Museum, Heritage & Cultural Organisations

International Council of Museums (ICOM)

ICOM is the only international organisation representing museums and museum professionals.  It has more than 32,000 members and is made up of National Committees, which represent 136 countries and territories, and International Committees, which gather experts in museum specialities worldwide.


ICOM International Committees

The 30 International Committees bring together professional experts covering all aspects of museum activity.  Their annual meetings offer the opportunity for UK museums professionals to extend their networks of international contacts.  The ICOM events calendar lists the dates of annual International Committee meetings.



ICOM UK is the National Committee of ICOM in the UK and is a gateway to the global museum community and the only UK museum association with a dedicated international focus.  In addition to leading on two working internationally programmes – the annual Working Internationally Conference and the Working Internationally Regional Project – ICOM UK also offers bursaries for ICOM UK members to attend ICOM Triennial Meetings, International Committee meetings, and other conferences with a demonstrable international remit.


Association of Independent Museums (AIM) Success Guides: Successfully Working Internationally

The Success Guides focus on practical solutions, are written by leading specialists in their fields, and include a summary and top tips as well as comprehensive further information sections.  The guides have been funded by Arts Council England as part of AIM’s 2012/13 Resilience Programme.  Successfully Working Internationally by Jane Weeks has been jointly sponsored by ICOM UK and the British Council.


National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC)

NMDC represents the leaders of the UK’s national collections and major regional museums.  Its members are the national and major regional museums in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, the British Library, The National Library of Scotland, and the National Archives.  While their members are funded by government, the NMDC is an independent, non-governmental organisation.

NMDC’s website has a section on working internationally that includes opportunities, research, and reports on working internationally, including the 2012 paper World Collections that illustrates the breadth of museums’ international work and explores its wider impact.


British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.  It has offices in over 100 countries across six continents.  Each British Council office overseas has its own country website which can be accessed via the British Council’s home page.


Visiting Arts

Visiting Arts’ purpose is to strengthen intercultural understanding through the arts.  It provides tools to help the cultural sector to work more effectively and efficiently worldwide.  In 2013 they published this document on funding sources for working internationally.


World Cultures Connect (WCC)

WCC is a global cultural information site.  It connects artists and cultural organisations across the globe by allowing them to promote their work, make new connections, identify opportunities, and discover new partners, markets, and audiences.  The discussion forum is a useful way to share information and advice, and take part in discussions, on working internationally.


Heritage Without Borders (HWB)

Heritage Without Borders is a unique charity working in developing countries to build capacity in heritage skills in situations of poverty and reconstruction, and to provide life-transforming work experience for volunteer students and professionals in the heritage sector.


Museums Association

The Museums Association is a membership organisation for everyone working in museums, galleries, and heritage.  Museums Practice online features a number of articles and case studies relevant to working internationally.


Museums + Heritage Advisor

M+H Advisor brings together industry news, views, and features from across the sectors, and includes a monthly blog on working internationally from the WIRP.


University Museums Group (UMG)

Universities work on a global stage and their museums play a key role in this international approach.  UMG supports and advocates for the university museum sector in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  Working alongside their sister organisation University Museums in Scotland (UMIS) it represents the interests of university museums to funders and stakeholders, and also maintains close links with the international body for university museums, UMAC.


UK Higher Education (UK HE) International Unit

Museums work in partnership with Higher Education Institutions, both in the UK and overseas, to deliver aspects of their international activity.  Universities may be partners in academic research, help deliver training and capacity building, or be collaborators on producing teaching and study materials or activities.  University academics may lend their expertise as guest curators or to document parts of a museum’s collection, or help broker partnerships between a UK and overseas museum.

The UK HE International Unit provides information, networking, and advocacy for international work involving UK Higher Education Institutions.


Share Academy

The ACE funded Share Academy is a partnership between University College London (UCL), University of the Arts London (UAL) and the London Museums Group.  They have produced a range of resources and reports aimed at the museum and academic sectors.  These are designed to help facilitate new relationships between museums and academics and help develop existing ones.


The Art of Partnering report by Kings College London

The Art of Partnering is the final report of a Cultural Enquiry in collaboration with the BBC, which explored the role partnership plays in enabling publicly funded cultural institutions to enhance the quality and diversity of their work across the UK. The report was published on 13 October 2015. You can download the report HERE.

This was the third Cultural Enquiry from King’s and a major new initiative at a time when partnership is embedding as a way of working across the cultural sector.


Touring Exhibitions Group (TEG)

TEG is the UK professional group concerned with all aspects of organising and touring exhibitions, including international touring exhibitions, and is an independent membership network of galleries, museums, libraries, art and science centres, and other organisations.  TEG members have access to the TEG Handbook, an online guide to organising and managing exhibitions that includes information and advice on touring exhibitions internationally.


UK Registrars Group (UKRG)

The UKRG is a non-profit membership association set up in 1979.  It provides a forum for exchanging ideas and expertise between registrars, collection managers and other museum professionals in the United Kingdom, Europe and worldwide.

Through the UKRG website, members can access a number of resources aimed at registrars, or those who undertake the work of registrars.  These include publications relevant to international loans and exhibitions, such as facilities reports, guidance and top tips, and links to other online resources.


International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA)

IFACCA produces ACORNS, an online news service for and about arts councils and culture agencies, which contains news from arts and culture funding agencies and a digest of resources, such as links to websites, new publications, jobs, conferences, and events.