training and mentoring

Learning Unlimited’s training has grown from areas of expertise that have developed through our consultancy work. Training days and workshops are bespoke, drawing on a pool of tried and tested activities and approaches. Our teaching expertise and experience of delivering Professional Development for both teachers and museum professionals ensures our training is both effective and enjoyable.

Training is as participatory as possible, encouraging peer learning as well as presenting succinct and relevant information in ways that accommodate a variety of learning preferences. Jo is also an experienced public speaker and regularly contributes to seminars and national conferences.

Through mentoring, Jo has supported project planning and management, evaluation planning and delivery, audience development, audience focused interpretation, planning for learning and action research. She has worked with many different staff with varying levels of experience. The outcome has always been individual empowerment, increased confidence and capacity, with organisational change often resulting.

training and mentoring projects

Early Years in Museums - 2000 onwards

Learning Unlimited offer bespoke training on early learning and young children in museums for learning staff, curators, Front of House teams, volunteers, freelancers, teachers and Early Years practitioners. Jo’s experience and understanding of how young children learn in cultural contexts gives her a unique perspective to share. Her enthusiasm for these young visitors is infectious.

Clients include:

Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth (2014) Early Years and Museums
GEM West Midlands (2014) Engaging Early Years children in museums
Time and Tide Museum (2013) Conference key note: Making museums great places for young learners
Kenwood House/Archway Children’s Centre (2013) Young children connecting with culture
Museum of East Anglian Life (2013) Early Years and Museums
Museums and Heritage Show (2013) Children under 2 in museums: what’s in it for them?
National Maritime Museum (2012) Engaging children under 8 in museums
Haslemere Museum (2011) Exploration and investigation: Museums and galleries as part of the EYFS
Museum of London (2011) Early Years and Museums
Norfolk Museum Service: Early Years and Museums (2010)
Luton Museum Service: Early Years and Museums (2010)
Cuming Museum: Early Years and Museums (2010)
Winchester University Early Years BA: Museums as enabling environments (2009-2014)
South West Museum Hub: Supporting parents as children’s first educators (2009)
Brighton Museum Service: Understanding under 5s (2009)
Geffrye Museum: Early Years and Museums (2009)
Devon Children’s Services: Museums as part of the EYFS (2008)
MLA South West: Early Years and Museums (2008)
Isle of Wight Museums consortium/Children’s Services: Early Years skills sharing day (2008)
Scottish Museums Council: Beginning lifelong learning (2004–2006)
Shetland and Orkney Museums: Pre-School and family learning in museums (2005)
Colchester Museum Service/Sure Start: Touching the past: playing to learn (2005)

Families in museums - 2001 onwards

Learning Unlimited offer bespoke training on families learning together in museums. Jo lays a strong emphasis on inter-generational learning with families supported to develop their own “family narratives”. Whilst stand-alone training is offered, this training is often most powerful as part of a wider package including a family friendly audit or development of family friendly provision.

Clients include:

Kids in Museums (2013) Museums as exciting family learning environments
Geffrye Museum (2013) Families and museums
Norfolk Museums Service (2013) Engaging families
Potteries Museum, Stoke (2012) Family learning in museums
Tyne and Wear Museums (2010) Parents as First Educators
Renaissance South East (2007) Family Friendly: creating active interpretation

Evaluation and strategic planning training

Learning Unlimited can provide bespoke training on aspects of forward planning and/or evaluation. Jo has developed and delivered training supporting museums preparing for Accreditation and also museums seeking to develop comprehensive evaluation approaches, often as part of large development projects. Jo regularly works with Nicky Boyd to develop and deliver this training. Sometimes this is stand-alone but frequently it is integrated into wider mentoring.

Clients include:

The Tank Museum, Dorset (2014) Thinking about evaluation
Renaissance London (2013) Outcomes based planning
Oxford University Museum (2012) Thinking about evaluation
Renaissance London (2011) Using evidence for future planning
Renaissance South East (2011) Evaluating with families and young children

MLA - Revised Primary Curriculum

Jo worked with Nicholas Garrick of Lighting Up Learning to deliver a comprehensive introductory day to the revised primary curriculum. Guidance materials for schools were published by the QCDA in February 2010. This timely course provided insight for museums and archives of the new opportunities and challenges that a changed curriculum will bring.

"All speakers were focussed, engaging, fast moving with relevant information to impart."
"Very prepared and clear. Excellent mix of talking, presentation and group participation."
"All very good, knowledgeable and entertaining."
"No jargon, just useful stuff."
"All speakers very inspirational and enthusiastic."

Feedback from participants


Communicating Matters Module 1 and 2

Jo revised the Communicating Matters materials developed through Sure Start for Early Years practitioners, making them appropriate for museum staff. She delivered the training as the CPD element of the Close Encounters project for the South West Museum Hub.


Southampton University – Museum Studies MA seminars

Until the University closed this course, Jo ran one or two seminars per year, covering audience related topics. Seminars included planning for learning in museums, how to plan evaluation and visitor centred interpretation methods.


NESTA – Project mentor: Communication friendly museums

Jo was the mentor for this project led by The Potteries Museum in Stoke. Working closely with the Project Leader, she helped to structure project and consultant briefs, facilitated creative sessions with staff, offered best practice guidance and helped structure the final project publication.


NESTA - Project mentor: Little Nippers

Jo mentored this project, supporting the National Marine Aquarium to create provision for children under 5 for the first time.


NESTA – Project mentor: Spaced Out

This project sought to involve children and young people in building a scale model of the solar system through partner organisations in specified locations across the UK. As project mentor Jo supported the project in clarifying project objectives, increasing participation and planning an evaluation strategy.