Are you interested in learning how to use Visible Thinking in the Museum to create engaging discussions with art and ideas? Maybe you’d like to make your museum or gallery tours, art discussions and educational programmes more interactive but don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you’d like to confidently transition to inquiry-led programmes in the museum or online? 
My Visible Thinking Membership is a learning community designed to help you confidently design, lead & manage engaging discussions about art and artefacts. Here are 8 good reasons why you should join!

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1. Learn a simple but transformative method

I found out 10 years ago that many museum educators and guides were struggling to meet the demands of leading inquiry-based programmes – sometimes their training was too brief, too confusing, or just too complicated. I wanted to simplify the process and increase the engagement factor for both facilitator and audience.

In 2011, I discovered the magic of Visible Thinking and have since developed ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum‘ – a method that uses thinking routines (from Visible Thinking and other initiatives) along with facilitation techniques, collaborative learning and museum education practices. The result is ‘inquiry made simple’. A easy-to-follow process that allows you to confidently design, lead and manage engaging inquiry-led sessions with art and artefacts. The ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum‘ method will really change the way you work. It will help you to design and structure your programmes, facilitate and manage discussions and really engage any audience with the art, artefact or idea you’re discussing.

In 2020, I developed Visible Thinking in the Museum Onlinean 8 module online programme teaching participants to use my ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum’ method. VTMO is now the flagship course of the Visible Thinking Membership, alongside masterclasses, specialist thinking routines classes, practice and coaching sessions and a dedicated private Facebook community group.

2. Build your network & be part of a global community

Do you want to find new colleagues to collaborate with or be inspired by and belong to a learning community of like-minded people? The Visible Thinking Membership allows you to do both. It provides a mix of learning and networking; it’s a place for idea sharing, creating connections and developing your practice. My courses also provide a springboard for new collaborations between participants whilst others get inspired by other members ideas or projects. Go global – expand your network beyond your city, country and become part of a global, inclusive community.

3. Keep learning

Whether you are a museum educator, guide, teacher or creative, we never stop learning. We never arrive at the place where we consider ourselves ‘done’. There are always new techniques to learn, improvements to be made on existing skills and inspiration to be sought for new ways of working.

For example, when I teach facilitation skills on my Visible Thinking in the Museum Online (VTMO) course, we start at the very beginning with some basic moves. ⁠We then move on to intermediate and finally some advanced skills when we’re discussing using thinking routines to foster perspective-taking and empathy. ⁠

But you don’t stop there. You never stop learning. There’s always more practise to be done, more techniques to learn and better ways of facilitating things. It’s an ongoing, ever-changing process of development.⁠

And that’s why you need more tools and skills in your toolbox to keep all audiences engaged. Knowledge will only take you so far. ‘Skill and will’ will take you much further and provide you with better work options for the future too.

4. Invest in yourself

Do you want to make sure you know what’s happening in your field and how it affects your practice? Perhaps you want to broaden your or your team’s knowledge base? The Visible Thinking Membership will provide you with continuing learning opportunities to help you stay informed and up-to-date with the latest trends in guided discussions around art and artefacts. You can choose to opt for a monthly payment or an annual subscription – whatever suits your circumstances and needs. And you get to focus on your professional development at a time and place that suits you.

5. Take charge of your career

It’s been a difficult year for many of us in our line of work. Joining the VT Membership will help you stay motivated and inspired about what you do and why you do it. Meet new people, learn new things, and stop feeling like a ‘small fish in a big pond’! Collaborate with other VT members, find new work projects or get inspiration to create new programmes or forge partnerships.

The Visible Thinking Membership will support you throughout your professional life. Whether you are a museum educator, guide or docent, teacher, freelancer or creative, the Visible Thinking Membership will help you to meet your learning and development needs. We currently have a mix of members from beginners, to intermediate and advanced VT facilitators. You can join at any stage in your journey!

6. Get support

I’ll be really honest with you, I’m different to many people teaching and training in my field. I don’t believe there are any magic methods, formulas or lists of questions that will transform you and your practice in the blink of an eye.

BUT I do believe that every educator, guide or teacher needs to find their own individual way of working, drawing on a ‘toolbox’ of educational practices, techniques and skills that they can use in their own individual way. Every guide can develop their own personal style given time and patience to coach, train and practice. But you need to be consistent and do the work and practice regularly. Which is much easier to do when you have support around you.

This is what my Visible Thinking membership is all about – providing you with the support you need to get a flexible method in place that allows you to easily facilitate engaging discussions about art and museum objects.

That support in the membership comes in many different forms: live group tutorials and masterclasses, a private Facebook community, video tutorials, a library of resources and templates and much more besides.

7. Regular structured practice and coaching

The VT Membership builds confidence and expertise for guides, educators and creatives through consistent practice, feedback and coaching. We have regular practice sessions – where you can get together with other members and practice leading a discussion and coaching sessions – where you can lead a discussion and get coaching afterwards. In order to embed a new way of working you need to make your practice a routine too.

8. Consistency is key to success

Teaching online gives me the opportunity to include so much more content than I could in-person. Although I’ve run hundreds of in-person trainings and courses over the years, I’ve often not been able to cover all the content I would like to in a one-off in-person training.

I’ve trained hundreds and hundreds of people over the last 10 years and I’ve seen the best results when people are supported in developing their practice over a period of time, rather than a one-off training session.⁠

It takes most people at least a year to confidently master the art of facilitating engaging discussions with art and artefacts. And the aim of the Visible Thinking Membership is to guide and support you EVERY STEP of the way. ⁠

My ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum Online’ (VTMO) course will help you to make huge progress in just 90 days. Then your Visible Thinking Membership will allow you to continue to develop and hone your skills. There are new learning opportunities and content every month, a large library of resources, and practice and coaching groups. You will connect with and learn from other members too.⁠

Ready to join the Visible Thinking Membership with Claire Bown? Click here to sign up!

All Visible Thinking Membership benefits at a glance

  • Visible Thinking in the Museum Online (VTMO) course taught live 3 times a year

  • Expert monthly masterclasses on specialist subjects

  • ‘Image of the Month’ paired with a thinking routine

  • Specialist thinking routine classes

  • Dedicated private FB Group – community Support

  • Practice & coaching groups

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