A model of resilience for small specialist museums

Arts Council England logo

Symbiosis was an Arts Council England Resilience Round 2 project undertaken by MoDiP in partnership with 20 small museums with different specialisms. The project ran from 1 October 2016 to 31 March 2018.


Small museums must become more resilient. Deeper collaboration with industry is one way to achieve this. Symbiosis explores models of industry engagement with a view to helping small specialist museums, whatever their industry focus, to develop workforce skills in this respect.

The project had 3 aspects

  • MoDiP working with an industry consultant who made contact with companies leading to collaborations between the companies and MoDiP.
  • Workshops at which representatives of a range of small specialist museums shared experiences of working with their related industries.
  • Development of a generic guide drawing on both MoDiP's experience and that of the project's partner museums to pass on the learning.


This resource is intended for people working in small specialist museums who want to get closer to the industries their collections represent but have found it difficult to achieve.


The Symbiosis resource has five parts:

  • an account of existing museum engagement with industry undertaken by those who participated in the project.
  • 10 step guide to the process, including agreement and evaluation templates adaptable to the needs of different museums, industries and projects.
  • the four interactions with the plastics and design industries which MoDiP achieved as a result of the project.
  • Benefits analysis.
  • Contributors to the resource.

Peer review

This is a peer-reviewed resource. If you have any comments, corrections or recommendations to improve the resource please contact

Existing practice >