BCMA’s advocacy, research and communications build awareness about the value and impacts of our members and the BC cultural sector among policymakers and the general public.
What is advocacy?
The BC Museums Association defines advocacy as:
The development and maintenance of ongoing relationships with influential people and/or groups that results in sustained recognition and support for the resources required to promote culture and heritage as valuable, essential assets and museums, art galleries and cultural centres as keepers of legacy, places of learning and economic drivers for the community.
Advocacy news and updates
BCMA regularly publishes advocacy news and updates to help our members and stakeholders stay informed about new policies, statistics and opportunities to advocate for museums and culture. We also have regular advocacy updates in Roundup:
Making the case for your museum
First, watch BCMA’s webinar “Making the case for your museum: Advocacy strategies that work!” This hour-long webinar shares tools, tips and actions for building relationships with elected officials and increasing your organization’s effectiveness in advocacy.
Here are additional resources to assist with advocacy on the municipal, provincial and federal levels. Let us know if there are other resources you would like to share or request: BCMABrain@museumsassn.bc.ca.
Research, reports and additional resources
- NEW! Economic Impact Report and Case Studies, BCMA and Heritage BC 2020
- The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage released a major report on the State of Canadian Museums (September 2018). The Government’s response was issued in January 2019.
- Government of Canada Survey of Heritage Institutions (2017): A survey and analysis of financial and operating data from 1,820 heritage institutions and sites (museums, art galleries, historic sites, etc).
- Hill Strategies: Arts and culture research reports on topics like Canadian public participation in arts, culture and heritage
- The American Museum Association Top Ten Rules for Advocacy Engagement can be found here
- The American Museum Association also has free advocacy webinars:
- ICOM has laid out 6 Advocacy Steps that can be found here
- ICOM has also created a Culture and Local Development: Maximising the Impact guide
- The Small Museum Association has put together an Advocacy 101 document for small museums
- Be a voice for positive change! Write a letter, make a phone call and invite decision-makers to visit your museum. Go on! Share the good work that you are doing for your community!
- Commit to email / call / or engage in social media with one representative every month.
- Use this sample invitation template to invite a government official to your museum or event (Word template).
- Be sure to take a photo and share it through social media #BCMuseums.
- For more tips, check out the joint letter by the Canadian Museums Association and the BC Museums Association that provides tips and talking points for inviting MPs to visit.
- Don’t know who to invite? See the Who’s Who section below.
- Educate yourself about the benefits of museums using the resources above; then share your knowledge with elected officials to increase their awareness about the social, cultural and economic impacts of our sector.
- Build lasting relationships with politicians in your community. This is one of the most effective ways to take action, both to benefit your own community and organization, and to contribute to wider efforts provincially and nationally to ensure decision-makers understand the many ways museums contribute to communities.
- Celebrate BC Museums Week and International Museums Day! These awareness events celebrate the importance of museums, art galleries, historic sites, cultural centres and other memory institutions as keepers of legacy, places of learning, and drivers for the economic and social well-being of our communities. Invite members of the public and elected officials to celebrate with you!
- Request a letter of support from your museum’s community partners and other individuals. Use this template to encourage your supporters to advocate on your museum’s behalf.
- Generally, support each other to the benefit of the sector as a whole. Here are 20 simple things you can do (note: although this blog post is geared to general non-profits there are some great ideas that are applicable to our sector as well).
- Write your MLA about the importance of arts funding now! Use this template letter to advocate for increased BC Arts Council funding in the provincial budget.
- Be polite! If a cheque arrives in the mail, be sure to send a thank-you note.
Wondering who to invite to your next exhibition opening? Who to brief on a new project you’re seeking support for? Who to write or call to advocate for increased investment and support for museums, culture and heritage? Here are links to directories of elected officials and staff and key decision-makers.
- Visit CivicInfoBC for contacts and information on B.C. municipalities and regional districts.
- Find your MLA (provincial government representatives)
- BC Government Directory (provincial government departments and contacts)
- Key Contacts:
- Hon. Lisa Beare, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture: Contact the Minister, read her bio and mandate letter and learn more about Ministry plans and activities.
- Find your MP (federal government representative)
- Government of Canada Directory (federal government departments and contacts)
- Key Contacts:
- Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism: Contact the Minister, read his bio and mandate letter and learn more about Canadian Heritage programs and services
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