I'm Elma Glasgow, an award-winning and innovative
consultant focusing on diverse and inclusive engagement,
communications and storytelling.
I also founded the award-winning Aspire Black Suffolk,
a local community interest company born out of the
nationally acclaimed and multi-award-winning
Power of Stories exhibition.
Yep. There are a lot of awards involved! And for good
Ran by Ipswich Museums in 2021, Power of Stories
featured three original costumes from Marvel Studios'
Black Panther 1 blockbuster and was co-curated with the
Black community, comic book experts and allies.
Check out these BBC reports on Power of Stories:
Black Panther: Why Marvel loaned actors' costumes to Ipswich Museum
Black Panther: 'These costumes are a big deal'
Building on more than 20 years' communications experience, I got involved to develop and deliver a Black cultural initiative which ran alongside Power of Stories.
Working throughout the pandemic, initially as a volunteer, I created never-seen-before levels of engagement among the local Black community and people of other ethnicities.
I was driven to maximise on this amazing and one-off opportunity to work with and for people who'd been horribly underrepresented and overlooked for generations. Despite their significant contributions to local culture and the economy.
My skills in relationship development and project management made the project - which I named Aspire Black Suffolk - pivotal in generating record-breaking footfall to the exhibition. It even triggered a local movement after bringing a renewed sense of optimism, pride and belonging.
Naturally, BLM and the pandemic leveraged interest and engagement, however, planning was well underway before both events. But it was important to recognise that these historic crises could become something positive.
I also secured national and local PR coverage in addition to this engagement work, as I didn't want this work to go un-reported.
In late 2021, Aspire Black Suffolk became a company of which I'm a co-director. I went on to work closely with local museums and venues to tour Power of Stories to extend its impact, tell more Black stories and open up more opportunities for engagement. Find out more about the company here.
Power of Stories won a 2022 Museum +
Heritage Award (the Oscars of British
museums, no less), despite being shortlisted
alongside the Natural History Museum,
Blenheim Palace and the V&A.
Judges loved its pioneering approach, high
quality production, emotive curation, honest
storytelling, and high levels of engagement.
In 2022, I won a Museums Association national 'Radical Changemaker' award. And Aspire Black Suffolk won a BBC Suffolk Make a Difference Award.
Power of Stories has won other regional awards for co-curation and volunteers.
The exhibition and engagement activity were game-changing - not just locally but for the national museum sector. In fact, all sectors can take important lessons from this work.
Together, Power of Stories and Aspire Black Suffolk demonstrated how excellence can be achieved when communities and organisations hold each other to account.
Not only did I create a winning formula for engagement, I also became the figurehead of a movement which has produced off-shoot projects, new collaborations and many new friendships.
What to expect when working with me
I work with integrity, dedication and sincerity. I'm bold with my approach but not pushy.
I'll strive to treat everyone with the respect they deserve. I love pioneering work - it's exciting but requires resilience and an attitude of acceptance.
When working in this progressive area of communications, you must be open to learning, listening - I mean, really listening - and be willing to adjust your practices.
I'm resourceful too, and I'll let you know what can realistically be achieved on your budget.
My background includes many years of PR, copywriting and journalism. My experience includes an array of organisations, including Comic Relief and the British Red Cross, Scope, Sony Music, Warner Bros., delivering campaigns that drove footfall, donations, awareness, downloads and sales.
Contact me for a chat: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm on the left with Devi Singh (curator) and Ella Roberts ( Britten Pears Arts/ Red House) at Power of Stories at the prestigious Snape Maltings, East Suffolk.
At Museums Association conference 2022. Photo by Museums Association.