I GET involved in all sorts of weird and wonderful things, sometimes, one of which led to me sitting in a catering truck outside Watford doing some filming with Channel 4 this week (it’s a long story!), and finding myself chatting with a fellow Swindonian, enthusiastically discussing all the great arts, cultural organisations and activity going on in the town.

It is great to be away from Swindon, and bump into someone so passionate about the town. We’d never met before, but we soon found that we knew a lot of the same people and it wasn’t long before we were coming up with ideas to do some interesting work together.

Swindon is a creative town, and we are at our best when we’re working in partnership with others, whether that’s with other groups in the town, or with people further afield.

Sometimes it’s easier to stay in your silo and do your own thing. Partnership working can get complicated and challenging, but it’s when we were faced with the greatest challenges that we force ourselves to innovate and find new ways of doing things.

Over the next few months the Museum and Art Gallery team are going to be trying a number of new things and we’ve also got some partnerships which will be starting to deliver new experiences in the museum.

If you come to the museum before March 24, you can see an exhibition of the Small Victories team. Emma and Becca have worked with Swindonians and the museum collections to find the hidden stories of people who worked at the Garrards factory, and through this, created storytelling shows for visitors.

This month, you can also see the culmination of work led by the Eastcott Community Organisation, a local volunteer-run charity.

They’ve been holding memory-sharing events, talks and celebrations, and then worked with schools to create an exhibition about the area’s history, which we’ll be able to provide a space for at the museum.

We’re also getting involved in national partnerships, such as the BBC Civilisations Festival, with talks by our own curator, shining a light on works from our own incredible Modern British Art collection, and giving people a chance to have a deeper look at how they fit into the national debate about work, women in art, class and identity.

Meanwhile, I’ve continued to be out and about meeting local people and those across the country to develop new opportunities to collaborate. And I’ve sensed the beginnings of a change in people’s opinion of Swindon in our sector.

People at national cultural and heritage organisations are very aware of our ambitions for a new home for our museum and art gallery.

It’s been wonderful to hear them not only speak in excited anticipation about what we might achieve, and how they could get involved, but also to hear them begin to speak, even if cautiously at first, with some of the same sense of ambition and passion for Swindon that my fellow Swindonian did in that catering truck in Watford! - Rod Hebden director of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Trust