October 2013

NMDC newsletter: October 2013
Download a PDF version for printing
Logo dc National Museum Directors´ Council
NMDC newsletter: October 2013
logo nm
 

In the October issue:

... and much more

Follow us on twitter @nmdcnews

Section headings | Philanthropy | Education: skeletal arts offering? | Arts participation: statistics | Local Government Cuts | Changing attitudes to stewardship: restitution and risk | Events | History and Sport | Members' news | Appointments and awards | Buildings, ancient and modern | Green and good | Volunteering and employment | Funding | Futureology | Out of the gallery and the attic: paintings on the move | Governance | And finally... |


  Philanthropy
 

ACE Chair launches Annual Philanthropy conference

Sir Peter Bazalgette has announced an annual philanthropy conference to increase public giving to the arts. Currently only around 1% of charitable donations go to the arts, with the public more likely to give to issues such as education, homelessness and older people. This figure goes up considerably among donors giving over £1m: 9% of these large donations are given to the arts.  He argued that the case for arts as a social good had to be made more clearly to large groups of smaller givers, highlighting that the arts are closely involved in many of the causes most popular with average donors, including education, homelessness, care for older people and public health and wellbeing: "The truth is that the arts work everywhere in our communities; helping the retired, the marginalised, the lonely and the sick. We arrange dance classes, organise choirs and hand out books. The arts are a critical factor in social engagement. Just look at the numbers who participate voluntarily in arts and cultural organisations - some 9.4 million people. There’s a message we need to figure out how to get over much more effectively." Bazalgette also outlined a number of other schemes to encourage public giving – ranging from a ‘suggested donation’ box at the exit to the Science Museum to the new platform DONATE which raises funds for the arts.  He said he particularly wanted to target ‘baby boomers’.  Arts Industry (view by subscription only), YouTube (full speech as film), IFACCA Also: Speaking as he accepted a prize at the Praemium Imperiale Awards, artist Antony Gormley encouraged UK businesses to follow the example of Japanese firms, where there is "an absolute belief in the duty of corporate money to reinvest in a collective future. There are examples in this country but there could be more."  Guardian

Arts & Business announces sponsorship awards

The Arts & Business UK Sponsorship Award 2014 has just opened.  The first deadline is in early December.  Arts & Business Back to top

  Education: skeletal arts offering?
 

14% less arts GCSEs since 2010 as Ebacc bites

Since 2010 when the ‘English Baccalaureate’ performance measure was introduced in schools, which does not include arts subjects, the number of arts GCSEs being taken has declined by 14%.  The decline is greatest in schools where there is a high proportion of children on free school meals – 21% compared with only 8% for schools with a low proportion of free meals.  Additionally Dance and Drama will now be counted as only one qualification on school league tables, because it is argued that they are ‘too similar’. Cultural Learning Alliance Chair Lord Puttnam said “This is the inevitable outcome of the decision to exclude the arts from the English Baccalaureate. It could leave us with a generation of children and young people without the creative skills to compete successfully in today’s economy and society. Government must work together with schools to stem the decline in arts and cultural study, and encourage children to choose the arts before it is too late.” Teaching unions and the Labour Party echo these concerns, but the Telegraph by contrast has praised the move away from ‘soft’ subjects  and quote a Coalition source saying “Labour and union leaders live in a fantasy world where media studies is valued as much as further maths.”  Cultural Learning Alliance (overview), CLA (detailed report), Telegraph, BBC, Independent

Final version of the National Curriculum published

Consultation has ended on the National Curriculum and a final version has been published which will come into force from September next year.  The work has attracted a mixed reception from the Cultural Learning Alliance, who praised the appearance of Drama in the statutory section of the document for the first time.  However, they expressed dismay that Dance is only mentioned as a brief add-on to P.E. and that ‘film and technology are missing’.  They say, "there is no mention of film, digital media or text. This is a real blow, and one that will make it extremely difficult to ensure that young people have the literacy skills to succeed in a world dominated by these forms of communication and expression." A speech by Liz Truss, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education to the CBI, suggested that a move towards a few core subjects was deliberate to create a high earning workforce: ‘We are rebalancing the curriculum towards high-value subjects - in maths, sciences, DT, computing, English and languages’. She argued that the UK has to learn lessons from the German education system which reframed after discovering alarmingly low literacy scores in 2000. Arts subjects went unmentioned as drivers for economic prosperity in her speech. The CLA is now working on a companion document to advise schools and help make the curriculum work as well as possible.  CLA, CLA (Liz Truss speech intro), Gov.uk (full text)

Coding, Culture and the Chancellor

In a piece for the Guardian, Chancellor George Osbourne has written about the importance of educating children so they know how to write code.  Replying on the Collections Link blog, Nick Poole argues that the success of Silicon Valley was cultural as well as technical and that children need both if they are to create world beating innovation: "Think about it this way, if you are a 14 year old (boy or girl) growing up knowing Java but nothing else, you're not going to change the world. If, on the other hand, you have grown up steeped in history, identity, literature, culture, the arts and sciences then Java becomes the artist's brush and your cultural inheritance the pallette through which you will create truly unique, compelling digital things."  Collections Link, Guardian

Creativity in education essential for happiness says Arts Council Wales report

A new report by Arts Council Wales Chair Professor Dai Smith is the first to look at how the arts and education sectors work together in Wales.  471 children from 42 colleges, schools and other organisations were consulted, alongside in-depth interviews with arts and education practitioners.  Almost all schools (99%) said that involvement in the arts improved learner engagement.  One student added: "Doing art helped me through rough patches at school. If there were no arts in school I would be very upset. It helps with identity and gives something different from lessons – gives the opportunity to be who you are." Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills said he welcomed the report’s support for a ‘creative arts rich’ education and that the government would now consider its findings in detail.  Arts Council of Wales, Museums Journal

Schoolboys find skeleton that rewrites history

In the summer, two 13 year old schoolboys discovered a 1,000 year old skeleton in the River Coln.  Anthropologists have now announced that the skeleton is the remains of a Sub-Saharan African woman, aged between 18 and 24.  The reason for her presence in Anglo-Saxon England is likely to remain a mystery, but it presents fascinating possibilities to students of early BME history in the UK: though Roman Britain probably attracted soldiers from across the Empire, histories on this subject usually begin with Henry VIII’s trumpeter, John Blanc.  Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Standard

British Council India and Museums Association sign agreement

British Council India and the Museums Association have signed an agreement to offer free access to the MA’s online resources to museum studies students at eight leading universities in India.  The universities include Calcutta University, National Museum Institute in Delhi, MSU Baroda and Jiwaji University Gwalior.  As part of their course, students will have access to the archives of the Museums Journal and Museum Practice, providing them with unique reference material and a chance to develop their knowledge of best practice in the UK.  Museums Association

New report describes Transforming Tate Learning

In 2011, Tate decided to transform its learning offer, and with help from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation put together a long term action-research based study.  A report of the work has now been published which Paul Hamlyn hopes will ‘be of benefit to the museums and galleries sector as a whole’.  It includes an overview of the philosophy and the outcome of pilot projects at each of the four Tate sites.  Tate, A New Direction Back to top

  Arts participation: statistics
 

A nation of knitters widens its horizons: the arts in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure has published the findings of its 2012/13 Continuous Household Survey into engagement with the arts.  It finds that arts engagement is slightly on the rise compared with 2007–08.  The most frequent active arts activities are ‘playing a musical instrument’ and textile based work such as knitting and crochet (9% each).  The most popular way of viewing the arts is through cinema (59%).  One in twenty adults had never engaged with the arts, and living in a deprived area is a strong indicator for non-participation. Meanwhile Northern Ireland has also launched a Test Drive The Arts scheme – allowing 18,500 people to get free tickets for an artform that they haven’t previously experienced. Anyone over 18 in Northern Ireland can attend.  Tony Mccauley, for Audience NI said “the feedback from our Test Drivers has been very positive.  The project is a great way of growing audiences while at the same time promoting social inclusion”.  Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Test Drive The Arts, IFACCA

Taking Part Stats show rising museum visitor figures

Figures from Taking Part for the first quarter of 2013/14 show a significant rise in adult engagement with museums:
  • From July 2012 – June 2013 53% of adults visited a museum, a higher figure than at any point since 2005.
  • There is some variation by region, with 58% of Londoners visiting a museum compared with 46.3% in the West Midlands.
  • Upper socio-economic groups are still more likely to visit than lower groups (61.4% vs 39.9%).
  • But groups measured by most criteria showed increased attendance, the exceptions being BME groups, atheists and non-Christians, those in rented housing and 16 – 44 year olds.
  • 9% of all adults volunteered in that 12 month period in either Arts, Museums or Galleries, Heritage, Libraries, Archives and Sport.
  • Digital engagement is rapidly increasing: 30% of adults had visited a museum or gallery website in the last twelve months – up from 18% in 2005/6.
  • 72% of adults visited a heritage site in the period – up 3% since 2005, but down 2% compared with 2011/12 figures.
DCMS eflyer (overview), Gov.uk (full report), DCMS (press release)

Theatre audiences on the rise – and popular with the young

A survey by ticketmaster has shown that more people attended a theatre event last year than went to a music concert or sporting event.  Sophie Crosby speaking for the company said "I asked my team to check the data five times about the number of people who said they'd attended a theatre event – it was 63%, and by no means limited to middle-class and middle-aged people." The company partly commissioned the research as they had spotted a trend over five years towards younger less wealthy audiences.  The stats reflect this: 87% of 16–19 year olds say they would like to see something at the theatre compared to only 66% of 45–54 year olds.  Alistair Smith for the Stage said "There have been an awful lot of initiatives and theatre has tried very hard over the last few years to target younger audiences, and we're seeing that pay off."  Critic Lyn Gardner points to the rising number of pupils taking theatre A level, more innovative companies who have transformed theatre in the last 15 years.  She also points out that one in five of a theatre audience will now review it through social media, adding to the word of mouth advertising for performances.  Guardian, Guardian (Lyn Gardner) Also: As the My Theatre Matters campaign gains momentum, in the face of exceptional cuts to theatres, a competition to find the UK’s most welcoming theatre has been launched.  The Stage Back to top

  Local Government Cuts
 

Fall in Local Authority Officers working in the Historic Environment

Following reports of a marked downturn in local authority arts officers, a new report also shows that staff responsible for the Historic Environment has also fallen.  IHBC Chair Mike Brown says “If it continues at this pace for 20 years there will be no conservation officers left in England" Conservation specialists in local authorities fell by 4% and archaeological officers by 3% in 2012 – feeding a bigger picture of 28% cut in historic environment advice since a peak in 2006.  Heritage Alliance (scroll for story), IHBC

Moray Council: First the arts, then the libraries…

Having withdrawn 100% of its funding for arts provision, Conservative controlled Moray Council in Scotland have now voted to remove half their library provision, which includes three libraries and two mobile services.  The decision is being fiercely contested by the SNP who argue that the Council may be acting illegally by removing services from elderly and vulnerable people.  Herald Scotland Also: Unions BECTU and Equity are now campaigning for Local authority funding for the arts to become statutory, in the face of declining and in some cases vanishing arts budgets.  The Stage,

Investment & Partnership survey confirms declining Local Authority arts support

Arts Development UK’s Local Authority Arts Investment and Partnership survey is the latest to confirm declining funds for the arts at local level.  They write As of August 2013, 133 local authorities in England and Wales have no dedicated arts officer and have no direct arts service. This represents 35.3% of all authorities in England and Wales. The remaining 64.7% have services that are vulnerable to cuts and like the rest of the local authority cultural sector the majority are operating in reduced financial circumstances.”  Arts Development UK

Arts take the hit for cuts in Cardiff

Cardiff Council has announced cuts of £450,000 to 70 charities from 1st April 2014, with arts organisations carrying £220k of those cuts.  Arts Council Wales called for an urgent meeting with the Council, commenting “This is obviously very disappointing news. Given the essential contribution the arts makes to attracting visitors to our capital, the popularity of the arts as well as their importance to Cardiff residents, we urge the council to reconsider the potential impact of such cuts."  Wales Online Also: Museums and cultural institutions across the US are among places closed by the widespread government shutdown.  The Smithsonian has told all but 688 of its 4,202 employees to go home.  There is currently no indication when the furlough will end. Meanwhile the City of Detroit, now bankrupt and 20bn in debt, is the latest to consider selling off its art collections.  Art Newspaper, Art Newspaper Back to top

  Changing attitudes to stewardship: restitution and risk
 

Revisiting restitution

In a piece for the Art Newspaper, former V&A and National Museums Scotland Director Sir Mark Jones looks at how attitudes to restitution have changed over the last 50 years, ranging from ‘internal’ UK object disputes to famous international standoffs.  He writes: “When I first worked in the British Museum in the 1970s, it was regular practice to take in and study coin hoards that had been illegally excavated and exported.  The argument was that there would be a significant loss to our knowledge of the past if these hoards went unrecorded.  This was true but when it became obvious that the countries from which these hoards came regarded this as unacceptable and a boycott of the offending museums was threatened, policy changed.“ The British Museum no longer deals with any objects that do not comply with the 1970 Unesco Convention on illicit import of cultural property.  Jones argues that disputed objects are comparatively few in number, and that reaching an understanding over contested items can lead to closer cultural relations: such as the political warming up between Denmark and Iceland after many Icelandic sagas were returned.  Restitution for some items, such as thefts and forced sales by the Nazis are now carefully observed, and Jones argues that museums must be careful not to privilege some wars and atrocities over others.  He does not believe that museums will be emptied by legitimate restitution claims and argues that ‘a price in terms of unrealised benefits of collaboration, is already being paid’.  Art Newspaper (subscription only)

‘Chinese’ thefts gang arrested

Police have made a number of arrests as they seek to charge those responsible with thefts of Chinese artefacts and rhinoceros horn from museum collections. In co-ordinated dawn raids, police from 26 forces arrested 20 suspects in early September.  Several have now been bailed until January.  Cambridge News says that in addition to £15m of jade artefacts stolen from the Fitzwilliam Museum: “Chinese artefacts and rhinoceros horn were targeted in six incidents - two thefts and an attempted theft from Durham University Oriental Museum and further incidents at Gorringes Auction House in East Sussex, Norwich Castle Museum in Norfolk [as well as] the Fitzwilliam in Trumpington Street.” Many, but not all of the stolen items have been recovered, and police are urging people to come forward if they can provide further information.  Telegraph, BBC, Cambridge News

‘Curatorial squirrelitis’ claims as Burrell tour in doubt

There has been ongoing debate about whether the terms of the bequest of the Burrell Collection – which consists of hundreds of paintings housed in Glasgow - should be changed to allow overseas touring. MSPs will be voting in January and are currently taking advice.  In a private memo to the Scottish Government, accidentally leaked on the internet for several hours and then widely reported, National Gallery Director Nicholas Penny said that accidents with art in transit are more frequent than reported, and that he was aware of ten major incidents in the course of his career, most of which had been kept from the media.  Trustees and staff at Glasgow Life have responded by pointing out the National Gallery’s own extensive use of lending and loans, and arguing that the balance should not come down in favour of curatorial ‘squirrelitis’. £40m of repairs are needed for the building where the Burrell Collection is housed and when work begins, it will be closed for four years.  Touring during the closure may draw donations and wider appreciation of the collection locally – visitors to the Burrell collection have dipped below 200,000 a year.  Evening Times, Museums Journal, Your Paintings (Burrell collection online), Art Newspaper (subscription only)

Still for sale: Croydon’s Chinese ceramics

Croydon Council has resigned from the Museums Association (MA), following the recommendation that it should face disciplinary action over the financially motivated sale of the Riesco Collection of Chinese ceramics.  Representatives of Croydon were to be invited to justify their actions in a hearing of the MA's Ethics Committee in the next few weeks.  Only two Councils have been ejected from the MA for ethical violations in the past 25 years.  The Council also risks losing its accreditation with the Arts Council.  Museums Association Also: The Jane Austen House Museum has now raised all the money it needs to retain Austen’s turquoise ring in the UK.  Arts Council Back to top

  Events
 

Courses from Cymal

Cymal is running a number of courses for Welsh museum professionals in the autumn, with topics including risk management.  Risk management (Merthyr Tydfil), Risk management (Wrexham),

Legacy giving at Oxford Aspire

Oxford Aspire is running a fourth free event on fundraising, this time focusing on legacy giving.  Speakers include fundraisers for the Royal Pavillion & Museums Foundation, Pallant House Gallery and Oxford Aspire.  The event takes place on 27th November and, like previous events, is expected to rapidly sell out.  Eventbrite (to book), Oxford Aspire

Democratising philanthropy

A round table event in Bristol on 16th October looks at how crowdfunding and other approaches to group fundraising online have become more sophisticated in the last couple of years.  The Art Fund and Kids Company are among those who have fundraised through ‘fun’ apps.  Tickets are from £20 for non-profits.  Philanthropy Impact

Remix summit brings together culture, technology and entrepreneurship

A Remix conference is taking place in London on 3-4th December, bringing together major players in the business and cultural sectors to look at some of the greatest challenges facing the arts.  Among the 50 speakers are Google representatives, Ed Vaizey, Arts Council Chair Peter Bazalgette, and Chief Digital Officer of BBC Worldwide Dan Heaf.  The event is masterminded by cultural entrepreneurs Culturelabel.  The British Council is also helping to create related events in New York and Sydney.  Culturelabel

Image makers ‘innovating out of austerity’

An event at Tate Modern run by the Association of Historical and Fine Art Photography asks, after three years of austerity, how can image makers in the sector innovate their way out of it. The conference is 14th–15thNovember and tickets are from £30.  AHFAP

Free places for smaller museums at digital assets management conference

Organising and making best use of digital assets has become nearly as crucial as the management of physical collections, and should be woven into any museum’s strategy.  The Collections Trust is running a one day conference on ‘DAM’ on 27th November at Queen Elizabeth Hall.  The event is aimed at anyone supplying, using, procuring or implementing a DAM system.  Tickets are £195 + VAT, but the Arts Council is funding 50 free places for museums with a turnover of less than £500k pa – one place per museum.  Collections Trust

Heritage Show + Tell call for speakers

The next Heritage Show + Tell event takes place on 24th October.  If you have a brilliant idea for museums or galleries, three slides and can talk about it in three minutes, the organisers are keen to hear from you.  Experimental and half-thought out projects are welcome.  Heritage Show + Tell

New website with events for Share Museums East

Share Museums East has just launched a new more comprehensive website, including lists of free development events for museum professionals in the region.  Courses include six sessions on understanding museums, and training on engaging with Creative Europe in 2014.  Share Museums East

  History and Sport
 

Sporting Heritage Launch event

The Sporting Heritage Learning Group are working closely with the Sporting Heritage Network.  A launch event on 18thOctober in Bradford will highlight the work of local schoolchildren and include talks from museum specialists, artefacts and oral histories.  Constant Contact (event booking),

National Football Museum first sporting venue to receive official designation

The National Football Museum in Manchester has become the first sporting museum to receive official designation from the Arts Council.  The designation scheme recognises ‘pre-eminent collections of national and international importance held by England's museums’.  Deputy Director David Pearson said “Not only are we the only sporting collection to win such an honour but it also endorses our view that football heritage is central to English culture and modern society”.  IFACCA, Arts Council Back to top

  Members' news
 

Tell us about your major 2014 events

Press officers: if your museum or consortium of museums is an NMDC member, we would be grateful if you would send us details of your major highlights for 2014, so we can publish a roundup online in December/January.  These will typically be large exhibitions, but a smattering of other exceptionally innovative or interesting short term programmed events will also be of interest.  Please email material to news@nationalmuseums.org.uk, ideally by December.

Virtual reality puts wind beneath the wings of recovered Dornier

Earlier this year the RAF Museum recovered a WW2 German Dornier aircraft from beneath Goodwin Sands, the only surviving example in the world.  It is now undergoing restoration at RAF Cosford.  The Museum has now announced that it will be using ‘bleeding edge’ technology to display and interpret the aircraft.  Visitors will be able to use an app on their phones to see the aircraft flying above them, as well as exploring more traditional multimedia content.  The work has been covered by a £75,000 donation by Wargaming.net, and the app has been created by ‘redLoop’, the Middlesex University Design and Innovation Centre. Visitors to partner museums in New Zealand, Canada and the US will also be able to see the virtual reality plane when it launches on October 16th.  Culture24, RAF Museum

Little and large museums the best for kids

Having launched their Telegraph-backed annual competition for the most child friendly museum, Kids in Museums ‘couldn’t decide’ on a winner for 2013 and have therefore announced two.  One is the Horniman Museum in South London, with its regular programme of children’s events and attention to detail right down to food and lower handrails. The other is the tiny Brixham Heritage Museum in Devon.  Tina Markham, one of the mums who helped judge the award said “[Brixham] museum stands out for two reasons. First, the people are really friendly and dedicated and second, the children know that they can play and touch things without worrying that an adult will disapprove. To begin with, my seven-year-old son Ethan thought we were going to a stuffy old museum, but it didn’t feel like that at all. He really enjoyed it.”  Brixham Museum, Kids in Museums, Horniman Museum, SWFed

Ironbridge Gorge in collaboration with Institution of Mechanical Engineeers

Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust has signed an innovative Memorandum of Understanding with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers to help preserve England’s industrial heritage. Ironbridge’s Industrial Heritage Support Officer, Ian Bapty, explained the rationale: “Industrial heritage sites are complicated and expensive to manage, operate and present to the public, Declining funding and reliance on dwindling numbers of volunteers is further increasing these pressures. Linking up with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers – whose members combine professional engineering expertise with a long track record of promoting industrial heritage – will significantly enhance the support we can provide to industrial heritage sites”. Their work will begin with regional events to put some of the Institution’s 100,000 members in touch with industrial heritage organisations.  The first, covering the West Midlands, will take place at Ironbridge Gorge.  (Details not currently online, but contact Ironbridge Gorge for further details).

MShed hosts lifesized dinosaur reconstruction

For the first time in 210 million years, it will be possible to see a large, scary Thecodontosaurus roaming central Bristol.  The life sized reconstructed statue will be based on bones discovered in a quarry near Bristol in 1834, then only the fourth dinosaur discovery in the world.  The build began at MShed on October 1st and will continue until the end of November accompanied by scientific talks and other events.  Bristol University, MShed

National Portrait Gallery launches high end print sales with Actor’s Last Supper

Earlier this year we reported that more imaginative museum shop sales were holding up well, despite a downturn in the wider retail sector.  Now the National Portrait Gallery is joining the trend with a new series of short print run high end print sales.  They launch the series with photographer Alistair Morrison’s The Actor’s Last Supper, showing significant figures from British theatre echoing the da Vinci composition.  Robert Powell is predictably Jesus, with Julie Walters breaking the all male hegemony of the piece.  The prints are £11,125 each (or you can get a postcard for £2.99).  National Portrait Gallery (shop), National Portait Gallery (press release) Back to top

  Appointments and awards
 
Winners of the 2013 Carnegie Medal for Philanthropy have been announced including Dame Janet Wolfson de Botton, whose gift of 60 contemporary works of art to the Tate in 1996 was central to the development of Tate Modern.  Philanthropy Impact Sue Owen, currently Director General of Strategy at the Department for Work and Pensions, has been announced as the new Permanent Secretary for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.  DCMS The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has appointed Caroline Mason as its new Chief Executive.  She was previously Chief Operating Officer at Big Society Capital.  Esmee Fairbairn

Cultural sector leaders listed in Evening Standard’s ‘Power 1000’

The Evening Standard has unveiled its ‘power 1000’ list for 2013 saying London's Power 1000 is not a fixed and predictable list. It changes to reflect shifting fortunes and talents in a crucible of creativity where great ideas are as likely to come from individuals on laptops in coffee shops as from large corporations.”  NMDC members are well represented in the list, including Neil MacGregor, Sir Nicholas Serota, Nicholas Penny, Sandy Nairne, Ian Blatchford and Michael Dixon.  Evening Standard (Imagineers, artists and curators), Evening Standard (crusaders, science)

  Buildings, ancient and modern
 

Heritage/modern hybrid wins Stirling Prize

The Stirling Prize this year has been won by Astley Castle.  The derelict building which was mostly destroyed by fire in 1978 has now been turned into a luxury modern holiday home, which also preserves the castle’s ancient features.  The work was done by the Landmark Trust who are now letting it out, although it is fully booked until 2015.  ALVA

'Brutal and Beautiful' buildings listed

Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey has listed four postwar buildings on the advice of English Heritage, including a Cold War bunker and a concrete electricity sub station in Sheffield.  The listings coincide with the English Heritage exhibition ‘Brutal and Beautiful’ which examines the ambivalent reactions the nation’s postwar architecture inspires.  English Heritage

Major Building Repair grants announced – but leaked report shows millions more are needed

The Scottish Government has given £1.69m to five projects for vital repair work.  They include the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum in Orkney, the Rosebank Distillery and statues on the Kelvin Way in Glasgow.  Announcing the grants Fiona Hyslop said that planning for the next 10–15 years would have a collaborative approach to make the historic environment resilient against threats including ‘potentially devastating impact’ from climate change. However a report from Historic Scotland, produced in February but never released until a recent leak, reveals that Scotland’s historic buildings need £170m in repairs and investment in visitor presentation.  It adds that Edinburgh and Stirling Castle have management issues.  Scottish Government, ALVA Back to top

  Green and good
 

Ironbridge Gorge wins Green Tourism Award

Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, much of which commemorates the birth of the carbon economy, has won an award for sustainable practice across their ten museum sites.  Their initiatives range from green tariffs and low energy lightbulbs, to recycling, encouraging public transport use and using locally sourced food for catering outlets.  Ironbridge Gorge Also: For those interested in marrying the spectacular with the sustainable, the Guardian’s piece on bicycle-driven theatre performed in a giant cheese provides Emmental flavoured food for thought. Guardian

Museums are good for you

In a helpful blog, National Museums Wales has pulled together some of the recent material demonstrating that engaging with museums is good for health. National Museums Wales

Arts Council announces new programme connecting arts to social benefit

The Arts Council’s new cultural commissions programme has been launched to more strongly link the arts to the areas of the voluntary sector working for social improvement.  The Cultural Commissioning Programme will involve the voluntary sector’s umbrella body, National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) , consultancies NPC and nef, and the arts network Mission, Models, Money (MMM). The work will be chaired by Lord Bichard, who said “Art, drama, music, museums, libraries—all reach out and culturally enrich communities, and many go beyond this, helping to tackle social issues such as anti-social behaviour and crime.” The work begins with a survey which cultural sector workers are invited to fill in here.  Surveymonkey,  Museums Journal, Arts Industry (subscription only link) Back to top

  Volunteering and employment
 

Volunteering in Welsh museums: an overview

CyMal have produced a special issue of their newsletter, bringing together resources from dozens of organisations which support museum volunteering: such as funding to support disadvantaged young people to volunteer and legal issues.  The material isn’t online, but for a copy email karen.willans@wales.gsi.gov.uk

Museums ‘ditching staff for volunteers’

The latest survey by the Museums Association shows that a third of museums lost staff during the year from July 2012 – June 2013, while 50% increased the number of volunteers and unpaid interns.  The DCMS (which itself now only employs paid interns) commented “whilst it is a decision for individual museums, the government encourages all employers to offer financial support so that internships are genuinely open to all young people and not just those from well off backgrounds."  BBC

Arts Apprenticeships take off in the South West and London

15 apprenticeships and 82 internships have been organised in arts organisations in the South West through the Arts Council’s Creative Employment Programme. Meanwhile Bristol City Council is seeking £350k in extra funding to support employing young workers in the cultural sector.  A year long apprenticeship scheme for young people who have not been to university has also been announced for theatre workers in London.  Arts Council, The Stage

Museum of London cuts staff to balance books

The Museum of London has announced 17 redundancies in order to reduce its spend by £1m by April next year.  All the museum’s oral history posts will be lost and it will concentrate on digital collecting rather than recording life stories for the immediate future.  Museums Journal

Leadership bursaries for cultural workers in local government

Grants of £1–1.5k are being offered towards a year long scheme for local government workers who want to develop into leadership roles in the cultural sector.  The Leading Learning Programme runs throughout 2014.  Museums Journal

What skills do museums professionals need?

In a blog for London Museums Group, Nick Poole looks at what skills will be needed by the museum professional of the future.  He says that a more diversified workforce and a 'museum MBA' reflecting a depth of knowledge are both important - but argues that each generation has to reinvent what a museum is, and seek the opportunities to shake up and move on their own jobs, as well as fulfilling formal job descriptions.  London Museums Group Back to top

  Funding
 

Nesta grants support digital making among the young

Nesta and the Nominet Trust have announced £250,000 in funding for projects which support digital making among the young.  Individual grants are likely to be in the region of £20–50,000.  Nesta says: "We take a broad view of digital making that encompasses 3D printing and physical computing, as well as coding and programming, and want to work with partners who are noisy advocates for the importance of digital making; who will use all the channels available to them to shout about and promote their projects." Applications close on 14th November.  Nesta Also: Nesta has just launched a group for European digital social innovators to share experience.  They are particularly interested in groups that are grassroots up, and have a positive, disruptive effect socially.  Nesta

Small staff development grants from Cefni Barnett fund

Museum staff in Wales are invited to apply for up to £500 from the Cefni Barnett fund for research or conference attendance.  The next deadline is 11th October.  Welsh Museums Federation

Listed Places of Worship scheme thrives

In an otherwise predictable landscape of cuts, one heritage funding scheme is thriving.  The Government has confirmed that the Listed Places of Worship scheme will be maintained at £42m a year, a sum described as sufficient to meet all claims in full by the CofE.  From 1st October an extended group of repairs will be eligible under the scheme including turrets, organs and bell ropes.  Listed Places of Worship Grants Scheme Also: Lincoln Cathedral is the latest large ancient place of worship to bid for HLF funds to create more museum-like features, attract more tourists and increase sustainability.  They are seeking £10m in Lottery funds.  York Cathedral opened a museum in its undercroft a few months ago, and St Albans is revisiting a rejected bid in a second attempt to create historical displays.  ITV

Grants available to work with heritage organisations in China

The latest round of the British Council's UK China Connections through Culture development grant scheme has been announced.  Grants are available to fund week-long trips to and from China, to enable UK organisations to meet with Chinese contacts and develop joint projects. The deadline for applications is Sunday 10th November.  Full information: Jane Weeks, Museums & Heritage Adviser, British Council jane.weeks@britishcouncil.org.  British Council China

Guide to Funding for cultural journalists in Europe

Funding for writers, critics and advocates for the cultural sector across Europe is very limited.  A new guide pulls together a list of funds available, and builds the case for funding cultural journalism in Europe.  It is of relevance to anyone who is interested in shaping cultural policy and has an outlet through any media for the occasional publication of your writings, as well as those who are full time journalists.  On the Move, On the Move (pdf download)

Match funding for arts work with the young in the South West

The Real Ideas Organisation, an Arts Council Bridge organisation, has launched a new fund which offers matching financial support for organisations doing arts work with children in the South West of England.  Expressions of interest for projects between £20–70k should be submitted before 11th October.  Arts Council

Making the case for culture: a literature review

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for education has pulled together a literature review making the social and economic case for funding the arts.  87 reports and academic studies are summarised in the work.  The studies also provide a succinct snapshot of the direction of travel of cultural policy in many European countries.  European Expert Network on Culture, EECN (pdf of report) Back to top

  Futureology
 

The shape of things to come: Londoners in 2023

Nesta and a group of other partners have unveiled work which projects what ‘typical’ Londoners may be like in 2023.  Their suggestions include more active older populations, and younger people who are typically far more internationally connected and for whom geography presents fewer barriers where there are shared interests.  It also suggests a dystopian vision of zero hours workers bidding for poorly paid short term work online.  Technology is a theme shaping all the lives in these projections.  Although these vignettes don’t specifically address museums, it is easy to begin to imagine a population whose consumption of culture and history spans continents rather than being circumscribed by a local area.  Future Londoners

‘Bored’ agency hijacks museums with app

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is well regarded in cultural circles for its high definition website, bringing its art to audiences in innovative ways.  This evidently hasn’t impressed digital agency ‘Brilliant After Breakfast’ who have produced a guerrilla app to subvert the museum’s collections.  Once downloaded, ‘Paint Job’ offers an alternative and not necessarily PC commentary on paintings, in one case inserting a can of diet coke into an image of an overweight young woman.  An agency spokesperson said We were bored with visiting a museum and finding the experience more and more not in tune with the rest of the interactive, social-media lived world we live in. We wanted to make it all a little more interesting. It's difficult to see a famous painting as if you are seeing it for the first time when its image has been part of your education, and your ideas on art.”  Huffington Post

Libraries of the future

In an article for the Guardian, library campaigner Ken Worple writes that the future of libraries globally is brighter than it might appear as they ‘glam up’ to become more modern community spaces – attracting students who can’t do course work at home and the self-employed.  He argues that city planners have become disenchanted with the ‘Bilbao Effect’ where one huge, expensive cultural edifice is supposed to regenerate an area: citing the Millennium Dome as a £1bn white elephant, but also arguing that libraries may well serve communities better than museums.  In the US in particular having overseen the costly failure of iconic museum and gallery projects – ostensibly built to put cities on the map – politicians realised they got more bang for their buck if they spent the money on a state-of-the-art library.”  Guardian

Guides to digital from the experts: Smithsonian, Tate, Culture24

The Smithsonian, long leaders in digital for museums, have published a free ebook on how to ‘do digital’ for museums, tracing the path they are taking towards a sophisticated digital offering. Meanwhile Culture24 have published some of the results from their recent conference and action research projects, showing how to define and measure success online – and move digital from being an ‘add on’ to a seamless part of an organisation’s plans to reach the public.  Finally, Tate Modern have unveiled their new digital plans – including 75 cascading screens where visitors to the galleries can share their work and interpretations of the collections. Smithsonian, Culture24 , Museums Journal, Bloomberg

Labour announces six point cultural plan

Shadow culture secretary Dan Jarvis has announced a six point plan for the arts and cultural industries if Labour win the next election.  Jarvis said that the arts offered twin economic and cultural benefits, adding that culture should be integrated across all government departments.  Cultural education, fundraising support, better Intellectual Property management and helping the arts increase their international reputation are listed as priorities.  He said the sector was “facing a perfect storm, created by a government which does not understand its role in supporting this vital sector, and its potential to boost wellbeing and growth in times of austerity.”  The Stage’s piece on the speech focused on the absence of any mention of the Arts Council, and wondered whether the body might be axed by a Labour government.  Arts Professional, The Stage Back to top

  Out of the gallery and the attic: Paintings on the move
 

‘Your Paintings’ tours major original artworks including Monet, Spencer and Lowry

The ‘Your Paintings’ scheme which catalogued every oil painting in public ownership in the country is now bringing some of those original works into schools.  Works by artists including Gainsborough, Turner, Monet and Lowry were shown on October 1st and a total of 27 schools will host a masterpiece for the day until October 14th.  Their total insurance value of £14m was underwritten by Hiscox.  Onibury Primary School (number of pupils: 56) was one of the first to receive a visiting Monet painting. Their teacher Mr Smith said “When the art handlers turned the painting around for the first group of kids, it was amazing, it was really moving, there was actually a gasp.”  BBC Breakfast, Public Catalogue Foundation, New York Times Also: Jonathan Yeo has painted a portrait of 16 year old girl’s education activist Malala Yousafzai.  After appearing at the National Portrait Gallery as part of a display of his paintings, it will be donated to the Malala fund, to help other children get a good education.  National Portrait Gallery

New Van Gogh painting discovered in Norwegian Attic

After years of being overlooked in a Norwegian attic, a new painting by Van Gough has come to light.  Sunset at Montmajour had previously been dismissed as a forgery, but is now on display at the Van Gough Museum.  Guardian  Back to top

  Governance
 

Changes in governance at ACE

In the light of the Norgrove report, ACE has made some changes to its governance – including asking the Council to meet 10 times, instead of 3 times a year, so that it can better digest the breadth of ACE’s work.  Chair Peter Bazalgette has also asked for biannual feedback on his own performance.  Arts Professional

Maria Miller calls for changes in BBC Governance

In a speech to the Royal Television Society, Culture Secretary Maria Miller said that the governance of the BBC needed to be revisited, following headlines about the size of staff payoffs.  She said there was a tension between the BBC Trust being both a ‘regulator and cheerleader’ for the body.  Changes already in place include a £150k cap on payoffs.  Gov.uk Back to top

  And finally….The Curse of the Natural History Museum Sapphire
 
In a ten minute film for TedX, Collections Trust CEO Nick Poole tells the story of a ‘thrice cursed jewel’ looted during the Indian Uprising which eventually ended up in the collections of the Natural History Museum after two previous owners believed that it had brought them bad luck.  It was only rediscovered (complete with a terrible warning not to open the box) by a curator in the 1970s.  Nick told the story in the wider context of the changing role of museums: "The work of museums and libraries isn’t to freeze or protect stories, but to tell us stories. There’s been a quiet revolution… the job has changed from protecting heritage to opening up heritage".  Collections Link

   Jobs
 
See the full selection of current jobs at NMDC member organisations here.
 
 

This newsletter can also be read online at http://www.nationalmuseums.org.uk/news/newsletters/


If you have any comments or contributions for the newsletter please send them to the Editor, Kate Smith, at news@nationalmuseums.org.uk.
Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD
© 2012 National Museum Directors' Council