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Newsletter December 2010

DIRECTORS IN THE NEWS

Sir Mark Jones to step down as Director of V&A

Sir Mark Jones, the Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, will be leaving the V&A next year to take up a new post as Master of St Cross College, Oxford. Sir Mark has been Director of the V&A since 2001 and has led a ten-year £120 million programme of renewal of the museum’s buildings and displays.  During his time at the V&A, 70% of the museum has been renewed.  He was previously Director of the National Museums of Scotland (1992-2001), where he oversaw the creation of the award-winning Museum of Scotland, the National War Museum of Scotland and the Museum of Scottish Country Life.  He was Chair of NMDC from 2007-2009.  More  

Queen bestows honour on Neil MacGregor

The Queen has appointed Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, to be a member of the Order of Merit.  The Order of Merit, founded by 1902 by King Edward VII, is a special mark of honour conferred by the Sovereign on individuals of exceptional distinction in the arts, learning, sciences and other areas such as public service.  The Order is in the personal gift of the Sovereign - Ministerial advice is not required - and membership is restricted to 24 individuals as well as additional foreign recipients.  Current members of the Order of Merit include Baroness Thatcher, Lucian Freud, Lord Foster of Thames Bank and Sir Tim Berners Lee.  Buckingham Palace statement

Also

Sir Nicholas Serota has been voted the 14th most influential person in London by the judges of The Evening Standard’s London’s 1000 Most Influential People 2010.  Many other NMDC members are included in the survey’s arts section. Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP is ranked sixth most influential member of the Cabinet in the politics list.  Evening Standard 

CULTURAL FUNDING

Scottish National Collections’ Budgets cut by 4% next year

The Scottish Government's budget for 2011-12 unveiled on 17 November included a 4% reduction in funding next year for National Museums Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland.  The budget statement said: “We want to see free access to the National Collections continuing and will work with them to achieve this but acknowledge they will need to seek efficiencies and cost reductions.”  The budget also confirmed “significant” capital funding next year for the V&A at Dundee Project.

Meanwhile, Historic Scotland will see its budget for 2011-12 reduced by 7%, but the budget for the newly-established Creative Scotland - the national body supporting and promoting Scotland's culture, arts and creative industries - will be frozen at its 2010-11 level.  Support for Arts & Business Scotland and the Cultural Enterprise Office (via ring-fenced funding allocated to Creative Scotland) is also being protected.  Scottish Government statement

Media reports quoted the following statement by National Museums Scotland:  “Following the Scottish Government announcement, we are in effect significantly worse off than our London counterparts, shouldering a cash cut of 4.2% in year one by comparison with their 3% cash cut in year one.  The fact that the Scottish Government has announced a one year budget makes it extremely difficult for us to plan for the future.”  Guardian  The Herald

Welsh Assembly Government Budget

The Welsh Assembly Government announced a draft 3 year budget on 17 November. The Heritage portfolio's revenue budget will be reduced by 3.15% over 3 years with the capital budget decreasing by 33.9% over 3 years.  The budget barrative document said “Capital expenditure has had to be focused on the most pressing strategic priorities and essential maintenance.  The Welsh Assembly Government wants to work with the National Museum to support the redevelopment of the National Museum of Wales St Fagans and maintain its position as the top tourist attraction in Wales.”

Arts funding in Wales will reduce by 4.6% over the next 3 years.  The budget document said: “The relative priority accorded to arts funding recognises the important contribution which arts bodies can make to the quality of people’s lives as well as the economy.”  Draft Budget 2011-12  Statement by Heritage Minister

Heritage Lottery Fund: extra £45m next year and measures for economic climate

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) announced on 30 November that its overall budget for new grants in 2011-12 will be £250m – £45m more than the budget for the current year.  The increase is the result of changes to National Lottery Fund distribution and high lottery ticket sales Camelot UK has just announced its highest ever interim sales performance for the first half of this year and Parliament has approved an increase in the share of Lottery funds for heritage to 20% by April 2012.

HLF has announced that £17m of the additional money will be allocated to four programmes: Townscape Heritage Initiative; repair grants for places of worship scheme; ‘Your Heritage’ small grants programme; and Landscape Partnerships.  A full business plan for 2011-12, detailing the remaining allocations within the £250m budget, will be agreed and announced in spring 2011.

HLF has also announced further changes to its procedures in response to the economic challenges facing potential and current applicants.  To protect previous investment, HLF will now “consider requests for short-term revenue funding from past grant holders where the current economic climate is putting the achievements of a project we have previously funded at risk.”  Other changes are:

  • Reduced match funding requirements - down to 10% for grants over £1m and 5% for small grants;
  • Management and maintenance costs can now be included in match funding;
  • A greater willingness on the part of HLF to consider requests for grant increases arising as a result of current pressures on existing projects. 

The changes come into effect immediately and will run until April 2013.  HLF announcement

Giving evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee last month, HLF Chief Executive Carole Souter said work the HLF had done on the impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review settlement indicated that "£650 - £675 million overall will come out of the sector”.  Uncorrected transcript of evidence

Clarification - National Heritage Memorial Fund budget 2011-12

In last month's newsletter we reported that the National Heritage Memorial Fund's budget has been cut by 54% over the Spending Review Period, with zero funding in 2011-12 and £20m between 2012-15   We should have made it clear that while NHMF will receive no Government funding in 2011-12, it still has significant funds available to for grants in that period.  NHMF have confirmed that for planning purposes, they envisage a budget of £4m - £5m per annum, including in 2011/12.  NHMF, as the fund of last resort, responds to urgent and unpredictable circumstances so its annual budget is flexible.  NHMF statement

Research on effects of economic climate on the UK cultural sector

Arts Quarter has published the findings of its third survey on the effects of the current economic climate on the UK cultural sector.  The survey of 440 cultural organisations highlights growing concern over the state of the sector, compared with the two previous surveys conducted in 2009.  Findings suggest a degree of recovery, but arts organisations are less optimistic now than at the same point in 2009 about the potential for income generation in the year ahead.  Theatres are doing much better in corporate sponsorship, with significantly slower improvement in other art forms.  Looking to 2011, only 12% of respondents feel that they are likely to improve on revenues generated and 39% of respondents feel that they are likely to raise less next year.   

Arts Quarter’s report also includes initial findings of Hidden Wealth, a pilot research project looking to work with cultural organisations to understand better their capacities to engage with high-net-worth individuals.  This project is now embarking on its second phase.  Those interested in participating should contact info@artsquarter.co.uk   Arts Quarter

“Sword of Damocles” threatening culture across Europe

Sica, the Dutch Centre for International Cultural Activities, has published the first in a planned series of reports comparing the funding cuts and perceived prospects of the cultural sector in various European countries.  The economic crisis and the prospects for arts and culture in Europe concludes that “the sword of Damocles is threatening the whole of European culture and in some countries it is hanging from a particularly thin thread”.  The UK, along with Belgium, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania and Portugal are countries where cuts are expected to be particularly drastic; in Sweden, by contrast, reorganisation of local government structures means that some cities are increasing their cultural budgets; and in Norway the Government budget is described as having “increased significantly”.  Sica report

Also

The Guardian reports that Somerset Council has decided to cut 100% of its funding to the cultural sector.  This budget represented less than 0.0004% of the council’s total spend, but will impact heavily on users of ten cultural organisations.  The Guardian

The Herald reports that Moray Council is the first Scottish local authority to propose cutting its entire arts budget.  The Herald

Writing in The Guardian, former Arts Minister David Lammy MP argues that the Coalition Government is making the arts more elitist.  The Guardian

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GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

Prime Minister says UK's great museums are global assets

During his speech to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet on 15 November, the Prime Minister said: “In terms of our role in the world, the truth is that many other countries would envy the cards we hold.  Not only the hard power of our military, but our unique inventory of other assets all of which contribute to our political weight in the world: our global language, the intercontinental reach of our time zone, our world class universities, the cultural impact around the world of the BBC, the British Council and our great museums; a civil service and a diplomatic service which are admired the world over for their professionalism and their impartiality.”  Number 10 website

DCMS Business Plan: charitable trusts and non-national museum sponsorship

All Government Departments published Business Plans on 8 November setting out the Government’s objectives for 2011-2015.  The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)’s Business Plan identifies six key priorities:

  1. Deliver the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics – including helping to deliver a genuine and lasting legacy.
  2. Create the conditions for growth - in the tourism, media, leisure, creative and cultural industries.
  3. Boost the Big Society – by encouraging philanthropy and National Lottery reform.
  4. Facilitate the delivery of universal broadband.
  5. Create a sporting legacy from the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  6. Strengthen cultural organisations – by reforming arm’s length bodies and support a move towards more sustainable business models.

The Big Society strand includes plans to agree with national museums by March 2011 a framework for creating charitable trusts, which will encourage and manage museum donations and private income, and implementing this by March 2012.  DCMS is also working with the Cabinet Office and the Treasury to bring together proposals to incentivise more social investment, philanthropy and giving, including a strategy to boost giving from private individuals to cultural institutions, incorporating insights from behavioural science.  This work is due to be due to be completed in December and an announcement will be made next week.

Included within the strengthening cultural organisations priority is a commitment to explore whether DCMS’s non-national museums - the Geffrye Museum; Horniman Museum; Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester; National Coalmining Museum for England; People's History Museum; Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums; and the Design Museum - may be more effectively sponsored through other bodies in the longer term.  The Department said that the guaranteed funding for the next four years would be transferred to the museums’ new sponsors if negotiations were concluded before 2014/15, with responsibility for funding thereafter belonging to the new sponsors.  There was “no question of cutting these museums adrift without any financial support in the unlikely event that no new sponsorship arrangements can be found”.

Within its plan to create conditions for growth in the tourism industry, the Government is committed to publishing a tourism strategy by the end of January 2011; will restructure Visit Britain to ensure “better targeting of emerging and high-value tourism markets”; and will begin work this month on plans to encourage private sector contributions to a new match-funded marketing initiative to promote tourism from overseas.  DCMS Business Plan DCMS statement on non-national museums

Other Departmental Business Plans

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Business Plan sets out its vision to “make local decisions a normal part of everyday life, giving communities, neighbourhoods and individuals more say, choice and ownership of their local facilities” and to “decentralise power as far as possible, turning Government upside down and inside out”.  DCLG Business Plan

The Number 10 website includes searchable digital versions of each Department’s business plans and monthly progress reports.  Number 10 

Role of culture in “Happiness Index”?

The Prime Minister David Cameron has asked for the nation’s wellbeing to be measured for the Government from next April.  In a speech on wellbeing, the Prime Minister said the findings “will open up debate about what really matters not just in government but amongst people who influence our lives” and he included people “who shape the culture we enjoy” in this group. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will lead a debate called the National Wellbeing Project which will seek to establish the key areas that matter most to people’s wellbeing.  The ONS has launched a public consultation which asks respondents to rate “personal and cultural activities” alongside other factors in determining a broad national measure of wellbeing.  The closing date is 15 April 2011.  ONS Consultation   Prime Minister's speech

Details of Government expenditure published

As part of its transparency agenda, the Government has published information on expenditure by Government departments over £500.  Details have also been published of expenditure over £25,000 by non-departmental public bodies, including national museums.  DCMS and national museums data

BIG Lottery Fund to deliver new £100million government support for charities

The Government has announced a new £100m fund to help the charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises that are most vulnerable to public spending cuts over the next 13 months.  The Transition Fund, first announced as part of the Spending Review, will be managed by the BIG Lottery Fund. Cabinet Office statement

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PHILANTHROPY

The Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy

HRH The Prince of Wales presented his Medal for Arts Philanthropy to five recipients on 22 November: 

  • Richard Broyd, who gave his Historic House Hotels company to the National Trust, the largest single gift it has ever received.
  • Anthony d’Offay and Anne d’Offay, who donated 725 individual pieces of modern art to Tate and National Galleries of Scotland to create ARTISTS ROOMS.
  • Helen Thorpe, who supported the £2m redevelopment of the South London Gallery.
  • Mr and Mrs David Seligman OBE FRWCMD, who have given both time and money to support opera and the performing arts in Wales.
  • The late Lord Wolfson and his family, who have given away more than £1bn, at today’s prices, to a variety of causes in science, medicine, education and the arts.

The medal is intended to recognise the contribution of the most inspiring cultural philanthropists in the UK.  Arts & Business

Jeremy Hunt outlines “the philanthropic challenge”

In a speech on 11 November, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP confirmed the commitment in the DCMS Business Plan to the publication of a strategy to incentivise philanthropy by the end of the year.  Addressing a seminar organised by Cause4 to address the challenges of philanthropy in the current financial climate, Mr Hunt stressed the Government’s commitment to a “mixed model” of “ongoing public support” alongside private giving: the forthcoming strategy – expected to be published on 8 December – would make clear that philanthropy was considered by the Government to be “truly additional” to other sources of funding.  DCMS website     Cause4

MUSEUM NEWS

Museums and libraries development “likely” to transfer to Arts Council

On 1 December, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council placed all its employees formally "At Risk" of redundancy and started a period of formal consultation.  It also advised sector bodies that the process for deciding future grant funding remains to be finally agreed and urged those who receive funding from MLA “to stay on the safe and prudent side in the meantime.”  Culture Minister Ed Vaizey announced last week that many MLA functions are "likely to transfer to Arts Council England" (ACE) but the proposals are still subject to agreement by ACE's National Council, and to agreement on budgets. MLA Chief Executive Roy Clare said: “We would have hoped for more certainty and much sooner.  Nevertheless I am now optimistic that key functions will transfer to the Arts Council and we will hear so soon.  At that point we can initiate the detailed and sensitive work which will enable us to know which staff expertise will transfer, and when.  In the meantime, my Executive Board and Trustees have to act prudently, take full account of all relevant legislation and Cabinet Office protocols and ensure that the organisation stays within a budget that will reduce to nil over the course of the coming financial year.”

Mr Vaizey announced on 23 November that DCMS expects ACE will take on responsibility for:

  • Management and delivery of the Renaissance in the Regions programme.  Detailed plans for the programme’s future development still have to be worked up and therefore there will be no core museum selection process before next year;
  • Museums and libraries development work including accreditation and designation;
  • A number of statutory cultural property functions, including export licensing for cultural objects, the Government Indemnity Scheme and the Acceptance in Lieu scheme.

The statement said that “additional funding of around £46m each year from 2012/13 will be available to deliver this work.”  In the Spending Review statement on 20 October, DCMS announced that funding for Renaissance would be £45.5m in 2011-12, reducing to £43.9m by 2014-15.  MLA’s Grant in Aid in 2011-12 is £6.52m.

Mr Vaizey also confirmed that the Portable Antiquities Scheme will be managed directly by the British Museum from April 2011.  The British Museum will be allocated an extra £1.3m of funding for the scheme, which represents a reduction of 15% in real terms over four years.  To date 659,000 finds have been recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, including 84,891 in the last 12 months.

The future of archives work currently undertaken by the MLA remains under consideration, and DCMS expects to be able to make a further announcement on this by the end of the year.  MLA statement  DCMS statement   British Museum

Museums Association announces changes

Museum's Association’s (MA) new three-year business plan and budget focuses on a “reduction in costs and risks to create a more robust and financial model for the MA, putting the MA at the centre of the museums network, providing information, advice and best practice, and providing political and professional leadership”. 

Practical changes include ending the events and training programme in April 2011; a smaller annual conference at a reduced cost to members; and a slightly reduced Museums Journal (with no August issue).  There will be more focus on policy and advocacy and enhanced investment in communications, including the website.  A new governance system will be in place from April 2011 with a streamlined board.  There will also be an expanded programme of membership dialogue, including four free members’ meetings per year, and an “MA correspondent” appointed in each nation and region.  Museums Association

Digital audiences: engagement with arts and culture online

New research commissioned by the MLA, Arts Council England and Arts & Business explores people's attitudes to arts and culture online, and reveals an appetite for innovative online cultural content.  The report - Digital audiences: engagement with arts and culture online - identifies five distinct audience groups and looks at how the cultural sector can use this information to expand and deepen their relationships with the public.  The research found that over half the online population (53%) have used the internet to engage with the arts and cultural sector in the past 12 months; and that people currently use digital media primarily as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, live experiences.  The most common activities centre around discovery of information about a live event or artist (33%) and ticketing (20%).  24% have watched or listened to some or all of an arts performance or exhibition online, usually to sample, filter and select live events.  Trusted cultural brands, such as the British Museum and National Trust, are really important for audiences in discovering and filtering content online, particularly older audience members. Digital Audiences report

New research into community engagement activities

A new report published by the MLA and ERS provides case studies on community engagement activities undertaken by Renaissance museum hubs.  The research seeks to understand how museums’ community engagement activities are delivering outcomes for visitors.  The report highlights best practice and insights into lessons learnt about the challenges in developing community engagement projects.  The recommendations to improve community engagement include better planning, a more flexible response and sharing learning across the museums sector.  MLA website

 

David Cameron announces major UK arts festival in China for 2012

During his visit to Beijing last month, the Prime Minister announced that there will be a major festival, UK Now, in China in 2012. The festival, potentially the biggest ever celebration of British arts held in China, will highlight the best of UK creativity and will include exhibitions, concerts and performances across the country. The programme will be managed by the British Council and highlights include V&A exhibition British Design 1948-2012 and a major exhibition of Chinese and European ceramics, jointly organised by the British Museum, V&A and the National Museum of China.  British Council

UK Memory of the World Register of significant archives and documents

Nominations are now open for the UK Memory of the World Register.  The Register features archive collections or documents which are considered to be culturally significant to the UK and is designed to help raise awareness of some of the UK’s exceptional, but lesser-known documentary riches by awarding them Memory of the World status.  The Memory of the World Programme is run by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to help promote outstanding documentary heritage and is administered by the UK National Commission for UNESCO.

This is the second round of nominations following the Register’s launch earlier this year.  There are 10 items and collections currently on the UK Register and organisations holding these have already reported increased visitor and volunteer levels, raised profile of the collection within their organisation and additional funding as a result of the designation.

Anyone can make a nomination and all archive formats are eligible, including digital and audiovisual.  The deadline for nominations is 31 January 2011.  UK Memory of the World Register.

Louvre launches first public appeal for acquisition

The Louvre has launched an appeal for €1m to buy The Three Graces, a 24cm by 37cm picture by the sixteenth century German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder. This is the first time that the Louvre has made a public appeal for donations towards an acquisition.  The museum has already raised €3m from two corporate donors. The painting which comes from a private collection has never been publicly exhibited.  Campaign website

Our Democratic Heritage

A group of leading historians have launched Our Democratic Heritage, an independent non-partisan organisation committed to explaining and exploring Britain’s history of democracy and freedom.  Operating as a “multi-pronged, cell-like network”, the charity aims to “strengthen popular celebration of those who did so much to create the freedoms we enjoy today” and work with museums, art galleries and websites to create an online hub, actively using social media to celebrate key dates and encourage engagement.  The charity’s website will point people to museums, galleries, buildings and other places of democratic significance, and individuals, schools, local councils and other community organisations will be able to store their democratic memories in a living online archive.  The founding members include the historians Dr Dan Pleche, Dr Tristram Hunt MP; Professor Linda Colley, Sir Robert Worcester and Dr Ben Cowell.  Our Democratic Heritage

Entrepreneurial Museum

The entrepreneurial museum one day national conference being held at Thinktank, Birmingham in February 2011, has confirmed that Art Halai, broadcaster, businesswoman, author and former face of Central News will be the conference’s host. Other speakers will be Geoff Burch from the BBC’s ‘All Over the Shop’ and former Entrepreneur of the Year John Donnelly. These speakers and others will aim to provide attendees with “tools and techniques to build a sustainable entrepreneurial museum for the future”. The Entrepreneurial Museum

Also

The Treasure Annual Report 2008 was published last month, the tenth annual report to Parliament on the operation of the Treasure Act 1996.  It shows that a further 806 Treasure cases were reported in 2008.  Of these 265 have been, or are in the process of being, acquired by museums across the country. More

The Heritage Lottery Fund announced a first round pass of £2.8million to establish a new museum and art gallery in the historic city of Dunfermline.  Two historic buildings within the Outstanding Conservation Area will be redeveloped and a new extension added to create a flagship facility combining a museum, art gallery, archive, library and local history services.  HLF

The Museums Association’s website now includes four RSS feeds to provide easy access to the latest updates on news, jobs, events and objects.  More

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CULTURAL LEARNING

Big Link Up National Debate on cultural learning

On the 23 November the Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA) hosted The Big Link Up, a series of events in schools and cultural organisations across the country to celebrate and collectively debate the importance of cultural learning.  Neil MacGregor opened the event at the British Museum and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP gave the keynote speech.  In the subsequent discussion, delegates aired their concerns that the Comprehensive Spending Review will have a disproportionate effect on culture, on children and young people, and the professionals that work with them, and many spoke of projects that are currently being curtailed or have already been cut.  Over the next few weeks the CLA will be collating all their thoughts and submissions and starting to shape a national strategy for cultural learning.  The Big Link Up

Schools White Paper: Henley Review will inform approach to cultural education

Education Secretary Michael Gove MP published a White Paper on 24 November on the Government’s approach to schools.  The Importance of Teaching sets out plans to give new powers for teachers to improve discipline; envisages a “transformed” school curriculum; outlines a pupil premium to channel money to most deprived children; and sets out changes to school performance tables, Ofsted inspections and governance, with school-led school improvement replacing top-down initiatives. 

There is a reference to museums in the chapter headed “Curriculum, Assessment and Qualifications” where, within a commitment to “ensure all schools are given the resources and space they need to offer a truly rounded education”, the White Paper states that “children should expect to be given a rich menu of cultural experiences.  So we have commissioned Darren Henley to explore how we can improve music education and have more children learning to play an instrument.  The Henley Review will also inform our broader approach to cultural education.  We will support access to live theatre, encourage the appreciation of the visual and plastic arts and work with our great museums and libraries to support their educational mission.”  Mr Henley, the Managing Director of Classic FM, began his review in September, and was asked by Mr Gove to report by the end of the year.  Schools White Paper Henley Review

Government rejects Learning Outside the Classroom recommendations

The Education Select Committee published the Government's response to its recommendations in the report Transforming Education Outside the Classroomon 13 October.  The response said the Government agrees with the Committee about the importance of learning outside the classroom: “But we also believe it should be for schools to decide how to teach and what mediums to use to deliver that teaching.  This includes learning outside the classroom which, like learning within the classroom, should be a matter for teachers' professional judgement and not something prescribed by central government or imposed on schools through bureaucratic requirements”.  The response said the Government “does not therefore accept those recommendations [of the Committee] that call for additional resources, government regulation, monitoring or guidance”.  This included rejecting the recommendation for further central government funding for the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and the Quality Badge scheme.

The Government’s response is more supportive of recommendations to removing barriers to school trips: “We want to ensure that schools have the maximum freedom to teach in the way that they judge best for their pupils, including through Learning Outside the Classroom activities, and we are ready to explore how to increase school freedom in this regard by, for example, reviewing the constraints flowing from unnecessary Health and Safety red tape or from teachers' pay and conditions.”  Select Committee

Economic benefit of creative learning in early years

Children exposed to creative learning in early years education are central to a prosperous modern economy, according to a new publication by the think tank Demos and Creativity Culture & Education.  In a series of essays, Born Creativebrings together the experiences of creative practices in early years education, to show the importance of cultures, environments and networks in the enrichment of  early years learning and looks at the role of leaders, policy and parents in creating them. Key recommendations from the collection include making museums more family-friendly places where children can interact and play with art.  CCE website  Demos publication

Cuts to extra-curricular arts activities will “widen the class gap”

A leading head teacher has spoken of his concerns that cuts to extra-curricular arts activities will widen the class gap in education.  Speaking at the Closing the Gap conference in London, Sir Alasdair Macdonald, Head of Morpeth School in East London and knighted for his services to education in 2008, said that his school places heavy emphasis on extra-curricular activities and the arts to give pupils experiences that middle-class children might have routinely with their families, and which build “educational capital”.  He said: “Attainment is raised in the classroom and the gap is closed beyond it.”  He warned that after-school projects and the arts would be a “soft target” for those making cuts.  The TES

Raising profile of supplementary educational and cultural activity

The Mayor of London has published Widening Horizons, a document considering how London organisations are enriching the education of young people, with a particular focus on supplementary learning and cultural activities. It is part of a wider campaign by the Mayor of London to support and raise the profile of the hundreds of charities and community organisations offering such activities. Mayor of London

Kids takeover museums

Kids in Museums joined forces with the Children’s Commissioner to support “Takeover Day” on 12th November, an annual event in which children and young people across the country are able to work alongside adults and get involved in decision-making.  Over 50 museums took part in the event: the V&A invited students from Bexleyheath to take over the planning of a digital festival for 13-19yrs, while Imperial War Museum North commissioned 30 school children to take over planning for Remembrance Day commemorations. Kids in Museums   Children's Commissioner

Also

Simon Schama, the Department for Education’s history adviser, set out his vision for the future history curriculum in an article for The Guardian on 9 November.  The Guardian

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CULTURAL SECTOR NEWS

Arts Council announces major changes to funding structure

Arts Council England published a new strategic framework for the arts on 4 November and announced that a new national portfolio funding programme will replace its current regularly funded system from April 2012.  ACE currently has around 880 regularly funded organisations (RFOs).  The new portfolio will be smaller, with the potential loss of more than 100 organisations by 2015.  The four major differences from the current funding arrangements are:

  • An open-application process for all organisations;
  • Funds awarded for a fixed term of normally three years, but with flexibility to extend to six years;
  • Funding agreements with organisations will be based on clear criteria and shared goals.  Funded organisations must have an outstanding track record of achievement or outstanding potential and ACE aims to balance the portfolio support to achieve its long-term vision - for example, in terms of art form, size of organisation and geographical spread;.
  • Funding agreements will be based around 'strategic' and 'programme' relationships, rather than 'one-size-fits-all' relationship

The deadline for applications for funding from April 2012 onwards is 24 January 2011, and decisions on the national portfolio organisations will be announced at the end of March 2011.  2011/12 will be a year of transition to the new funding structure with most RFOs having a 6% cut in current funding.  Arts Council statement

The Cultural Learning Alliance has published an overview of what these changes mean for cultural learning, looking in detail at the strategic goal for children and young people.  Cultural Learning Alliance

Launch of DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme

The DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme was formally launched on 4 November by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP and Alan Grieve, Chairman of the Jerwood Foundation. The programme aims to make careers in the arts more accessible by providing funded training placements to recent graduates from less affluent backgrounds who could otherwise not support themselves through an unpaid internship. 

Arts organisations from around England are being selected to host bursary recipients in roles lasting between six and twelve months.  Running initially as a pilot programme across a two year period until March 2012, the aim is to provide 40 bursary places in this initial stage.  Successful candidates receive a mentor, structured networking opportunities and a bursary of £15,000 per annum pro rata.  The scheme also offers financial support to host organisations taking on a placement.  Jerwood Foundation

HLF announces £10m funding to improve Stonehenge visitor experience

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has announced confirmed funding of £10m for Stonehenge.  English Heritage’s £27m proposal for the site includes the building of new visitor facilities 1.5 miles west of Stonehenge with enhanced exhibition and education space, and the closure of the A344 which runs immediately adjacent to the monument. There will be significant improvements to Stonehenge's landscape setting, with the stone circle finally being able to reconnect with its ancient processional Avenue.  English Heritage   HLF website

Cultural Metropolis

On 15 November the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, published his cultural strategy for city, Cultural Metropolis, which outlines how the Greater London Authority will work in partnership with a range of organisations to champion and support London’s cultural sector.  The Mayor said the strategy advocates that "continued support and investment in the creative economy is crucial to sustaining the wellbeing of London and the nation.” Speaking at the launch he argued that it was incumbent upon national and local government to continue funding the arts rather than rely on private sponsorship to expand exponentially to plug funding shortfalls. Mayor of London

British Council China-UK grants

Applications are invited for the next round of the British Council's China-UK: Connections through Culture development grants.  The grants offer funding to enable UK and Chinese cultural institutions to develop joint projects. This round of grants is for visits to and from China taking place by July 2011 and the deadline for applications is 9 January 2011.  More   

Also

University College London has introduced a new Masters degree in Digital Humanities.  The course draws together teaching from a wide range of disciplines, to investigate the application of "computational technologies" to the arts, humanities and cultural heritage sectors. UCL

English Heritage has partnered with the iPhone App Flook to bring almost all of its castles, ruined abbeys and stately homes to the iPhone. English Heritage will also be releasing a dedicated days out application for iPhone next year.More 

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IN PARLIAMENT

Cultural figures join House of Lords

The Government announced the list of new working Peers on 19 November.  New members of the House of Lords with an interest in culture include: 

  • Dame Joan Bakewell, former Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts;
  • Sir Patrick Cormack, for many years Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Arts & Heritage Group;
  • Jenny Randerson, former Liberal Democrat Minister for Culture in the Welsh Assembly Government
  • Jonathan Kestenbaum, Chief Executive of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts;
  • Stewart Wood, former Downing Street and HMT special adviser;
  • Julian Fellowes DL, actor, novelist, film director and screenwriter;
  • Michael Grade CBE, past Chief Executive of Channel 4 Television and former Executive Chairman of ITV plc.  Number 10 website

Select Committee inquiry on arts and heritage funding

On 1 December, Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey MP gave evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee for their inquiry into arts and heritage funding. In response to an opening question about the level of government funding Mr Vaizey said that if he had his way he would write a blank cheque for the arts.  He refused to be drawn on repeated questioning about “waste at the Arts Council”, an issue on which Committee members focused when ACE Chief Executive, Alan Davey gave evidence in October.  Mr Vaizey reiterated that the Arts Council was an effective body that would continue to exist and that he had an effective working relationship with Mr Davey.  The Committee also heard from philanthropists Dame Vivien Duffield DBE, Chair of the Clore Duffield Foundation, and Rosalind Riley, Trustee of The Brook Trust. The transcripts of these sessions will be published shortly.  CMS Committee

Protection of Intellectual Property Rights Online

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has issued a call for evidence on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights Online. The inquiry will look at issues around the implementation of the Digital Economy Act, Intellectual Property and barriers to new internet-based business models, including information access, the costs of obtaining permissions from existing rights-holders, and “fair use.”  The deadline for submissions of evidence is 5 January 2011.  CMS Committee

Museum admission charges for non-UK visitors

In a written parliamentary question former DCMS Minister Kate Hoey MP asked the Secretary of State for Culture if would “consider the merits of allowing these museums and galleries which have a free entry policy to charge non-UK visitors an entry charge.”  Responding for the Government on 2 November, Ed Vaizey MP said: “In line with the coalition manifesto there are no plans to review the policy of free admission to national museums and galleries.  Under European Union law, institutions cannot discriminate between domestic and European Union visitors to our museums and galleries. Article 12 of the European Community Treaty prohibits any discrimination on grounds of nationality.” Hansard record

Archaeology debated in the House of Lords

In response to a question from Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn on 11 November, Baroness Rawlings said that she was unaware of the location of the Crosby Garrett helmet, and the identity of its purchaser, following its sale at auction for £2million.  She confirmed that DCMS plans a consultation on reviewing the Treasure Act 1996 to consider whether it would be appropriate to extend the definition of treasure to include items such as the helmet.  

In response to a question from former Arts Minister Lord Howarth of Newport about Government policies to support archaeology, Baroness Rawlings said that “measures included in the Coroners and Justice Act to improve the treasure system will be implemented, though ministers are still considering the feasibility of a coroner for treasure and the DCMS and the Ministry of Justice are working together to assess the extent to which measures on treasure may be implemented within current financial constraints”. Hansard record

National Railway Museum

In response to a question from Hugh Bayley MP about the loss of £5m regional development agency investment in the National Railway Museum, Mark Prisk MP, Business and Enterprise Minister, confirmed that their could be an opportunity for the museum to make a bid to the Regional growth fund. Hansard Record

In a debate on the Public Bodies Bill in the House of Lords on 9 November, Lord Faulkner of Worcester criticised the abolition of the Railway Heritage Committee, which has “a  budget that costs the taxpayer little more than £100,000 a year…the National Railway Museum will in future have to spend at least that amount of money on buying the artefacts and records which, at present, it gets for nothing.” Hansard record

APPOINTMENTS

New Trustees sought for Heritage Lottery Fund and National Heritage Memorial Fund

DCMS is seeking applications for two new Trustees to join the board of the HLF and NHMF.  For these particular appointments, candidates are especially sought who have expertise in: the historic environment; environmental sustainability in relation to the UK’s heritage; engaging people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities; and who have knowledge of the heritage of the North East, Yorkshire and Humber, the East Midlands, or the East of England.  The closing date for applications is Monday 13 December. DCMS website   

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NEWS FROM NMDC MEMBERS

The British Library has issued a letter to Readers informing them impact of the budget cuts announced in the Spending Review.  The Library's Grant in Aid has been cut by 15% in real terms over the next four years and the capital budget cut by 50%, a reduction of around £23m a year by 2014/15.  The major areas for savings have been identified as staffing, acquisitions, facilities management and preservation. The Library plans to deliver 80% of the savings in the first two years and the cuts will mean around 200 job losses over the next two to three years.  The current £19m acquisitions spend will be cut by around £4m and the Library will introduce charges for it’s two major temporary exhibitions but not the permanent exhibition. Reader passes and the opening hours will not be reduced. But the letter warns “we will have to reconsider these options should the British Library be faced with additional cuts in years three and four, and/or our commercial and other income is less than we forecast.”  More

The National Gallery has announced it has received a “transformational” donation of £1 million from American industrialist and philanthropist Mark Pigott OBE towards the refurbishment of the National Gallery’s Education Centre and to improve its teaching facilities.  Mr Pigott is chairman and chief executive officer of PACCAR Inc, a Fortune 150 global technology company based in Bellevue, Washington, which has generously supported other UK organisations including Cancer Research UK, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the British Library, the Palace of Westminster, the National Theatre and St. Paul’s Cathedral.  More

The National Portrait Gallery has launched a ground-breaking online resource for the Creative & Media Diploma, which invites students and teachers behind the scenes at a national museum, revealing all the processes in staging an exhibition from start to finish - from concept and curating, to creating a marketing campaign, designing the 3D exhibition space and organising events.  It features interviews, project resources and blogs to support work-related learning for the Diploma for young people aged 14-19, but it has also been designed to have a wider appeal.  More

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will officially open the Science Museum’s new gallery atmosphere: exploring climate science on 3 December.  The Gallery has five zones focussing on different areas of climate science through a rich variety of interactive exhibits and objects. Exhibits include the world's first museum display of an Antarctic ice core.  The core on display includes ice up to 700 years old containing air trapped in the year 1410.  More

The Ashmolean Museum has begun work on the redevelopment of its Egyptian galleries housed in its Grade 1 listed Beaumont Street Building. The £5m project, supported by the Linbury Trust, will redesign and redisplay the four existing Egypt galleries, and create a fifth gallery in the space currently occupied by the shop. The shop will be relocated in a newly converted space next to the café on the lower-ground floor.  It is due to be completed by the end of 2011.  More

Museum of London Docklands has announced that it will host German House for London 2012. German House is where the German National Olympic Committee and its sponsors provide VIP hospitality and meeting facilities for their guests. It will also serve as the German National Olympic Committee’s press facility and media lounge. The Museum is the first venue in East London to sign a 2012 nation house agreement.  More

The National Archives is calling for volunteers on Twitter to take over the UK War Cabinet project. Throughout 2010, The National Archives has been bringing the historic events of 1940 to life, tweeting them 70 years to the minute that they occurred via twitter.com/ukwarcabinet.  Now, the Archives are asking for volunteers from its thousands of online followers to take over the project next year.  More

The National Archives has been voted the Best Content Provider at the Schools Videoconference User Awards 2010. The judges, by a panel of schools-based videoconferencing experts from across the UK, reported that The National Archives 'showed an excellent variety of workshops covering all age groups and a true commitment to remote learning through the numbers of students who have been taught through your videoconferencing workshops'. The National Archive's education service taught over 6,500 students online through videoconferencing and virtual classrooms between April 2009 and March 2010.  More

National Museums Liverpool has signed a formal partnership with Liverpool Hope University.  Museum staff will work with the University to shape and contribute to two postgraduate courses on Art History & Curating and Museums & Heritage Studies. The partnership will also involve a high profile lecture programme, exhibitions at the University's venues and greater student involvement in the Museum.  More 

Professor Chris Stringer from the Natural History Museum has been involved in an international research project which has revealed that Neanderthals reached maturity earlier than modern humans, an important difference that may have given modern humans an evolutionary advantage over Neanderthals.  The research compared the microscopic tooth growth patterns found in fossils from 11 Neanderthal and early modern humans, the largest sample of this kind studied to date.  More 

The Royal Air Force Museum has launched a new online shopwww.rafmuseumshop.com  The Museum has also introduced a new birthday celebration package for adults.  More 

Tate Liverpool has announced that its forthcoming exhibition on the work of the video and performance artist, composer and visionary, Nam June Paik will be sponsored by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Samsung will provide products using the latest technology to support the ambitious display including blu-ray home cinema HD projectors and 3D enabled LED monitors, and 25 personal MP3 players for an audio tour.  More

The catalogue for Birmingham Museum Art Gallery's exhibition Queering the Museum is available to download as a PDF.  The exhibition, created by artist and curator Matt Smith, features objects rearranged and brought out of store and new commissioned works to draw out - and on occasion wilfully invent - hidden stories in the Museum's collections.  More

Imperial War Museum Duxford has introduced new winter opening arrangements.  From 1 November to 18 March the Land Warfare and Hangar 3: Air and Sea buildings will be closed to the public, except during school holidays.  All the Museum’s other buildings will all be open as usual throughout the winter. Admission prices will also be reduced from 1 November to 19 March, including during school holidays.  More   

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NMDC JOBS

Our jobs website, www.nationalmuseumjobs.org.uk has details of current vacancies at leading museums around the UK including:

  • Development Fundraising Manager, National Army Museum
  • Events Assistant, Ashmolean Museum
  • Photographer, National Museums Scotland
  • Payroll & Pensions Coordinator, Imperial War Museum
  • Art and Object Handler, National Maritime Museum
  • Project Assistant; Stein Collection Database, British Museum

For details of these jobs and more visit www.nationalmuseumjobs.org.uk

And finally...

National Portrait Gallery finds relics of Richard II in its basement

Research at the National Portrait Gallery has revealed that its first Director, Sir George Scharf, regularly attended opening of graves and collected souvenirs including fragments of wood and fabric from the tomb of King Richard II.  The contents of a cigarette box dated 31 August 1871 have now been identified as relics from the royal tomb following cataloguing of Sir George Scharf’s diaries and notebooks, when it became possible to cross-reference the date on the front of the box with diary entries and sketches made on the same day.  Scharf’s papers have been catalogued as part of a six-month online project funded by the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives.  More

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