The Museum Leaders Report

Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, in partnership with its Gardens, Libraries and Museums, are pleased to announce the release of the Museum Leaders Report: the culmination of an innovative 18-month long research project examining leadership in the cultural sector.

Responding to calls from across the sector to look at the changing nature of leadership through increasingly turbulent and stretching times, the project sought to gain a fresh understanding of the issues that leaders are facing. Through open conversations with the research team, leaders from a range of institution types – including museums, galleries, libraries and botanical gardens – and with different structures – Nationals, University Museums, Local Authority Museums, and Independent Trusts – were able to reflect on their personal experiences, providing illuminating insights.

 “Giving centre stage to a group of people who are leading at the cutting edge of the sector, [the Museum Leaders Report] provides a unique perspective on the leadership issues cultural leaders are facing.”

Diane Lees, Director General, Imperial War Museums

A detailed analysis of the interviewees’ responses, combined with a study of additional metrics from across the sector, enabled the research team to capture a unique impression of the sector’s leadership. The research reveals common threads across different institutions, investigates a range of approaches used to embrace and respond to change, and raises important questions for further collective consideration. The publication of the Museum Leaders Report marks the end of this study, but the beginning of a much longer journey as, across the sector, cultural organisations continue to work together to critique and develop leadership practice to ensure a successful and sustainable future.

The Museum Leaders Report research project has been supported by the National Museum Directors Council (NMDC) and Arts Council England (ACE). The report was launched through NMDC in June 2018 and is now available here as a pdf download.



For enquiries about the research project or report please contact:

Dr Michael Smets
Associate Professor in Management and Organisation Studies 
Saïd Business School

Dr Pegram Harrison
Senior Fellow in Entrepreneurship
Saïd Business School

Lucy Shaw
Head of Programmes and Partnerships
Oxford University Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM)