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Esme Ward

Director, Manchester Museum

Esme Ward was appointed as Director of Manchester Museum in April 2018. She is the first woman to hold the role in its 125-year history. Prior to this, she was Head of Learning & Engagement at Manchester Museum and the Whitworth, where she led the growth of audiences and programmes, to include award-winning early years, health and culture and age friendly work. She now leads the new £13 million development project, hello future, to transform Manchester Museum over the next three years.

Esme is also the Strategic Lead (Culture) for Age Friendly Manchester and the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub, working with and for older people to make the city-region a better place to age well. She is regularly asked to write and speak about age-friendly culture and the social purpose and future of museums, both internationally and at home. She sits on several national boards and networks, including Age Friendly Museums Network and was one of the expert authors on the Prime Minister’s Champion Group on the Arts Guide to Dementia Friendly Culture. She is co-curator of the Arts and Health programme at the forthcoming World Health Congress 2019-20.

In 2016-17 she was a Fellow on the Clore Cultural Leadership programme, exploring social and civic purpose, leadership and the future of museums.  Her career has been driven by learning and social purpose with a longstanding commitment to make museums more inclusive and relevant to a wider audience.

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