The Terracotta Warriors exhibition at the World Museum Liverpool has attracted 600,000 people during its run from February to October, around a third more than initially expected. The exhibition featured ten life size terracotta warriors from North West China dating from the 3rd century BCE and 180 related artefacts. More than three quarters of visitors said that the exhibition was their main reason for coming to the city and National Museums Liverpool estimates that visitors have generated around £78m for the City Region’s economy. The museum shop itself did roaring business, including selling 30,980 warrior fridge magnets and 13 full size warrior replicas. NML Chairman Sir David Henshaw said “we’re really proud of the impact the exhibition has had on the city region, welcoming visitors from all over the country and further afield to enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.”M+H, The Guide Liverpool
Multaka Oxford: training refugees as museum guides
Since 2015, museums in Berlin have run an award-winning project training Syrian and Iraqi migrants to lead museum tours in Arabic. Now two museums in Oxford are running their own version of the project. The Museum of the History of Science is training refugees to guide people around its astronomical instruments collection, with tours in Arabic and English beginning at the end of 2018. Work at the Pitt Rivers Museum is based around co-curating an exhibition on recently acquired Middle Eastern textiles, opening next April. The sessions also allow participants to socialise, practice English and build their CVs. There are signs that the model will also be adopted in France and the US. The Art Newspaper, The Guardian
Also: The Pitt Rivers Museum has received £92.2k from HLF for its new project ‘Beyond the Binary: Queering and Questioning Collections and Displays’. A dedicated project worker will work with community and academics to challenge interpretations in the museum’s collections, offering alternative understandings and revealing histories unrepresented as a result of intolerance. There will also be events, exhibitions and new acquisitions of objects associated with LGBTQ+ communities across the globe. GLAM
Chelsea FC to help fund IWM’s new Holocaust galleries
Chelsea Football Club and its owner Roman Abramovich will sponsor the Imperial War Museum’s new Holocaust galleries, due to open in 2021. The amount of the sponsorship has not been disclosed but is described as ‘generous’. The gift is part of the club’s campaign against anti-Semitism which was launched earlier this year in response to the behaviour of some fans. Chelsea’s Chairman Bruce Buck said “education and understanding of history plays an important role in changing attitudes, and we are proud to be able to contribute to these new landmark galleries that will benefit millions of visitors from around the world”. The club is working with various other cultural organisations including the Jewish Museum, and is also exploring educational visits to Auschwitz as a way of addressing prejudice. Arts Industry, Chelsea FC, Metro, IWM
Tate’s Shanghai exhibition ‘Landscapes of the Mind’ draws its largest ever audience
Tate’s ‘Landscapes of the Mind: Masterpieces from Tate Britain (1700-1980)’ has drawn 615,000 visitors in 14 weeks at the Shanghai Museum, China, making it the most successful ever temporary exhibition created by Tate. The tour included 70 works from Tate’s collection and was backed by a one-off £1.3m grant from the UK government as part of a package of UK projects in China, shaped by cultural diplomacy. The show has now transferred to Beijing. Tate Director Maria Balshaw said the exhibition has worked so well as both countries have ‘strong traditions of landscape painting’. The Art Newspaper
Norman floor to be restored as HLF contributes £9.2m to Norwich Castle Museum
HLF has announced it will contribute £9.2m towards the transformation of Norwich Castle Museum. The funds will help with plans which include restoring the original Norman floor level in the keep, making all five levels of the castle open to visitors for the first time. The British Museum is working in partnership to produce a new medieval gallery, lending around 60 objects. Norwich Castle was one of the most important buildings in Europe in the medieval period: now the museum hopes that the redevelopment will attract an extra 100,000 visits each year, enhancing the profile of Norwich regionally and internationally and creating 15 new museum jobs. ALVA, M+H
Images this month: York Art Gallery exhibition co-curated by the Kaiser Chiefs
Leeds indie rock band the Kaiser Chiefs have been working with York Art Gallery on a unique experimental exhibition ‘When All Is Quiet: Kaiser Chiefs in Conversation with York Art Gallery’. The show will explore the boundaries between music, art, creation and performance. Janet Cardiff’s ‘The Forty Part Motet’ will be among the pieces on show, which has a forty-part choir singing a reworking of a Thomas Tallis composition through forty speakers. Mark Leckey’s filmed portrayal of British nightlife ‘Fiorucci Made me Hardcore’ and Elizabeth Price’s ‘The Woolworth’s Choir of 1979’ will also feature. Paintings from York Art Gallery’s own collection will also be on show, paired with Kaiser Chiefs songs. The exhibition opens on 14th December and runs to 10th March. York Art Gallery
Budget supports festivals, commemorations and high street heritage
Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced the provisions of the 2018 Budget, which includes a further £1.5bn to prepare for the ‘unlikely event’ of a no deal Brexit. Points of interest to the cultural sector include:
The Chancellor confirmed £120m towards a UK Festival of Innovation and Creativity to be held in 2022, focused on ‘art, culture, design and tech’.
£675m for the Future High Streets Fund, including £55m for heritage-based regeneration.
£8.5m towards Coventry City of Culture 2021 (more detail below).
£1m of an additional £475m for schools will be allocated to FWW battlefield visits and there will be £1.7m for communities to commemorate the Second World War and Holocaust.
Luke Syson has been appointed as the new Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge. He is currently Chairman of European Sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Cambridge University
Kids in Museums has appointed two young trustees to its Board, freelance educator Sarah Moreno and Cornwall Museum Partnership’s Amy Shakespeare, as part of its commitment to putting younger people’s voices at the highest strategic level. Kids in Museums
Mims Davies MP has been appointed as the new Minister for Sport and Civil Society at DCMS following the resignation of Tracey Crouch. She was previously Chair of the Conservative Backbench Policy Committee on Culture, Media and Sport in 2015-2016 and served as Matt Hancock’s Parliamentary Private Secretary during his tenure as Culture Secretary. Her ministerial responsibilities include the National Lottery, the Office for Civil Society and cross-government work on loneliness. DCMS
Give your views to shape ACE’s ten-year plan to 2030
Last month we summarised ACE’s current consultation document, produced as a step towards its new ten-year strategy which will be written in 2019. ACE is urging museum professionals to take part in the consultation to ensure the sector’s views are well represented. This will help shape the focus of ACE’s investment, development programmes and advocacy. ACE, NMDC (summary)
English Heritage encourages public to suggest more female Blue Plaque nominees
Only around 14% of the more than 900 English Heritage plaques in London commemorate women and English Heritage would like to encourage the public to nominate more. Three new plaques are arriving soon to mark the homes of actor Margaret Lockwood, WW2 spy Noor Inayat Khan and traveller and diplomat Gertrude Bell. The Guardian, English Heritage
Consultation on the Historic Environment and Climate Change
The Welsh Historic Environment Group is consulting widely on its draft ‘Historic Environment & Climate Change: Sector Adaptation Plan’ both within and beyond the sector. The deadline for contributing views is 7th December. Cadw
Also: The Arts Council of Wales has published its corporate plan to 2023, entitled ‘For the benefit of all’. It addresses the unequal access to experiencing arts and work in the sector and looks at how arts can be used to build civic life. It also features short essays by artists, performers and writers talking candidly and critically about how their lives intersect with the arts, and about Wales’s place in history and in a globalised world. Arts Council of Wales
The Charity Commission has produced advice about when to report wrongdoing to its service. These include practices that could seriously harm staff or beneficiaries, criminal offences, loss of charity funds or the misuse of a charity for significant personal advantage. The guide also covers protections available to whistleblowers. Gov.uk
The Oxford Cultural Leaders programme is open for applications for its 2019 week-long event. Run by Oxford University’s Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) in partnership with Saïd Business School, it draws on Oxford’s cultural landscape and entrepreneurial community to help participants develop a vision for leadership. New faculty members this year include Alex Beard, CEO of the Royal Opera House, Neil Mendoza, and the British Library’s Miki Lentin, alongside IWM’s Diane Lees, RSC’s Catherine Mallyon and Richard Evans from Beamish. The event takes place from 7th – 12th April 2019. Each place is £2,850 including tuition, accommodation and most meals. The deadline for applications is 9th January 2019. GLAM
Also: Sessions from Museums Galleries Scotland’s 'Rethinking Leadership Symposium' are now available online as a series of six 20 – 30 minute films. MGS
The organisation Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy is offering three training courses across the country between November and March for managers and leaders in arts and cultural organisations: ‘Creating a Fundraising Strategy’, ‘Embedding Fundraising into your Organisation’ and ‘Integrating a Fundraising Strategy into Business Planning’. Tickets are £135 +VAT with a reduction of £10 for small organisations and freelancers. A free two week online course is also available in partnership with the University of Leeds on ‘Effective Fundraising and Leadership in Arts and Culture’. Arts Fundraising, Future Learn
Mapping contemporary art in the heritage experience - conference
Mapping Contemporary Art in the Heritage Experience is a three-year Newcastle University research project which began in 2017, supported by AHRC. It has included a number of contemporary art commissions in historic settings. The organisers will be bringing together the results of their learning at a conference on 29th – 30th July 2019 at Newcastle University. Contact [email protected] if you would like to attend or speak at this conference. Newcastle University
Purple LightUp – celebrate museum work to improve access for disabled people
December 3rd is United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities and museums are being encouraged to use the day to talk about how they have improved their offer for people with disabilities in 2018. A twitter campaign for the day is being co-ordinated by the Disability Co-operative Network for Museums. Museum DCN
ACE seeks new partners to show works from the Arts Council Collection
ACE is seeking three new regional partners for a second round of its programme to tour exhibitions of works from the Arts Council Collection. It will invest £1.65m in the fund. The first round, which began in 2016, brought greater access to the works across the country in partnership with Birmingham Museums Trust, the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne and the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. The new partners will work with ACE collections teams based in London and Yorkshire to curate exhibitions from the 8,000 works in the collection for touring over a three-year period. ACE’s Director, Visual Arts, Peter Heslip said “the original partners engaged with and displayed the collection in hugely imaginative ways and I’m extremely excited to offer the opportunity to three new galleries and museums, who I’m sure will respond with equal enthusiasm and innovation.” Interested organisations can apply for up to £550k. The deadline for expressions of interest is noon on 13th November and final applications must be received by noon on 14th January 2019. ACE, ACE (National Partners Programme 2019 – 22)
TEG has announced the dates of its forthcoming workshops running through to next May. Topics include Tactile Access to Collections, Partnership Agreements and the Economics of Touring Exhibitions. Events are mostly in London, with a Tactile Access workshop in Liverpool and an annual marketplace event at Thinktank Birmingham on 2nd May, and tickets are around £60 – 80. TEG
First dates announced in a series of free workshops to improve museums’ digital skills
Culture24 has announced the first two dates in a series of workshops aimed to improve museums’ digital skills. The initial events are at the Museum of London in partnership with London Museums Development, but there will be further events across the country.
‘Leading a digitally literate museum’ takes place on 30th November, is aimed at museum leaders and will mix strategy with practical advice.
‘Digital storytelling with a collections focus’ takes place on 7th December and includes a wide range of examples, including websites, social media and other platforms.
The events are funded by ACE’s Sector Support Programme and are free to participants, but booking is essential. If these first two events are oversubscribed, priority will be given to staff and volunteers at non-national London museums. Museum of London
Smithsonian poised to unleash army of 80 chatty museum robots after initial trial
During 2018 the Smithsonian Institution trialled a humanoid robot in four Washington-based museums. Nicknamed Pepper, the 4ft high robots answer visitor questions, dance, pose for selfies and tell stories using voice and an interactive screen. Smithsonian’s Rachel Goslins says visitor reactions have been very positive: “we’re not making you look at your phone even more; we’re creating a playful, joyful human experience”. Eighty more Peppers are now in the pipeline and learning from the technology will be used to guide the Smithsonian’s educators. Meanwhile at the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro an IRIS+ chatbot interacts with visitors to discover their interests and concerns and then uses these to suggest a path through the museum. NYTimes
ACE and Government both invest millions in Coventry City of Culture
Arts Council England has announced it will invest £5m of National Lottery funds in Coventry’s year as City of Culture in 2021, and Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a further £8.5m in the 2018 Budget. Government money will help to refurbish the Belgrade Theatre and historic buildings in the cathedral quarter as well as creating more exhibition space and a centre for music education. The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum will also receive separate ACE funding to make its building more environmentally efficient. Martin Sutherland, CEO of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said the festival will celebrate Coventry’s youth and diversity but ‘also bring long-term cultural, social and economic benefits’. M+H, Arts Industry, Coventry Live
Liverpool 2008: Tracking the long-term effects of being a Capital of Culture
The Institute of Cultural Capital has published the results of a long-term survey into the effect of Liverpool becoming Capital of Culture in 2008. 90% of residents agree with the assertion that ‘over the last decade Liverpool has become a more creative city.’ Representations of Liverpool in the press have also been transformed from the 1990s when 40% of all press stories referred to Liverpool crime, poor health and low education levels – today 42% of all coverage is about city icons and culture and 30% on social issues. This changing reputation is reflected in the continued rise in students choosing to study in the city and 53% growth in independent and grassroots cultural activity post-2008. Institute of Cultural Capital
Also: Waltham Forest has announced the programme for its year as the first ever London Borough of Culture. This will include an exhibition at the William Morris Gallery about the effect of the eponymous artist on the Bauhaus movement, while works from the Government Art Collection will be shown in shop windows across the borough. Evening Standard
Manchester publishes its first draft cultural strategy
The city of Manchester has published a draft of its first ever cultural strategy, which will run for five years from January 2019. The document emphasises how culture can be a driver for a range of other social goods including wellbeing, education and developing the night-time economy. It also explores how to develop entrepreneurial attitudes and remove barriers to participation. Mayor Andy Burnham is also keen to emphasise diversity so that ‘our workforce reflects and speaks to a broad range of people.’ Arts Professional
Also: Leeuwarden in the Netherlands is 2018 European Capital of Culture and has adopted a grassroots approach to the title, with a programme that includes poetry painted on front doors and a ‘borrow a Frisian’ programme, which allows visitors to be shown around by a local. There have also been major arts events and an explosion of visitors to the local museum, already 80,000 more than initially expected. Arts Industry
Correction: Last month we reported that visits to the Geffrye Museum were down by 5.6% for the year 2017 – 18. However, these were figures averaged across the whole year, and we did not mention that the Geffrye was closed from January for redevelopment. Figures average up, not down, for the period that the museum was open. NMDC
National museums fear cancelled exhibitions, lost colleagues and falling visitor numbers post-Brexit
Following an FOI request by the People’s Vote campaign, previously private memos written to the Government by national museums have revealed that many fear significant damage to their work if the UK leaves the EU either under ‘no deal’ or the Chequers plan. Risks identified include:
The Natural History Museum projects the loss of £2m in research funding and a 15% decline in tourist footfall, likely to cost a further £2.4m.
National Museums Liverpool expects staff shortages, skills loss, declining visitor numbers and an impact on its ability to run a sustainable business.
Royal Museums Greenwich thinks it will be difficult to replace 70 staff from the European Economic area and expects the price of arts shipments to double.
The V&A said it may face costs of up to £25m from new import taxes which could threaten the viability of major exhibitions.
V&A Director Tristram Hunt told the Evening Standard “our ability to hold blockbuster exhibitions while having to pay import duties would be really problematic. Our ability to promote British soft power and influence through exhibitions like David Bowie Is and Pink Floyd would be seriously compromised. That’s bad for the London visitor economy. Four in five visitors to London come for the culture, and they are drawn by great museums and world class exhibitions.” A spokesperson for DCMS said that there would be a satisfactory end to the Brexit negotiations and that the modelling represented a ‘responsible approach’ by museums. Evening Standard, Daily Mail, People’s Vote, Arts Industry, Arts Professional
Also: DCMS has published a new paper on how objects of cultural interest would be licensed for export in the event of a No Deal Brexit. Gov.uk
Jeremy Wright says Government is seeking ‘flexible’ movement of creatives post-Brexit
In a speech to the Creative Industries Federation in early October, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said he appreciated the sector’s need for easy movement across borders. He said “although we want a new immigration system that ends freedom of movement, we also want to continue attracting the brightest and the best in the creative sector, from the EU and elsewhere. One of the most enduring and powerful aspects of culture is how it is perennially looking outwards… as we leave the EU, our creative sector will continue to be one of the major forces behind our economic growth. I know that many of you work on projects that span borders and we want to maintain this flexibility.” He said the Government is working with the EU to produce a Co-operative Accord for Culture and Education to facilitate collaboration across arts, heritage, creative industries and education. Gov.uk (full speech)
Survey suggests exodus of EU cultural workers from Scotland post-Brexit
A survey of 350 workers by the Scottish Contemporary Arts Network and Federation of Scottish Theatre suggests that one in four EU artists and art workers may leave Scotland following Brexit. 40% of EU nationals said they were thinking of leaving as well as 33% of non-EU nationals, with only 5% of foreign workers having applied for UK citizenship. SCAN Director Seonaid Daly said “this is the first hard evidence we’ve seen about the potential exodus of our international peers and colleagues who all help make Scotland’s visual art scene so vibrant and globally respected.”Arts Industry
Broadcaster Lord Melvyn Bragg (Lab) led a debate in the House of Lords on the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on the arts. He and many subsequent speakers pointed to the problems Brexit may cause for the arts, from visas for touring musicians to issues of copyright. Large majorities in the sector want to stay in the EU: 80% of those in the videogames industry are Remainers, and only 2% of musicians believe Brexit will be beneficial. Baroness Hooper (Con), who described herself as a ‘reluctant Brexiteer’, said that a flexible visa system would be essential to the sector and also called for the UK to try and stay in schemes such as Creative Europe. The Bishop of Chichester said that exiting the EU risked tourism to rural areas, and that the Glyndebourne Festival in his diocese was particularly under threat if free movement became difficult for artists. Many of the speakers called for Brexit to be halted; speaking for the Government Viscount Younger of Leckie said that it would not accept a second referendum. Hansard
Also: VisitBritain said its work in 2017 generated £1bn for the UK, or £25 for every £1 invested by Government. There was a record number of inbound tourists, up 4% to 39.2bn. Steve Ridgeway, Chairman of the British Tourist Authority, welcomed the figures but emphasised the importance of frictionless borders post-Brexit to encourage continuing tourism, which is the country’s third largest service export. ALVA, VisitBritain
Irish Government makes progress in plan to double arts and cultural funding by 2025
The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in Ireland has announced that there will be an additional €36m for the arts in 2019, an increase of 12% on the previous year and a move towards fulfilling the Irish Government’s commitment to double the arts budget by 2025. The increases are a move towards restoring pre-2008 recession budget levels and part of the long-term Project Ireland 2040 plan. Irish Times
Deadline extended for VAT refund scheme for museums and galleries
Accredited museums which are open more than 30 hours per week and offer free entry to collections in a purpose-built building have been able to apply for admission to a VAT refund scheme since March 2016. The Government has extended the deadline for applications in the latest round to 4th January 2019. Museums can obtain an application form by emailing [email protected]. Gov.uk
Nesta launches new £3.7m Cultural Impact Development Fund
Nesta has launched a new Cultural Impact Development Fund which has £3.7m to offer as unsecured finance to arts, cultural and creative organisations wishing to achieve positive social change in communities. This is the latest in a number of schemes exploring the effects of offering loans rather than grants to the cultural sector. These are together on a dedicated website with case studies of past investment. Examples include the National Holocaust Centre and Museum, which borrowed £200k to invest in innovative digital work including AI and 3D imaging: as well as being able to create the effect of having a two-way conversation with a 3D digital image of Holocaust survivors for the Forever Project, the Centre is now a leader in the museum sector in using digital for content creation, not just for marketing. The Cultural Impact Development Fund will run to August 2021 and offer between £25k – £150k in support with a repayment period of 12 – 60 months. Nesta, Arts & Culture Finance, Arts & Culture Finance (Holocaust Museum case study)
The Association of Independent Museums is offering grants for its member museums in England to improve strategy and financial sustainability. Main grants of £4 – £12k are available for museums wishing to implement the ideas in its ‘Hallmarks of Prospering Museums’ framework document. There are also small grants of £3 – £6k to help museums improve financial sustainability through cost saving or income generation. The 2018 deadline for applications is 20th November, and there will be three more rounds of grants until 2021. AIM, AIM (prospering museums document)
Also: AIM is offering up to £300 in training grants for staff, with priority given to smaller museums. AIM
Putting a price on the value of museums to users and non-users
Even when a museum, heritage site or cathedral does not charge for entry, there will be a cost to society for its preservation. Two recent studies have attempted to put a price in £ on how much the public value the presence of cultural heritage, even if they are not using it themselves. The first study invited 250 visitors and non-visitors to four regional museums to do a thought experiment and say how much they would pay either in entry (if visitors) or as an annual donation (if non-visitors) if this was necessary to preserve the collections and site. On average visitors suggested an entry fee of £6.42 and non-visitors suggested a payment of £3.48. These figures line up with a 2015 study of the Natural History Museum and are also roughly similar across all four sites in the study (Great North Museum, National Railway Museum, Ashmolean and World Museum Liverpool). This suggests both that the methodology produces rigorous figures, and that the results are transferable to infer the financial value that the public would apply to other museums. A second, similar study on historic cities and cathedrals found that the cities had a use value of £9.63 to visitors and a preservation value of £6.14 for non-visitors, with cathedrals at £7.42/£3.75 respectively. Nesta, Gov.uk
Also: Historic England has published ‘Heritage and the Economy’ 2018 with statistics for the value of the sector to the economy including £29bn total GVA and 459,000 jobs. Historic England
Digital fund offers up to £500k for charities to take a ‘digital leap forward’
The Big Lottery Fund has opened a new Digital Fund to support charities to embed useful digital transformation in their operations. The first round of the scheme consists of two strands, each offering up to £500k. The first will help established organisations make a major leap forward and includes advice and support; the second is to scale up existing provision. Work must serve people and communities and organisations must commit to being generous with their new knowledge. The first round deadline is 5pm on 3rd December. Big Lottery Fund
Also: A new £8m funding competition has been opened by UK Research and Innovation, to help develop innovative immersive content for a number of creative industries sectors including museums, galleries and libraries. The funding is aimed at businesses (including at least one SME per bid) rather than directly at museums, but promises to produce ideas to evolve the sector. The deadline for applications in 25th November. Gov.uk
The 17th Museums + Heritage Awards for Excellence are now open for entries for 2019. The fourteen categories include the new ‘Partnership of the Year’ award funded by ACE as well as other prizes for permanent, temporary and touring exhibitions, small and large projects, innovation, marketing campaigns, fundraising and museum shops. M+H has also published a step-by-step guide to filling in the application form. The deadline for submissions is 1st February 2019. M+H
The deadline to apply for the 2019 European Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards is 15th November. The awards are for excellence in areas including training, volunteers, conservation, research and education programmes. Seven of the 30 winners will receive a grand prize of €10,000 each. NEMO
Write on Art Prize invites young people to write essays on works in public collections
For a second year the Paul Mellon Centre is collaborating with ArtUK to offer a prize for young people to write about art in public collections. Each entrant must choose a work from ArtUK’s website for their essay. There are two prizes, one for years 10/11 and another for years 12/13. Prizes are up to £500 and the deadline for entries is 5pm on 31st January. The competition hopes to inspire an interest in art history at a time when the subject is not offered in many schools. Crime fiction writer Val McDermid is among the judges and says, “I hope this award will encourage more schools’ students to discover the art in our wonderful public collections and find inspiration from it. I cannot wait to read the essays!”Write On Art
BBC Civilisations and Science Museum win prizes for cultural apps
BBC Civilisations, which ran a museums festival alongside its major TV series, has won a cross-platform special prize from the international Prix Italia competition. Run by Italian broadcaster RAI, the prize celebrates quality and innovation in broadcast and online content. Separately, Civilisations won a Gold Lovie Award for its augmented reality app, which brought objects from UK museum collections into people’s home environment in virtual form. The Lovie Awards recognise creativity from the European Internet community, from web networks to cultural organisations. The Science Museum Group was also a Lovie winner, achieving Bronze in the Family & Kids category for its app Treasure Hunters. The phone app asks questions of its young users to encourage them to hunt through SMG museums photographing objects that fulfil particular criteria, thus helping them to look more deeply at collections and their museum surroundings. Science Museum, Lovie Awards, Prix Italia
Professor of surgery and V&A Director support report calling for creative skills in education
The Edge Foundation, which champions technical learning has produced a new report ‘Towards a 21st Century Education System’ which calls for radical changes to the education system, placing creativity at the centre of learning. The report says that:
Between 2011 and 2017 there was a dramatic rise in vacancies caused by skills shortages, from 91,000 to 226,000 mostly in construction, utilities, transport, manufacturing, information and communications and skilled trades. Meanwhile bringing in skills from the EU to address this shortfall is a diminishing option.
Employers are increasingly seeking transferable skills such as creativity, resilience and enthusiasm rather than purely academic qualifications. However, subjects like Design and Technology which develop this skillset, including making objects and problem solving, are sharply declining.
The gap between the needs of the job market and education is having a particularly strong effect on ‘middle to lower attainers’ aged 14 – 19, but is felt across education.
The report also includes case studies of schools and colleges which are bucking the trend, including Plymouth School of Creative Arts which has 940 pupils whose projects have included creating film and building a sailing boat with a local firm.
The report has attracted diverse support. V&A Director Tristram Hunt, who gave an address at its launch, said that children need creative learning to develop ‘imagination and resourcefulness, resilience, problem-solving, team-working and technical skills’. Roger Kneebone, a professor of surgical education at Imperial College London also offered support, as currently science students often lack ‘tactile general knowledge’. He said “they struggle even to perform chemistry experiments. An example is of a surgeon needing some dexterity and skill in sewing or stitching. It can be traced back to the sweeping out of creative subjects from the curriculum. It is an important and an increasingly urgent issue.” Speaking separately at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, former National Theatre Director Nicholas Hytner commented ‘private schools are spending more and more on arts facilities, state schools are spending less.’ The Stage, The Edge Foundation, The Guardian
Also: Nesta has launched a new Future Ready Fund of £250k to pilot schemes which help young people aged 11 – 18 to develop interpersonal, resilience and problem solving skills to help them thrive in the face of increasing automation of the workplace. Awards will be made in March 2019 and run for 18 months. Nesta
Review of six years of the Museums and Schools programme
Over the past six years the Department for Education has given £7m for the Museums and Schools programme. Managed by ACE, the scheme aims to give children from areas with high deprivation and low cultural engagement an experience of museums. Children are also encouraged to return to museums with their families, for instance through the SS Great Britain’s ‘Golden Ticket’ scheme which offers free entry to families visiting with a child. The programme is largely based around smaller town and city museums that do not access large grant funding, frequently in partnership with a larger museum offering extra support and resources. An evaluation of the programme to date found that:
The ten original museum partnerships have hosted 431,283 pupils, with 83% more visitors in the final reporting year than the first.
There are now 18 partnerships and the cost per visitor has fallen by around a third to £11.68.
Learning activities at the museums have supported a broad range of subjects, for instance Tudor medicine in Peterborough, religious studies at the Jewish Museum, natural history in Scarborough and creative writing and poetry at the Lincolnshire Air Museum. This in turn has allowed museums to develop varied menus of activities and workshops linked to the national curriculum.
Teachers strengthened their relationships with the museum and improved their teaching practice.
The Department for Education will continue to build and refine the programme based on the evaluation. ACE (blog)
New engineering gallery features ‘Future Job Generator’
London Transport Museum has launched a new ‘future engineers gallery’ aimed at encouraging 7 – 16 year olds to consider a career in engineering. As well as offering challenges such as ‘Fix that Train’ and a simulation of what it is like to drive in a modern train cab, the gallery also offers a ‘Future Job Generator’ which matches jobs with personality types. M+H
Iron Age buildings and medieval Prince’s court open after £30m redevelopment at St Fagans
National Museum Wales has completed its six year £30m redevelopment of the St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff, with the construction of replica ancient buildings including Iron Age houses, new spaces for learning and collections research and a medieval Prince’s court which will offer overnight stays for schoolchildren from April 2019. The Gweithdy (‘workshop’) is an attractive new wood, steel and glass structure celebrating the work of generations of craftspeople and offering the opportunity for activities and making. Director General David Anderson said “the story of Wales is still evolving and so is the museum. It is the beginning of a new era at St Fagans and all of Wales’ national museums”. M+H, Guardian, BBC, Wales Online, Museums Journal
ArtUK is digital host to 200,000 artworks from public collections and aims to democratise access to this content. However, its demographic reach is uneven: a good mix of over 65s from every socio-economic group use the site, but few BAME people aged 16 – 24 explore its resources. To address this, ArtUK has carried out an 18-month programme to reach that audience and also find out through experimentation what does and does not work in attracting new demographics. It succeeded in increasing its reach, but more modestly than originally hoped, with BAME audiences increased from 3.4% to 5.9% against a target of 8%, and 16 – 24s increasing from 3.5% – 6.1% against a target of 12%. The most successful activities included:
Collaborating with the target audience, either through research or activities.
A highly targeted approach, including Facebook paid-for advertising and Google AdWords.
Multi-platform activity, rather than focusing solely on driving audiences to the website.
Committing to better representation both in terms of writers and art topics on the site, which had a low impact at first but more effect over time as the material grew.
The evaluation also mentions partnerships that worked to grow audiences such as National Poetry Day and work with the BBC, as well as those that did not advance.
The report concludes that it takes time, resources and commitment to reach new audiences. ArtUK continues to build on the work with new posts at Board and staff level committed to continuing to broaden its reach. ACE, Audience Agency
Cultural Property Protection Unit begins recruiting
Lt Col Tim Purbrick, who has been involved for some years in plans to set up the new Cultural Property Protection Unit, is now recruiting. Fifteen people will be appointed to be sent to war zones where art and archaeology are at risk from fighting. Civilians wishing to be appointed will need to enlist in the Army Reserves. Purbrick said ‘we’re looking for experts in the fields of art, archaeology and art crime investigation.’ As well as investigating looting and bringing smuggling gangs to justice, the group will advise allied forces on the location of heritage sites: ‘the idea will be to identify sites so that we don’t drop bombs on them or park tanks on top of them’. Telegraph
A number of museums are facing financial and environmental difficulties leaving them at risk of closure. These include:
Dr Jenner’s House, a Gloucestershire museum run by an independent charity, which needs to raise £20k by March 2019 to remain open. It has currently raised more than half of the necessary funds. Museums Journal, Dr Jenner’s House
Wisbech and Fenland Museum whose future remains uncertain, despite £40k from HLF in January to plan essential repairs to the roof and support from Historic England which would like to make the museum a ‘flagship project’ for the town. To prevent closure, it needs people to pledge £1k or more per year over five years to its Refounders Scheme, replacing funding from the Council, which stood at £60k in 2013 but will completely disappear within two years. Wisbech Standard, Wisbech Museum
The Black Cultural Archives lacks core funding and is at risk from closure after a 60% cut to its income when its National Lottery support ended. 100 cross-party MPs have written to Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright calling for national funding. BCA is the only heritage centre dedicated to the history of African and Caribbean Britons. Local MP Helen Hayes who is supporting the campaign said “we are proud of it in Brixton, but it has a national role to play to get the message out to communities up and down the country where there is still a gap in an understanding about the depth and richness of black culture, history and heritage in the UK”. Arts Industry, London Live
The People’s Palace Museum in Glasgow is at risk because a nearby glasshouse structure, which needs repairs costing at least £5m, provides its fire escape. 30,000 people have signed a petition in support of the museum and gardens and Glasgow Council is currently seeking a solution. Museums Journal
DCMS has published ‘A Connected Society: a strategy for tackling loneliness’. It explores the organisations and community structures that can be strengthened to offer people networks of support. Points relating to the cultural sector include:
ACE and the organisations it funds will work with public health providers to provide arts and cultural programmes as part of the expansion of social prescribing. ACE already funds the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance.
The report suggests that volunteering in museums and libraries can be one strand in making stronger social connections. DCMS will launch five pilots by March 2019 to develop new models of flexible and inclusive volunteering, aimed at people who might otherwise miss out due to life circumstances.
ACE and DCMS will also apply a new ‘loneliness measure’ across a number of programmes to better understand how arts and culture can protect against loneliness. DCMS will also run masterclasses on evaluation, teaching how to measure how library services impact on loneliness.
Zero carbon Manchester and new uses for festival waste: ACE’s first environment accelerator programme
ACE and environmental cultural group Julie’s Bicycle have announced the first cohort of arts organisations to be accepted onto their Accelerator Programme which will help to evolve more environmentally sustainable practice in the cultural sector. The first ten organisations and consortiums include Manchester Arts Sustainability Team, which will imagine how to make Manchester a zero carbon city and what its arts sector will need to do to support this. There is also a collaboration between Festival Republic and Boomtown who are piloting two new products made from the waste left behind by festivals. There will be two further cohorts recruited from 2019 – 2022. ACE
Also: The Soil Association has again produced a mini-league table of twenty national attractions and rated their food offerings on a variety of measures including food miles, free water and healthy eating options. The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (which has the advantage of growing its vegetables on site) came top this year. In general, the Soil Association’s secret diners found that food for adults was more likely to be healthy than child options. Soil Association
Revised Museum Accreditation Scheme published on its 30th anniversary
30 years after the creation of the Museum Accreditation Scheme, bodies representing the four UK countries have published a new standard. The seven-page document highlights the essentials for accreditation, with full guidance to follow in a new single document by the end of the year. Museums will now be accredited for five rather than three years and there will be changing eligibility criteria, in line with changing governance models in the sector. Museums Galleries Scotland said museums would be offered more support in a new, longer returns period with help including training sessions, webinars and surgeries. ACE, Museums Journal, Wales.gov
Database offers global insights into market for touring exhibitions
The company Vastari has produced an in-depth data set on touring exhibitions, drawing information from 500 institutions in 50 countries across the world. The data tracks the size of exhibition space and institution as well as the kinds of touring exhibition on the market. Reporting shows that:
65% of institutions host externally produced touring exhibitions.
Science institutions are more likely to host than arts institutions, but arts institutions are more open to co-producing.
Science exhibitions are three times as likely to tour to six – 10 venues than art exhibitions.
North Americans host more than Europeans, but both continents have a similar taste in exhibitions.
For some subject areas, such as exhibitions on culture and society there is an oversupply, but there is an appetite for more covering fine art.
The data is open to businesses on a paid-for basis, but museums can gain free access by supplying information on their own practice. This overview aims to help institutions to spot gaps in the market and shape exhibitions that will do well economically and attract more partners. Vastari,
Medical objects given to the Royal College of Physicians under the Cultural Gifts scheme
The Royal College of Physicians has taken ownership through the Cultural Gifts scheme of 450 items of medical equipment collected by RCP fellow Cecil Symonds. The collection includes items from general and domestic medical practice largely from the 17th to 20th century and has already been on display at RCP’s museum for twenty years. Kristin Hussey, the museum’s curator, said “bleeding bowls and leech cages, phrenology and stethoscopes, enemas and tongue scrapes – the Symons collection illustrates the changing ways people have cared for themselves and been treated by physicians.” Royal College of Physicians
Export bar for 19th century Canova bust symbolising the return of peace to Europe
Arts Minister Michael Ellis has placed an export bar on Antonio Canova’s ‘Bust of Peace’ created in the early 19th century to mark the end of the Napoleonic era and the return of peace to Europe. It had not been seen in public for more than 200 years before it was sold at Sotheby’s in July 2018. A UK buyer would need to match the asking price of £5.3m. Gov.uk