Plan how you will run your space

Love Letterpress workshop at Ditchling Museum of Art+Craft, East Sussex
Love Letterpress workshop at Ditchling Museum of Art+Craft, East Sussex

A key factor in the success of a learning space is how well it can be used, managed and maintained.

The space must be compatible with numerous physical and learning needs, and cope effectively with organising people of different ages engaged in diverse activities. It must be easy to keep clean and run efficiently, with repairs and replacements easily made.

A management plan for how the learning space will be maintained, repaired and refurbished over time should be developed and kept up-to-date, and a budget should be assigned to it.

It is our recommendation, if your business model includes use of the learning space for hire or meetings, that the learning staff retain control of all bookings. If this is not possible, some organisations agree that spaces are available for other uses at specific points in the week. For example, at one major London museum the learning rooms are only available for external hire on Thursdays.

It is essential to implement clear booking procedures and expressly indicate the day-to-day management of functions, especially where a learning space will be used for other functions. The plan should include staffing, e.g. covering porters, cleaners and audio-visual technicians.

If learning spaces are available for use at different times for a variety of activities, the spaces will need to be cleared and set up efficiently. For example, at Dulwich Picture Gallery spaces are used morning, afternoon, evening and all weekends, with clear guidelines for how spaces should be set up and put away ready for the next session.