and geometric knitting shapes (like a Fair Isle pattern). She short hair, shaven sides and dyed blonde and curly on top. The table is full of notebooks and brochures, glass and bottles of water. Around them is a big bookcase and a banner saying Innovation in Higher Level Skills.
Participants in the co-design learning forum on innovation and enterprise in cultural heritage, Truro, 16 March 2020.

*The project is receiving £1.87m of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit

European Union logo, blue flag with a circle of 5-pointed yellow stars. On the right the words European Union. European Social Fund.

Specialist and technical CPD

For subject or specialist professional develop, we offer CPD in the following areas. Typically, ‘Principles’ are half-day workshops lasting 2.5-3 hours. ‘How to’ workshops are full day and include practicals. Post-workshop resources such as slides and handouts are included. All participants receive a Statement of Accomplishment on successful completion.

Don’t see what you are looking for here? Don’t hesitate to contact us with your particular needs.

  • Principles of 2D and 3D digitisation
  • Principles of curating collections
  • Principles of object-based research
  • Principles of interpretation
  • Principles of podcasting and How to podcast successfully
  • How to create exhibitions and displays
  • Technical skills for curators
  • Principles of co-creation and co-production
  • Principles of diversity and inclusion
  • Research skills for curators
  • Principles of good interpretation
  • Picture research for curators
  • History of museums
  • Principles of material culture research
  • Finding and interpreting women’s heritage
  • Finding and interpreting hidden and minority heritage

Curator for a day

A lot of the skills are definitely transferable to medical consultation. Being able to portray information in easily digestible chunks. Also able to pick up on people’s body language and gauge how a conversation is going.

Survey feedback from a medical student taking part. Q: In what ways will you apply your learning to your day job? March 2018.

In 2017/18 we created an unusual opportunity for medical students to experience museum curation. University of Exeter medical students based at Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro had the option of taking a longitudinal module in the humanities. Initiated by the medical library team, an opportunity was sought for the students to immerse in museums as part of their studies.

This was their opportunity interpret a range of artefacts and artworks in the museum from a medic’s perspective. It resulted in a real time show and tell event at the museum for visiting public. From gigantism evident in a portrait to exploring Victorian attitudes to mental health through blood-letting, the students had the opportunity to adapt their own knowledge and expertise to collections research.

As a result the museum gained new insights into some of their objects and visitors got to hear a specialist interpretation of them. The students reported that curatorial communication skills and interrogative techniques were useful outcomes of the training that they could see using in their training as doctors.

Team building

Curatorial team projects can be cohesive and our group courses and training will expand the realm of questions people ask of things and situations that are very familiar to them. This raises self-awareness, clarifies purpose and places emphasis on the importance of acquiring the right kind of information and knowledge.

We would be very happy to develop a Curator for a Day workshop for your organisation.

Two young women, one with long dark hair and light brown skin. The other with white skin. The woman with long dark hair is wearing a white shirt and buff coloured trousers and looks on at the other women who is wearing a beige dress and a long floppy sleeve cardigan with a black and white pattern. She is also wearing an Egyptian-style head-dress emulating the head-gear of ancient Egyptian pharaohs. It is striped in black and gold. This woman is examining a cloth dummy of a 'mummy' with dark brown body while the woman with the long dark hair and white shirt instructs.
University of Exeter medical students giving a medical interpretation of ancient Egyptian processes of mummification, April 2018.