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Cornwall Museums Partnership

The Firm Foundations Programme is a course for people about to embark on a capital development project in the culture and heritage sectors. Firm Foundations offers attendees the opportunity to learn from respected professionals and to gain candid and exclusive insights into the industry and how it works, from procurement and project management to risk management and contracting.

Attendees will be able to share ideas and challenges in a supportive, inclusive and confidential environment, with support from experts and peers. This course is held online over three months with delegates learning in a relaxed atmosphere. There is an optional fourth day that will take delegates on an exclusive site visit.


Day 1: Friday 21st January 2022 9.30am – 4.30pm

Day 2: Friday 28th January 2022 9.30am – 4.30pm

Day 3: Monday 14th February 2022 9.30am – 4.30pm

Day 4: Friday 11th March 2022 9.30am – 3pm (optional)


Days 1-3 will take place via Zoom. Day 4 will be an optional site visit to The Box and the Market Hall, Plymouth.

Why undertake Firm Foundations

In a time of reducing budgets and increasing expectations, Firm Foundations will ensure you are able to make the most of your resources, delivering greater impact for your stakeholders.

Undertaking the Firm Foundations programme demonstrates to funders your commitment to efficiently and effectively delivering a sustainable and impactful project.

The Firm Foundations programme can help to reduce the risk to your organisation by providing the tools, confidence and skills required to deliver large and complex projects.

Working in an open, supportive and collaborative environment, Firm Foundations will enable delegates to build effective networks of peers and experts to draw on.

“What’s been great is how open and honest everyone has been and I don’t feel alone in this now” – Elisa Harris, Krowji

What to expect on the course

Days 1-3 consist of online masterclasses tailored to giving you access to sector experts and putting your learning into practice in an engaging virtual atmosphere. There will be follow-on learning from each day in the form of self-guided videos and resources, informal evening events and watch parties.

Day 1 Programme:

Are you really ready? You’ll have the opportunity to share your project with your peers and work on defining and communicating your vision for maximum impact with our inspiring workshop leader. You’ll be reminded of the need for good governance and leadership. We’ll explore grant funding options to maximise your potential for success and we’ll give you a roadmap to make sure you know what to expect from the whole process from vision to delivery:

  • Present your project – a chance to share your project plans and ideas to your peers
  • Creating a strong vision – an interactive workshop led by Hannah Fox, Director of Projects and Programmes, Dearby Museums
  • Fundraising grants: where to look and how to improve your chances of success – strategies and practical advice
  • Project flowchart – introducing the roadmap for the way ahead with Emmie Kell, CEO, Cornwall Museums Partnership
  • Follow-on learning: culture and people – managing organizational change and maintaining momentum
  • Follow-on learning: good governance with Emmie Kell, CEO, Cornwall Museums Partnership

Day 2 Programme:

This is all about the nuts and bolts: our experts will guide you through the construction journey and explain what your team needs to look like – who does what, when and why. We’ll help you identify and manage risks and talk you through sustainable procurement practices. In an informal evening chat later that week, you’ll get to hear what really happens during a capital project and have the chance to ask the questions you’ve always wanted to!

  • The design team – who you need on board and how to communicate with them with Emma Hosking, Senior Architect RIBA CA, PBWC Architects
  • Construction process Q&A – delve into the construction process with Andy Bruton, Chartered Construction Manager
  • Procurement – discover the nitty gritty of procurement with Craig Pullen, Procurement Consultant
  • Risk – an interactive session led by Jeremy Dunn, Managing Director, MWJV
  • Follow-on learning: lessons learned – an informal evening chat with Deborah Tritton, Archive Services Manager for Cornwall Council, and Miki Ashton, Project Coordinator at the Gardener’s House and Firm Foundations graduate
  • Follow-on learning: understanding costs, on time on budget, successful project management – join a watch party to hear Tamsin Daniel, Principal Heritage Services Officer at Cornwall Council, interview Trevor Humphries, Project Manager & Chartered Quantity Surveyor

Day 3 Programme:

We pick up where we left off on Day 2. We’ll explain how to make sure your project stays on time and on budget – and what to do if you’re going off course. We’ll hear from the experts on what you need to know about planning and building consent. Then we’ll focus on the user experience and how to factor that in throughout your planning:

  • Understanding costs, on time on budget, successful project management – follow up live Q&A session with Tamsin Daniel and Trevor Humphries
  • User centred design – a workshop with Lisa Baxter, Founder, The Experience Business
  • Making it happen: understanding statutory consents and the building regulations process
  • Reflections – an opportunity for attendees to bring the course learning back to your projects
  • Follow-on learning: responsible projects and environmental sustainability with Scott James, Partner, Ward Williams Associates

Day 4 Programme (optional):

This is your chance to see the final outcome of a major capital project at The Box, Plymouth, and to learn from the experiences of those involved, both client and contractors. We’ll have a site tour with Andy Bruton and Chloe Hughes and plenty of time to ask questions about what the process was really like. We’ll have a celebratory lunch at the Market Hall and hear from inspiring speakers, as well as meeting some of our experts and other attendees in real life for networking and informal one to ones.

What you will gain

Essential knowledge and skills to enable your organisation to design and deliver a successful project. You will learn how to create a firm foundation on which to launch a project and understand the complexities of working with funders, consultants, a design team, contractors, the planning authority and the community.

We will provide you with practical tools and resources and, through a strong supportive network of experienced colleagues and professionals, you will gain the confidence needed not just to survive the process, but to thrive…


We offer three price bands depending on the type of your organisation. Tickets are for either the three-day online masterclass, or four days including a behind-the-scenes site visit with lunch and talks.

3 days online 4 days with site visit
A: Charities with turnover < £500k £672 £896
B: Charities with turnover > £500k £1,068 £1,424
C: Private sector £1,788 £2,384

Early bird tickets

Early bird tickets will be available for a limited time at a discount of 20% off full ticket prices.

3 days online 4 days with site visit
A: Charities with turnover < £500k £520 £693
B: Charities with turnover > £500k £890 £1,186
C: Private sector £1,490 £1,986

Book your place