November 2016

NMDC newsletter: November 2016
 
    nmdc  
 
 
  NMDC newsletter: November 2016
 
 
 
 
  In this month's edition:  
 
 
  Review of Museums in England

NMDC urges government to ensure new tax relief benefits the whole sector

Select Committee Inquiry into the impacts of Brexit

NMDC at the MA Conference

Beamish and Science Museum among those receiving £48m in lottery funds

Creative Industries Federation produces recommendations for Brexit

Remember to invite your donor to the Christmas party and other advice from Ed Vaizey

Tony Robinson says ‘Visigoths at the gates of Rome’ as AQA scraps archaeology

Arts Power 100 published

Digital disruption and culture: Matt Hancock speaks at What Next?

Museums Review reminder

Heath Robinson Museum opens in Pinner

700 strong protest in gardens as Inverleith House Gallery suddenly shuts

Walsall gallery threatened with closure, along with 15 out of 16 libraries

First round of Change Makers grant recipients announced

Taking Part focus reports show socio-economic status is main predictor of museum visits

Minister considers ban on unpaid internships

Overseas tourists spend twice as much, says HLF
 
 
 
  Section headings:  
 
 
  NMDC news  |  Members’ news  |  Brexit and the future  |  Government and museums  |  Investing in culture  |  Education  |  Tech  |  Events  |  Consultations  |  Appointments  |  Openings  |  Cuts and closures  |  Diversity  |  Tourism  |  Eat your greens (and recycle your nappies)  |  Funding  |  Jobs  |  And finally… rock that taxidermied giraffe  
 
 
  NMDC news  
 
 
 The new Fashion galleries at the National Museum of Scotland, c. Ruth Armstrong
The new Fashion galleries at the National Museum of Scotland, c. Ruth Armstrong
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Review of Museums in England  
 
 
NMDC has been working closely with the DCMS team as the Museums Review progresses and  submitted a written response to the recent online call for evidence. The NMDC response highlights opportunities and challenges for the sector under six key themes: digital; international; partnerships; workforce; tax, governance and diversifying income; and collections.
 
For each theme there are a set of suggested next steps for government and sector action, many of which recommend a more strategic use of existing public investment and consider ways in which investment, tax and governance systems can best support the operation of museums. The submission also focuses specifically on the future financial sustainability of local and regional museums, in recognition that this remains the most significant and immediate challenge for the UK museum sector.  NMDC response, DCMS
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  NMDC urges government to ensure new tax relief benefits the whole sector  
 
 
NMDC has responded to the HM Treasury consultation on proposals for a new tax relief for museum exhibitions. The scheme, announced in the 2016 Budget and based on the successful introduction of similar tax reliefs already in place for film, theatre and orchestras, aims to encourage the creation of more and higher quality exhibitions across the UK and increase public access to museum collections.
 
NMDC very much welcomes the proposed scheme which could be of significant value to museums and their audiences in a climate of declining public funding. However, initial proposals are for the relief to apply only to exhibitions lasting a year or less, meaning that many smaller museums without temporary exhibition spaces or a regularly changing exhibitions programme will be unable to benefit. In order to ensure the tax relief achieves its stated objectives and that the entire museum sector – and thus audiences all over the UK – are able to benefit, NMDC is urging government to remove the one year time limit on exhibitions.  NMDC response, HM Treasury
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Select Committee Inquiry into the impacts of Brexit  
 
 
NMDC submitted evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Inquiry into the impacts of Brexit on the creative industries, tourism and the digital single market. NMDC's response focuses on three areas of the Inquiry relevant to museums:
 
  • Employment: highlighting concerns over the sustainability and effective operation of many UK museums given the large number of EU citizens employed in both expert specialist and front of house roles, as well as the sector's ability to attract and retain international talent.
  • Copyright: outlining three main challenges for copyright management in museums post-Brexit – sharing records of orphan works, securing the copyright exceptions proposed within the Digital Single Market Directive, and maintaining the trend of altering copyright legislation to benefit the care of collections and public access to them.
  • Funding: noting that UK museums have benefitted from access to a range of EU funding streams, including Regional Development Fund, Creative Europe and Horizon 2020, and that the loss of access to these funds will have a significant negative impact on future museum projects and activity.
 
NMDC response, CMS Select Committee
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  NMDC at the MA Conference: working with national museums  
 
 
NMDC is holding a networking event at the MA Conference in Glasgow on Monday 7th November. Join us at 4pm in the Douchart 2 Room to hear how national museums work collaboratively across the museum sector and share good practice about how to initiate successful projects. Partnerships Managers from national museums will be available for informal discussion of ideas for working together.  Museums Association
 
NMDC is also hosting a Museum Practice workshop on influencing and advocacy skills. NMDC's Policy and Projects Manager Katie Childs will be joined by Emmie Kell, Chief Executive of the Cornwall Museums Partnership, to provide tips and ideas. Join us at 3pm on Monday 7th November in Workshop Room 2.  Museum Practice workshops
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Members’ news  
 
 
  Beamish and Science Museum among those receiving £48m in lottery funds  
 
 
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has announced £48m of HLF funds for eight projects, including three NMDC members:
 
  • £4.6m for the RAF Museum's centenary project (more details below).
  • £10.9m for the Beamish Museum’s 1950s town project, which will include a chip shop, police houses and a bowling green.
  • £7.6m towards the £24m new Medicine Galleries at the Science Museum displaying the collections of Sir Henry Wellcome, which will open in 2019.
 
Funding was also awarded for a new welcome centre at Canterbury Cathedral, a learning centre at the Roman Baths in Bath, canal regeneration and new displays of the Royal College of Music’s collections. The projects will bring benefit to local economies and tourism and are expected to create nearly 200 jobs.  HLF, Science Museum
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  RAF museum receives £4.6m for centenary development  
 
 
The RAF is the oldest and longest serving air force in the world and celebrates its centenary in 2018. HLF has announced it will be investing a further £4,595,600 in the RAF museum to develop capital projects to mark the occasion. There will be a new visitor centre and café and a restaurant in a disused historic building. Apprenticeships and volunteering programmes will help people develop skills while helping to conserve the museum’s 1.3m objects. Education will help to inspire an interest in STEM subjects in a new generation.  RAF museum
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  York Art Gallery announced Family Friendly Museum of the Year  
 
 
Kids in Museums has announced York Art Gallery as Family Friendly Museum of the Year 2016. One family commented “the whole makeover of the gallery is great and my family have felt unbelievably welcome. My kids are growing up visiting the art gallery, exploring the art work, mixing with other people and gaining confidence.” York Museums Trust Director Reyahn King said “this is the most important thing that’s happened to York Art Gallery since we reopened. This award celebrates our welcome and what real visitors and families experience. That’s what we’re most proud of.”  YMT, Kids in Museums, M+H
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Laurence of Arabia’s robes and dagger saved at the National Army Museum  
 
 
The National Army Museum has retained the dagger and robes of Laurence of Arabia after more than £100k in grants saved the items from export. The National Heritage Memorial Fund provided £78.4k for the dagger, and the National Army Museum itself contributed around £60k towards both items. Director of the National Army Museum Dr Peter Johnston said “What makes the dagger and robes so significant, and such an important part of British heritage, is the way in which they have featured in the cultural memory and legacy of Lawrence and the Middle East campaign of the first world war.”  Guardian
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Images this month: Vogue meets yoga in ‘Styling the Nation’  
 
 
The National Museum of Scotland is holding a weekend of events to celebrate the opening of its new fashion galleries. ‘Styling the Nation’ will include performance art, curator talks, contemporary makers setting up their workbenches in the gallery and a fashion illustration workshop with Burberry’s Rhys McKenna. For visitors previously lacking opportunities to become zen and show off at the same time, the museum also offers Voga sessions – where voguing and yoga meet. ‘Styling the Nation’ runs 12th-13th November and is free.  NMS
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Brexit and the future  
 
 
  Creative Industries Federation produces recommendations for Brexit  
 
 
The Creative Industries Federation has presented a report to Culture Minister Karen Bradley with recommendations to help the sector thrive post-Brexit in the short, medium and long term. Its proposals include:
 
  • In the short term, employed EU citizens in the UK should have permission to stay confirmed as quickly as possible, and a government-industry partnership should look at opening up trade with markets beyond the EU.
  • In the medium term there should be continued EU-UK cooperation on copyright and intellectual copyright, and free movement for purposes such as concert tours should be retained. The government should quantify the benefit coming to creative industries from EU funding and find ways to retain or replace this. The UK should remain part of the EU Capital of Culture programme.
  • In the long term, the government should reform the migration system to ensure access to critical skills from EU and non-EU countries. The Creative Industries already attract a higher percentage of people from abroad with skills not sufficiently available in the UK – graphic designers, orchestral musicians and visual effects specialists are already on the Migration Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List. Museums and galleries currently employ 4% Europeans and 5.8% non-EU migrants.
  • Also in the long term there needs to be continued support for R&D, and if possible the chance to remain in Creative Europe and Horizon2020 (which already include participation from some non-EU members).
 
The report also looks at the UK region by region, exploring the funding structures of successful creative businesses, many of which have had critical support from the Arts Council and EU funding streams. A quote from Matt Chapman of the design agency Contagious encapsulates the need to keep door open for the creative industries in Europe, and reassure current and potential employees: “I run a 30-40 people creative design agency in Edinburgh and Glasgow and we work with a lot of international big brands. It’s essential to us to have a multicultural workforce. We’re recruiting at the moment and we have seen a slight drop-off of people applying from Europe – about 25% fewer applicants.”  Creative Industries Federation, Arts Professional, Evening Standard
 
Also: Euclid has launched a website ‘Know Brexit’ which explores the implications of leaving the European Union for the cultural sector and advocates for an approach to minimise disruption to the sector.  Know Brexit
 
Also: Meanwhile an article in the New Statesman has aired the idea of devolved free movement – meaning that different areas of the country could set quotas for ‘professors and fruit pickers’ according to their needs.  New Statesman
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Government and museums  
 
 
 Fashion and style galleries at the National Museum of Scotland c. Ruth Armstrong
Fashion and style galleries at the National Museum of Scotland c. Ruth Armstrong
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Remember to invite your donor to the Christmas party and other advice from Ed Vaizey  
 
 
In a speech at the RSA former Culture Minister Ed Vaizey gave some fascinating insights into six years as Culture Minister. He measured up the strengths and shortcoming of his own party’s government and spoke as a ‘critical friend’ of the cultural sector.
 
He argued that the government put cuts in the right places, protecting core work, and said that ‘we have in my view cut as much as we can’. He now supports a modest 5-10% rise in funding for the cultural sector, which would be tiny as a percentage of government spend but reap huge benefits. The quid pro quo, he argues, is continued work by the cultural sector to find new donors and streams of funding. He pointed to some positive outcomes from the need to generate money, citing the ‘complete amazement’ of an organisation which succeeded in raising £1m having never attempted fundraising before. He also pointed to some bad practice in working with philanthropists, especially after they had handed over the cheque – to audible gasps from the audience he told the story of a philanthropist who made a large gift to a regional cultural organisation, was not invited to the Christmas party, and when he rang to purchase a ticket was told that it had sold out.
 
Vaizey weighed up the strengths and weaknesses of the Conservative government’s attitude to the arts, saying there is not enough understanding of the arts across Whitehall. He had some success working with the education department under Michael Gove – for example, organising the devolution of music education to the Arts Council – but found little understanding that the arts also had a wider application to health and criminal justice. Awarding the Department for Education a B+ for effort, he acknowledged the ongoing row about the Ebacc, but argued that the cultural sector has to make its case to headteachers as well as to government about the importance of the arts. He supported the idea that no school should be judged excellent without encouraging arts subjects.
 
Vaizey also had criticism for the cultural sector: he said that first approaches to new Culture Secretaries tend to be hostile rather than conciliatory, and that he was presented with the recurring idea that no museum or library must ever close. He unpicked fitness for purpose, describing in some detail how he decided not to intervene when (Labour controlled) Brent Council closed a number of its libraries – the expensive Victorian buildings were in the wrong place and little visited, and, he argued, it was cuts which finally encouraged the Council to face up to issues which had been avoided for years. He argued that similar issues were often in play for closing museums “the Museums Journal used to regularly publish all the museums that are closing because of the evil cuts and I used to go through – and literally 95% were for completely separate and different reasons.”
 
Cultural organisations still need to be more open to change and ‘get out from behind the Victorian façade’. By contrast, those he encountered working in the digital sectors were much more comfortable with disruption. He said that these innovators often struggled to find a hearing in the cultural sector and that arts leaders would benefit from talking to groups which, at first glance, had nothing to do with their own methods of working.  Telegraph, RSA (film of whole event)
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Investing in culture  
 
 
  Ain’t nothing going on but the rent: spaces for creativity in London  
 
 
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has taken the first practical steps towards his promise to preserve places for creatives to live and work in London despite spiralling rents and gentrification. The newly formed Creative Land Trust, created from public and private funds, will offer loans for studio providers who wish to buy their buildings and will ensure that studios are permanently protected. 30% of London’s artists are predicted to lose studios in the capital in 2014-19 and Khan hopes that this intervention will stop the trend. Meanwhile 100 artists have moved into studios in the former Inland Revenue offices at Somerset House.  The Art Newspaper
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Export bar: Saving the work of a Soho weaver  
 
 
Early 17th century figure Michael Mazarind was a precursor to London’s colonies of contemporary artists and creative businesses: he ran a weaving business from Portugal Street, Soho about which little is now known. However a rare tapestry created between 1696 and 1702 in his workshop is now subject to an export bar. It is decorated ‘in the Indian manner’ popular in the period, including oriental figures and buildings.  £67.5k is needed to keep the tapestry in the UK, and the export bar runs to 19th January with a possible three-month extension. Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said “I hope we are able to keep it in the country so we can learn more about our nation’s textile industry and of the decorative fashions of the time.”  Gov.uk
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Education  
 
 
  Tony Robinson says ‘Visigoths at the gates of Rome’ as AQA scraps archaeology  
 
 
The exam board AQA has scrapped three wide-ranging arts A levels – archaeology, classical civilisation and art history – causing widespread criticism. Tony Robinson, who became the popular face of archaeology with the programme Time Team, told the Guardian “It feels like the Visigoths at the gates of Rome.” These subjects will no longer be taught in state schools and many commentators fear this will cause a growing class divide. Historian Simon Schama tweeted “so basically the idea is to eliminate the deep wisdom of the past (and present) altogether for anyone not in private school. Heinous.” Simon Martin, Artistic Director of the Pallant House Gallery who studied the subject at night school has blogged that he fears it will become an ‘elite subject’. In a letter to the Times, members of the British Academy described it as “a narrowing of opportunities for young people to engage with some of the most pressing issues of human culture, of what it means to be human, as well as providing important routes into the burgeoning heritage sector”. Numbers studying the subjects are relatively low: 839 for Art History last year and 340 for archaeology. In late October more than 200 academics wrote to AQA expressing their ‘grave concerns’, but AQA argued that the ‘complex and specialist’ nature of the exams made marking too difficult. Schools Minister Nick Gibb responded to the cancellation of the Archaeology A level saying “whilst we are disappointed with this outcome, AQA is an independent organisation and is therefore free to make its own decisions on which qualifications to offer.”  Museums Journal, Telegraph, Guardian, The Art Newspaper, ArtUK (Pallant House Gallery blog)
 
Also: A New Direction has published materials from its roundtable on creating a ‘cultural learning ecology’ – seeing learning from the perspective of a child’s experience, rather than through schools and arts agencies. The report highlights the importance of single inspirational figures.   AND
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Tech  
 
 
  Digital disruption and culture: Matt Hancock speaks at What Next?  
 
 
Culture Minister Matt Hancock spoke at the What Next? conference in Manchester, emphasising how digital has intervened across artforms and historic collections. Examples range from virtual reality at the Royal Opera House, the FutureEverything Festival in Manchester, and the masses of information and images – from ArtUK to the British Library’s newspapers which are now available to the general public online. Streaming is also allowing much wider audiences to participate in location specific events, such as the burning of a model London on the Thames last month to commemorate the Great Fire.  Gov.uk, DCMS blog
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Muffled tweets: museums’ digital offers constrained by some local councils  
 
 
The offer of local museums is often unattractive and difficult to find because it is buried in the structure of local council websites. In his speech at the What Next? conference Matt Hancock said it was important for local councils to give museums the freedom to create digital offers that will appeal to visitors. He said DCMS has cut regulations for its sponsored museums allowing them to operate as independent businesses and said “I’d encourage local authorities who still keep things centralised to follow that lead.” His comments followed a briefing from the MA noting poor and controlling practice – one museum is only allowed to send three tweets a week, whilst another has its tweets vetted by the council marketing department. The MA's policy officer Alistair Brown said “There’s no change in legislation needed to fix this – it’s a matter of changing the rules and regulations and the culture of risk aversion within those organisations. Having got this issue onto the minister’s agenda, we’d like to see some real action coming out of it and more leadership from the minister going forward.”  Museums Journal
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Events  
 
 
  Touring Exhibitions event Bristol  
 
 
The next Touring Exhibitions Group workshop for those wishing to learn how to run a successful touring exhibition is taking place at Bristol MShed on 21st November. Tickets are from £35.  TEG
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  OUMP cultural leaders  
 
 
Oxford University Museums are once again running their Cultural Leaders course in partnership with Saïd Business School. The course brings together dynamic cultural leaders to experiment with new ways of working and helps them evolve entrepreneurial organisational cultures. The course is open for applications until 4th January, and runs from March 26th-31st.  OUMP
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  AMA Digital Marketing Day  
 
 
The Arts Marketing Association is holding a Digital Marketing training event on 2nd December at Kings Place London which will explore how arts organisations and museums can draw from agile methodologies and maximise return on investment. The event is aimed at marketers and leaders who want to discover the latest ideas and change the role of digital in their organisation. Tickets are £219 + VAT for non-AMA members, £158 + VAT for members.  AMA
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Future Proofing Museums  
 
 
AMA is also reprising its Future Proof Museums course, an intensive programme ‘proven to facilitate transformational change’. It is aimed at museum directors and their teams and lasts ten months, including a three-day residential course in Cambridge. The residential is preceded by an in-house diagnostic session to identify opportunities and there is ongoing mentoring and support afterwards. Places are £395 + VAT and the deadline for applications is 5pm on 24th November. AMA
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Board Development programme  
 
 
Museums Galleries Scotland is offering a two-day training event to help Boards become more enterprising. It is open to Board members themselves as well as senior members of staff who report to Boards and will include networking, opportunities to look at how Boards work, and how to develop a leadership style. It takes place on 23rd November and 14th December at Perth Museum & Art Gallery. Tickets are £96/£120.  MGS
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Developing a skilled and diverse workforce in the cultural sector  
 
 
Royal Pavilion & Museums in Brighton is hosting a one-day conference on 30th November as part of its pioneering Workforce Development Programme. The conference includes case studies, tours, short presentations and workshops and participants include ACE’s Director of Museums John Orna-Ornstein, representatives of Pallant House who will be giving a workshop on career pathways, and the London Museum Development team speaking about cross departmental working. Tickets are £50 (£40 concessions).  RPM
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Preserving Collections in the Age of Sustainability  
 
 
The Getty Institute has launched a new course for mid-career to senior museum professionals on managing collection environments, balancing preservation with access, and giving new technical knowledge from across a variety of disciplines. The course is in three strands: online from March 2017 for ten weeks, an intensive workshop in Philadelphia on 5th-16th June, followed by six months of distance mentoring. Places are $750.  Getty
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  International Museum Construction Congress  
 
 
The International Museum Construction Congress takes place in Amsterdam on 13th-15th November. It is aimed at all museums about to embark on a construction project, renovation or expansion, with speakers from the US, Netherlands and UK including the National Library of Scotland and Rijksmuseum. Tickets are $599 for the whole event and can be booked until November 10th; day passes are also available at $179.  Museum construction
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Consultations  
 
 
 National Museum of Scotland
National Museum of Scotland
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Consultation: A city for all Londoners  
 
 
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has published a consultation document ‘A City for all Londoners’ laying out his proposals for the city over the next four years, including land use and culture. There will also be workshops for stakeholders and community groups. Responses to the paper are welcomed until 11th December.  London.gov
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Survey: governance development in museums and the arts  
 
 
The Clore Leadership Programme along with a consortium of trusts and foundations is commissioning a review of the needs of arts organisations and museums in evolving their governance procedures.  As part of this work, it is seeking views through a ten-minute survey – all views are appreciated but the Clore is particularly keen to hear from Board members and Trustees.  Clore Foundation
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Museums Review reminder  
 
 
Liz Johnson, Senior Manager of the Museums Review at Arts Council England has blogged encouraging people to get in touch with their views. She gives a potted history of her own varied career (impersonating everyone from a violet seller to Queen Victoria) before listing some pressing issues: "I’m convinced that museums are more relevant to contemporary life than ever, dealing with modern issues such migration and homelessness. I’m convinced that keeping everyday objects from everyday life is important for what it tells us about ourselves throughout time. I’m convinced that objects of beauty and ingenuity inspire creativity in people. But I am also convinced that we need to find new ways to support our varied museum ecology for the future.ACE blog
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Appointments  
 
 
Tom Watson has been appointed Shadow Culture Secretary, in addition to being Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. He has created a taskforce to look at the effect of Brexit and austerity on the arts. He is Labour’s sixth appointment to the post since May 2015.  LabourList, The Stage
 
The UK government has created its first ever Director General for Digital and Media and has appointed former British Ambassador Matthew Gould to the post. His tasks will include creating digital ecosystems where good ideas can be turned into companies, helping those left behind by digital culture to gain skills and making sure the UK has the connectivity it needs.  Gov.uk
 
Damian Collins MP has been elected Chair of the Parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee. The Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe has been a member of the committee since 2010.  Kent News
 
Also: Art Review has published its Power 100 of the most influential people in the visual arts world for 2016.  Top of the list is Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries, known for his international connections, widespread travel and for working nearly constantly. Nicholas Serota is now in fifth place, accompanied by Tate Modern Director Frances Morris: Art Review notes the Tate’s international collecting (676 out of 1008 works acquired in 2015-16) and the prominence the gallery has given to women artists. Tate does even better in ArtLyst’s ‘alternative’ top 20, produced in opposition to viewing the art world through the lens of money and power  here Frances Morris takes the top spot, followed by Whitworth Director Maria Balshaw: Nicholas Serota comes in at six. Art Review, ArtLyst
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Openings  
 
 
 Convenient Morning Room, courtesy of the Heath Robinson museum
Convenient Morning Room, courtesy of the Heath Robinson museum
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  HLF supports industrial heritage at Long Shop  
 
 
The HLF is supporting the Long Shop Museum with £2m of funding to develop the site and its audiences. The museum preserves and celebrates one of the first assembly lines and Suffolk’s industrial history. Its Victorian buildings have survived in near-original condition for 163 years but now urgently need repair.  Long Shop Museum, HLF
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Rural life in the heart of the city as Reading museum reopens  
 
 
A two-minute film for the BBC captures the changes at Reading’s Museum of Rural Life as it reopens after a £3m makeover, displaying and properly labelling exhibits from tractors to tapestries and explaining the relevance of a rural museum in a now highly urbanised area.  BBC
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Heath Robinson Museum opens in Pinner  
 
 
A new museum has opened in Pinner, North West London to display and celebrate the work of the local artist Heath Robinson. It is the first purpose-built museum to open in London in 40 years and, situated in Zone 5, will be in an area not previously well served by culture. The museum is supported by £1.3m in lottery funding, and increased its collection with help from the Art Fund and National Heritage Memorial Fund. Children’s writer Michael Rosen said “Heath Robinson is an artist who helped several generations of us to look at how we co-exist with the buildings, machines, cities and wars that society has created. Through meticulous exaggeration he created thousands of mini-satires but because these are often called 'cartoons', he is often relegated to a status below that of fine art or serious art. He deserved better – much better – and this museum is a great opportunity for us to do that.” Though the building is confidently expected to stay up, much of its design reflects the wayward imagination of the artist, with wonky air conditioning ducts ‘like snakes in search of prey’ and ceilings apparently supported by botched mosaics of wood. There is also a glass-fronted studio overlooking the park for families to make their own artistic creations.  BBC, HLF, Heath Robinson Museum, Guardian, M+H
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Cuts and closures  
 
 
  700 strong protest in gardens as Inverleith House Gallery suddenly shuts  
 
 
The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh has shut Inverleith House Gallery with a few days’ notice. RBGE said it took the decision to “remove the various inevitable financial risks attached to running a high-profile gallery” and that it would now concentrate its resources on its core mission of scientific and horticultural research and conservation. Many people have opposed the closure, with a petition and a 700-strong crowd protesting in the Botanic Gardens. These included Turner Prize winning artist Richard Wright who said “there is no other public visual arts venue in Scotland that has anywhere near its status or reputation.” The gallery received £80k from Creative Scotland in December to explore a sustainable future. Councillor Lesley Hinds who represents Inverleith ward said Edinburgh Council’s culture committee is now seeking a meeting with RBGE. The closure comes as Creative Scotland publishes a report highlighting the extent of low and unpaid work sustaining Scotland’s visual arts scene. Apollo Magazine comments “Inverleith House provides another example, as if more were needed, of just how quickly sustained economic, intellectual and emotional investment in the arts can be undone overnight.” Museums Journal, Apollo Magazine, Creative Scotland, Herald Scotland, Edinburgh News
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Walsall gallery threatened with closure, along with 15 out of 16 libraries  
 
 
Walsall Council is considering removing all funding from the New Art Gallery as it seeks to save £86m. The £21m gallery was opened by the Queen in 2000 to mark the millennium. It is one of a number of cultural buildings at risk in Walsall including 15 out of 16 libraries threatened with closure, and the Leather Museum and Local History Sector which could be moved to the central library to save £360k. Councillor leader Sean Coughlin said that in four years the council could be left with “one library, no youth service, no art gallery and no performing arts centre”. No final decision has been made and there will now be a public consultation on the options. The gallery currently receives £800k per year from ACE, which cannot replace the local council money, but ACE is now also being consulted on a way forward. The artist Bob and Roberta Smith who was in residence at the gallery two years ago said that closure would have far reaching consequences, putting other millennium projects at risk.  Museums Journal, Guardian, BBC, The Art Newspaper, Guardian
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Townley Venus restored  
 
 
The British Museum has re-trained its catering staff after an accident in which a waiter knocked a finger off of the Townley Venus. The statue has been restored by conservators.  Telegraph, BBC
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Diversity  
 
 
 National Museum of Scotland
National Museum of Scotland
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  First round of Change Makers grant recipients announced  
 
 
The Arts Council has announced the first twenty recipients of its Change Makers awards, which help develop the careers of senior staff who are from BME, disabled or minority groups in the arts and museums sectors. Recipients include Sara Wajid from the National Maritime Museum, who will be looking at new ways to use Birmingham Museums Trust's collections to engage and inspire the population of Birmingham. Dr. Tehmina Goskar will participate in the leadership scheme run by Cornwall Museums Partnership and Fareda Khan will be helping Manchester Museums Partnership raise £12m for Manchester Museum’s Courtyard Project. Other museums involved in the programme are the Design Museum and University of Cambridge Museums. ACE’s Director for Diversity Abid Hussain said “through our Change Makers programme, these twenty disabled and Black and minority ethnic leaders will have an inspiring and transformational opportunity to realise their leadership potential, giving them the confidence and the experience to take their next step into a senior leadership role, helping to shape the future of our sector.” ACE, Museums Journal
 
Also: A flashmob of 100 BAME museum workers materialised at the Museum of London’s Punk exhibition on 29th October to raise awareness of the lack of diversity in the museum workforce across the country. It was organised by Museum Detox which holds regular events for BAME workers in the sector. Spokesperson Sara Wajid said the flashmob idea arose because “when we get together as the Museum Detox group it can often take people back to see bunch of confident BAME people walking around a gallery. It got us thinking about audiences, why is it weird to see a group of people of colour hanging out at a museum?” The Museum of London tweeted pictures of the event and welcomed the flashmob.  Twitter
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Working group looks at BAME nominations for Blue Plaques  
 
 
Jimi Hendrix and Mahatma Gandhi make the cut – but despite being such a multicultural city, only 4% of London’s 900 or so Blue Plaques commemorate BAME people. Now the Blue Plaques project has created a working group to propose black and Asian nominees for commemoration. As with all Blue Plaques nominations, it welcomes suggestions from the public. DCMS blog
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Taking Part focus reports show socio-economic status is main predictor of museum visits  
 
 
DCMS has published focused reports on art forms, diversity and museums and galleries as part of its Taking Part statistics for 2015/16. Findings include:
 
  • Statistics on diversity showed that there are relatively modest differences in museum and gallery visits by ethnicity: 53.1% white vs 48.2% BAME. However, this is because there is parity between Asian and ‘Other’ visits with white audiences – Black visitors are 12% less likely to attend. BAME audiences are significantly more likely to visit a library (45.6% vs 31.6% for white visitors).
  • There is virtual parity by gender for museum visits: 52.3% male vs 52.8% female. Women are 8% more likely than men to participate in the arts or go to a library.
  • Disabled audiences are 9% less likely to visit a museum than non-disabled audiences (46.8% vs 55.1%). This is the largest disparity in the cultural sector, compared with a 5% gap for arts, 7.5% for heritage and virtual parity in library visits.
  • However, the greatest disparity in visits across all cultural forms except libraries is by income. 61.5% of the upper socio-economic group visit museums compared with 37.4% of the lower group – a 24% difference. For arts the disparity is 16.5%, and for heritage 20%. Cultural visits rise with income in all sectors except libraries: 89.7% of those with personal earnings of more than £50k visit heritage sites, and 75.2% visit museums and galleries.
  • The figures for visits to museums and galleries remain at a steady 52.5% for 2015/16 (up 0.5% since last year). However, the report highlighted a new statistic comparing museum visits in the last 12 months among those who did or did not visit as a child. 71.8% of visitors had been taken as a child compared with 53.3% of non-visitors: therefore engagement while young is a strong, but not inevitable, predictor of a continued interest in museums.
 
The museums report also gives an overview of tools allowing museums to dig further into the statistics. DCMS
 
Also: DCMS has also published figures on GVA and employment across its sectors for the period 2010-15. The cultural sector shows a rise in GVA from £20bn-£27bn, and an increase in employment from 552,000 to 642,000. DCMS blog
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Out of the loop: facilities for deaf people and museums  
 
 
Museum blogger Nina Thomas has written about how the onset of deafness has often left her excluded from arts events. Praising the Southbank Centre's recent Unlimited festival, she writes "it was particularly fantastic being able to laugh having understood what had been said and why it was so funny; an experience I rarely have these days, but one of life’s simple pleasures. I hadn’t developed super powers and my hearing had not magically been restored. Instead the barriers to access had been removed; I could get on with enjoying myself and learning new things. Wouldn’t it be great if all events were like this?" She argues that some major London venues which theoretically provide access for deaf audiences do not provide facilities that work in practice.  Unlimited Impact
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Minister considers ban on unpaid internships  
 
 
Employment Minister Damian Hinds told the ITV programme Peston on Sunday that the government is 'looking at' the possibility of banning unpaid internships, which can make jobs in the creative industries in particular inaccessible to young people from less wealthy backgrounds. He said “it is part of making sure that we are fair to everybody... it is important for social mobility that everybody has a crack at getting into... the particularly competitive industries.”  Guardian
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Human remains returned from Birmingham to Australia  
 
 
Eleven aboriginal skulls have been returned to Australia following a ceremony at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The human remains, which were found at the University of Birmingham’s College of Medical and Dental Sciences, will now be looked after at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. The UK has returned around 1,000 items at similar events – Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton also returned items in a similar event during October.  Birmingham University, Royal Pavilion and Museums
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Tourism  
 
 
  E-cars, airbases and a road to the North as Discover England winners are announced  
 
 
As we described last month, VisitEngland launched a competition for consortia to work across regions on innovative tourism products. Now the five winners of £40m of year one funding have been announced. The schemes include plans for strategically placed e-cars in Oxford and the Cotswolds, allowing visitors to travel the last mile or two to cultural destinations on environmentally friendly transport, having stepped from a bus or train.  A ‘Friendly Invasion’ project, aimed at Americans, will help tourists retrace the steps of the 180,000 US airmen based in East Anglia during WW2. Two projects encourage visits to the north: Core Cities, led by Liverpool, will explore how to encourage conference goers to spend longer in cities to pursue private leisure activities. Meanwhile another project focuses on building attractive itineraries for German and Dutch tourists who can travel straight to Hull via ferry.  VisitBritain
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Overseas tourists spend twice as much, says HLF  
 
 
The HLF has published its first in-depth report on the tourist economy since 2013: The Impact of Heritage Tourism for the UK economy 2016. The report found that although the number of visits to heritage sites has remained stable, spending is up by 9% because of an 18% increase in international visitors. It also found that:
 
  • Overseas visitors to cultural, historic and natural heritage attractions typically spend £560 per trip – double the average of £210 spent by domestic visitors on an overnight trip.
  • Overseas visitors spent £7.4bn in 2015 – or 42% of the £17.5bn total that year.
  • There were 192 million trips to cultural, natural and heritage attractions in 2015.
  • Although at £5.7bn, heritage tourism is largest in London, the sector is more significant for Wales, Scotland and the North East, where tourism is directly and indirectly responsible for 2% of total GVA.
 
HLF, HLF (Wales figures in detail)
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Newcastle-Gateshead wins competition to host Great Exhibition of the North  
 
 
Following a competition, Newcastle-Gateshead will host the Great Exhibition of the North. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said “this cultural investment will bring enormous benefits to the region, including regeneration, increased tourism and cultural engagement.” Plans include a major exhibition hub in the Great North Museum, Hancock and three walking circuits around Tyneside featuring culture and innovation. Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums were key bid partners. Scientists and inventors will be a strong theme, and organisers are hoping to bring Stephenson’s Rocket from the Science Museum to Newcastle as part of the 77 day exhibition. It opens on 21st June 2018.  Gov.uk, BBC
 
Also: VisitEngland and VisitBritain have published their annual report for 2015/16 and encapsulated their new programmes and statistical highlights in a three-minute film. For every £1 invested in the bodies by the government, an overseas visitor spends £23 in Britain.  VisitBritain
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Eat your greens (and recycle your nappies)  
 
 
  Happy Museum launches affiliate scheme  
 
 
The Happy Museum is launching an affiliate scheme, so that museums with similar values and ambitions can network, share good practice and help evolve the Happy Museum project. It wants to create 'a positive frame for practical action which puts societal wellbeing at its heart'. Cultural organisations as well as museums are welcome to apply, and the closing date is 7th December.  Happy Museum
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  In search of vegetables: Soil Association criticises museums’ food for children  
 
 
The Soil Association has criticised the food offered for children at a number of museums as it published a league table of a relatively small number of venues, following its 2016 ‘Out to Lunch’ survey. The survey focuses both on the provenance of the food and healthy options: some venues offering healthy food for adults provide a much narrower choice for children. The Natural History Museum came last out of 20, with 22 out of a possible 150 points, and the British Museum 18th with 23 points: both venues are served by caterers Benugo. The survey pointed to an absence of vegetables and free drinking water, and parents complained that at many venues crisps and chocolate bars are often incorporated in kids ‘lunchbox’ options. The Eden Project came top with 99 points and was praised for locally sourced seasonal and organic produce (the Eden Project has the distinct advantage of growing some of the café food on site). Chester Zoo was praised for fruit, sustainable fish and free range eggs, but criticised elsewhere for the overprovision of sugary foods. In response the Natural History Museum has responded that its low ranking is partly miscommunication – as it does offer Freedom Food chicken, sustainable fish and cage-free eggs – and adds “we look forward to engaging more fully in the survey next year and are confident that our high standards will result in a better ranking.”  Soil Association, Museums Journal
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Stepping back from the throwaway society  
 
 
How museums should respond to, and lead public discussion around climate change is a question raised with increasing frequency. Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum is addressing the problem head on with its ‘Waste Not! Want Not!’ exhibition exploring 70 items from around the world which have been reproduced through recycling, including rugs made from recycled saris, and a kennel made from toothpaste tubes. As the exhibition points out, modern disposable nappies take 500 years to rot (it offers the thought experiment that if you imagine a modern disposable nappy being used by an infant Mary Tudor, it would only be finally decomposing now). Therefore the firm Nappicycle – which recovers usable materials from used nappies – is a particularly welcome development. The exhibition runs to April 2017.  Museums Wales
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Funding  
 
 
  #GiveItSomeWelly – The Wellington Appeal  
 
 
The National Portrait Gallery has launched an appeal to acquire an portrait of the Duke of Wellington. The £1.3m picture by Sir Thomas Lawrence was painted at the height of the Duke's political career, when he was Prime Minister, and is unfinished due to the death of the artist. It shows the Duke's completed head and collar, with his torso sketched out. The Art Fund has contributed £350k and the Gallery itself £650k  the Gallery is hoping to raise the final £300k from the public by spring 2017.  National Portrait Gallery, The Art Fund
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Scottish Festival of Museums Fund open  
 
 
Museums Galleries Scotland has opened its Festival of Museums fund, which supports events programmed to take place during the May 2017 festival. The fund will sponsor up to 50% of event costs – museums must then provide 25% and raise the remainder through commerce or sponsorship. The applications process is now more streamlined and the closing date is 25th November.  MGS
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Grants to increase access to heritage science research  
 
 
The National Heritage Science Forum has announced a new grant to open up access to heritage science research. The NHSF grant will support the full cost of Gold Open Access publication. This means that the research will be accessible online, to everyone, immediately on publication. The full process for applying and criteria will be published on 10th November.  NHSF
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
  Government seeks to support payroll giving  
 
 
The Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson has given a speech at the launch of the Geared for Giving campaign, which aims to encourage payroll giving, business giving and staff volunteer schemes – an approach to fundraising much more common in the US than the UK. 73% of people give to charity in an average month and 64% of employees want their businesses to support issues they care about. There is also an economic argument for businesses to get involved: those with a purpose beyond profit are shown to grow 50% faster. Gov.uk
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  Jobs  
 
 
A selection of jobs from across the NMDC membership this month:
 
 
A complete list is available on our website here.
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
  And finally… rock that taxidermied giraffe  
 
 
 The Loft Club at RAMM
The Loft Club at RAMM
 
Recently signed up by Universal Music Group, Devon-based Indie band The Loft Club had no doubt where it wanted to film its music video: the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. The museum’s natural history collections flash through Heart’s Desire, while the band sing in the looming presence of Gerald the Giraffe. Singer-songwriter Daniel Schamroth said "RAMM was our dream location for the music video as it's such visual feast! We are honoured to be the first band to be allowed to film there”. You can see the results, and rock with Gerald, here.
 
 
 
Share: t f g back to top  
 
 
Download a PDF version for printing