Museum Partnership report offers a first in-depth analysis of the work of national museums
DCMS has been working with the national museums and NMDC to produce a new Museum Partnership Report, mapping the work of 17 museums during 2017 - 18. The report is in response to the Mendoza Review of Museums (2017) which found that partnership work is extensive and commendable, but not always well documented or understood. The report covers work both internationally and domestically, work between museums and across society, with projects ranging from object loans to mass commemoration and knowledge sharing. The report’s insights will make it easier to make strategic decisions to extend partnership work still further. The range of work includes:
National museums had 69,299 objects out on loan to 2,110 venues for display, which were seen by at least 32.9 million people in 2017 – 18.
At least 14.4m were seen in venues outside the UK. For example, an audience of 2.2m in China saw exhibitions including The British Library’s tour of star objects, which was accompanied by wider cultural exchange including a Chinese language website and reciprocal staff exchanges.
Within the UK, national museums made 1,474 loans of 60,022 objects to over 900 individual venues, reaching an audience of 18.4m. This includes 37 touring exhibitions sent to 127 venues across the UK. National museums also borrowed extensively from non-national museums for their own exhibitions.
Lending and borrowing programmes have significant costs and national museums are often the largest investors, providing staff time, equipment and expertise on an at-cost basis. Large sector bodies such as NLHF also support loan programmes, as do trusts and foundations, such as the Dorset Foundation, which has supported the British Museum’s loans programme since 2002.
National museums supported other museums to acquire objects, enabling 462 acquisitions by 205 organisations in the UK.
There is a growing offer of training and conference programmes. These include National Museums Scotland’s National Training Programme, which offered 377 learning experiences for 310 museum staff from 75 organisations in 2017 – 18.
National museums are involved in 326 groups, ranging from Sector Specialist Networks to UK Registrars and the Museums Computer Group. They also lead international consortiums: National Museums Liverpool has led on the Federation of International Human Rights Museums (FIHRM) which now has more than 130 members in 37 countries.
National museums supported entry into the museum sector through 60 traineeships and apprenticeships in 2017 – 18. Examples include The National Gallery’s curatorial traineeship programme supported by the Art Fund and Vivmar Foundation, which offers in depth training for a year across two museum sites. Royal Museums Greenwich delivers an NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Conservation, and the BM’s Museum Futures programme works with seven partner museums to give a new generation skills in digital data management.
National museums are involved in 2584 academic partnerships across the world, including 1025 in the UK. 11 have Independent Research Organisation (IRO) status. Among these is the Natural History Museum, currently engaged in digitising 80 million specimens to give the global scientific community access to its data. Digitisation of its mosquito collection has helped improve estimates of risks of exposure to the Zika virus. National museums also co-hosted 287 doctoral students with 68 different UK universities.
Responding the report, NMDC said it showed that “museums’ partnership working is extensive and not limited to museum-to-museum activity; instead it covers a huge range of national and international partners to deliver different benefits to the sector, audiences, society and the economy.” Gov.uk (whole report), NMDC (response)
British Library led scheme helps to create 12,000 new businesses
The British Library’s Business & IP Centres have helped facilitate the launch of 12,288 new businesses since 2016 as well as 7,843 additional jobs, according to its new report ‘Democratising Entrepreneurship’. Its network is now embedded in town and city libraries from Birmingham to Devon, with new pilots opening in Brighton and Worcester. Those making use of the IP centres are more diverse than average business startups: 55% are women, 17% have a disability, 31% BAME and 47% are based in the North of England. M + H, British Library (full report)
Norwich Castle Museum gains ‘first Turner to enter a public collection in the East of England’
Norwich Castle Museum has accessioned JMW Turner’s ‘Walton Bridges’ after an export bar followed by a £2.1m grant from the NLHF allowed it to be saved for the nation. It is the first picture by the artist to enter a public collection in the East of England. After being displayed from September at Norwich Castle Museum it will begin a four-year tour of the region. BBC, M + H
Images this month come from Tate Modern's Olafur Eliasson exhibition 'In Real Life', which runs to January 5th 2020. His installations introduce natural phenomena such as rainbows and shadows into the gallery space, and reflect his interest in geometry and colour theory. His work addresses issues such as climate change, energy and migration alongside architecture. The kitchen team at the artist's studio have also created a special menu in the Tate Modern Terrace Bar, with organic, vegetarian and locally sourced food. Tate
‘Liveability, connectivity, culture and power’ new PM gives speech at the Manchester Science and Industry Museum
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has given a speech at Manchester Science and Industry Museum about the future of the UK and what could be learned from the regeneration of cities like Manchester. He said that alongside issues such as home, jobs and sovereignty, culture is a crucial part of evolving community life. He said “people love Manchester because of the fantastic arts and entertainment here, the football and music, the heritage and the creative industries that make it such a lively, wonderful place to live and work.” He also promised increased policing and improved rail infrastructure in the North. Gov.uk
Michael Gove announces plan for Office of Environment Protection in Kew Gardens speech
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has given a speech at Kew Gardens outlining a proposed Environment Act, which would create an Office of Environment Protection with powers to take legal action on environmental issues, including reducing carbon emissions. Meanwhile, Sir James Bevan of the Environment Agency has given a speech ‘It’s the climate emergency, stupid’ summarising the wider situation, public mood and current Government action. He concludes that the problem is daunting, but not impossible: “the right policies, the right innovation, the right attitude, the right lifestyle – all of these are in our gift.”Gov.uk, BBC
A new report based on 2018 figures suggests that a fifth of creative businesses employ EU migrants, and of these a third could not find the necessary skills in the UK. Arts Professional
Alan Bishop, Chief Executive of The Creative Industries Federation has written to new Prime Minister Boris Johnson in support of the sector. He says “the extent to which public investment in the creative industries underpins… success cannot be overestimated”. He also points to ‘the extreme damage that would be caused by a no-deal Brexit’ and calls for leaders of all parties to support a second referendum rather than crashing out of the EU. CIF
Following a reshuffle by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, there is a largely new ministerial team at DCMS. Appointees are:
Nicky Morgan, who has been appointed as Culture Secretary, replacing Jeremy Wright who had been in the post for a year. She has previously served as Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities. The Stage, The Art Newspaper, uk
Rebecca Pow MP, who remains in post as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism uk
Nigel Adams MP, Minister for Sport, Media and Creative Industries uk
Matt Warman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Digital and Broadband uk
Baroness Barran MBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Civil Society and DCMS Lords Minister uk
Earlier in July, Margot James MP resigned as Digital and Creative Industries Minister, after voting against the Government. Sky News, Evening Standard
Vicky Foxcroft MP becomes Labour's new Shadow Minister for Civil Society, replacing Steve Reed. Civil Society
NEMO European Museum conference focuses on UN Sustainable Development Goals
The Network of European Museum Organisations is focusing its 2019 conference on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and how these can be addressed by museums, with case studies of existing projects. Sessions include a panel on ‘Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions’; ‘Courageous Museums’, featuring the National Liberation Museum Maribor and Museum of West Bohemia in Pilsen; ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’ with speakers from the Museum of Homelessness and Helsinki City Museum. Henry McGhie of Curating Tomorrow will also be talking about Sustainable Development Goals and museums. The conference takes place in Tartu at the Estonian National Museum from 7th – 10th November (core conference days are 8th – 9th, with a sightseeing option on 10th). Tickets are free to NEMO member museums and €150 for non-members. NEMO
The Museums Computer Group annual Museums + Tech conference concentrates on the theme of openness for 2019, asking how museums can be more open about collections and processes, whether openness is always desirable, and what barriers must be overcome for truly open digital cultural heritage. The event takes place on 18th October at the British Library, with tickets from £55 - £180. MCG
Fundraising and philanthropy training – multiple one day courses
Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy has launched its autumn programme with a variety of one day courses on topics including digital tools for fundraisers, asking people for money, writing grant applications, training the trainer, strategy and capital fundraising. Courses take place in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Oxford. Tickets averagely cost between £99 - £150, and there is a further 10% concession for many sector bodies, including museums which are members of NMDC. Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy
From video marketing to the fundamentals of loyalty: AMA summer training
The Arts Marketing Association has announced its summer workshop programme with topics ranging from video marketing to writing creative copy, creating loyal supporters, managing up, crowdfunding and considering intersectionality, with a particular focus on disability. Ticket prices start at £55 + VAT for members and £115 + VAT for non-members. AMA
Museums Galleries Scotland is offering a six-day programme for emerging sector leaders to develop strengths, learn entrepreneurial techniques and gain a nationally recognised qualification from the Institute of Leadership and Management. The programme runs from 19th September – 6th December. Ticket prices begin at £175 for those working in Scottish museums, but the course is also open to wider groups. MGS
Teen Digital Takeover Day, which takes place on 16th August, allows young people to take over the social media accounts of museums, and is also an opportunity to gain an insight into younger audiences. Museums are encouraged to sign up to take part. Kids in Museums
Museum as Muck is partnering with the British Museum National Programmes team to offer its first AGM and welcomes all who work in museums and galleries in the UK and identify as working class. The event is free and takes place at The British Museum from 2pm on 2nd September. Some travel bursaries are available. Museum as Muck
ACE has launched its Digital Culture Network, with six new appointees embedded across ACE regions. Initially one to one support will be aimed at NPOs, but with the aim of extending the offer to everyone over time. The group will organise talks with digital experts, help broker partnerships with tech organisations and deliver training. ACE
Also: ACE is publishing a new quarterly newsletter about its work relating to museums – you can sign up here: ACE
National Archives launches Networks for Change Fund
The National Archives has launched two new funds to support development in the archives sector. The Networks for Change Fund offers up to £15k to groups wanting to start a new network or strengthen an existing partnership. The Archive Testbed Fund offers up to £5k to archives to pilot new ideas so they can ‘experiment without fear of failure’. Both are offered on a rolling basis with no deadline for applications. National Archives, National Archives (overview of new Collaborate and Innovate funding programmes)
Supporting Leadership: survey on the role of executive support staff in the cultural sector
The Gardens, Libraries and Museums division at the University of Oxford is carrying out research into the role of executive and administrative support staff in supporting leadership in the cultural sector. GLAM is running an online survey until the end of August and seeks responses from staff in cultural organisations of all sizes. The results will be used to create new frameworks and resources, and also set up a support network for leadership support staff. GLAM, GLAM (full details of how to take part)
DPC seeks nominations to its list of ‘digitally endangered species’
The Digital Preservation Coalition is seeking submissions from the museum sector as it crowdsources its annual list of digital materials that are at risk of being lost. There are a range of categories, ranging from ‘concern’ to ‘practically extinct’. The deadline for highlighting issues and digital content for the 2019 list is 30th August. DPC
Government launches two consultations on the National Lottery
The Government is consulting on raising the minimum age for buying National Lottery scratchcards and instant win games from 16 to 18, to better protect vulnerable young people. It will also consider the case for a higher age limit across all National Lottery games. Civil Society Minister Mims Davies said that the National Lottery, which has raised £40bn for good causes since 1994, “play[s] a vital role in supporting local charities and grassroots organisations… but we also need to make sure that the National Lottery is fair and safe.” The deadline for consultation responses is 8th October. There is also a general consultation on the future of the National Lottery, the deadline for submissions is 30th August. Gov.uk (scratchcards), Parliament.uk (future of National Lottery)
Shortlist announced for National Lottery 25th birthday awards
To mark its 25th birthday, the National Lottery is inviting the public to vote on a shortlist of projects that it has funded. There are ten in the heritage category, ranging from parks, gardening and conservation to heritage sites. The Mary Rose, Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre and St Fagan’s National Museum of History (which recently won Museum of the Year) are all on the shortlist. Voting runs to 22nd August; winners will receive £10k and appear on a BBC One awards show in November. National Lottery (heritage shortlist), National Lottery (competition overview), St Fagans
Also: The Weston, a new visitor centre at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, is one of six buildings shortlisted for the 2019 RIBA Stirling Prize for architecture. Its environmental design, including an air source heat pump were central to its nomination. M + H
Following a campaign which has run since 2010, Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire has become the 32nd UK UNESCO World Heritage Site, in recognition of its outstanding scientific heritage. As well as offering tours and events, the site is also the home of the annual Blue dot science festival. Gov.uk, Jodrell Bank, M + H
Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums is among several winners of the third annual Creative Green Awards, run by Julie’s Bicycle to celebrate cultural organisations taking action on climate and environment. TWAM, which won the category of Best Creative Group is part of consortium of North East cultural venues committed to aligning with the Paris Agreement and improving their collective environmental footprint. The Ecologist, Julie’s Bicycle, TWAM
Call for nominations: Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education 2019
Nominations have opened for the Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education 2019, run by Engage and the Marsh Christian Trust. There are two Awards this year – £500 for someone working in gallery education to spend on personal development and a second £500 lifetime achievement award, which can be spent as the recipient wishes. The awards are open to those with careers in learning and education within gallery or visual arts contexts in the UK and internationally. The deadline for nominations is 9th September at 10am. Engage
International exchange programme: speak about museum retail in the US
The Association for Cultural Enterprises and US-based Museum Store Association are offering an International Exchange Programme for 2020. One person will have a chance to speak at the MSA Forward conference in Cleveland, Ohio on 23rd – 27th April, with flight and accommodation costs all covered. The deadline for applications is 20th August. Association for Cultural Enterprises
Arts Culture & Finance £1m investment includes Lates festival and Story Museum
Nesta has invested £1m of repayable loans in five projects in the latest round of its Arts Culture & Finance fund. Two are museum projects: £150k for Culture24 to build on the idea of Museum Lates to create the forthcoming Emerge Festival and £400k for The Story Museum in Oxford to use as underwriting as it begins renovation works. Nesta’s Seva Phillips comments on the “boundary-pushing nature of these organisations. Whilst not a prerequisite of our lending, it is interesting that they’re all doing something new”. He also observes that the five projects are using a wide variety of models to repay the loan – from ticket sales to coffee shops, as the cultural sector interweaves its work with everything from retail to public commissioning. Nesta
£100m National Lottery climate action fund is launched
A new £100m National Lottery climate action community fund has been launched, to support communities in taking the lead in finding solutions to the climate emergency. It will cover a broad range of initiatives including food, transport and protecting the natural world. National Lottery
AIM is offering grants up to £12k to member museums for development work which impacts on museums’ culture, strategy or business models. Small grants of £3k - £6k are available to improve financial sustainability through cost saving or income generation; larger grants up to £12k are available for work which enacts the central ideas of the AIM Hallmarks document. There is £55k available in total this year and the deadline for applications is 20th November. AIM, AIM (Hallmarks)
Also: AIM has been discussing the entrepreneurial spirit in independent museums in a series of podcasts. CFG
ICOM UK and The British Council Travel Grant Scheme
ICOM UK and The British Council are offering grants to museums which would like to undertake international travel to develop mutually beneficial projects and partnerships. Up to £1.5k is available per organisation or consortium for 2019 – 20. The grant will cover international travel including visas and accommodation. The deadline for applications is 14th October at 9am. ICOM UK
Rethinking slavery and empire: Museums Development fund grants focus on reinterpreting collections
Museums Galleries Scotland has distributed £500k from the latest round of the Museums Development Fund to twelve projects. Three will be looking at reinterpreting collections with contested histories – for example, Glasgow Life receives £60k to consider legacies of slavery and empire in the city, and will appoint a project curator to create a community engagement programme. Other funding will be used for digitising collections, building improvements or audience development, for example at the British Golf Museum in Fife which receives £45.5k to attract more local visitors. MGS, M + H
Welsh Government launches Transformation Capital Grants programme
The Welsh Government and MALD are inviting expressions of interest in the 2020/21 Transformation Capital Grants programme. There are two levels of funding: Band A, up to £120k and Band B, up to £300k. Museums, libraries and archives can all apply, but funding is exclusively for capital projects. The deadline for expressions of interest is 27th September. Wales.gov (guidance), Wales.gov (application form)
Community Life Survey tracks friendship groups, volunteering and giving
DCMS has published findings from its annual Community Life Survey, which tracks the social connectivity and civic engagement of people over 16 in the UK. It reports that:
22% took part in formal volunteering at least once a month and 36% annually
75% had given to a charitable cause in the last four weeks, with an average gift of £24. Medical and animal charities are the most popular, with 4% of giving to the arts or museums and 7% to heritage, conservation and the environment.
25% felt they could influence their local area, but 52% wanted to be more involved.
The Achates Philanthropy Prize is the only annual award in the UK to celebrate cultural giving. There are two prizes: one for first-time individual philanthropy, and one for first-time corporate partnerships. Winners receive an award sculpture for the year, and their funded cultural bodies receive £5k. Nominations are now open for the 2019 award until 16th September. Achates Prize
Culture and ‘fix it’ philanthropy in a time of billionaires
Current figures from Oxfam show that 80 people own as much wealth as half of the world’s population – with figures like Bill and Melinda Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan engaged in ‘fix it’’ philanthropy, aimed at solving very large problems. These donors tend not to have culture in their sights. Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy CEO Michelle Wright has written about philanthropy in a time of billionaires, exploring both the risk of democratic deficit and the positives of a new approach to fundraising based around big-pictures narratives and very ambitious aims. Arts Professional
Instant charity donation ‘stickers’ launch in Instagram
Charities and charity supporters can now create 24 hour fundraising campaigns within Instagram Stories. Users clicking on a ‘sticker’ on a fundraiser instantly give to the cause without leaving the site. 100% of funds go to the charity. However, a charity must be signed up to Facebook Charitable Giving Tools to take part. Charity Digital News
The art of healing: less anaesthetic and shorter hospital stays through visual arts
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital has pioneered the use of visual art in its spaces and the wider NHS Trust for 25 years. Now its new book ‘The Healing Arts’ describes how these interventions can have very concrete physical and mental health effects, including labour that is two hours shorter and 30% less stress and depression among chemotherapy patients. In the children’s emergency department large majorities of clinical staff said that digital art showing moving animals reduced anxiety and pain among young patients. Design Week
Lancashire commits £1m to mill museums ahead of possible National Trust takeover
Lancashire County Council has announced it will invest £1m in two mill museums over the next two years, ahead of a possible handover to the National Trust. Helmshore Mills Textile Museum and Queen Street Mill were among five museums which it ceased to fund in 2016 because of funding pressures; both reopened part-time in 2018. The money has come from the council’s reserves and Council Leader Geoff Driver said this had been done after ‘a lot of thought’, but added “once these museums are gone, they’re gone – they wouldn’t be reopened again and what a loss [that would be] to the heritage of the county. Queen Street Mill and Helmshore Mill are unique in the world and Judges Lodgings is such a vital part of Lancaster’s heritage and history – you can’t close these places and the [number of] visitors who are now coming illustrate the point.” BBC, Pendle Today
City of Bradford plans 65% cut to museums and library services
Two out of four museums run by The City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council may be at risk as it plans to reduce funds for its museums and library service by £260k this year and potentially by £500k in 2019 – 20. Bradford Industrial Museum and Boiling Hall Museum and Library face the cuts, and there are also likely to be job losses. A spokesman for the Unite union, which represents museum staff said “Bradford Industrial Museum has all that weaving and textile history. To lose that would just be shocking”. There are also plans to more than halve the libraries budget from £2.8m this year to £1.3m in 2020 – 21. A council spokesman said that the council’s net budget for 2020 would be around half of what it was in 2010. Full details of the plans will not be available until at least September. Museums Journal, Telegraph and Argus, Arts Industry
…but is among entrants to the 2025 City of Culture competition
Bradford is also the latest city to enter the competition to become City of Culture 2025. Luton, Southampton, Tees Valley, Medway and Lancashire have also announced bids; the winner will be announced in December 2021. Arts Industry
Lincoln’s Usher Gallery at risk of closure as county and city council disagree over its future
The Usher Gallery, which opened in a purpose-built building in Lincoln in 1927 now faces closure as Lincolnshire County Council seeks to save £750k from its heritage budget. Plans to turn the building into a coroner’s court and wedding venue are likely to proceed unless credible plans for an independent trust are made before September. The situation is complicated as the County Council, which became custodian of the building and its collections in 1974, wishes to hand collections back to the city council, which says it does not have the space or expertise to store the objects. City councillor Ric Metcalfe said “[LCC] are experts in the field and have been entrusted with looking after the city’s rich historical artefacts. It is very clear where the responsibility for these artefacts lies.” A recent consultation showed that 75% of the public are opposed to closing the gallery. Museums Journal, Lincolnshire Live
LGA launches #CouncilsCan campaign ahead of ‘make or break’ 2019 Spending Review
The Local Government Association has launched its #CouncilsCan campaign, to argue for increased funding in the 2019 Spending Review, which it says will be ‘make or break for vital local government services’. In the decade from 2010, councils will have lost almost 60p in every £1 from Government for services - LGA says that without the right support, councils will only be able to support statutory services, retreating from the optional ones which ‘help build communities that people want to live in’. It is also seeking greater council autonomy over wider issues from local taxes to air quality and house building, and would like to see six new bills in the Queen’s Speech, including an English Devolution Bill. Meanwhile, figures for England in 2019 – 20 show a 1% fall in local council budgets for culture, down from £39.1bn to £38.7bn. These figures do suggest that culture cuts are slowing overall: in 2018 – 19 the decline was 2.2%. Figures also vary by local authority type: spend at Unitary authorities is up by 4%, and there is a small increase in London of 0.4%. By contrast, spend is down in metropolitan districts (-4.6%), shire counties (-2%), shire districts (-1.2%) and other authorities (-2.8%). Arts Professional, LGA
Second Eureka! children's museum planned for Merseyside
Plans for a second Eureka! children’s museum on Merseyside are progressing after the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority granted £6.6m towards the project. Eureka! Mersey is planned to open in 2022. It is being co-created with local young people who will participate in workshops to decide what the museum should contain. Museums Journal
Tate and Horniman join the cultural organisations declaring a climate emergency
Tate has announced that all four of its UK sites will join hundreds of other cultural organisations in declaring a climate emergency. Practical changes will include reducing its carbon footprint by 10% by 2023, switching to a green electricity tariff, and auditing travel with a train-first policy. It has already adopted many green policies, from sustainable food sourcing in its restaurants, to shaping principles for collection care. However, it adds that it has “some hard truths to face about how we operate… Large public buildings, attracting millions of visitors from the UK and overseas, require energy. We see caring for and sharing a national art collection as a public good, but it also consumes resource. We are rooted in the UK but international in outlook: making art accessible globally depends on the movement of works of art across the world.” Tate therefore anticipates that long-term, it will need to develop a plan that is ‘ambitious in scope’ and which is responsive to the concerns of living artists. The Horniman Museum, which has been programming on environmental issues for some time, has also declared an emergency and intends to have a ‘green first’ approach to its new ten-year development plan. Director Nick Merriman said that given the museum’s primary audience of families with young children “we know that parents, grandparents and carers are worried about the future that these children will inherit. They are also often overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenge we all face... We aim to provide scientifically accurate information, and engage them in positive actions they can take which will collectively make a significant difference.” Tate, Horniman, Museums Journal, Tate (Olafur Eliasson), Iconeye
SMG Director says working with oil companies is a positive step in addressing climate change
Science Museum Group Director Ian Blatchford has written to staff in support of continuing oil and gas company sponsorship in a time when it is drawing targeted protest across the cultural sector. He said that the challenge and ethics of climate change are a crucial issue but that oil companies “have the capital, geography, people and logistics to find the solutions [to climate change] and demonising them is seriously unproductive”, adding that fossil fuel companies fund research to lessen carbon use, including at universities. Speaking to the FT he said that the decision was not driven by a lack of alternative funders: “Even if the Science Museum were lavishly publicly funded I would still want to have sponsorship from the oil companies…the museum is a much better museum and serves the public much better if it’s engaging with the major players in society.” SMG has also taken significant steps towards reducing its own carbon emissions by 69% since 2011 – 12. Meanwhile, the issue remains contentious in the sector, with British Museum Trustee Ahdaf Soueif recently resigning in part because of disagreement over oil sponsorship. Its Director Hartwig Fischer has emphasised its importance to the museum, saying that it ‘creates[s] unique learning opportunities…this sort of support is vital to mission’. FT (paywall), The Art Newspaper, Guardian
Six national museums send nothing to landfill in 2018 - 19
Tate Modern, Tate Britain, The National Gallery, V&A, British Museum and Imperial War Museum all sent nothing to landfill during 2018 – 19. Instead all material from the sites was reused, recycled, composted or incinerated in ways allowing for energy recovery. Several of the museums are also seeking ways to reduce flights by employees. M + H
Also: Kids in Museums has published a new toolkit, suggesting ways in which museums can 'support young people to take a stand on environmental issues'. Kids in Museums
Toolkit offers insight into socio-economic diversity and better employment practices in culture
Although working class people form 35% of the working population, they are under-represented across the cultural sector: with only 12% working in film, 13% in publishing and 21% in museums and galleries. A new toolkit, ‘Socio-Economic Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts’ from Jerwood Arts and The Bridge Group offers guidance to employers to level the playing field of opportunity. The toolkit is based around five core tips - these are:
Measure socio-economic background (using well-researched indicators including parental occupation at age 14).
Make spaces for conversations about taste, talent and merit – for example, how do you evidence ‘passion’ for the arts?
Create a more inclusive organisational culture – including asking whether ‘affinity bias’ means that some employees are more likely to get the mentoring needed to get ahead.
Cease unpaid or unadvertised internships, jobs and opportunities. It recommends that all positions over four weeks should be paid, and points to existing guidance to distinguish between internships, apprenticeships and volunteering.
Create more inclusive recruitment processes, excluding potentially alienating ‘arts jargon’.
Director of Jerwood Arts Lilli Geissendorfer says that the advice draws from learning during the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries scheme. She said “evaluation of our work has given us a unique view on what does and doesn’t work in recruiting those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and the toolkit shares what we now know. We hope it will help anyone with the power to appoint and promote to make strategic changes to embed inclusive practices and make the arts more excellent for all.” 90% of Fellows from the Creative Bursaries scheme said the programme had raised their aspirations, with some moving into management positions including at the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester and the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford. Meanwhile, 71% of hosts said that the programme made them rethink interview and recruitment processes. Jerwood Arts, Arts Industry, Jerwood Arts (related workshop), Gov.uk (employer guidance on measuring socio-economic background)
Update on work in response to the Character Matters report
In 2016, ACE published the Character Matters report, which explored attitudes, behaviours and skills in the UK museums workforce and recommended actions to broaden the knowledge of the sector and encourage a more entrepreneurial mindset. An interim action plan for 2018 – 19 has summarised progress by leading sector bodies in the four UK countries, plus AIM, NLHF and the MA. Achievements so far include:
57 NPOs in England, responsible for 200 museum sites, have developed Equality Action Plans and good workforce practice.
ACE has also launched a £6m Transforming Leadership Fund and given £700k towards Subject Specialist Networks to help staff share curatorial knowledge and skills.
AIM has built resources and training to support Trustees and Boards.
Museums Galleries Scotland has launched skills programmes including the Rethinking Leadership Programme and Skills for Success.
MA has offered several professional development events, including a conference for postgraduates and building its mid-career Transformers
Plans for 2019 – 20 include training from ACE for Directors to develop a coaching style of leadership and a Museums Association online learning programme, Museums Essentials, covering ethics, collections and partnerships. There will also be a concerted effort towards effective, diverse recruitment over the next decade, including a toolkit published by ACE for all sector bodies. ACE (2018 – 19 Delivery Plan) ACE (2016 Character Matters report summary)
The Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre has used 20 years’ big data drawn from The Guardian’s open API to track not just how many men and women work in the creative industries, but how visible they are in the media. It found that in 2000, a quarter of sector quotes came from women – rising to around a third up to 2013 and 40% in 2018. 2019 may be the first year in which women are quoted as often as men, although leadership words remain more frequently associated with men. Nesta
Escape from the 80s: A New Direction makes recommendations for a creative workforce
A New Direction has also published ‘Building the creative workforce of the future’ a report with a particular focus on London. Arguing that representation across sectors has not changed much since the 1980s, its proposals include:
For those at the beginning of careers, one point of contact between young people and the creative industries, a London Living Wage and funding which rewards attention to diversity issues.
Plans for the future of education that don’t continually seek solutions from the past, and which think beyond siloed subject areas and learning.
The UK needs to ensure that the sector continues to keep up with the rest of the world. It argues that with a fall of EU workers in the capital “Brexit could serve as a catalyst to ensure that more young Londoners can access careers in the creative economy”. It also argues for a Creative London brand “to redefine the city in a post-Brexit era and help it remain attractive to foreign investors, creative enterprises and workers”.
Arts Marketing Association publishes results of its first member survey
AMA has published the results of its first benchmarking survey, representing the views of 500 of its members. It covered both useful data for arts marketing (such as email open rates and website trends) and thoughts about the working environment. It found that only half of early career members believe that their organisation is open to change, compared to 75% of more senior staff. AMA
Renovations round up: from steam engines to a secret vault of Archbishops
The Power Hall at Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum was built in 1855 and houses Europe’s largest collection of steam engines. It has now received £6m from DCMS for urgent repairs, and work to create a ‘multi-sensory gallery’ likely to reopen in autumn 2021. ALVA
Horniman Museum’s visitor numbers have increased dramatically this century, from 250k in 2002 to around 942k in 2018 – 19. It has now unveiled redevelopment plans, including a large new reception area, to deal with the volume of visits. ALVA
The Garden Museum, which is housed in a former church in Lambeth, South London is seeking increased funding for its redevelopment to preserve a secret vault discovered under its former chancel. The space contains the coffins of four former Archbishops from the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. Arts Industry
Suggesting that ‘artificial intelligence will shape society more than any other technology in the next few decades’ Charity Digital News has created a list of AI applications tailored to social good, fundraising and decision making. However, following an event at the Barbican on museums and AI, Dr. Oonagh Murphy, Lecturer in Arts Management at Goldsmiths told M + H that there is a balance to be found between the AI-driven depth of insight now available about visitors – which can improve everything from crowding to exhibition design – and ethical questions of how much data museums should track. She said “Google doesn’t ask museums ‘Do you want us to track who’s in your building?’ It just does it anyway.”Charity Digital, M+H, Museums and AI network
New interactive tool gives access to data on Scotland’s creative sector
Culture Counts is a website bringing together research relevant to Scotland’s cultural sector. However, it recognises that searching through large volumes of data can be a challenge, so it has produced a new interactive tool, Useful Facts, which pulls together 603 stats from 100 recent research papers. These can be searched by keyword, revealing, for example, that dance has a positive effect on teenage girls with depression, or that 42% of people over 60 visited a museum in 2017. Culture Counts (overview), Culture Counts (Useful Facts tool)
‘Polyphonic spaces’ – ICOM takes a step closer to redefining the museum
Following a worldwide consultation, the International Council of Museums has proposed a new definition of museums, reflecting changing times. The two-paragraph definition emphasises the importance of working with communities and social justice. It partly reads: “Museums are democratising, inclusive and polyphonic spaces for critical dialogue about the pasts and the futures. Acknowledging and addressing the conflicts and challenges of the present, they hold artefacts and specimens in trust for society, safeguard diverse memories for future generations and guarantee equal rights and equal access to heritage for all people.” The definition will be voted on at an ICOM meeting in Kyoto in early September. Museums Journal, ICOM (2007 definition), ICOM (whole proposed new definition)
DCMS Committee recommends UK Garden Cities programme with a focus on culture
The DCMS Committee has recommended that the Government should create a UK Garden City programme, comparable to the existing City of Culture biennial event. It said that the programme should be based around garden tourism, worth £3bn in 2017, and have a strong arts component. In its wider report on garden tourism, the Committee suggests that although there’s a strong component of artistry in garden design, it tends to be excluded from the arts sector. It also suggests that “museums could proactively promote the history of gardens and plant collections, but ensure the narrative is told in a more modern and relevant way than perhaps has previously happened”. The Committee has recommended a year of research and consultation with a view to opening a competition before the end of 2020. Arts Professional, Parliament.uk
New acquisitions: from contemporary collecting to Turner seascapes
Lifejackets, punk and prisons: new toolkit explores contemporary collecting
Museums Development North West has published a new toolkit for contemporary collecting. It is aimed at staff and volunteers with no direct experience who would like to learn the basics. It discusses how to represent a broader swathe of society, exploring what modern issues will be relevant in the long term, how to plan preservation and how to make decisions that successor generations will not regret. Its case studies include two from the Museum of London – which has recently collected on the themes of Punk and video games; refugee lifejackets acquired by Manchester Museum and Islington Museum’s collecting from Holloway Prison, which closed in 2016. The toolkit will be updated with further case studies from the North West next year. MDNW
V&A collects Extinction Rebellion material through its Rapid Response programme
Objects including flags, pamphlets and digital files from the protest group Extinction Rebellion have been collected by the V&A and are now on display in its Rapid Response Collecting Gallery. Senior Curator Corrina Gardner said that ‘the strong graphic impact of the Extinction Symbol alongside a clear set of design principles’ have been central to establishing the group’s identity. Clive Russell of Extinction Rebellion’s arts group said he was pleased that the objects are part of a collection including past designer-activists like William Morris, also calling for "all artists and designers to think beyond the bullying constraints of commercial drudgery and join us in rebellion.” Meanwhile the Daily Mail opposed the acquisitions on the grounds that Extinction Rebellion has caused disruption in London. Meanwhile the Museum of Cardiff also collected objects, including home made banners from protests in its home city, as well as gathering stories from those present. The Art Newspaper, Twitter (Museum of Cardiff), Daily Mail
Post war ceramics and pre-1600 archaeology: New Collecting Award winners 2019
The Art Fund has announced the seven curators and collecting projects awarded a total of £300k in this round of the New Collecting Awards. Each winner will now use the funds to make new acquisitions for their institution on a given theme. The recipients are:
Tania Moore at the Sainsbury Centre, Norwich who receives £80k for sculptors’ drawings and works on paper by international women artists.
Uthra Rajgopal, at The Whitworth, who receives £38.6k to develop the gallery’s collection of South Asian textile artworks by female artists.
Lucy Creighton, at the Yorkshire Museum will use £50k to collect pre-1600 archaeology and numismatics.
Ben Miller at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent has £25k to build a collection exploring the 300-year history of North Staffordshire ceramics created for and used by the hospitality industry.
Natalie Kane at the V&A will use £35k to research and collect examples of digital design.
Louise Boyd at National Museums Scotland will use £40k to acquire a number of ehon - Japanese woodblock-printed illustrated books.
Emily Riddle at The Hepworth Wakefield has £30k to collect post-war ceramics by artists associated with the Central School of Arts and Crafts.
All of the recipients receive a budget for training, travel and research as well as support from Art Fund staff and a mentor. Art Fund Director Stephen Deuchar said that the awards “give some of the UK’s rising curatorial stars the opportunity to diversify their institutions’ holdings, bringing benefit to a widening range of audiences and helping our museums to thrive.” Art Fund,
Three works by Peter Lanyon acquired through Acceptance in Lieu
Two studies for murals and an abstract landscape by the Cornish artist Peter Lanyon (1918 – 64) have been acquired for the nation through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme. Tate will receive the oil painting ‘Clevedon Bandstand’ with the two large gouaches awarded to the University of Birmingham and the University of Liverpool’s Victoria Gallery & Museum. ACE
Arts Minister Rebecca Pow has placed an export bar on JMW Turner’s 'The Dark Rigi, the Lake of Lucerne', painted at the height of his career and valued at £10m. The piece was previously sold in 2006 for £2.7m to a private collector who ‘outmanoeuvred’ major museums in the UK and US to acquire the work. Pow said that export of the work would be ‘a terrible loss to the whole country’. The export bar runs to 1st December 2019, with a possible extension to 1st June 2020 if there is a serious intention to raise funds. Gov.uk, The Art Newspaper
V&A and World of Wedgewood announce new partnership
The World of Wedgewood and V&A have announced a partnership which will make sure that the Wedgwood Collection will remain in Barlaston, near Stoke-on-Trent. 80,000 artefacts on loan at the Wedgewood Museum are part of the collections of the V&A. Now a new chief curator, funded by the Finnish consumer goods company Fiskars, will catalogue, digitise and promote the collection. There will also be work to attract new audiences and build an education programme. The museum will be renamed V&A at World of Wedgewood. Museums Journal
Ed Vaizey outlines the ambitions of the new APPG for Creative Diversity
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Creative Diversity, announced earlier this year, has now launched. In a letter to The Guardian, group member and former Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP said that changes to the sector should begin with education. He points to a recent survey showing a decline in music education by 21% over the past five years in state schools, compared to a 7% increase at private schools. He also points to barriers to entry into the sector as young people seek work, adding “if we’re to truly address diversity in the creative sector then we must tackle barriers to retention and career development, too. It will require collaboration between industry and government, and it’s our hope that this new group can help facilitate that change.” Guardian, Creative Diversity APPG (mailing list signup), Twitter
Creative education in brief: “if you don’t want a robot to steal your job…”
Debate continues over how to evolve education to skill up the future workforce, and particular discussion on the value of creative subjects in a time of robots. Comment over the past month includes:
V&A Director Tristram Hunt has been advocating for more students to study design. The museum’s newly launched Innovate programme is aimed at encouraging 11 – 14 year olds to opt for Design and Technology at GCSE. V&A will contact every D&T teacher in schools in England to introduce them to the programme. Hunt said “the point we’re making is that art and design are enabling subjects in a creative future, and in the fourth industrial revolution if you don’t want a robot to steal your job, actually studying art and design is a really pragmatic way to prevent that happening. What’s so strange is that we've got a fantastic creative industry in this country with thousands of jobs being created, and we’ve got an education system that is stripping it out.” Twitter/Radio4, Art Industry, V&A (Innovate programme)
The CBI’s new report ‘Getting young people work ready’ calls for a rethink of qualifications including GCSEs and broadening of the EBacc to include at least one creative subject. CBI
Ofsted’s revised framework has called for schools to develop pupils’ cultural capital for the first time. In a short essay, the Cultural Learning Alliance considers the modern meaning of the term and suggests an individual ‘who is knowledgeable about a wide range of culture and is comfortable discussing its value and merits’. This may include technical skills and a capacity for empathy as well as a knowledge of traditions in both ‘high’ and popular culture. CLA