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Networks and forums: overview

What are networks and forums?

Scotland’s Subject Specialist Networks (SSN) and Geographic Forums (GF) offer the bulk of the peer support for Scotland’s museums sector. The groups have primarily been established by museums (and/or heritage organisations) to offer an opportunity for museums to share knowledge and to collaborate. There are also a number of formal and informal grassroots support groups (GSG) operating within the heritage sector who offer support around specific issues outside of the remit of Subject Specialist Networks. 

The form taken by these groups is diverse—there is no set legal status, format, constitutional role, or financial responsibility for the groups, and they include a very wide range of forms and levels of formality. With some exceptions (those groups who employ a dedicated part or full-time coordinator), SSNs, GFs and GSGs are usually member-run on a voluntary basis, although some may employ staff for specific time-limited projects.

To find out more, please visit our Geographic Museums Forums and Subject Specialist Networks pages.

MGS Geographic Forums Approach

In 2019 we initiated a new approach to offer more continuous and comprehensive support to the geographic museum forums operating throughout Scotland. 

Each geographic forum has been assigned an MGS staff member as a forum representative. MGS forum representatives act as a main point of contact for museum forums (and organisations within that geographic area) to offer support. 

The forum representatives can be contacted below. 

Current forum representatives 

Argyll and Bute Museums and Heritage Forums

Devon McHugh

Dumfries and Galloway

Jacob O’Sullivan

Fife Museums Forum

Loretta Mordi

Highland Museums Forum

Joe Traynor

North Ayrshire Museums Forum

Loretta Mordi

Northeast Scotland

Jacob O’Sullivan

Lanarkshire Museums Forum

Heather Doherty


Devon McHugh

Tayside Museums Forum

Heather Doherty

Outer Hebrides

Gillian Simison

West Lothian Forum

Joe Traynor

West of Scotland

Devon McHugh


The geographical approach and relationships between museum and heritage forums and MGS representatives is a crucial part of Forum Connections, a 4-year capacity building project funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, and designed to support effective collaborative working across Scotland.

A wide shot of a white room in Mackintosh House featuring Charles Rennie MackIntosh furniture
Related guide

Subject Specialist Networks

A guide to Subject Specialist Networks to support knowledge and practice relating to your museum collections.

Find out more