Museum-University Partnership Initiative

The Museum-University Partnership Initiative (MUPI) brings museums and universities together to work towards mutually beneficial aims.

The Museum-University Partnership Initiative (MUPI) builds on a successful pilot project from 2016.

The MUPI pilot project demonstrated how the higher education sector can be opened up to smaller and medium sized museums whose unique collections and engagement expertise are often an underutilised resource, whilst at the same time adding value to the work of the museums involved and contributing to their long term resilience. You can find out more about the pilot and the various publications capturing the learning from the project are available below.

The Museum-University Partnership Initiative is funded by the Arts Council England Museum Resilience Fund and delivered by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) in partnership with the Share Academy project and Paddy McNulty Associates.

Project outputs

We plan to develop the following resources for the project. Do let us know if you can help contribute to them, or would like to be kept updated by joining the MUPI newsletter (contact

  • MUPI Match Guide: the MUPI match events have been hugely effective at supporting partnership development between museums and universities. This tried and tested approach will be described in a MUPI Match Guide – including everything you need to create your own match event.
  • Focus on Funding Resource: This resource offers a way to navigate the funding landscape for museum university partnerships through offering insights into the nature of different types of funding including research funding, arts funding, and engagement funding, and sharing top tips on securing funding for your partnerships.
  • Partners Guide: How do you create a mutually beneficial partnership? What’s the potential for museum university partnerships? This resource will help will be another of the NCCPE’s ‘tools for talking’ – encouraging conversations between museums and universities to help inspire new ways of working.
  • MUPI Network: Join the national MUPI jiscmail list, to participate in conversations about all things museum university partnership. In addition some of the Museum Development Partnerships are supporting regional networks – so get in touch if you want to get involved.  
  • Digital resource: The project is exploring the potential of digital resources to support academics wanting to engage with museum collections. Whilst creation of this resource is not in scope, we are exploring if and how it could be useful, in order to inform development of online tools.

Events programme

MUPI match events

  • 9 regional networking events (or ‘sandpits’) plus two national networking events (one focused on designated collections) to broker partnerships between small and medium sized museums and higher education institutions were held between January and July 2017. 77 partnerships received funding and are now working together.

Project symposia

  • Symposium 1 was held in March 2017 and was an opportunity for delegates to share their experiences of museum university partnerships, and resources necessary to help support this work
  • Symposium 2 was held on the 2nd November in London, and explored MUPI outputs.
  • Symposium 3 was the final project symposia. Held in Birmingham on the 1st February this event showcased the MUPI projects, and shared and explored learning from the project.

Find out more

If you would like to find out more information or join our MUPI mailing list, please contact