| NMDC NEWS
Cultural Capital – “You can bank on culture”
Britain's leading cultural and heritage organisations, including NMDC, have joined together to launch Cultural Capital: A Manifesto for the Future, which demonstrates how investing in culture and heritage can help the country's social and economic recovery from recession. The publication provides evidence of the scale and reach of cultural activity and the economic role a thriving cultural sector can play by offering work, learning, training and social engagement.
The manifesto was launched at the British Museum on 25 March and has received extensive press coverage. Sir Nicholas Serota and Neil MacGregor spoke at the event, along with Jude Kelly of the South Bank Centre; Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England; and Sir Nicholas Hytner, Director of the National Theatre. Neil MacGregor said: ‘Culture gives us our place in the world, it reminds us of what we are, it makes us aware of what we could be. All Governments in the future are going to be thinking of course about making economies…we want to remind them that culture works. This is the bit of public life that is extraordinarily efficient and extraordinarily effective.’ Leading figures from across the cultural sector were at the launch and were photographed holding banners created by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Michael Craig-Martin and Anish Kapoor with the slogan “You can bank on culture”.
Cultural Capital: A Manifesto for the Future argues that culture is a growth industry which is vital to quality of life and the foundation of our future and that a reduction in investment in this sector would make poor economic sense. It argues that it is essential to sustain the success of the cultural sector and to ensure it remains fit for purpose, particularly when the eyes of the world are on the UK in 2012, and that culture is the creative capital that feeds our flourishing creative industries, inspires and educates young people, and makes Britain a number one international destination for cultural tourism.
The manifesto also points out that the arts and heritage sector have already sustained very considerable cuts, with a 20% reduction of National Lottery funds for good causes between 2005 and 2012 to fund thehe 2012 Olympics.
Cultural Capital: A Manifesto for the Future has been produced in association with the following national organisations: Arts Council England, Association of Independent Museums, Cultural Learning Alliance, English Heritage, The Heritage Alliance, Heritage Lottery Fund, Local Government Association, Museums Association, Museums Libraries and Archives Council, National Campaign for the Arts, National Heritage Memorial Fund, Society of Archivists, Society of Chief Librarians, The Art Fund, The National Archives and Visit England. Cultural Capital
Press coverage: Guardian article Guardian comment piece Telegraph The Independent and even The People’s Daily, China
- The UK has the largest cultural economy in the world relative to GDP.
- Every £1 invested in culture produces £2.
- Two thirds of the adult population in the UK enjoy the arts, visit historic sites and go to museums and galleries.
- Of the top 10 UK visitor attractions, 8 are national museums.
National-regional museum partnerships
NMDC has adopted 11 recommendations to strengthen partnership working between national and regional museums. The recommendations, based on research into museum partnerships commissioned by NMDC last year, were developed by an advisory group chaired by Diane Lees, Director-General of the Imperial War Museum. Suzie Tucker, NMDC’s Projects and Policy Officer, presented the findings of the research and the recommendations at a conference on museum partnerships on 22 March at the British Museum.
Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, opened the conference and emphasised that by working partnership the concept of “one national collection” becomes a reality. He also stressed the vital importance of research and scholarship to underpin the public impact of collections. Roy Clare, Chief Executive of MLA also emphasised the importance of scholarship and the potential to make resources go further by doing things differently, with new partners.
The day included case studies from the British Museum’s Partnership UK programme, a network of 17 major partner museums; the History of the World project which now involves 400 museums across the UK, and Sharing Treasures, a national-regional loan scheme piloted and brokered by the London Museums Hub based on small scale high profile loans; and the partnership galleries at the British Museum which showcases treasures from regional museums. NMDC website
Women to Watch
The Cultural Leadership Programme has published its 2010 'Women to Watch' list, featuring 50 women from across the cultural sector, including Kate Bellamy, NMDC’s Head of Strategy and Communications and Pim Baxter, Deputy Director of the National Portrait Gallery. The 50 women were selected by a judging panel chaired by Jenni Murray OBE. More
Directors in the News
Dr Michael Dixon, NMDC Chair and Director of the Natural History Museum, is one of the Museum’s six experts who described their favourite object in the Museum's collection for a feature in the Guardian. The Natural History Museum is the focus of a new six-part BBC TV series, Museum of Life. The six-part documentary, broadcast from 18 March, follows the work of some of the museum's 300 scientists. BBC Museum of Life Guardian
NMDC members Sir Nicholas Serota, Dr Michael Dixon, Professor Jack Lohman and Sandy Nairne were among leading figures from the cultural world who set out "what they would do if they were Culture Secretary" for an article in the Times. More
| POLITICS & GOVERNMENT
Political arts debates
Culture Ministers and Shadow Culture Ministers debated their plans for the future at two political arts debates last month. Margaret Hodge, Ed Vaizey and Don Foster participated in an Arts Hustings organised by the National Campaign for the Arts at Tate Britain on 9 March. Ben Bradshaw and Jeremy Hunt debated “The Future for the Arts” at the Royal Society of Arts on 22 March.
On arts funding, Margaret Hodge said “We are prepared to battle for arts funding and ensure funding continues to be spread across Britain. She emphasized the need for the cultural sector to “shout very loudly” about the importance of public investment in arts infrastructure and said the “the most important advocates must be citizens in every locality”. Ed Vaizey emphasised the importance of collaboration to ensure front line arts are not affected by the cuts in public spending. Don Foster reported that only the Liberal Democrats had the party leader’s commitment to maintain and if possible improve funding for the arts in future.
Both Ben Bradshaw and Jeremy Hunt both put forward economic arguments in a 30 second pitch to secure arts funding. Jeremy Hunt said culture is "central to economic revival". Ben Bradshaw also said the vibrancy and health of the arts "is a strong sign Britain is not broken". Both politicians recognised the mainstreaming of arts within the political agenda.
A recording and transcript of the debate will be available on the NCA website shortly. The RSA ‘Future of the Arts’ debate is available as a podcast on iTunes.
| BUDGET 2010
£60m efficiency savings from DCMS
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has provided briefing on the implications of the Budget changes announced by the Chancellor on 24 March. DCMS is facing £60m of efficiency savings, mostly through changes to arms length bodies. The measures to be taken include:
Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw MP has announced that the Government has eased access to capital reserves for museums and galleries (funds accumulated from self-generated income, donations and sponsorship but included within public expenditure limits). Museums and galleries have already set out their plans for using their capital reserves in 2010-11. The Government has agreed that it will guarantee to meet the projected drawdown of reserves in 2010-11 for all Government–sponsored museums and galleries who need these funds, and a long-term solution to the issue will be agreed over the next 12 months.
DCMS Statement Budget 2010
- £15m to be saved through increasing collaborative procurement across all DCMS’s arms length bodies, and £35m to be saved by reducing back office spending and reducing consultancy and marketing and communications spending across its arms length bodies.
- The standing down of four advisory bodies: the Spoliation Advisory Panel will be dissolved from 12 April, with its responsibilities undertaken by an ad hoc group of expert advisors (initially consisting of current panel members) called on by the Secretary of State as necessary; the functions of the Advisory Committee on Historic Ships and the Advisory Committee on Historic Wrecks Sites will be carried out by an existing (but unnamed) NDPB; and the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel will be abolished once it has completed is current round of work.
- A potential strategic body for libraries bringing together the functions of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), the Advisory Council on Libraries and the Public Lending Right.
Stricter governance framework for public bodies restricts marketing and public affairs
The Treasury has also published Reforming Arm’s Length Bodies, with proposals for tougher requirements governing the foundation, activities, transparency and management of arm’s length bodies (ALBs). The paper introduces a set of prohibitions (requirements) and presumptions (“comply or explain”) for ALBs. All existing ALBs are expected to comply with the proposals within 3 years. The proposals include:
Presumptions (comply or explain)
- ALBs must not use public funds to employ external public affairs or other consultants to lobby Parliament or Government with the principal aim of altering government policy or to obtain increased funding (this should not prevent ALBs acting in an advisory capacity or from fulfilling objectives set out in Royal Charter or statute that relate to advocacy or promoting understanding of sectors);
- ALBs must not use PR or marketing consultants without the specific approval of their parent Department. ALBs must disclose the level of expenditure on organisational brand and marketing as well as the outcomes of such activities in business plans and accounts.
The Government says that it will ensure all ALB boards “have the right skills and composition to drive value for money and challenge performance. There will be tough sanctions for failure at board level, including the potential extension of the Companies Act provision to disqualify people from office for failure to the public sector.
There will be a commitment to a 20% reduction of costs of senior staff across DCMS NDPBs (equivalent to Senior Civil Service pay band 1 and above). This is intended to be a global commitment across the Department and its NDPBs rather than a specific commitment for any individual body.
The paper also seeks feedback on implementation issues; ALBs should submit comments on the paper to the Treasury. HM Treasury
- no duplication of policy functions between ALB and parent Department;
- shared back office functions with other organisations or Department;
- property should be held in the name of the sponsoring Department and should allow use for any government activity;
- all e-channels should be organised via direct.gov or business.gov;
- senior pay must be agreed with HMT (in line with senior pay remit).
| MUSEUM SECTOR NEWS
Museums and the Election – advocacy guide published by Museums Association
The Museums Association has launched Museums and the Election, a practical guide designed to help the museum sector understand the pre-election period and consider how to take advantage of it. The briefing is launched as part of …Love Museums, the Museums Association’s latest project to “help museums win friends and influence people by better communicating what they do.” Stacey Arnold, Advocacy Associate at the Museums Association said: “'Museums and the Election’ encourages the sector to make politicians notice that voters love museums.”
The briefing, published on the MA website, covers the following topics: why is election time different?, meeting candidates, writing to candidates, doorstep canvassing, marginal constituencies, what not to do, after the election and how to find out more. Museums and the Election is the first in a series of advocacy-themed web-resources by the Museums Association.
The Museums Association is also running free half-day training workshops across the UK throughout April and May to help museums improve their advocacy skills. Places are still available at several of the sessions. www.museumsassociation.org/lovemuseums.
Heritage tourism contributes £20bn to UK economy
New research commissioned by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) reveals for the first time the scale of the heritage tourism industry in the UK, estimating that it contributes £20.6bn to GDP. The report - Investing in success: Heritage and the UK tourism economy - demonstrates that heritage is a major motivation behind the tourism expenditure of both overseas and domestic visitors. Key findings include:
The report, by Oxford Economics, also highlights findings of five years of extensive research into the impacts of completed projects funded by the HLF:
- The heritage tourism sector, including historic buildings, museums, parks and the countryside, directly supports an estimated 195,000 full-time equivalent jobs;
- Heritage tourism makes a contribution of £7.4bn to GDP per year, and once multiplier effects are included the number increases to a GDP contribution of £20.6bn a year, supporting a total of 466,000 jobs;
- Tourism is the UK’s 5th largest industry;
- The tourism economy is expected to grow by 2.6% between 2009 and 2018;
- Over 10 million holiday trips are made by oversees visitors to the UK each year with 4 in 10 leisure visitors citing heritage as the primary motivation for their trip to the UK – more than any other single factor.
Three NMDC members' sites feature as case studies in the report: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum; Big Pit: National Coal Museum; and Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon. Investing in Success report
The Heritage Alliance has also just published a set of key facts and statistics about the impact of the heritage sector. More
- Visit numbers typically rise by more than 50% following an HLF-funded project;
- HLF-funded projects have very high visitor satisfaction rates - 97% of visitors to completed projects rating their visit ‘enjoyable’ with 77% describing it as ‘very enjoyable’;
- Every £1million of HLF funding leads to an increase in tourism revenues for regional economies of £4.2million over 10 years.
£25m increase to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s annual budget
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has just announced a £25m increase in its annual budget thanks to increased Lottery ticket sales. The budget for new awards to heritage projects across the UK will be £205m per year from April 2010. HLF
Culture as a “front line service” – Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008
New research on Liverpool's experience as European Capital of Culture reveals that the festival year drew 9.7m additional visitors to the city, an increase of 34%, and generated £753.8m for the economy. Creating an Impact: Liverpool’s experience as European Capital of Culture is the culmination of a five year research programme by John Moore University and Liverpool University, analysing the social, economic and cultural impact of the 2008 title. Findings include:
On 19 March, the House of Lords held a debate on the "role of culture as a front-line service following Liverpool's year as the European Capital of Culture.” The debate was opened by the Lord Bishop of Liverpool, a Trustee of National Museums Liverpool. He commended the new research to all those committed to “sustaining the cultural dimension of our society” and argued that cutting cultural services would be "cultural vandalism” and “a false economy", that "as Liverpool's experience...demonstrates, cultural activities have economic, social and health impacts that are way in excess of the investment into them". Eight peers, from across the political spectrum, also gave speeches highlighting the achievements of the Liverpool Capital of Culture programme. House of Lords
- By the end of 2008, 85% of Liverpool residents agreed that the city was a better place to live than before the European Capital of Culture award;
- Combined local and national media coverage of Liverpool’s cultural offering more than doubled since the award was announced in 2003 and, for the first time in decades, in 2008, positive stories on the city’s cultural assets dominated over a negative emphasis on social issues;
- The Capital of Culture programme generated a total audience of nearly 10 million in 2008 and over 18 million across the four years of the programme (2005-2008);
- One third of the audience was local, one sixth from beyond the region and nearly 5% international. 2.6 million European and global visits were recorded in 2008, of which 97% were first-time visits to the city;
- The Liverpool Capital of Culture programme secured a total income of £130 million over six years – the highest amount of sponsorship and earned income of any European Capital of Culture to date. Impacts 08 report
MLA calls for sharper investment for changing times
MLA has published a “prospectus for change” setting out how library, archive and museum services can be developed to meet public need in an era of reduced public spending. Sharper Investment for Changing Times: Getting more out of museums, libraries and archive, argues the need for “radical re-thinking of systems of delivery, based on planning around the needs of people, communities and places.”
The document describes a vision of museum, library and archive provision with fewer buildings to support and manage, better quality services and greater collaboration across local boundaries and with new partners. It sets out the practical steps needed to deliver these changes and provides ‘best practice’ examples under ten headings including: distribution of services, new governance and delivery models, new funding models, making investment more strategic, reaching out to new audiences and designing services with, and for, diverse communities; and working across local boundaries. MLA website
£5m Grant-in-Aid uplift for National Heritage Memorial Fund
DCMS has confirmed that it will give the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) an additional £5m in the current financial year, which fully offsets the reduction of £5m grant-in-aid in 2010-11 (reported in last month’s NMDC newsletter). In a statement to Parliament on 11 March, Culture Minister Margaret Hodge MP reported that NHMF will receive its original funding allocation of £20m over 2009-10 and 2010-11. The NHMF is the “fund of last resort” established to save the most outstanding parts of our national heritage in memory of those who have given their lives for the country. NHMF statement Hansard
NHMF funding ensures Staffordshire Hoard is saved for the nation
The National Heritage Memorial Fund has provided the final £1.285m required to purchase the Staffordshire Hoard. The Hoard will be jointly acquired by Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent. The campaign to raise the full £3.3m purchase price was led by the Art Fund, which also contributed £300,000. Over 100,000 people have visited displays of the Staffordshire Hoard in the past 6 months, and nearly £1m was raised through public donations. A longer term fundraising campaign is now underway to raise £1.7m for the Hoard to be properly conserved, studied and displayed. Art Fund NHMF
Lottery awards for major museum projects
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has confirmed funding of £4.6m for Southampton Sea City Museum, a new museum in a building converted from a Grade II* listed Magistrates Court. The museum’s two permanent galleries will look at the city’s role in emigration and immigration over 2,000 years, and tell the stories of the 549 Southampton people who lost their lives on the Titanic in 1912. In February, the Museums Journal reported that Southampton City Council had abandoned controversial plans to sell works of art from its collection to fund the Sea City Museum project.
The HLF has also provided initial backing (first-round pass) for six other projects including: creation of new museums at Old Magnus Buildings, Newark - housing a national centre for the English Civil War - and at Lews Castle, Stornoway; and the redevelopment of Salisbury Museum and Benjamin Britten's Red House in Aldeborough. The HLF has also provided initial funding for Portrait of Britain, a partnership project between national and regional film archives. HLF Museums Journal
DCMS funding for Bletchley Park Museum and Chatham Historic Dockyard
DCMS has announced two further grants, made possible through reallocating under-spends from elsewhere in the DCMS budget, for 2009-2010. Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust has been awarded £550,000 for its development project to improve visitors’ experience, and Bletchley Park Museum has been awarded £250,000 to fund an urgent repair programme for the World War II code-breaking headquarters site. DCMS statement
Last month, the Museums Journal reported that MLA had returned an under-spend of £4.8m from the Renaissance budget, and that DCMS had announced new grants of £3m for the Cutty Sark restoration, £100,000 to the Jewish Museum, £100,000 to the Wiener Library and £200,000 to the Wedgwood Museum. Museums Journal
National Heritage Science Strategy sets out plans to increase collaboration
The National Heritage Science Strategy has been published. The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee held an inquiry into Science and Heritage in 2006, which recommended that the museums and heritage sector come together to produce a national strategy for heritage science. The strategy has two aims: "to demonstrate the public benefit of heritage science and increase public engagement and support for it"; and "to improve partnership within the sector and with others by increasing collaboration to help practice make better use of research, knowledge and innovation and to enhance resources, funding and skills." One of the key recommendations is the creation of a National Heritage Science Forum to assist in the implementation of these strategic objectives. National Heritage Science Strategy
Also last month, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) jointly awarded more than £6.5m to sixteen new interdisciplinary research projects under the Science and Heritage Programme. AHRC
International museum attendance visitor figures
The Art Newspaper has just published its 15th annual survey of attendance figures at museums around the world. Three of the top five most visited museums in the world are in UK national museums: British Museum, National Gallery and Tate Modern. The five most popular exhibitions in the world were all in Japan. The Art Newspaper
MLA is commissioning a review of its 3-year funding agreements with three agencies charged with developing and delivering much of its digital programme. More
The law firm, Farrer & Co is hosting a conference at the National Gallery (by kind permission of the Trustees and Director of the National Gallery) on Tuesday 4 May. The aim of the conference is to look at current law and practice relating to the restitution of cultural objects, both from a domestic and international perspective. The proceedings will be chaired by Professor Jack Lohman, Director, Museum of London. More
The launch of Museums at Night 2010 will take place at the new Florence Nightingale Museum in London on 29 April. Museums at Night 2010 will take place from 14-16 May. More
Heritage Open Days 2010 will run from 9-12 September. To be included in the national programme, venues need to register with Heritage Open Days by 1 May. Open House London will take place on 18-19 September 2010. More
More than 340 organisations across the UK will be marking International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May. This date marks one of the highlights of this year’s United Nations 2010 International Year of Biodiversity. To register an event visit www.biodiversityislife.net
back to top
| CULTURAL SECTOR NEWS
Arts & Business launches Private Sector Policy for the Arts
Arts & Business has launched a Private Sector Policy for the Arts which aims to increase the fundraising performance of the sector and deepen the scale of collaborative ventures between arts and the private sector. The policy paper asserts that arts and commerce, culture and business, creativity and philanthropy are inextricably linked, and estimates that the cultural sector could raise £1bn private investment by 2016 at the latest if the recommendations of this report are implemented. The key recommendations are:
- a matching grant programme to stimulate business sponsorship of the arts;
- a new challenge fund scheme to stimulate individual philanthropy for the arts;
- a legacy campaign for the arts;
- a campaign to increase Cultural Philanthropy from the financial sector and wider business community; and
- tax reforms to underpin a vibrant arts mixed economy.
Arts & Business
Government ‘Vision’ for England’s Historic Environment
The Government has published a Statement on the Historic Environment for England 2010, saying: ”the Government believes that the historic environment is an asset of enormous cultural, social, economic and environmental value.” The document sets out a six point strategy to safeguard England’s built heritage:
- Ensure that relevant policy across all of Government emphasises the duty to manage our heritage for present and future generations.
- Develop an efficient, effective and transparent protection system which is flexible enough to allow for intelligent and well-managed change.
- Encourage the structures and skills at local level to promote consideration of the importance of heritage at an early stage in the development control system, not as an afterthought.
- Promote opportunities to place people and communities at the centre of the designation and management of their local historic environment and to make use of heritage as a focus for learning and community identity at all levels.
- Keep standards high in care and use for publicly-owned heritage assets while allowing, where appropriate, for well-managed and intelligent change.
- Seek to promote the role of the historic environment within the Government’s response to climate change and as part of its sustainable development agenda. DCMS
DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries for graduate internships
The Prime Minister has announced a two-year grants programme to provide at least 40 internships with established arts companies for graduates from low-income backgrounds. The initial £600,000 programme will begin in September and be managed by the Jerwood Foundation.
The DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries scheme will provide work experience in the first year after university to people who cannot afford to pay for training or to volunteer in organisations, or take up unpaid internships. Host employers will be drawn from a wide range of arts organisations, large and small and that there is a good geographical spread. This will be a pilot scheme which will provide a minimum of 20 bursaries in the first and second year, for internships up to one year long. The aspiration is for these Creative Bursaries to be developed into a long term programme, subject to evaluation findings. DCMS
National Academy for Creative and Cultural Skills
The Prime Minister has also announced a further £5m capital funding for the National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural Skills (NSA). The Academy will be set within the Royal Opera House Production Park in Thurrock, and provide industry-led training for the creative sector, initially focussing on live music and technical theatre. Work will commence on the building in November 2010, ready for a 2012 opening. The NSA is a subsidiary of Creative & Cultural Industries, the sector skills council for the creative and cultural industries. Creative & Cultural Skills
Establishment of Creative Scotland will be “accelerated”
Scotland's Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop MSP has said that plans to establish the new cultural development body, Creative Scotland, will be accelerated following the Scottish Parliament's approval of the Public Services Reform Bill. Following Royal Assent, Creative Scotland will formally come into existence as a Non-Departmental Public Body in the summer.
Creative Scotland will be the first Scottish public body to have equal legal status for its Gaelic and English names. Creative Scotland's Gaelic name will be Alba Chruthachail. Scottish Government
Consultation on future management of HMS Victory wreck
DCMS and the Ministry of Defence have launched a public consultation on future management options for the wreck of HMS Victory, the third ship of that name, which sunk in 1744. The wreck was rediscovered in 2009 in the English Channel, outside UK territorial waters, by US deep-sea exploration company Odyssey Marine Exploration. As “Sovereign Immune” property no action can be taken on the wreck without the permission of the Government. The consultation is seeking views on three proposed options for the site:
The closing date for the consultation is 30 June. DCMS
- Management of the wreck in situ (essentially, monitoring and site stabilisation where appropriate).
- Recovery of the wreck artefacts that are visible on the sea bed (including various bronze cannon) and management of the remainder of the site.
- More extensive archaeological evaluation and excavation.
A new advocacy body for traditional heritage crafts has been launched. The Heritage Crafts Association aims to communicate the importance of the heritage crafts to Government, key agencies and the wider public, and to support the survival of heritage crafts through advice, networking, training and access to funding. More
A woman in Shropshire has been sentenced by magistrates after admitting to finding and failing to report Treasure - the first conviction of its kind in the country. More
There has been unprecedented interest in the Clore Leadership Fellowship this year, with applications up by 40%. The application process has now closed and successful candidates will be announced in May. More
Mission Models Money has published a case study on DARE, a collaborative partnership between Opera North and the University of Leeds. The paper argues that DARE provides an innovative and ambitious example of a new way of working. More
Transport for London (TfL) has issued a new coach map, focusing on the capital's cultural heritage. TfL research estimates that more than 3,000 coach trips are made in London daily. More
back to top
Digital Economy Bill
The Digital Economy Bill - which includes proposals to enable cultural organisations to digitise and use 'orphan works' - works that remain in copyright where, even after a diligent search, the owner cannot be identified or found - in their collections has passed through the House of Lords and was introduced in the House of Commons on 16 March. It is due to have a Second Reading debate on 6 April. The Bill is likely to require cross-party agreement if it is to get through the remaining Parliamentary stages before Parliament is dissolved for the General Election. Speaking at the RSA debate on 22 March, Ben Bradshaw stressed that the Government wanted to get the Bill through collaboratively. More
The Digital Heritage Bill introduced by Tom Watson MP as a Private Members Bill on 20 January has not been printed for a Second Reading debate and will make no further progress. The Bill was intended to enable specified institutions to make digital copies of cultural artefacts for archival purposes notwithstanding the existence of any intellectual property right; and for connected purposes. More
Free theatre tickets for young people
In response to a Parliamentary Question, Culture Minister Margaret Hodge MP reported that two-thirds of the free theatre tickets for young people made available through the A Night Less Ordinary Scheme were distributed between February-November 2009. In a statement, Arts Council England confirmed that 122,000 tickets had been taken up - 70% of the target for this stage in the scheme - and said it was confident that the two year target of 600,000 free tickets will be achieved by February 2011. Hansard record Arts Council
Funding for Cultural Olympiad
In response to a question from Sir Nicholas Winterton MP, Margaret Hodge MP reported that approximately £72 million has been invested in funding and facilitating the Cultural Olympiad's Major Projects and the UK wide cultural festival. In addition to this funding, nearly 150 self-funded cultural projects have already been awarded the London 2012 Inspire Mark. More
MPs discussed plans for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Opening the debate on 24 March, Andrew Pelling MP suggested that the Jubilee be celebrated with a Science Museum exhibition to highlight recent British inventions and discoveries, and a British Museum extension in South London. Responding for the Government, Ian Lucas MP, Minister at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills emphasised the importance of celebrating the Jubilee separately from the 2012 Olympics. He also mentioned the V&A's plans for a Cecil Beaton photography exhibition in 2012 to celebrate the Queen's reign. More
The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has been hearing evidence in its inquiry into the Olympic legacy. Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office and for the Olympics, and Shahid Malik MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, appeared before the Committee on 17 March. The uncorrected transcripts will be published on the CMS website shortly. More
Members of the Scottish Parliament debated the functions of Creative Scotland on 25 March in stage 3 of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Bill. More
The Prime Minister has appointed Professor Dame Carol Black DBE and Dr Rosalind P Blakesley to the Board of the National Portrait Gallery, and appointed Mala Gaonkar as a Tate Trustee. More
Vernon Ellis, previously International Chairman of Accenture and currently Chairman of English National Opera, has been appointed as the British Council’s next Chair. He takes up the role at the end of March and succeeds Neil Kinnock who was Chair until July 2009 and Gerard Lemos who has been acting Chair since. More
Androulla Vassiliou, from Cyprus, is the new Commissioner for Education and Culture in the European Commission. More
back to top
| NEWS FROM NMDC MEMBERS
The Science Museum and Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon are among 5 museums to win awards in the first ever Rough Guide to Accessible Britain Awards. Locomotion won the award for Best Free Venue and the Science Museum won Best Family Venue. These awards recognise accessible, inspirational and inclusive visitor attractions across the UK and are intended to highlight organisations that “go above and beyond, to provide a great experience for each and every visitor”. The National Gallery, Tate Britain, Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, National Waterfront Museum, Wales and the Horniman Museum were also highly commended. More
Vicente Todolí, Director of Tate Modern has announced that he has decided to leave London after seven years as Director of Tate Modern. He plans to continue working with Tate Modern on future projects, including a major exhibition for 2011 which will be announced this autumn. More
Tate Modern will be 10 years old on 12 May. Tate Modern is the world's most visited gallery of modern art with over 45 visits in the past 10 years. Tate is planning a major free arts festival No Soul for Sale - A Festival of Independents, on 14-16 May to celebrate the anniversary. More
The Science Museum has announced details of a major new gallery on climate change opening this November, which will provide and immersive, interactive experience with up-to-date, accurate information about the science of climate change. The £4m climate science gallery will transform the second floor of the Science Museum’s Wellcome Wing, its contemporary science hub. It will sit alongside the revamped Who am I? and Antenna galleries which open in June 2010. The Science Museum has also reiterated its commitment to progressively reducing its own carbon footprint. The Museum reduced its carbon emissions by 24% in carbon emissions in 2008/9 and plans a further 10% cut in 2010. More
The National Archives' Alien Arrivals Collection has been digitised in partnership with Ancestry.co.uk and launched online as the Alien Arrivals Collection. The collection details the arrival of more than 610,000 immigrants into the UK between the late 18th and early 20th centuries. More
The National Archives has launched the first ever comprehensive survey of religious archives within the UK. The survey, funded by the Pilgrim Trust, will be conducted in stages - questionaires have already been sent to Hindu, Sikh and Christian organisations, and over the coming months questionnaires will be sent to institutions across the religious spectrum. More
National Museums Scotland has been recognised as an Independent Research Organisation (IRO) by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The status is granted by Research Councils UK to organisations which make a considerable contribution to research. It enables them to apply for funding to the research councils under the same terms as higher education institutions. National Museums Scotland already holds IRO status with the Natural Environment Research Council. More
The British Library has officially launched the UK Web Archive, providing access in perpetuity to thousands of UK websites for generations of researchers. This important research resource has been developed in partnership with the National Library of Wales, JISC and the Wellcome Library, as well as technology partners such as IBM. There are roughly 8 million sites in the UK web domain and recent research suggest at least 10% of UK websites are lost or replaced by new material every six months. www.webarchive.org.uk More
The British Library and Arts & Humanities Research Council have agreed a framework agreement to work together to identify research priorities in India and the UK and work jointly on projects that support research in this field. More
Glasgow's Museum of Transport will close its doors for the final time on 18 April 2010. Over 10 million visits have been made to the museum since it moved to its current location in 1988. The closure will allow items to be moved to the new £74 million Riverside Museum which opens to the public in 2011. More
University students working on a project with the National Portrait Gallery have identified the mystery sitter in one of the Gallery's sixteenth century portraits. History of Art MA students from the University of Bristol working on the exhibition Imagined Lives: Mystery Portraits 1520-16?4", have identified the sitter as Sir Robert Dudley, the illegitimate son of the Earl of Leicester. More
Scientists from the Natural History Museum, University of Cambridge, and the Museum Victoria, Australia have reported the first ever evidence of a tyrannosaur dinosaur in the southern continents. A fossilised hip bone found in Australia has been identified as belonging to an ancestor of T.rex. living 110 million years ago, providing clues about the early evolution of this group of dinosaurs. More
The National Gallery will showcase work by children from across this spring in Take One Picture. Each year the scheme invites UK primary schools to use a painting from the National Gallery Collection as a stimulus for learning across the curriculum. For 2008–9 the focus painting was Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Umbrellas, and over 200 schools submitted work for selection. More
Work by young people from Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead will go on display at the V&A in London as part of the Designs for Life project at the Shipley Art Gallery. More
The Great North Museum is celebrating after winning the Renaissance Museum Award, part of the Journal Culture Awards 2009. More
Royal Armouries and Historic Royal Palaces have joined forces to present ‘Fit for a King’, a new permanent exhibition in the Tower of London, showcasing 500 years of Royal arms and armour. More
Next month, the Imperial War Museum London will launch Explore History, a major project using digital technology to provide greater access to the museum’s collections. The Explore History Centre will be a public space providing free and immediate access to the Museum's vast collection of photographs, film, sound recordings, documents, art, ephemera and books. A new display, Explore History 1940, will illustrate the 'hidden gems' available in the collections and a new Research Room, will provide space for up to 35 students, academics and amateur historians to carry out quiet, formal study at desks and computer terminals. The Reading Room in the building's dome will close on 17 April. More
National Museums Liverpool will open a new visitor facility next month at the Old Dock - the world’s first commercial enclosed wet dock constructed in 1715. The Dock was buried in 1826 and rediscovered during excavations in 2001. Developers Grosvenor preserved the dock and are making it publicly accessible. More
| NMDC JOBS
Our jobs website, www.nationalmuseumjobs.org.uk currently has details of vacancies at museums around the UK including:
For details of these jobs and many more visit www.nationalmuseumjobs.org.uk
- Trust and Foundations Manager, Royal Armouries
- Art and Object Handler, National Maritime Museum
- Shop Manager, National Galleries of Scotland
- Assistant Curator of Computing and Communications, Science Museum
- Curator: Early Years and Family Programme, Tate
- Senior Exhibition Technician, Imperial War Museum
- Information Assistant, Natural History Museum
National museum directors participated in the Who Wants to be a Gondolier...? quiz last month to raise funds for Venice in Peril. The Evening Standard reports that Sir Mark Jones, Director of the V&A, triumphed over his fellow museum directors - Sir Timothy Clifford, former Director of the National Galleries of Scotland, and Tim Knox, Director of the Sir John Soane's Museum. More
If you would like to receive this newsletter by email or change your contact details, please email: Christine.email@example.com