British Library and Turing Institute will ‘revolutionise historical research’ with £9.2m data science project
The British Library, Alan Turing Institute and researchers from a range of universities are embarking on a major five-year project applying AI and data science methods to gain new insights into historical material. ‘Living with Machines’ is funded by £9.2m from UKRI, led by AHRC and will explore the Industrial Revolution. The initial data set will be millions of pages from British Library newspaper collections as well as government census figures. Computational linguists and historians will be able to track social change through a vast array of records. Crucially, the new data science methods developed by the project should enable researchers to give a voice to the views of ordinary people who lived through the Industrial Revolution, rather than focusing on the perceptions of leaders and policy makers. As well as illuminating the past – for instance by tracking changing attitudes among Victorians to mechanisation – the project will also develop insights useful in steering society through the current digital revolution and its impact on the future of work. The British Library’s Chief Executive Roly Keating said “by opening up our unrivalled collections to this unique collaboration between historians and data scientists, we hope to not only aid researchers and communities in their understanding of our shared past, but to pave the way towards revolutionising the future of historical research.” British Library, Turing Institute
Dippy’s large groupie following continues in Northern Ireland
Dippy On Tour has attracted an audience of more than 100,000 people to Ulster Museum, Belfast in a run from 28th September – 6th January. This leg of the exhibition also tells the story of the geological and natural history of Ireland itself, explaining among other things the absence of moles and snakes. Later in the tour, Museums Development North West plans to build a 'carbon literacy' theme around Dippy, after it became one of the first Carbon Literacy Training organisations globally. The 26m long diplodocus cast previously produced impressive visitor increases (and local economic benefit) in museums in Dorset and Birmingham. Its next port of call is Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum from late January, with the tour currently planned to end at Norwich Cathedral in autumn 2020. National Museums NI, Belfast Telegraph, NHM (full tour details), NMNI (first month stats), Carbon Literacy (MDNW)
Huge ice blocks from a Greenland fjord shown across London in Tate-supported project
During December artist Olafur Eliasson and geologist Minik Rosing installed blocks of Greenland ice: outside Tate Modern and in the City of London for the Tate-backed project ‘Ice Watch’. Each block weighed 1.5 – 5 tonnes on installation and then melted away into the London streets. The artwork is intended to bring a more visceral reality to global warming. Eliasson told The Art Newspaper “a block of ice like the ones you see here, every second Greenland loses 10,000 blocks of ice like this into the ocean, and that water is coming up the Thames some day, it’s coming up in New York, it coming everywhere.”Telegraph, Guardian, Tate, Art Newspaper, Arts Professional
Also: Eliasson returns to the Tate from July with a larger show running to 2020 and featuring ‘fountains of light and mind-fooling shadowplays’. This exhibition is among the art and architecture highlights for 2019 chosen by the Guardian, which also recommends ‘Cars’ at V&A and the new Weston visitor centre at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Guardian
Visits to nine DCMS-sponsored museums in the north grow by 20%
DCMS figures show that in the six months from April - October 2018 the nine museums it directly sponsors in the north of England collectively grew their audiences by 20% compared to the previous year. This equates to an extra 912,468 visitors in the period creating a total of more than five million over six months for the first time. Growing museums included National Museums Liverpool, up by 39%, Tate Liverpool up by 14.6% and Imperial War Museum North in Salford, up 35%. Arts Minister Michael Ellis MP said "from the Terracotta Warriors in Liverpool, the Poppies at IWM North and Stephenson's Rocket at the National Railway Museum, our Northern museums have had an excellent year, which I hope they will build on in 2019." Gov.uk
Fitzwilliam Museum receives £83k from new DCMS Loneliness Fund
The Fitzwilliam Museum will receive £83k from the new DCMS Loneliness Fund which is investing £11.5m across a range of sectors to create a more connected society. The Fitzwilliam will spend the money on an expansion of its scheme to provide 'Dancing in the Museum' for those with dementia and their care partners, as well as work with isolated older people using museum collections as a focus for conversation. Gov.uk
Government publishes White Paper on post-Brexit immigration
The Government has now published its immigration White Paper, describing its plans to date for non-UK inhabitants of the country post-Brexit. Central points include:
Low skilled workers will be able to come to the UK and seek work but would not be able to stay for more than a year or return in the following year – broadly the same rules that currently apply to low skilled non-EU nationals.
There will be an end to the cap on Tier 2 ‘skilled’ workers, however debate continues about how this group is defined. There will be a consultation on a proposed salary threshold of £30k, which would exclude many people with high skills in professions including nursing and the creative industries.
EU citizens will have to pay a fee to apply for Settled Status. Some employers ranging from the Mayor of London’s office to Lincolnshire hospitals are paying fees for existing EU staff.
Creative Industries Federation Chief Executive Alan Bishop criticised the plans saying that they make no allowance for the many freelances working in the sector and that, if retained, the £30k pay bar for Tier 2 visas would harm the ability of organisations to ‘recruit the talent that they need’. The Guardian reports that the UK film industry is particularly concerned about freedom of movement as London has developed itself as a production hub, with businesses having up to 40% non-British staff, often recent graduates working for less than £30k. William Sargent of the effects house Framestore said ‘it took 25 years of hard work to build us into a centre of excellence; we’re going to throw all that away’. BBC, Gov.uk, CIF, Guardian (film), Telegraph
Also: The Science and Technology Committee is currently holding an Inquiry into the effect of a No Deal Brexit on the science and innovation community. Submissions received by 23rd January will influence the questions asked by the committee, although it will continue to accept further submissions after that date. Parliament.uk
The Government and Information Commissioners Office have warned that there may be further Data Protection steps organisations will need to take in the event of No Deal, where data travels from the EEA to the UK. It advises organisations to stay compliant with GDPR, adding that further action may not be needed if the EU judges the UK’s systems ‘adequate’ – but that this decision may not be in place by 29th March. Gov.uk, ICO, Gov.uk
Black Cultural Archives receives £200k from DCMS as stopgap funding
Black Cultural Archives has received a £200k interim payment from DCMS after 100 MPs across political parties signed a letter in October asking Government to step in. The support solves immediate problems following a ‘catastrophic loss of funding’. BCA has introduced a £3 adult admission charge and is hoping to become an NPO. DCMS said it is ‘working closely with the Archives to put it on a long term sustainable footing’. Guardian, Gov.uk, Museums Journal
£27m of acquisitions for the nation through Cultural Gifts and Acceptance in lieu
ACE has published its annual report on £27m worth of art and archival material received by the nation during 2017 – 18, either in lieu of tax or as part of the Cultural Gifts scheme. The report shows that:
There have been 40 cultural gifts worth £16m since the scheme began in 2013, with six new gifts in 2017 – 18. These include works by Mark Wallinger and Wendy Ramshaw as well as a portrait by Thomas Gainsborough which was allocated to the Fitzwilliam Museum.
36 artworks or groups of items were received under Acceptance in Lieu during the year, ranging from the Pilkington Collection of ceramics and glass to works by Patrick Heron and Lucian Freud and an album of 19th century natural history drawings.
The items have been widely geographically dispersed, with 85% going to institutions outside London. Some institutions have benefited from receiving AIL items for the first time, including the Fashion Museum, Bath and the White House Cone Museum of Glass in Stourbridge.
An oil painting by Jan Adam Kruseman of the 19th century explorer and sometime circus strongman Giovanni Battista Belzoni was given in 2017 – 18, but has just been announced as donated to the Fitzwilliam Museum.
New £20m Windermere Jetty Museum to open in the spring
A new Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories will open in the Lake District in the spring. It features 40 boats from Victorian steam launches to 80s speedboats and a ‘tarn boat’ owned by Beatrix Potter. The museum is on the site of the former Windermere Steamboat Museum, but is housed in a newly designed cluster of seven buildings with striking oxidised copper roofs, which will contain five themed displays. The new museum will be run by Lakeland Arts and has been funded with £13m from HLF as well as by trusts, foundations and individual donors. NWEMail, Windermere Jetty
Also: Ely Museum is about to begin a major transformation after receiving £1.6m from HLF. The renovation will include new galleries and events, plus trails encouraging people to explore the historic town. Ely Museum
Ambitious request for ‘ReFounders’ helps Wisbech and Fenland Museum back towards viability
Wisbech and Fenland Museum, which is one of the oldest purpose-built museums in the country, has been struggling to remain open since losing a £60k annual grant from Fenland District Council. An ambitious ‘ReFounders’ scheme has partly paid off, with eleven individuals, six businesses and a charity committing to give at least £1k each year until 2026, raising £34k per year. Wisbech Town Council has also found an additional £15k. The museum is not yet secure, and will need to carry out further fundraising to stay open after 2021, with a new patrons scheme set at a rate less than £1k opening in April. However, an approach to fundraising based around a local ‘big ask’ appears to have significantly paid off. Museums Journal, Wisbech Museum
New ‘Meet me at the Museum’ podcast: from football to repulsive Roman cooking
The Art Fund has launched a new podcast ‘Meet me at the Museum’ in which well-known personalities explore a museum or heritage site of their choice with a relative, friend or neighbour. The first series features people from comedy, beginning with Cariad Lloyd who visits the Fashion and Textile Museum with her mum, followed by Tez Illyas at the National Football Museum with his dad. Meanwhile, sniffing Roman food aromas at Tullie House Museum, comedian and classicist Natalie Haynes offers an educational but discouraging insight into ancient world eating habits: “Roman taste in food is repulsive. Things that they like are: 1. rancid fish guts on everything and 2. disguising food to look like other food so it makes it less appetising. ‘Hey, would you like to eat some rabbit? – what if we made it look like a winged horse?... No, it’s not a good time. And that’s before you start talking about the mice.” Art Fund, Art Fund (first six episodes)
Major museum openings in 2019 include the Humboldt Forum and National Museum of Qatar
A number of major museums will be opening across the world in 2019 or adding significant extensions. Many are national undertakings, designed at least in part as an expression of nationhood, with budgets up to $0.5bn. These include:
The Humboldt Forum, which has been evolving for a decade is opening in Berlin in the autumn. Described by Culture Minister Monika Grütters as 'the visiting card of the nation' it will hold 1,000 events for an expected three million visitors each year.
The Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, which should at least partially open this year, although the official opening is 2020.
The National Museum of Qatar is opening covering topics from the country’s prehistory to the modern state. Its striking architecture, created by Jean Nouvel, has been designed to represent desert roses through a ‘vast assemblage of curved metal discs'.
The Shed is opening on Manhattan’s West Side to “provide a place for artists working in all disciplines to make and present work for audiences from all walks of life”.
Meanwhile on a slightly smaller scale, Poland’s richest woman Grazyna Kulczyk has used her private collection to create an ‘off grid’ museum in a former 12th century monastery in the Swiss Alps. She sees her collection at Muzeum Susch as a ‘matrilineage through global art history’, celebrating women whose work has been overlooked.
Also: Israel and the US officially left UNESCO on January 1st, following claims of anti-Israeli bias which gathered force a year ago. Neither country has paid dues since 2011, so the impact is political rather than financial for UNESCO. It is possible that the US, which previously resigned from the body between 1984 - 2003, will return as an observer from April. AP
Restitution: more complex debates from DR Congo to Easter Island
The international debate between European and African nations about the restitution of museum artefacts continues, with the Africa Museum in Belgium in disagreement with Joseph Kabila, head of state in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Africa Museum will shortly reopen after a five year £67m renovation and ‘decolonisation’ process. The Guardian reports that it will “tell the story of Africa and its colonisation through the eyes of Africans with a ‘very critical’ view of the racist and cruel Belgian regime in the Congo”. However, DRC has now received support from South Korea to create a new national museum opening later in 2019 and is seeking restitution of Belgian artefacts. Africa Museum Director General Guido Gryseels expressed a complex reaction – on the one hand, he said DRC’s 85,000 existing artefacts are stored in ‘difficult conditions’ in Kinshasa, and that its new director wants to concentrate on their conservation first. He also made a distinction between illegal holdings taken in military raids and legal acquisitions by Belgium. However, he added: “it is not normal that 80% of the African cultural heritage is in Europe. It is basically their culture, their identity, their history. We need to have a very open attitude.”
Similar debates around restitution and conservation emerged as the Mayor of Easter Island, Pedro Edmunds Paoa commented on a request to return an Easter Island statue from the British Museum, arguing that it was better for it to remain in London. He said that a statue returned ‘four or five years ago’ from Buenos Aires is now housed in a square where it is urinated on by stray dogs, and that thousands of others are ‘falling apart because they are made of volcanic stone… we need a global technology for conservation’. He said he would prefer a commitment from the British Museum to help with the preservation of the island’s remaining monuments. The Chilean Ministry of Heritage, which has lobbied for the return of the statue, would not comment. Reuters, Guardian
Also: Historian David Olusoga has written for the Guardian about how his trusteeship at English Heritage has been criticised, because he favours the return, rather than long-term loan of the Benin Bronzes from the British Museum to Nigeria, and three African-American cultural specialists have spoken at length to TheNew York Times about the intensified discussion of restitution and its possible outcomes. The Art Newspaper also features the issue at length in an hour-long podcast. The Guardian, New York Times (paywall after two articles), The Art Newspaper, Telegraph
ACE has reopened its Private Investment in Culture Survey, to assess what help cultural organisations would like to optimise their approach to accessing philanthropy. The result will be a report updating the findings of 2015 – 16. All organisations taking part will receive an advance copy of the results. ACE
Nesta seeks employer views on skills needed by a new generation of workers
Nesta is promoting a survey for employers, seeking to discover the skills they believe will be needed in the workforce of the future. It is keen to get responses from organisations of all sizes and across a variety of sectors. The survey should take ten minutes to complete. Nesta will use the results to continue to build its evidence base on the future of work. Nesta
The English Civic Museums Network is holding an event to discuss its recent report 'The Future of Civic Museums, A Think Piece'. Participants will include stakeholders from within and beyond the cultural sector, aiming to set an agenda for taking forward the report's recommendations. The event takes place at V&A on 25th January, from 10am - 4.30pm. To book a place, please contact [email protected]. NMDC (civic museums full report)
Creating a ‘future focused curriculum’ for schools
Nesta argues that the current education system needs a major shake up, being currently based on out-of-date technology and is equipping young people for ‘jobs that face extinction’. Its one-day conference ‘Shifting the System’ will bring together an international group of speakers to consider how to create a new approach centred around creativity, problem-solving, coding, collaboration and social and emotional development. Speakers include V&A Director Tristram Hunt, Becky Francis Director of UCL’s Institute of Education and Didem Un Unes, a Director at Microsoft, specialising in AI. The event takes place on 28th February at etc venues, St Paul’s London. Fill in the expression of interest form if you would like to attend. Nesta
A group of European cultural institutions is holding a conference to explore the role of emotions in museums and cultural experiences. Museums have often been primarily focused on facts and logic as a way of transmitting knowledge, but a more emotion-based approach can have positive effects - from creating awe or empathy to acknowledging how frequently feeling, not argument, is a major driver for decision making. The event will have an international group of speakers including Miriam Wenzel of the Jewish Museum, Frankfurt and Elif M Gokcigdem, author of ‘Empathy Building Through Museums’. The event takes place at Kulturforum Berlin on 4th – 6th April 2019. Tickets are €300 until 20th January, then €360. Kulturagenda
Cultural bodies internationally are facing a future in which globalisation, new technology, climate change and migration are reshaping societies in ways which can be challenging. However, there are also opportunities to join emerging communities and create new kinds of cultural co-operation. The 8th World Summit on Arts & Culture, which takes place in Kuala Lumpur on 11th – 14th March considers these issues with an international line up of cultural leaders. Tickets are around £400. Arts Summit
Happy Museum spring events: sustainability, community and the art of Coal Forests
The Happy Museum is holding an event ‘Values for stronger communities’, exploring how most people care about the place where they live, but are deterred from community action by the perception that others are indifferent. Drawing from a year’s work at Manchester Museum the course looks at how museums can create opportunities for communities to discuss and act on their values more closely together. The event takes place at the Design Museum on 14th February. Tickets are from £91 - £192, depending on the size of organisation. A second event at Woodhorn Museum on 5th March explores case studies of cultural bodies practising sustainability – from the palm oil campaign at Chester Zoo to Museums Northumberland and its ‘Coal Forest’ which addresses our complex relationship with coal through art installations. Happy Museum, Happy Museum (spring events listings), Museums Northumberland (Coal Forest)
Touring Exhibitions Group spring programme: touring, economics and tactile access
The Touring Exhibitions Group has published its spring training programme, ranging from workshops on Tactile Access to Collections in Liverpool (8th Feb) and London (18th March) to further London workshops on creating partnership agreements, the economics of touring and beginning to tour. Tickets start at £60. There will also be a networking and marketplace event at Thinktank Birmingham on 2nd May. TEG
Museums Gallleries Scotland is working with the Social Enterprise Academy to offer a long-term, fully funded, Board Development programme to ten independent museums across Scotland. Participating Boards will receive three sessions with a Social Enterprise Academy facilitator to identify issues as well as generally learning more about good governance practice and the opportunities available over the 18-month programme. MGS also intends to create a Boards network, so those participating become part of a wider knowledge community. The deadline for applications to the programme is 21st January. MGS
Charity Finance Group: IT and technical update events
The Charity Finance Group is offering two events in London to teach strengthened financial processes in a digital age. The IT & Digital Conference on 14th March includes technology procurement strategies and managing cyber security risks; the Technical Update Conference on 14th February gives updates on VAT and tax as well as big issues in the sector. Tickets start at £99. CFG (IT), CFG (technical update)
The Government is taking action to ensure the wider availability of Changing Places toilets, with shopping centres, stadiums and theme parks among the places that could be required to install them. The Disability Cooperative Network is encouraging museums to also look at installation. It is running an event covering their design, function and why they are needed at Tate Modern from 10 - 1.30pm on 18th January. The event is free, but please register in advance. Gov.uk, DCN (booking)
The Art Fund is seeking entries for Museum of the Year 2019, the UK’s most generous annual prize for museums. The winner will receive £100k with £10k each for four runners up. Applications are welcomed from museums of all types and sizes which have had stand out achievements during the preceding year. The 2018 winner was Tate St Ives, with judges highlighting its innovative new underground extension. The deadline for applications is noon on 6th February 2019. Art Fund
Creative & Cultural Skills is seeking applications to its annual awards, which celebrate excellence in employers in supporting staff as they learn skills in the creative industries. Categories include Training Provider of the Year, Apprentice of the Year and the Creative Choices Award, given to an organisation breaking down the barriers to entering a creative profession. The deadline for applications is 25th January and the winners will be announced in April. C&CS
Overview of funding streams from Museums Galleries Scotland for 2019
Museums Galleries Scotland has published an overview of its funding streams for 2019. These include a small projects fund offering up to £5k per event, and a revamped ‘Festivals Fund’ which allows museums to develop programmes for local festivals and tourism events at any time of year. MGS (funding overview), MGS (new Festivals Fund), MGS (small project fund)
Mayor announces six Creative Enterprise Zones in the capital
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced the first six Creative Enterprise Zones, which will receive a joint investment of £11m. The scheme aims to generate 3,500 new jobs, 40,000sq m of workspace and local training for 1000 people. The six zones are in Brixton, Croydon, Lewisham, Hackney Wick, Fish Island (in Tower Hamlets) and areas of Hounslow and Haringey. Each will have a particular focus – with Croydon concentrating on music and paid internships, while Hackney Wick will develop a model for planning regulation for affordable workspace. The Stage, Croydon Guardian, Arts Professional
DCMS consults on strengthening export deferral rules
DCMS is consulting on plans to strengthen the export deferral rules for cultural objects of significant national interest, transforming parts of the process from ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to a legally binding process. Currently when an object is sold to a buyer abroad but then receives an export bar, cultural organisations have several months to fundraise to buy the artefact at the same price at which it was sold. The seller informally agrees to accept the fundraised sum. However, this process can go wrong: from December 2015 onwards the Art Fund was involved in helping to raise £30m to acquire Jacopo Pontormo’s ‘Young Man in a Red Cap’, only for the seller to reject the offer. At the time Art Fund Director Stephen Deuchar was vocal about the need for Government to tighten rules so ‘imprecise and difficult to enforce’. Arts Minister Michael Ellis said that the proposed new plans would “protect museums that fundraise in good faith and help to keep national treasures in the UK where they can be seen and enjoyed by the public.” The consultation runs to 24th February. Gov.uk (press release), Gov.uk (consultation), Museums Journal (Feb 2017),
Also: Salvador Dalí’s ‘Lobster Telephone’ has been saved from export and acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland with support from the Art Fund. The white lobster and phone is among 11 made for art patron Edward James when he gave his homes a Surrealist makeover in the 1930s. Art Fund
The Ivory Act (2018) has received Royal Assent and passed into UK law following some minor alterations in the House of Lords. From summer 2019, the new law described by the Government as ‘one of the toughest in the world’ will ban most sales of ivory with some exemptions for museums and outstanding historical items. There will be a further consultation this year with a view to extending the ban to hippopotamus, walrus and narwhal ivory. The Art Newspaper, UK Parliament, Museums Journal
ACE is funding two additional Subject Specialist Networks, bringing the total number receiving support to 11. The Workhouse Museums Network, led by Norfolk Museums Service will receive £52.3k and the War and Conflict Network, led by IWM London receives £66.7k. The latter continues to support the connections set up during four years of work commemorating the First World War. Museums Journal
Three popular collections management forms produced the Collections Trust are now available in Welsh, covering object entry, object exit and transfer of title. This supports the duty placed on Welsh local authorities to provide services in Welsh and will help museums in Wales to correspond with members of the public entirely in Welsh. Collections Trust (forms)
Also: National Galleries Scotland is strengthening its work to promote Gaelic as part of its five year plan to 2023. This will include a welcome in Gaelic at the beginning of all tours, Gaelic online content and school and visitor materials. Museums Journal
New strategic framework launched for heritage science
Following a year-long consultation, the Heritage Science Forum has produced a framework to shape its work to 2023. It responds to change within and beyond the sector ranging from the Mendoza Review to Brexit. The three central themes are supporting a skilled and diverse workforce, demonstrating social and economic impact and creating excellent research that reflects future needs. Heritage Science Forum
Sutton Trust’s ‘Pay as You Go’ research offers advice for good internships
The Sutton Trust has continued its research into the extent of internships across all sectors in a new report ‘Pay As You Go?’. It found that:
Internships are becoming the norm among many graduates – 39% of those in their 20s have taken up an internship, and 46% of those under 24. These are twice as likely to be with large employers than small businesses.
Internships are more likely to be taken up by middle class rather than working class graduates (43% vs 31%). 70% of internees report at least one unpaid internship, 53% of which were over four weeks long.
There is a benefit in terms of increased earning in undertaking internships, but only up to a point: there is some evidence that multiple internships can eventually damage earning power.
There is also confusion among employers, who are often uncertain which practices are legal and how to distinguish between internships and volunteering.
The Trust recommends that Government should tighten the law, making it explicit that all internships over four weeks should receive at least the National Minimum Wage and that the Graduate Talent Pool website – which highlights paid internships, should receive more publicity. It also gives a short checklist of good practice for employers: ranging from providing a designated mentor and job rotation to paying at least the minimum wage and advertising positions rather than filling informally, so those without sector contacts have an equal chance. Sutton Trust, Graduate Talent Pool
Working class people less likely to work in museums, but are as likely to progress if they do
Arts Professional has published the results of its 2018 ArtsPay survey, based on responses from people across the cultural sector, including in museums.
The survey benchmarked class from the responses of 1,245 full time cultural sector employees who gave the occupations of their parents. On this basis, 10% of workers were identified as ‘working class’ in background – far fewer than the 35% with working class origins in the workforce as a whole. However, although squeezed at entry, once employed this cohort were as likely to see roughly the same career progression (pegged to salary) as middle class workers.
The statistics suggest that museums and heritage sectors are the least likely to attract people from a working class background, averaging at 6% - less than half of the total for Dance (14%) and Theatre (12%).
The pay gap across the arts is far more significant by gender than by class background: women earn on average £4.5k less than men.
Arts Professional has not published the statistics in full, but intends to produce further articles on the data in coming months. Arts Professional
Also: ACE has published the final report which it will use to inform its ten year plan to 2030, covering equality and diversity. It summarises figures from Taking Part, ONS and elsewhere highlighting disparities in employment and cultural provision. ACE
Creative Careers programme aims to reach 160,000 young people by 2020
A new £14m programme will encourage young people to consider a career in the creative industries by bringing business leaders to offer talks and support to schools and colleges. £2m of seed money will be provided by Government, with a further £12m as support in kind from the industry. The programme aims to reach 160,000 by 2020, with two million more having access to better advice. The Government has also announced a further £6m in creative industries regional support. CIF, Gov.uk
There have been a number of recent initiatives to evolve and improve creative education:
T Levels, offering technical skills as an equivalent to A Levels, will be introduced in the UK from autumn 2022. These will include the Creative and Design T Level, which is the most relevant to the cultural sector, and which will offer three paths: craft, production and cultural heritage. The curriculum is still being developed but is expected to include a 45 – 60 day placement in a creative business. Some have expressed concerns that the sector, which has so many very small organisations, may struggle to absorb so many work placements. Arts Professional
Museums including the National Portrait Gallery have contributed to the London Curriculum, a set of lesson plans that use London and its cultural resources as backdrop for learning. 27 lessons are up so far, with topics including London at War and Victorian social reform. The Mayor of London’s office, which has driven the project, hopes that this will encourage an increase in creative education in London schools. gov (lesson plans), Arts Professional
Research finds 80% of under 30s visit museums – but stately homes are a harder sell
Heritage insurer Ecclesiastical has carried out research among 2000 young people aged 18 – 30, exploring the reasons given for not engaging in heritage, arts and museums. It found that:
While only 19% of 18 – 30 year olds never visit museums, 48% don’t visit stately homes and 33% never go to castles. Young men are far less likely to visit than women. Boredom, distance and cost are the top three reasons given for not attending.
There is a strong connection between visiting a type of cultural site as a child and attending as an adult. 60% of those who visit museums as children come at least annually as adults, whereas 69% of those not taken as children also don’t attend later.
Asked what would encourage them to visit heritage sites, the survey group suggested cheaper tickets, more hands on activities, better food and drink options and broader opening hours. They were enthusiastic about VR and apps.
The research suggests that getting potential young audiences at least as far as the website is a useful milestone. 52% of those who visited a heritage organisation online said that they then wanted to visit the venue, although the research does not report how many actually did so.
Happy Museum project contributes to Welsh Wellbeing of Future Generations Act
The innovative Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (2015) has been described by one minister as ‘the most ambitious piece of legislation the Welsh Government has ever attempted.’ It requires Welsh public bodies to think long term, work with communities and make policy in ways that will address poverty, health inequality and climate change. Six Welsh museums led by Monmouthshire Museums Service have been working with The Happy Museum to better understand and respond to the Act and have published a report on the results. This first section describes the museums’ programmes that already fit well in the framework – including selling opportunities for local makers in museum shops, better disabled access, green infrastructure, community events, exhibitions about the Welsh natural world and work relating to good mental health – from weaving to reminiscence and bee-keeping. In the course of the project, many of the museums learned credible evaluative methods to capture the range of this work – for example, putting a figure on the wellbeing effect for a visit to the Dinky Dragons toddlers group at Cardiff Story Museum. There has also been new work to push the envelope of co-creation and devise staff wellbeing projects. Alice Briggs, Assistant Curator at Ceredigion Museum says “Happy Museum has been a light in the darkness over the last few years. It has helped us to form our curatorial missions and be brave. Our challenge is to keep doing this work when time and budgets are short.”Museums Journal, Happy Museum (full report), FutureGenerations (overview of the Act)
ACE has published a new report ‘Partner, Investor, Champion: an introduction to the Arts Council England’s role in placemaking’. It describes six areas across the country where ACE has been part of a nexus of investors seeking to regenerate and develop regions through culture - Greater Manchester, Cornwall, Nottingham, Norwich, Hull and Barking & Dagenham. Its investment since 2015 has ranged from £92m in Greater Manchester to £1.3m in Barking and Dagenham, and the central purpose has also varied: from creating a thriving creative ecology in Nottingham to diversifying and connecting the rural economy in Cornwall. Issues it has looked to address include:
In ‘core cities’ like Manchester there is a need to develop destinations that produce as much ‘heat and light’ as London, but which are still relevant and accessible to local people. ACE is currently funding ‘Stronger Together’ a £1.5m scheme that brings ten Greater Manchester districts together to grow cultural provision.
In Cornwall, ACE has invested in major capital projects including Tate St Ives and Krowji, the county’s largest creative hub in the former mining town of Redruth, as well as large skills building programmes for local people. Ross Williams of Creative Kernow comments “Redruth feels quite different now to how it did 15 – 20 years ago. There’s a feeling that Redruth’s on the up – people feel proud to be here.”
The report also lists the funding streams available from ACE to support placemaking work, and identifies other ways – from national expertise to local partnership brokering – that it can add to an ecosystem of support. ACE