Subject Specialist Network

One of the key drivers behind the formation of NatSCA was the recognition that natural sciences in Britain needed a stronger voice and would be better served by a larger organisation rather than a number of disparate groups.

While NatSCA has a national scope, it was recognised that that there was a clear need for a national network of natural science curators and institutions to take projects forward on a local, regional and national level.

In the NatSCA response to the Museums Association consultation paper Collections For The Future it was agreed that a network of subject specialists would be of great benefit. It was noted that a diverse number of formal and informal Subject Specialist Networks such as NatSCA and the Geology Curators Group (GCG) as well as more specialist groups for entomology, herbarium, vertebrate palaeontology etc, already existed. There is however little coordination or linkage between these organisations at a national or regional level. It was also noted that the members run many of these groups on their own time or with goodwill of their employers.

Four core areas have been identified as priorities for the SSN:

  1. Collections Care and Development
  2. Staffing and Staff Development
  3. Advocacy
  4. Access and Interpretation

The overall vision for the proposed SSN is that of a strategic national body for the natural sciences. It would be formed as a collegiate network based on museums, allied institutions and relevant special interest groups working at a regional level with a national steering group composed of representatives from the regions, national museums, museum organisations (NatSCA, GCG) and national bodies with a strong interest in natural science collections.

The SSN will function as a strategic administrative body to develop, organise and sustain projects on a national scale and promote collaborative effort at a regional and national level. It will focus on national priorities and projects with long-term objectives, which will enhance collections care, research, interpretation and public understanding and involvement with the natural sciences.

For more information about the wider network of SSNs see the Arts Council England webpage.

Developing a Subject Specialist Network for the Natural Sciences