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Newsletter May 2011

Welcome to NMDC’s monthly news update.  In this issue:

and much more…

MUSEUM NEWS

Art Fund announces funding increase and launches National Art Pass

The Art Fund has announced plans to increase its funding for museums and galleries to buy and show art by over 50%, from £4.5m to £7m, by 2014.  This is core expenditure and will be supplemented by more funds from special appeals for works of art.  The Wolfson Foundation has pledged £1.5 million over three years to support the Art Fund's acquisitions funding programme.

The Art Fund has also announced a broader programme of activity to help museums buy and show art beyond funding acquisitions, from assistance in developing curatorial expertise to supporting tours, exhibitions, educations projects and events.  The programme includes a new partnership between the Fund and the National Gallery, at which two fully funded 22-month curatorial traineeships will be offered this autumn, to include placements in two regional museums.  Applications are now open for regional museums to host the trainees. 

With an eye to increasing the Art Fund's resources for this activity, the charity has launched the National Art Pass - effectively a new way of joining the Art Fund.  The National Art Pass is intended to act as a passport to art across the UK, and will provide holders with free entry to over 200 charging museums and galleries, and 50% off entry to major exhibitions.  Art Fund

Cyrus Cylinder returns from loan to National Museum of Iran

The Cyrus Cylinder, described by Iran’s President Ahmadinejad as “a symbol of Iranian peace and tolerance”, has returned to the British Museum after a loan to the National Museum of Iran.  Over 1 million people are reported to have visited the Museum to see the cylinder and the loan period was extended in recognition of the popularity of the exhibition.  

There was considerable media coverage surrounding the loan negotiations in early 2010 when Hamid Baghai, director of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation, threatened to cut off relations with the British Museum over concerns that the loan might be delayed because of new research. 

Speaking at an event to mark the end of the loan last month, Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, said: “Despite political difficulties and conflicting national interests, what museums, like the British Museum and the National Museum of Tehran, can show is that these objects are part of a shared inheritance which belongs to everyone.”  Neil MacGregor was accompanied to Tehran by the BBC’s John Wilson, the first British journalist to be allowed into Iran since 2009.  The British Museum hopes to continue the mutual loans programme with Iran and to continue to collaborate on training programmes and joint publication projects.   British Museum

Meanwhile the Art Newspaper reports that Mr Baghai has severed links between Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation and the Louvre in Paris, after claiming the museum had violated a commitment to help organise a major exhibition of Persian artefacts in Tehran.  The Art Newspaper

Leading museums call for release of Ai Weiwei

Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, and other museum leaders from around the world have called for the release of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who was arrested by the Chinese authorities on 3 April as he tried to board a plane to Hong Kong.  The artist, who created Tate's latest Unilever Series installation of sunflower seeds, remains uncontactable and his whereabouts are unknown.  Leading cultural organisations from around the world have joined together to launch an online petition to express concern for Ai and call for his release, hoping that their collective action using social networking sites - Ai Weiwei's favoured medium of social sculpture - will promote Ai's liberty and the principle of free creative expression.  Meanwhile, large letters on the facade of Tate Modern call for Ai Weiwei's release and will remain there until there is further news of the artist’s whereabouts.  Petition  Tate

Southampton City council assesses tenders to manage gallery and museums

Southampton City Council has tendered for management and operation services for Sea City Museum, Southampton Art Gallery and Tudor House Museum.  The estimated value of the contracts is £26m over a 20 year period.  The contractors will be responsible for all aspects of running the museums, excluding collections care, education provision and maintenance of the external fabric of the building.  A decision on awarding contracts is expected to be made by the Council in June.  Councillor John Hannides told the Southern Daily Echo: “We are looking to take advantage of the expertise that can arise from operators who have both the marketing resources and management capabilities that would be difficult to offer within the public sector.”  He is also reported as saying that the Council would not rule out outsourcing “curatorial functions” in the future.  Daily Echo  Public Tenders

Museums’ role in improving wellbeing

MLA Renaissance North West has published Who Cares?, a booklet summarising six museum projects focusing on the impact of museums on mental health, physical disability and social exclusion.  Developed in collaboration between health professionals, museums and researchers from the Psychosocial Research Unit at the University of Central Lancashire, the programme explored how working with collections can improve wellbeing among disadvantaged groups.  In the foreword to the report, Dr Jane Whittaker, Consultant Psychiatrist at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, urges health professionals "to make alliances with museums and galleries in order to use the remarkable resources they can bring to our work."  MLA

Happy Museum Project announces £60,000 Commission Fund

The Happy Museum Project has announced that a fund of £60,000 will be made available through open application to support museums in demonstrating that the principles of happiness and well-being can leave a legacy of cultural change within their organisations or communities.

The Happy Museum Project, which seeks to help museums support well-being and sustainability in society, is led by Tony Butler, Director of the Museum of East Anglian Life, and funded through the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Breakthrough Fund.  A Happy Museum Paper was launched along with the Project on 29 March, examining the need to “shift our focus from materialism to well-being” and concludes that museums must 're-imagine' their work, both in terms of the experiences they provide, and their relationships with their collections, visitors, and external context. The deadline for funding applications is 6 June.  Happy Museum Project

Public vote for Art Fund Prize for Museums and Galleries

The public poll for the Art Fund Prize for Museums and Galleries closed on 3 May.  The votes and comments will be given to the judges when they meet to decide on the short list, with the  winner of the £100,000 prize due to be announced on 15 June at Tate Britain.  Two national museums are in the running: the V&A Ceramics Study Gallery and the British Museum for the ‘A History of the World’ project.  As of 2 May, the People's History Museum in Manchester was leading the public poll with almost 27% of the vote, almost twice as many votes as the next most popular project, the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.  The final days of the public vote were marked by Love Your Museum Weekend events at all the venues on the long-list.  Art Fund Prize

UK’s most family friendly museum

Mansfield Museum in Nottinghamshire is the winner of the Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award 2011.  Four shortlisted museums were visited anonymously by families and scored against the points on the Kids in Museums Manifesto.  Kids in Museums

Museums at Night

Hundreds of museums across the UK will stay open late and run special events to celebrate Museums at Night between 13-15 May.  Events include:

  • A Thunderbirds themed night at the Royal Air Force Museum where children of the 60s and 70s are invited to play with giant-sized versions of classic children's games, meet "Lady Penelope" and watch cult TV shows. More
  • Figures & Fiction, South African fashion and music with Normski at the V&A More
  • A record 46 venues including the Laing Art Gallery and Great North Museum staging events in Tyneside as part of The Late Shows with free City SightSeeing buses linking venues and a website to help plan a personalised culture crawl itinerary. More

Museums across Europe will stay open late on Saturday 14 May to mark Nuit de Musees. 

In response to a Parliamentary Question from Andrew Rosindell MP on 27 April, Ed Vaizey MP reported that Arts Council England and the MLA had together provided £94,550 funding for Museums at Night, an increase of 26% on 2010.  85,000 people attended 345 events at 286 venues last year: similar figures are being aimed at this year, with 218 venues already registering events.  Hansard

London Museums Group relaunches

The London Museums Group (LMG) is re-launching itself with an event at the British Museum on 23 May.  The LMG is the museums federation for London, a self-help membership network that represents and champions all museums in London and the people who work in them. The event will highlight the work LMG is doing to set up a training and skills sharing scheme for London and provide an opportunity to shape the way non-national museums in London work with the nationals, in a session chaired by John Orna-Ornstein of the British Museum.  The event is free and open to anyone working in London museums.  To book a place contact Melissa Bentley mbentley@museumoflondon.org.uk

New Perspectives on Museum & Archive Collections

A new project called Revisiting Collections, developed by the Collections Trust, is enabling dozens of museums, galleries and archives across the UK to work with communities to gain a fresh insight into their collections.  Projects include a collaboration between the Royal Cornwall Museum and Science Museum (Wellcome Collection) re-examining collections to explore attitudes to sex and sexuality through the ages and producing a new resource for secondary schools.  Revisiting Collections is a set of tools, networks, case studies and other support materials on the Collections Link website.  Unlike previous projects, Revisiting Collections supports museums, galleries and archives to record this new information in their databases, and to preserve it for future generations.  Collections Trust

The PRISM Fund 2011-2012 is now available

The PRISM Fund administered by MLA has reopened with a budget of £150,000 this year.  The fund for the Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material (PRISM Fund) supports the acquisition and/or conservation of any object or group of objects illustrating the history of any branch of science, industry or technology with individual grants of up to £12,000.  The Fund’s budget has been cut from £250,000 per annum, the amount available from 1995 to 2010 (the fund amounted to £500,000 annually before 1995).  MLA

Sir Denis Mahon CH

The art historian, collector and philanthropist Sir Denis Mahon has died at the age of 100.  Sir Denis, a former trustee of the National Gallery, bequeathed his collection of Italian Baroque paintings to hang in pubic collections around the UK and was an influential campaigner for museums - instrumental in the creation of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, he also played a key role in securing VAT changes to enable free admission to national museums.  The Guardian

Also

Following the changes announced in the Budget, HM Revenue & Customs has published detailed guidance notes on benefits received by donors.  More

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APPOINTMENTS

New Director of Victoria & Albert Museum

Martin Roth, Director-General of the Dresden State Art Collections, has been appointed as the new Director of the V&A.  He will take up the post on 1 September.  Sir Mark Jones is leaving to become Master of St Cross College, Oxford.  

Mr Roth has been Director-General of the Dresden collections since 2001 and was previously curator at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, and director of the Deutsche Hygiene Museum in Dresden.  He was President of the German Museums Association from 1996-2003 and was made a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 2007.

The V&A has also announced that Philip Long will be the director of V&A at Dundee and will oversee the £45m project due to open in 2014.  He is currently Senior Curator at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.  Victoria & Albert Museum

New role for MLA Chief Executive

Roy Clare CBE, Chief Executive of MLA, has announced that he is leaving the MLA at the end of May to become Director of the Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand.  The Museum holds pre-eminent Maori and Pacific collections, significant natural history resources and major social and military history collections, as well as decorative arts and pictorial collections.

Roy Clare was a member of the MLA Board in 2006-07 and has led the Council since September 2007.  As Director of the National Maritime Museum from  2000-2007, he was a member of NMDC and played a leading role in promoting leadership development within the museums sector.

MLA's key responsibilities will transfer to Arts Council England and the National Archives on 1 October.  Paul Lander, MLA's Corporate Services Director who has been leading planning for the transition, will take charge of the MLA as it completes the transfer of key functions and moves towards closure and wind up.  MLA

DCMS changes

Following a restructure at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Helen Williams has been appointed as Head of Heritage, which includes responsibility for national museums sponsorship.  Helen was previously Head of Museums and Libraries. DCMS has also provided the following update on the broader changes to the Department:

  • The whole of Whitehall has to make efficiency savings and the Department for Culture Media and Sport is aiming to achieve achieve 50% admin cost reduction by 2014/15 to meet Spending Review targets. The Secretary of State has given a clear direction that we need to offer the public real value for money by prioritising activity that has the most impact on the ground and reducing our own admin costs;
  • This is an ambitious task, which needs to be achieved whilst still delivering on business critical priorities. That is why DCMS is not simply reducing its admin spend and staff levels, we are changing the way we do things. The aim is to build the best possible Department, with a highly motivated and talented workforce and to get even better at prioritising what we do;
  • A new Senior Management Team is now in place. Directors will now have a more cross-cutting strategic  role, with specialism anchored in the ‘Heads of’ roles (e.g. Head of sport, Head of Arts);
  • The Department has reduced the number of Senior Civil Servants. The aim is to have less top-down leadership and a stronger focus on empowering and equipping the people that do the day-to-day work;
  • The organisation will be more flexible so we can adapt to meet changing priorities. Teams will be less static and people will be encouraged to apply their skills across the business. The aim is to become more like one, highly skilled team, where we share expertise.

 

 Directors

 Deputy Directors

Simon Judge
PA: Donna McGibbon (020 7211 6450)

  • Corporate responsibilities: Finance and Commercial; Evidence and Analysis; Working Environment
  • Policy SRO: Tourism
  • Cross Cutting Agenda: Transparency
  • Board-level Strategic Relations: English Heritage; Visit Britan
  • Committee Responsibility: Member of Departmental Ministerial Board

Helen MacNamara
PA: Alison Yearley (020 7211 6411)

  • Corporate responsibilities: Strategic Change and Corporate Strategy; Arms Length Body Reform
  • Policy SRO: Future Communications Regulation and Local TV
  • Cross Cutting Agenda: Big Society
  • Board-level Strategic Relations: OFCOM
  • Committee Responsibility: Member of Departmental Ministerial Board

Clare Pillman
PA: Alison Yearley (020 7211 6411)

  • Corporate responsibilities: People; Business Planning
  • Policy SRO: Philanthropy
  • Cross Cutting Agenda: Localism
  • Board-level Strategic Relations: Arts Council
  • Committee Responsibility: Chair of Corporate Committee

Jon Zeff
PA: Donna McGibbon (020 7211 6450)

  • Corporate responsibilities: Policy and Resource Allocation; Communications
  • Policy SRO: Broadband; Spectrum Clearance; Digital Switchover
  • Cross Cutting Agenda: Growth
  • Board-level Strategic Relations: BBC
  • Committee Responsibility: Chair of Policy Committee

Stephen Amos
PA: Puja Tiwari (020 7211 2231)

  • Director of Legal Services

Penny Johnson

  • Director of Government Art Collection

 

Carol Carpenter
Head of Human Resources
PA: Lauren Young (020 7211 6026)

Rachel Clark
Head of Creative Economy, Telecoms and Internet
PA: Mary McKevett (020 7211 6172)

Samantha Foley
Head of Finance
PA: Joanne Thrower (020 7211 6077)

Penny Hobman - will take on a major projects role on return from maternity leave in the summer

Claudia Kenyatta
Head of Major Projects - incl. ALB Reform
PA: Joanne Thrower (020 7211 6077)

Paul Kirkman
Head of Arts
PA: Barbara Abel (020 7211 2332)

Frances MacLeod
Head of Sport
PA: Jane Fox (020 7211 6423) / Janette Rees (020 7211 6423)

Linda Martin
Head of News and Communications
PA: Lauren McGovern (020 7211 6277)

Paul Oldfield
Head of Ministerial Support Team
PA: nil

Rita Patel
Head of Media
PA: Chris Halliday (020 7211 6464)

Colin Perry
Head of Policy Delivery
PA: Sheree Holness (020 7211 2350)

Sam Sharps
Head of Broadband and Spectrum
PA: Lauretta Morris (020 7211 6187)

Rob Sullivan
Chief Executive, Broadband Delivery UK
PA: Jill Patrick (020 7211 6323)

Deirdre Wells
Head of Leisure
PA: Jane Fox (020 7211 6423) / Janette Rees (020 7211 6423)

Helen Williams
Head of Heritage
PA: Barbara Abel (020 7211 2332)


 GOE Directors

 GOE Deputy Directors

 

Jeremy Beeton
Director General, GOE
PA: Marie Calvert (020 7211 6908)

David Brooker
Director, Legacy and Security
PA: PA: Kim Crowley (020 7211 6982)

David Goldstone
Finance and Programme Director
PA: Marie Calvert (020 7211 6908)

Nicola Roche
Director, GOE
Support: Stewart Gandy (020 7211 6199)

Godric Smith
Director, Communications
PA: Gael Norris (020 7211 6504)





























Carol Bernard
Games Readiness
PA: Caroline Wildman

Alan Bucknall
Head of Olympic Legacy
PA: Kim Crowley (020 7211 6982)

Phil Cholewick
Supply Chain Management
PA: Carolyn Duffus (020 7211 6959)

Shaun Cove
Head of Operations
PA: Gael Norris (020 7211 6504)

Andrew Dent
Head of UK-Wide Operations
PA: Joan Armenakis (020 7211 6959)

Stephen Greenwood
Performance Manager
PA: nil

Emma de-la-Haye
Integration Assurance
PA: Carolyn Duffus (020 7211 6959)

Nicola Hudson
PA: Gael Norris (020 7211 6504)

Keith Lambert
Secondment Programme Manager
PA: nil

Charlie Pate
LOCOG Relations
PA: Carolyn Duffus (020 7211 6959)

Andrew Scattergood
Head of Staging Policy
PA: Sue Patel (020 7211 2359)

Chris Stendall
Security and Regeneration
PA: Sue Patel (020 7211 2359)

Liz Underhill
Olympic Programme Risk and Management
PA: Aidan Banks (0203 2012 985)

Ian Williams
Head of Projects
Diary Manager: Gary Lynch (020 7211 6988)

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CULTURAL SECTOR NEWS

Call for evidence for Henley review of cultural education

On 8 April, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Education launched an independent review to consider how all children can experience a high quality cultural education.  The review will be led by Darren Henley, Managing Director of Classic FM and follows on from his review of music education earlier this year.  The review will take account of experiences for children and young people both in and out of school and will focus on delivery models which meet the needs of the child or young person as defined by parents and schools rather than supplier-led prescriptions.  Mr Henley has issued a call for evidence inviting views from teachers, parents and pupils as well as individuals and organisations involved in delivering the whole spectrum of cultural education to young people in England.  The deadline for the consultation is 20 May.  DCMS

Meanwhile, consultancy firm SQW has published case study reports on the 10 Find Your Talent pathfinder projects commissioned by the Government to evaluate the programme.  The evaluation seeks to understand what works best in the delivery of high-quality cultural experiences for children and young people, and determine what is needed to deliver this offer to all children aged 0-19 in different localities.  SQW

Culture Counts in Scottish Election

Key agencies in Scotland representing the arts, media, culture, heritage, cultural industries and museums have come together to highlight the value of arts, culture and creative industries and make the case for continued investment. The Culture Counts campaign aims to ensure that the importance of culture is reflected in the stated policies and objectives of both the Scottish Government and local government and has been working to raise the profile of culture in the 2011 Scottish Elections. The campaign has included letters to every parliamentary candidates, briefing on the importance of the cultural sector, and online resources to encourage all cultural organisations to reinforce the same key messages: "The arts, culture and creative industries:

  • Make a significant contribution to the economy - £5.2bn.
  • Shape our national identity and expand Scotland’s international profile.
  • Engage communities across Scotland, promoting active citizenship, cohesion and wellbeing"

The Culture Counts briefing highlights that Scotland’s museums and galleries welcome 25 million visitors per annum and are worth an estimated £800 million to the economy.

On 19 April, Culture Counts hosted a hustings event bringing together key representatives from five parties to answer questions and debate with each other.  A recording of the event can be viewed via the Culture Counts website.  Culture Counts

Government sets out plans for legal deposit of non-print media

DCMS has published the Government’s response to the recent consultation on the draft regulations and guidance for non-print legal deposit.  Libraries and publishers were not able to provide sufficient evidence on the costs to business of the Regulations as drafted.  Therefore the Government proposes to develop draft Regulations to include only off-line content, and on-line content that can be obtained through a harvesting process.  DCMS expects to see the Legal Deposit Libraries and publishers working together to identify the true costs and overcoming the technical barriers for the delivery of more complex content.  The British Library and the other Legal Deposit Libraries have welcomed the Government’s response.  British Library  DCMS

Public access to the nation’s audiovisual and broadcast heritage collections

The British Library and BFI have joined forces to increase access to their collections.  A new Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations outlines key areas for joint strategic thinking, including public access, rights management, collecting policies, conservation and digitisation.  Both organisations are already collaborating as members of the UK Sound & Vision Collections group convened by the BFI and looking at national audio-visual collection policy, which also includes the BBC, the National Archives, the Imperial War Museum, the National Media Museum, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales and National Museums Northern Ireland.  British Library

Government allows English Heritage to spend donations on Stonehenge

Heritage Minister John Penrose MP announced on 4 April that English Heritage will be allowed to access £2m of historic reserves raised from philanthropic donations for the environmental improvement project at Stonehenge.  The DCMS statement said the move “demonstrates the Government’s commitment to philanthropic support for major cultural projects” and hailed a “new Big Society approach to funding major capital projects.”  Roads Minister Mike Penning MP has agreed funding of around £3.5 million to be made available for improvements to Highways Agency roads close to Stonehenge, subject to the completion of statutory processes.

In June 2010, DCMS announced that the Stonehenge Visitor Centre was one of the capital projects it was cancelling as part of its budget savings.  DCMS had previously agreed to provide £10m towards the £27m project.  English Heritage has worked to find alternative sources of funding and complete the planning process and in November the Heritage Lottery Fund announced a grant of £10m.  The project proposal includes the building of new visitor facilities with enhanced exhibition and education space a mile and a half from Stonehenge, and the closure of the A344 which runs immediately adjacent to the ancient monument.  DCMS  English Heritage

Sky Arts Ignition seeks partners for £200,000 investment

Sky Arts has launched the Sky Arts Ignition series and is looking to partner with six leading arts organisations over the next three years, to invest in the creation of new groundbreaking art works, projects, events and performances and work with the partners to bring their projects to a wider audience, using Sky's platform. The chosen projects will receive £200,000 cash investment as well media support, access to of Sky's technology such as 3-D TV and coverage on Sky Arts.  The deadline for applications is 31 May. 

In parallel, the Sky Arts Ignition: Futures Fund is designed to help young talent to bridge the development gap from school or college to becoming a working artist. Each year, the fund will support five individuals with a bursary of £30,000 each, enabling Sky Arts to back the creation of new works of art as well as nurture emerging talent.  Sky Arts  

Impact of visa points system on arts sector

A survey of cultural organisations in London, commissioned by the Mayor of London, has provided new evidence of the impact on the sector of the points-based visa system introduced in 2008.  64% of respondents said that the new system had led to increased costs, and 63% had lost revenue as a result of having to cancel or change events at short notice due to artists not being granted visas in time.  High profile examples include changes to the English National Ballet's 60th birthday celebrations when Guest Ballerina Polina Semionova was unable to secure a visa.  Mayor of London

Meanwhile, the Migration Advisory Committee, which advises the UK Border Agency, has launched a full review of the UK labour market and is inviting submissions of evidence on the occupations that should be added to the “shortage occupations” list to be filled by labour from outside the European Economic Area.  UKBA

New research maps supply and demand for social finance

NESTA has published two new research reports on the development of the social investment market:

  • Understanding the demand for and supply of social finance: Research to inform the Big Society Bank; and
  • Investing for the Good of Society: Why and How Wealthy Individuals Will Respond

The research concludes that the 'mass affluent' could be an important source of investment for social investment, but that to meet the needs of the emerging social investment market and deliver rates of return on capital that might be considered 'market-rate' or commercial, 'a development bank' is required to develop the market infrastructure.  NESTA has also published details of a portfolio of twenty proposals for innovative social finance products developed through its Big Society Finance Fund along with £1.2m initial funding for four social investment schemes.  NESTA

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POLITICS

Election manifesto cultural policies

Museums and tourism feature strongly in the cultural policy pledges of the five main political parties in Scotland, with Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats pledging to preserve free entry to national museums and the Scottish National Party promising a new National Development body for the museum and gallery sector and direct government funding for the Scottish Mining Museum, Scottish Maritime Museum and Scottish Fisheries Museum. Extracts from the manifestos of the all the major parties are available via the Culture Counts website.

In Wales the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru pledge to brand Wales as a world-class destination for culture, tourism and business.  Labour pledge to build on the importance of the creative industries to the Welsh economy, while the Liberal Democrats would give strategic direction to the Arts Council to invest more money into smaller festivals and up-and-coming artists, musicians and writers. 

The BBC News website provides a summary of the key policy pledges in the manifestos of the main political parties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Cultural policy does not make it into the BBC's summary of key election issues in Northern Ireland, except for one mention by the SDLP of the need to invest in tourism. 

Labour Party Policy Review of Creative Industries

Shadow Culture Secretary Ivan Lewis MP has launched the Labour Party's review of policy on the future of Britain’s creative industries. Mr Lewis said that the future strength of the UK's creative industries required an "an explicit commitment to nurture the creative talent of young people from all backgrounds and communities, not just the privileged few."  Labour Party

Also

Before Parliament rose for recess, MPs asked a number of questions about the financial savings derived from the abolition of DCMS-sponsored public bodies.  Responding to a question from Tessa Jowell MP, DCMS Minister John Penrose MP reported that "the costs and benefits of reforms" relating to a number of bodies including the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council "are subject to ongoing analysis, and while we expect they will generate material savings, no final figures are yet available."  Hansard

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NMDC MEMBERS' NEWS

National Archives to lead archives sector

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP has announced that support and leadership for the UK’s archive sector will transfer to The National Archives from April 2012, following the closure of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).There are well over 2000 public and private bodies which hold regularly accessible archives in the UK, including universities, local authorities and other institutions.  The National Archives and MLA are also working with Arts Council England on cross cultural sector initiatives involving museums, libraries and archives.

Oliver Morley, Chief Executive and Keeper at The National Archives, said: "In tough financial circumstances, our focus will continue to be on sustaining and preserving the record, and making it more accessible to the public and volunteers than it ever has been before.”  The National Archives, the official archives of the UK government, is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice.  DCMS

National Museum of Royal Navy takes responsibility for HMS Caroline

National Museum of the Royal Navy Board of Trustees have resolved to accept the day to day responsibility for the operation and maintenance of HMS Caroline, a light cruiser, and the last survivor of the Grand Fleet and of the Battle of Jutland.  The ship has been in Belfast’s Alexandra Dock for more than 80 years and was a floating base for the Royal Navy Reserve before being decommissioned by the Ministry of Defence at the end of March.  Dominic Tweddle, Director of the museum, described as HMS Caroline as “genuinely unique and every effort needs to be made to preserve her...There now remains the problem of finding the funding to secure her future. If all goes well, HMS Caroline will be on display for the centenary of Jutland in 2016.”  The museum will be developing a submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund and will continue to work with partners in Northern Ireland to consider and examine any solution for her staying in Belfast.  Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

St Fagans: National History Museum appoints project team for redevelopment

St Fagans: National History Museum in Cardiff has announced a project team of architects, engineers and exhibition designers which will help develop plans for the future direction of the Museum. The project Making History, which has received a HLF stage one funding, will redesign the main entrance, build more gallery spaces and extend the Museum’s narrative timeline from the earliest human inhabitation to the present day. The contract winners include architects Purcell Miller Tritton (main building) and Feildon Clegg Bradley (new building), and the exhibition designers are Haley Sharpe Design.  It is hoped that a second stage application to the HLF will be approved in the autumn of 2012.  Amgueddfa Cymru

Museum thief sentenced

A 22-year old American man has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years with a supervision order, for the theft of 299 rare tropical bird skins from the Natural History Museum's collection at Tring.  Judge Steven Gullick described the loss of the birds as "a natural history disaster."  The thief sold the feathers around the world for ornamental fly-tying.  So far, 191 intact birds have been recovered, but only 101 still retain their labels, which are critical scientifically.  More

Also

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM), which manages 12 museums and galleries across the North East, has reported a total of more than 2 million visitors to its venues over the last 12 months. Visitors to TWAM venues also showed an increase in satisfaction levels, according to the organisation’s most recent research, with 97% of participants rating their visit as either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.  www.twmuseums.org.uk

The V&A is launching a new, fully-redesigned website on 4 May.  The current website is the UK’s leading online design resource with access to over one million objects, and attracts over 25 million visits a year. New areas include community pages enabling users to create their own profile and share ideas and images from the V&A Channel.  www.vam.ac.uk

The Museum of London is asking for donations of souvenirs and mementos of last month’s Royal Wedding to help explain to future generations how London celebrated the event.  The museum is also interested in items that gently poke fun at the occasion.  More

Giant reproductions of works from the collections of National Museums Liverpool, Tate Liverpool and other arts organisations in the city can now be seen on train station platforms, shop windows, bus stops and across Liverpool. The So Close campaign, funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency with commercial partners, is designed to show how easy museums, galleries and other attractions are to reach on foot and public transport.  More

Visitors to Imperial War Museum Duxford were able to see the Team Lotus Formula One car testing along the runway on 27 April.  The Formula One team also used their visit to the Museum to announce their acquisition of British sportscar maker Caterham Cars.  IWM Duxford

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RESEARCH & INNOVATION

National Gallery announces switch to LED lighting

The National Gallery has announced that LED lighting will be installed throughout the building over the next two years.  This follows a successful trial of LED lighting over the past two years by the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery – which became the first gallery in the world to light historic paintings with LEDs in 2009.  The National Gallery is the first to use LED lights in conjunction with a system that automatically adjusts external roof light blinds according to the amount and angle of sunlight, enabling the LED lighting system to slowly augment the natural light as needed.  The Gallery’s statement says the move "will improve the public’s enjoyment of the collection" and reduce the Gallery’s lighting energy consumption by 85%, saving 400 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.  National Gallery

Prestigious innovation award for National Archives

The National Archives and partners Tesella have been jointly awarded an Innovation Award in the Queen's Award for Enterprise, the UK's most prestigious business awards.  The Award is for the development of the Safety Deposit Box, a system for preserving digital information which has since been adopted by libraries and archives around the world.  The National Archives is the only public sector organisation among this year’s winners.  National Archives

Museum uses QR codes to reveal extra information

The National Museum of Scotland has tagged around 80 objects in its Scotland: A Changing Nation gallery with QR codes that enable Smartphone users to discover extra information about the exhibits.  A QR code (short for Quick Response) is a small square 2-D barcode that can be scanned by Smartphones with a code reader installed.  Content includes rare films from the Scottish Screen Archive, courtesy of the National Library of Scotland and images from other museums.  The project, Tales of Things, was launched to the public with demonstrations as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival on 9 April.  All the extra content produced for the project is also available to view on the Museum’s website.  Tales of Things is part of a 3-year research project by five universities that will explore social memory in the emerging culture of the “Internet of Things”, funded by £1.4m from the Digital Economy Research Councils UK. National Museums Scotland

Also

Wales will become the first country to produce a DNA barcode for every native flowering plant as the result of a partnership project between Amgueddfa Cymru National Museums Wales, the National Botanic Gardens and Aberystwyth University.  The project is due for completion by they end of May, recording all 1,143 flowering plans from samples in the Welsh National Herbarium based at National Museum Cardiff.  More

A new butterfly species has been uncovered in the collections at the Natural History Museum by butterfly curator Blanca Huertas.  The new tropical butterfly is called Splendeuptychia mercedes after the place where it was first collected in 1903.  More 

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CULTURAL PROPERTY

Hackney hoard returned to descendants

A coroner had ruled that the Hackney hoard, a collection of $20 coins dating from 1854-1913, should be returned to the descendants of the family who buried it in 1940. Research by the British Museum, Museum of London and the coroner's office traced the son of the original owner, Martin Sulzbacher, a German Jew who had fled persecution in Nazi Germany and was then interned in the UK as an ‘enemy alien refugee’.  The five family members who lived in the house in Hackney and knew the location of the buried coins were all killed in the Blitz in 1940.  British Museum

Salzburg museum agrees to return spoliated Klimt painting

The Museum of Modern Art in Salzburg is to return a painting by Gustav Klimt to the Canadian descendent of the previous Jewish owner. Provenance research and legal opinion has confirmed that the claims of Georges Jorisch, the grandson and sole heir of Amalie Redlich, the original owner of the painting, are justified.  The painting will be returned under powers granted by the Austria 1998 Restitution Act and in accordance with Salzburg's agreed policy for restitution of Nazi-looted art.  The painting, Litzlberg am Attersee, one of Klimt's later landscapes, is described in the Salzburg government's statement as one of the most valuable masterpieces in the Museum's collection, valued at €20-30m.  It is expected to be sold and The Independent reports that Mr Jorisch may make a donation to the museum of up to €1.3m from the proceeds of the sale.  Salzburg statement

New Guidelines on Care of Human Remains in Scotland

Museums Galleries Scotland has published new Guidelines for the Care of Human Remains in Scottish Museum Collections, drawn up with advice from and expert panel from Scottish museums and other institutions.  The guidelines provide up-to-date information on the legal situation specific to Scotland which is different to that in the rest of the UK. Of particular importance is the Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006.  Museum Galleries Scotland

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The Archaeology Forum has published "Why Local Authorities need an Archaeologist" which marshals the arguments against the cuts currently threatening local government archaeological services. More

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TOURISM

Visit London goes into administration

Visit London went into administration on Friday 1 April 2011, following the decision by London & Partners - the Mayor’s new promotional agency for London - not to take on the pension liabilities of 39 staff transferring over to it.  London & Partners had been formed by the merger of Visit London, Think London and Study London.  Visit London's final salary pension scheme, which is more than £2m in deficit, is to be transferred to the Pension Protection Fund rather than taken on by London & Partners.  The Pensions Regulator and the London Assembly’s Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism (EDCST) Committee are now investigating the matter, which concerns the pensions of 140 former employees.  The Guardian  Greater London Authority

VisitBritain partnership with easyJet

VisitBritain has formed a partnership with the airline easyJet to jointly market Britain as a tourism destination over the next four years.  The deal is worth £18m in cash and marketing in kind and contributes to the £100m marketing fund announced by the Government last year to ensure the visitor economy is able to capitalise on the Royal Wedding, Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 Olympic Games.  VisitBritain

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LONDON 2012

New website to help plan accessible visits to London

Inclusivelondon.com was launched by the Greater London Authority in March and provides information about the accessibility features of the capital’s hotels, restaurants, pubs, shops, museums and tourist attractions, the 2012 Games venues and more.  It has been developed by the London 2012 team at City Hall working with Direct Enquiries, founders of the Nationwide Access Register.  Business and individuals are being actively encouraged to visit the site and add information. www.inclusivelondon.com

Register for London 2012 Open Weekend

Cultural organisations are being invited to 'celebrate one year to go by showcasing your best’ and register their events for London 2012 Open Weekend, which will run from 22-24 July.   Events must be registered by 27 June.  London 2012 

Also

DCMS and the Office for Disability Issues have worked with a range of organisations to publish a report outlining the opportunities available to disabled people as part of the Olympic and Paralympic Games legacy priorities.  Office of Disability Issues

A flotilla of up to 1,000 boats will sail along the River Thames on 3 June 2012 as part of the celebrations for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  The organisation of the event is being led by Lord Salisbury and it will be funded by private donations and sponsorship. DCMS

NMDC JOBS

Our jobs website, www.nationalmuseumjobs.org.uk also has details of over 25 current vacancies at leading museums around the UK including:

  • Digital Imaging Assistant, V&A
  • Individual Giving Executive, Science Museum
  • Paper Conservator, Natural History Museum
  • Curatorial Assistant, The Wallace Collection
  • Web Designer/Developer, The National Archives
  • Visitor Experience Assistant, Museum Assistant and Museum Host, Royal Armouries

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

And finally...

Hunter becomes hunted – public vote on picture conservation

The Minneapolis Institute of Art is inviting people to vote on whether conservators should remove the figure of a hunter from Meindert Hobbema’s 1665 painting Wooded Landscape with a Watermill.  Research suggests the hunter was not part of the original picture, but was added in the early 19th century.  The majority of those who had voted by 1 May wanted the painting to remain as it is.  More

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