Museums and Galleries Responding to the Climate and Ecological Crisis
The full programme has now been published for NMDC’s two day online conference ‘Museums and Galleries Responding to the Climate and Ecological Crisis’. Convened by Horniman Director Nick Merriman, the focus is on positive action and practical solutions. Projects discussed include sustainabie exhibitions at Leeds Museum and Galleries, reducing energy emissions at the National Theatre, international working, Greening the Whitworth and a look at engaging the public online with examples from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. The event is free, runs from 18th – 19th November – participants are welcome to book either the whole programme, or individual sessions. NMDC
Museums in England begin second lockdown for at least four weeks
As England enters a second period of lockdown that will last for at least four weeks, museums across the country closed on 5th November. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the furlough scheme, which supports up to 80% of the wage of employees unable to work, will be extended to March, with the option for employers to rehire staff to put them back into the furlough scheme. MA Director Sharon Heal said “it’s a blow to museums to have to close just as they were getting back on their feet, and while it’s good to see furlough being extended, it’s cold comfort to the 3,000+ people in the sector who have lost their jobs in the last few weeks as the first scheme ended.” She called for the remainder of the Cultural Recovery Fund held by ACE to be spent in a ‘flexible way’ to allow organisations to spend into the next financial year, a position also supported by NMDC.
Prior to national lockdown, Kim Streets, Chief Executive of Museums Sheffield spoke about some of the drivers that had kept museums in the city open when it was in Tier 3, with a footfall of 25 – 30%. . She pointed to the benefits to local business, adding “in our city centre Millennium Gallery site, some of our visitors are people who come in every day. They come in because there’s a friendly face to greet them and because they’re lonely”. Acknowledging that ‘safety must be a priority’ the Creative Industries Federation said that the new lockdown would be ‘devastating’ to much of the UK’s creative sector, and again drew attention in particular to the 2.9m people who are not eligible for furlough or the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, many of whom work in the creative industries. Across other UK nations:
Scottish museums are all in Tier 1 - 3 areas, and have not been required to close. (No part of Scotland was in Tier 4 in early November).
Welsh museums reopened on 9th November after a two-week firebreak closure. Six out of seven sites at Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museums Wales opened, with The Big Pit planned for reopening within a few days after maintenance work. NMW
Museums in Northern Ireland have been closed since mid-October on the instructions of the Northern Ireland executive.
European museum closures in response to second wave – and a mixed picture on footfall
Museums in Europe are also being closed by a second wave of the coronavirus, and the Network of European Museum Organisations has revived its tracker map of closures and partial closures to tell the unfolding story. Museums are closing during November across Germany, although 40 museum directors have argued against the decision while ‘DIY shops remain open’ in the country. In a review of museums across Europe, the New York Times reports that, even where open, many museums are not necessarily finding takers for all the limited tickets they have available. Although the State Museums of Berlin and the Louvre (until its very recent closure) were achieving about a third of usual visitors, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is down from 10,000 visitors each day to around 800. How museums are coping depends on how their funding is structured, and also core audiences. Paul Mosterd, Deputy Director of the Hermitage Amsterdam says that not only does it rely on ticket sales for 70% of funding, but “we had a lot of senior groups, a group of friends of pensioners, or grandpa celebrates his 80th birthday with a guided tour and a lunch.” He said that these groups are staying away and not yet being replaced by more confident younger visitors. NEMO (museum lockdown tracker map), New York Times (US museums at 25% capacity), New York Times (European museum visitors), Art Newspaper (Louvre shuts), Art Newspaper (Germany)
'We have our work cut out' - World Cities plan for revival through culture
Writing for Harpers Bazaar Justine Simons, London's Deputy Mayor for Culture, argues that culture is the 'oxygen of cities'. As revealed in a recent online gathering of representatives from 40 cities at the World Cities Culture Forum, 84% are worried about the loss of cultural tourists and 77% about permanent venue closure and 69% fear the departure of freelance artists. In London, creative industries drove one in six jobs in 2019, generated £58bn - and attracted four out of five of the 21m tourists who visited. Consequently culture is seen across the group as the key to social and economic recovery. 18 cities were awarded funds for international collaborative projects, and the WCCF will continue to share strategies and policy ideas for recovery. Harpers Bazaar, World Cities Culture Forum
Sentiment trackers show a cautious public prior to second lockdown
Various public opinion and sentiment trackers continue to show that prior to lockdown, Government instructions were only part of the picture shaping public leisure decisions, with many relatively cautious, especially about public transport. Among the figures:
Wave 17 (12th – 16th October) of VisitBritain’s sentiment tracker showed that public ‘appetite for risk’ has changed very little since the summer – with willingness to take public transport static at 2 out of a possible 4, visits to a restaurant or shopping centre slightly higher around 2.5 and even taking a walk in the country not regarded as completely secure by some (confidence 3.3 out of 4). VisitBritain
An early October release from the Department of Transport also showed that levels of anxiety about public transport were very high, with 86% expressing concern about using planes, trains or buses. 39% walk more than before the pandemic and 38% cycle more frequently. The statistics were gathered from May – July: capturing the first cycle of lockdown and emergence from lockdown. Although this is older data in the lifecycle of the epidemic, it is likely to be relevant to the second wave now underway. Department for Transport
The most recent figures for daily visits to DCMS sponsored museums and galleries also show a dip since summer figures of around 20%, with 17.4% of usual audience in the week beginning 12th Gov.uk
DCMS publishes end of transition period checklist for cultural organisations
DCMS has published a checklist of issues that cultural organisations should be considering as the transition period following Brexit comes to an end on 1st January 2021. Subjects covered include:
Checking whether employees need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Data protection and how to deal with data coming from the EU.
New passport, driving and mobile phone data rules when travelling to Europe.
Import and export of goods.
EU funding programmes (this advice is unchanged since January).
ACE has also published a guide to the end of the transition period which signposts information on changes to copyright law. ACE (Guide to the end of the transition period), DCMS (seven point checklist for culture), Gov.uk (DCMS signposting), Gov.uk (Global Tariff Checker)
DCMS survey assesses readiness for the end of the Brexit transition period
DCMS has launched a survey to discover the impact of the end of the post-Brexit Transition Period will have on the sectors in its area, including culture. It should take around 10 – 15 minutes to complete. DCMS
Network of European Museum Organisations Covid-19 follow up survey
The Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO) has launched a follow up Covid-19 survey, to assess how museums are coping, especially as a second wave causes museum closures across Europe. The survey has a particular focus on digital innovation, income loss and mitigation and assessing the ‘new normal’. The deadline for responses is 20th November. NEMO
Curating for Change seeks views of disabled people about work in the museum sector
Disabled people are among the most under-represented groups working in museums. The Curating for Change project, which is seeking to create Fellowships and career paths to offer more opportunity, is currently running two surveys; one for disabled people who have currently or previously worked in museums in any role, and one for those interested in a museum career. The surveys should take no more than ten minutes to complete. CfC (currently or previously working in the sector), CfC (interested in working in sector) Accentuate, CfC (twitter, for project updates)
The Museums Association annual conference has been taking place online this week, addressing the dramatic changes of 2020 with a theme of the 'World Turned Upside Down - Exploring the Future of Museums'. Discussing the major issues of decolonisation and coronavirus, it also looked at how to create inclusive, participatory and sustainable museums, collecting the pandemic and how to reopen. Speakers include Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian Museum in conversation with former Culture Minister David Lammy MP. Sessions are being recorded and will become a members-only resource online after the conference - so it is possible to enjoy it in retrospect by joining the MA. MA
The Creative Industries Federation's 'Creative Coalition Festival' is now free to attend for members and non-members. It features speakers from across the sector, including BBC DG Tim Davie, Imran Khan, Head of Public Engagement at the Wellcome Trust and actress Ruby Wax. The event runs from 9th - 11th November. Creative Coalition Festival
NEMO European Museum conference 2020 discusses dealing with complexity
The Network of European Museum Organisations is holding a conference with the theme ‘Museums Making Sense’ which will look at how museums translate the complex into something digestible to the public. There will also be small group discussions on museum operations during Covid-19, plus online receptions and tours. Twenty speakers include Dragana Lucija Ratković Aydemir who works in Croatia for Muze/Muses which covers eco-museology, David Weigend, a design thinker and game developer working for the Futurium in Berlin and Kaja Širok, Director of the National Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia who addresses contested memories, revisionism and (re)interpretations of history. The event runs from 16th – 19th November. NEMO (register), NEMO (programme), NEMO (speakers)
Centre for Cultural Value launches Festival of Ideas programme
The Centre for Cultural Value has published the programme for its online Festival of Ideas, which includes discussion and interactive workshops from 2nd – 13th November. Sessions include the workshop ‘Failure – the ultimate taboo? on 12th November and ‘What is the value of online cultural engagement?’ on 13th November, which includes Portia Tremlett of Novium Museum discussing creating online field trips for schools. All events are free. Centre for Cultural Value
Culture Geek 2020: from recharging 500 VR headsets to Rijksmuseum from Home
Culture Geek is holding a one-day conference with an international group of seven speakers talking about technological innovation and adaptation to covid. In her talk on Rijksmuseum from Home Nanet Beumer discusses how the museum gave audiences ten routes to virtual access during lockdown. Meanwhile, Joe Duggan of the National Youth Theatre describes what it is like to deploy 500 VR headsets for an arts event, and Microsoft’s Catherine Devine looks at applying the Internet of Things to museums. The event takes place on 20th November (with talks available afterwards). Early bird tickets are £40. Culture Geek
The Arts Marketing Association has announced its autumn programme:
Three CEO roundtables on Growing Through Disruption, running to January AMA
Online workshops for staff and volunteers in small to medium sized UK museums with topics including accessible websites, digital marketing, social media, fundraising strategy, and working with digitised collections. AMA
Dynamic Audience Strategies – a series of events to help organisations define their target audiences for 2021 and beyond. AMA
There is also an arts marketing festival on 1 – 2 December, with topics including comms in a crisis and reopening and recovery. Tickets for this event are free with AMA membership. AMA
Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy has published its programme of autumn training online with courses including Asking People for Money, Fundraising Essentials, Being a Trustee, Being a Chair and Writing Grant Applications. Courses are £50 - £75 + VAT. Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy
Research Libraries UK ‘Digital Shift’ talk series – from digital dystopia to an appetite for the future
Research Libraries UK is offering monthly lectures on the ‘digital shift’ aimed at the research, culture and heritage sectors. Forthcoming talks include Claire Walker, Professor of Digital Humanities at Durham University on ‘Managing the digital dystopia’ – which looks at issues from misinformation and hate speech on social media, to the impacts of working alone. Later in the series, Tiina Hill, Senior Manager of ACE’s Digital Culture Network will look at ‘Building digital skills and appetite for now and the future’. Talks are free, and run through to February 2021. RLUK (programme), RLUK (digital shift manifesto and working group)
Clore Leadership and the Cultural Governance Alliance are holding a Governance Now conference, inviting cultural sector professionals and trustees to learn how to be part of positive culture change and achieve good governance. Speakers include Nina Simon and Sir John Tusa. The programme runs in a series of weekly events from 5th – 26th November. Ticket prices vary depending on size of organisation, and whether you attend a single session or all four, ranging from £13 - £81. Clore Leadership
The Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance is holding a week-long series of events from 16th – 20th November, with topics including learning from lived experience, everyday creativity in lockdown and practitioner support and wellbeing. There are also dedicated sessions for each region of England. Tickets are £5 - £15 for each event. Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance
DCN autumn digital training resources: from monetising livestreams to cultural democracy
The Digital Culture Network has added new resources to its YouTube channel, including short films on how to generate revenue through livestreams, online retail and a beginner’s guide to Tik Tok.
It has also published an autumn programme of its own and other organisations’ digital training for the cultural sector, with topics including print on demand, digital deficit and cultural democracy, and diversifying income streams in the light of the pandemic.
Rebuilding Heritage offers ‘Ways out of crisis’ webinar series
The Rebuilding Heritage training programme has announced a new free webinar series on ‘Ways out of crisis’ running to December. Topics include governance during challenging times, maximising fundraising, business planning and crisis communications. Rebuilding Heritage
How to Curate an Ecologically Sensitive Exhibition
Ki Culture is offering a three part online workshop with independent curator Alice Bonnot exploring how to curate an ecologically sensitive exhibition, and achieve the lowest possible carbon footprint. Participants will be able to plan and deliver such exhibitions by the end of the course. 20 places are available, it begins on 17th November and tickets are €45. Ki Culture
Family Friendly Museum Award from Home showcases some of the best lockdown activities
Kids in Museums has announced the winners of its Family Friendly Museum Award from Home, which highlights some of the best museum work under lockdown. Judges created a shortlist of 26 activities, which were then tested by families over the summer. The five winners were:
Cooper Gallery Barnsley’s Wow Wednesdays - weekly films and activities for 0 – 5 year olds.
National Museum Wales’ Minecraft your Museum – a competition to build a museum in Minecraft which ‘totally engrossed’ its young audience.
National Videogame Museum, Sheffield for its Create your own pixel art character online challenge, described as ‘easy to do with no experience’.
The Glucksman, Ireland for its arts activities online.
The Whitworth Manchester for its Still Parents project, addressing baby loss.
Nominations open for Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education
Nominations are open for the 2020 Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education, highlighting those doing inspirational work in the field. Engage, which is running the awards, says that it welcomes nominations of those currently furloughed or unemployed following a difficult year for the sector. Winners receive £500 to spend on professional development. The deadline for nominations is 1st December. Engage
TWAM creates museums, health and social care resource for work with older people
Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums has worked with Northumbria University to create a new resource for health and social care professionals, giving an overview of using culture to support wellbeing, especially when working with older people. The resource covers activities that are a good fit for pain management, speech, cognitive stimulation, mental health, and social interaction. Zoë Brown, Outreach Officer at TWAM said “after working on heritage themed creative projects with older adults alongside health and social care professionals for many years, I wanted to help support more professionals to feel confident to facilitate their own heritage…this resource is the start of a long-term Museums, Health & Social Care Service.” TWAM
New £14m museum and art gallery to open in former Doncaster School for Girls
Doncaster Council has created a new cultural complex, Danum Gallery, Library and Museum in a £14m new structure, which retains the façade of the previous building on the site, Doncaster School for Girls, encased in a frontage made of glass. The site brings together four previously dispersed Doncaster cultural sites: the archives, two library sites and Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery. There will also be an education space, training facilities and a micro-business start-up space. The museum is now completed with objects moving in, but an opening day is yet to be announced. Experience UK, Doncaster Council
Also: The Eden Project is moving ahead with plans for a new site next to the sea in Morecambe, Eden Project North, which it hopes will ‘reimagine the seaside resort for the 21st century’ and be transformational for the town and its region. Similar to the original in Cornwall it will be based around domes filled with plants and art exhibits, and also include elements of theatre, wellbeing treatments and research and education programmes. Eden Project
Centenary Forum lays plans to mark Northern Ireland’s anniversary
A Northern Ireland Centenary Forum has been created to consider how to mark a hundred years since the creation of Northern Ireland in 2022. It aims to mark the year in a ‘spirit of mutual respect, inclusiveness and reconciliation’ and aims to reflect views across society in its make-up of statutory, community, business and civic voices. Gov.uk
Also: A new £12m museum planned in Northern Ireland to tell the story of the country’s maritime past has reached the design stage. Experience UK
Five Museum of the Year winners include Towner Eastbourne and Science Museum
The Art Fund has announced five joint winners for the 2020 Museum of the Year competition. The prize is usually awarded to a single winner, with four runners up, but the new format was adopted in response to the coronavirus crisis. The winners are:
Aberdeen Art Gallery – chosen following the most significant redevelopment in its 135 year history. This was completed in 2019 and tripled the collections on display.
Gairloch Museum, situated on the north-west coast of Scotland, moved to a new home in a repurposed nuclear bunker in 2019, turning ‘a village eyesore into an important visitor attraction’. The move came at the end of an eight-year £2.4m redevelopment, organised by the community, including 120 volunteers.
Science Museum, London received the prize for a ‘shift-change’ in the institution, with work ranging from two major new galleries (Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries and Science City 1550-1800: The Linbury Gallery), a tour of Tom Peake’s spacecraft and a new relationship with visitors and the local community.
South London Gallery doubled in size through opening a second site at a former Fire Station, while continuing to offer world-class contemporary art to the people of South London.
Towner Eastbourne has launched its new vision to transform communities through art, despite a funding cut. It is committed to promoting under-represented artists and addressing the needs of intergenerational and diverse communities.
From rethinking transport to forest museums: climate museum finalists announced
Eight international finalists have been announced for the Reimagining Museums for Climate Action competition, including Dundee Museum of Transport which explored how a traditional transport museum might evolve to address questions of contemporary sustainable transport. The Story:Web project proposed by Great North Museum Hancock mobilises museum collections to empower people to tell climate stories, and a Brazilian entry explores conferring museum status on indigenous lands in forests and other natural habitats. All eight finalists receive £2.5k to develop their ideas into an exhibit at Glasgow Science Centre during 2021 as part of the United Nations COP26 climate change conference. Museums for Climate Action, Museums Journal
Winners of the MA's annual Museums Change Lives Awards have been announced at its annual conference. They are:
Best Lockdown Project: Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books addressed the lack of home activities for many families in the Byker area during lockdown, and responded with a programme that ranged from Facebook storytimes to delivering physical books, activity packs and recipes in partnership with local charities.
Best Museums Change Lives project: Reimagine, Remake, Replay which continues to engage 4,000 16 - 25 year olds with collections through projects such as digital fabrication, experience of event management, emerging tech and digital storytelling.
Best Small Museum project: The Dylan Thomas Centre won for its Literature and Trauma project for refugees and asylum speakers in Swansea.
Aditi Anand, Head of Creative Content at the Migration Museum won the Radical Changemaker Award – having recently turned a large former H&M store in Lewisham into a functioning home for her museum in less than two months.
The MA praised the winners for having made a difference in a 'year like no other'. Museums Journal
Chair announced for new project to address Scottish colonial legacy
Sir Geoff Palmer has been appointed Chair of the steering committee of the newly created ‘Empire, Slavery & Scotland’s Museums: Addressing Our Colonial Legacy project’. The group, convened by the Scottish Government and co-ordinated by Museums Galleries Scotland will recommend how Scotland can give a more accurate portrayal of its slavery and colonial history, through its existing and future museum collections. Palmer is a scientist and human rights activist who became Scotland’s first black professor in 1989. He said “this new educational resource will improve race and community relations within our diverse society.” M + H, Museums Journal
MA and UKRI partner on new £200k museum digital innovation and engagement fund
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has partnered with the Museums Association and creative design agency The Liminal Space to offer a new £200k Digital Innovation Fund for museums. The fund will offer grants of up to £50k for museums to scale up the work they have begun to develop during Covid-19. UKRI comments that the combination of pandemic, climate emergency and Black Lives Matter has produced a greater catalyst for change in the sector than has been seen since WW2. The fund aims to help museums deliver more diverse content to a wider group of people in the light of this significant change. Full details and how to apply will be on the MA website from 11th November. UKRI, Museums Journal
Calouste Gulbenkian opens £150k award for arts organisations including museums
The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and King's College London have opened a new £150k fund for civic arts organisations including museums that have been working closely with communities and evolving new practice during Covid-19. One organisation will receive £100k, with two others receiving £25k each. Announcing the funds, the Calouste Gulbenkian said that although arts organisations have pursued innovative community programming - from delivering art packs with food parcels, to socially distanced carnivals, much of this work is not widely known in the sector. The awards seek to celebrate and promote these new approaches. Applications are now open with a deadline of 30th November. Rhinegold, M + H, Gulbenkian (details and application form)
British Council launches Digital Collaboration Fund with grants up to £50k
The British Council is offering support to cultural organisations in the UK and Official Development Assistance (ODA) countries to collaborate digitally on international projects. Up to £50k is available per project. Work may include virtual exhibitions, online art and cultural archives, AR and VR projects, R&D for new ideas and creative collaborations. The deadline for applications is 18th November. British Council
MGS fund now available offering up to £60k each for civic and university museums
MGS has opened a new Covid-19 Museum Development Fund aimed at organisations running accredited museums that have not been eligible for the Recovery and Resilience Fund. These include civic (local authority and ALEO run museums) and university museums. Funding will support projects that respond to challenges caused by the coronavirus, and up to £60k is available per application. There will be two rounds of funding, the first closing on 13th November and the second on 5th February 2021. MGS, M + H
Also: MGS has also revealed that its £4m Recovery and Resilience Fund is heavily oversubscribed, with applications for £10.7m worth of support, or 150% of available funds. Lucy Casot, CEO of MGS said that it was grateful to the Scottish Government for support so far, but said that the scale of demand revealed the need for 'continued and responsive' support. She added“already we are seeing the impact on communities as redundancies are being made, outreach activity affected and with many museums simply unable to reopen or operating at greatly reduced capacity.” MGS
NLHF funded Social Enterprise Academy opens in January
From January, a new Steps to Sustainability programme will be rolled out to 60 heritage organisations across the UK, delivered by the Social Enterprise Academy and funded by NLHF. It will aim to ‘unlock entrepreneurial potential’ in staff in a position to ‘generate and diversify their heritage organisation’s income’. Further details will be published soon. M + H
Also: NLHF has been given an additional £1m by Government to deliver digital skills and is now seeking organisations well placed to act as delivery partners. Up to £250k is available per programme and the deadline for enquiries is 13th November NLHF
New round of the John Ellerman Foundation Museums and Galleries Fund
The next round of the John Ellerman Foundation Museums and Galleries Fund is now open, with around £500k for regional museums working with their collections to support new projects which inspire creativity and stimulate local regeneration. The average project grant is around £90k and the deadline for applications is 5pm on 8th January 2021. John Ellerman Foundation
Resilience and leadership training through MGS Business Support Programme
Museums Galleries Scotland is among organisations which have developed the Business Support Programme ‘Surviving to Thriving’, offering business, leadership and individual upskilling training to 40 heritage organisations across Scotland. The programme will commence April 2021 and run for 18 months, with the expectation that organisations will participate in between 20 - 30 days training over that period. Funded by NLHF, Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS), and greenspace scotland are also partners. The deadline for applications is noon on 3rd December. MGS, Museums Journal
Northern Ireland £5.5m fund opens for heritage and museums to weather covid
The Northern Ireland executive has announced a £5.5m fund to support heritage sites, including museums, through the coronavirus crisis. Administered by NLHF, it will offer between £3k - £250k per organisation, with more than £250k available in exceptional circumstances. Independent museums, not-for-profit and private organisations working in heritage can apply; local authority run institutions will be covered by separate funding and are therefore lower priority. Applications are now open for funds to be spent by March 2021. One to one advice is available from NLHF as well as webinars on 9th and 12th November. Museums Journal, NLHF
ACE announces recipients of three rounds of grants from the Cultural Recovery Fund
ACE has announced the recipients of grants from the Cultural Recovery Fund, covering two rounds under £1m and one over £1m.
In the first round under £1m, 1,386 organisations across arts and culture shared £257.4m. Around two thirds of all applicants were successful. 102 museums were included in the list – among them York Museum Trust (£850k), Derby Museums (£130k), Florence Nightingale Museum (£137k), Charles Dickens Museum (£222.3k) and Telegraph Museum Porthcurno (£164k), reflecting the wide variety of museums which are facing financial difficulties. Overall, these museums shared £24.28m.
In a smaller second round under £1m, 588 cultural organisations shared £76m, with recipients including the Hepworth Wakefield (£146k) and Chiltern Open Air Museum (£219k) which it will use to preserve buildings that would otherwise be demolished including Tudor barns and a Victorian tollhouse.
Seven museums successfully applied for grants over £1m. These are: The Design Museum (£2.97m), Black Country Living Museum Trust (£2.56m), Birmingham Museums Trust (£1.87m), Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (£1.86m), London Transport Museum (£1.75m), and Dulwich Picture Gallery (£1.36m) and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (£3m). These were among 35 cultural organisations, sharing a fund of £75m.
In a statement welcoming overall museum support of around £45m, NMDC added “to ensure museums are able to fulfil their enormous potential to aid the UK’s full recovery from the current crisis, the remainder of the Culture Recovery Fund should focus on supporting their survival into the next financial year, and ensuring that all museums can take advantage of this hugely needed support.” ACE (list of grantees), NMDC, Gov.uk, Guardian, ACE blog, ACE (round two funding), Gov.uk (round two), ACE (funding over £1m), Museums Journal (grants over £1m), Gov.uk (grants over £1m), Brighton Argus, BMT
Also: Additionally, £103m was distributed to 445 heritage organisations across England. Gov.uk (full list of recipients)
Scottish Government emergency covid funding given to three flagship venues
The Scottish Government has announced support for The Burrell Renaissance Project in Glasgow, which receives £750k to cover increased project costs from the coronavirus; £1m for V&A Dundee and an additional £500k to Capital Theatres, which has previously received £250k. Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said “this latest funding announcement brings the Scottish Government’s total COVID-19 support package for our culture and heritage sectors to just under £98 million. We know further support will still be needed, and the major issues presented by the pandemic are not going away.”Scottish Government
Scottish Lost Income Scheme to compensate councils
The Scottish Government has announced a package of around £90m to compensate councils and trusts for income lost due to Covid-19, covering leisure facilities such as sports centres and parking fees. There will be a wider £750m package of financial flexibilities allowing councils to manage their loss of income. Scottish Government
2020 Heritage at Risk register includes 5,000 sites including Ragged School Museum
Historic England has published its 2020 Heritage at Risk register with 5,097 entries including the Ragged School Museum and one of the oldest public libraries, Thomas Plume’s library, founded in 1690, with both at risk from leaky roofs. Other sites, including Wisbech museum in the fens, remain on the at risk register, but with a repair plan in place. In the past year 181 sites have been removed from the register because of renovation projects, many funded by £8.96m in Historic England grants; however 216 additions mean that the total figure has increased by 24 since last year. M + H, English Heritage (Heritage at Risk interactive map), East London Advertiser (Ragged School Museum), Sky News, Plymouth Herald, Historic England (Wisbech Museum), Museums Journal
NMRN fundraise to retain earliest maps showing defeat of the Spanish Armada
The National Museum of the Royal Navy is seeking to raise £500k towards obtaining ten hand drawn maps which are the first visual representation of the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. The maps are currently under an export bar, with £600k needed to retain them. NMRN has contributed £100k from the annual purchase grant it receives from the Royal Navy, and is looking to the public and funders for the rest. The maps, drawn in the Netherlands by an unknown artist, were described by KCL Professor of History Andrew Lambert as influencing ‘every subsequent account of the Armada campaign, in text, charts and tapestry.’ The museum has until January to raise the necessary funds. Museums Journal
Cancelled auctions as museums internationally debate whether to deaccession for financial stability
In April, the American Association of Museum Directors relaxed its rules for deaccessioning for a two-year period, allowing museums to sell works in order to directly pay for collection care, rather than to buy more art. At least half a dozen museums have subsequently put up works for sale, although some say that the deaccessioning is a way of broadening collections to include a more diverse group of artists. Brooklyn Museum of Art has just sold works including those by Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Joan Miró and Henri Matisse for $20m. The Baltimore Museum of Art planned to sell three works by Andy Warhol, Clyfford Still and Brice Marden, expecting to raise $65m, but then cancelled the sale following controversy. Prior to the cancellation, its Director Christopher Bedford told The Art Newspaper podcast that “this concept that an institution exists to serve its collection…is fundamentally faulty. I think that we, as an institution, exist to serve our community.” The money was to be spent in part in achieving pay equity, especially for lower paid staff such as front of house, and orienting the museum to meeting the needs of its black majority city. A similar change of mind took place after the The Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem planned to sell 190 Islamic art objects and 68 rare timepieces forming around 3% of its collection, at an auction in London in late October, then cancelled at the last minute. Public and Government pressure was again a factor: deaccessioning is rare in Israel – when it occurs, museums are strongly encouraged to spend the money on further acquisitions, but are permitted to sell for other purposes.
In the UK, some art sales driven by financial strain have gone ahead, but in institutions whose primary purpose is not centred on collections. The Royal College of Physicians is contemplating selling some of the rare books it has acquired since its founding in 1518, including ‘The Byrth of Mankynde, Otherwyse Called the Womans Booke’ (1540) which is the first book on pregnancy and childbirth to be published in English. It is considering the sale because of a £3m financial shortfall. Meanwhile the Royal Opera House achieved £12.8m through the sale of its Hockney painting. Katharine Arnold of auctioneers Christie’s pointed out that “the key mission of the Royal Opera House is to support the performing arts”. Art Newspaper, Art Newspaper (deaccessioning podcast), ARTnews (Baltimore Museum of Art planned sale), Art Newspaper, Art Newspaper (Baltimore cancelled sale) Art Newspaper (Islamic Art) Art Newspaper (sale delayed), NYT (differing reactions to two art sales), Art Newspaper (Royal Opera House), Apollo magazine (Royal College of Physicians)
#SupportOurMuseums crowdfunder launched for MA Institutional member museums
The Museums Association is working with Crowdfunder to offer its Institutional Member museums a united platform to receive public donations. Crowdfunder, which has waived its fees for all participating museums, has recently helped the Theatres Trust and Music Venues Trust raise £4m between them. Existing projects can join the campaign, which will also offer a useful training and development opportunity for museums new to crowdfunding, whatever their size. The MA will be offering a free webinar on 30th November with support and advice on launching a campaign. Museums Journal, Crowdfunder (Support Our Museums)
Also: The entire roof of Jane Austen’s House Museum needs to be ‘removed, repaired and replaced’ and the museum is approaching this by inviting the public to take part in a ‘sponsor a tile’ fundraiser. Earlier this year, global supporters raised £200k in covid support for the museum – twice its original target. Art Newspaper
Sarehole Mill’s pizza odyssey continues with rainproof dining ‘pods’
Sarehole Mill’s innovative pizza takeaway and dining service has been running throughout lockdown, raising money for the site which is part of Birmingham Museums Trust. Now rain and colder weather makes outdoor dining more difficult, it has announced a new innovation – ‘Pizza Pods’ or tiny clear plastic igloo shaped tents which will hold up to five people from the same household. Diners are still encouraged to wrap up warm for the experience. BMT
RAF museum creates corporate membership scheme to raise funds
The RAF museum has created a corporate membership scheme, to help support its long term sustainability. Corporate members gain use of museum spaces, discounted hire, free entry for staff and an annual networking event, with packages beginning at £5k. M + H
Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums seek public support to raise £220k
Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums is hoping to raise an additional £220k through a public fundraising campaign, which invites people to donate what they can, beginning at £2 a month. Director Iain Watson said that although the museum is fortunate to have funding from local authorities, its ability to generate commercial income is ‘seriously reduced’. M + H, TWAM
Also: Meanwhile Derby Museums Trust is also inviting the public to make regular donations, in support of its endowment fund. It hopes to raise £1m, match funded by a second £1m from NLHF, to give the Trust a long-term source of income. M + H
Facebook has donated £1m to support Bletchley Park, which was facing a £2m deficit from its four month coronavirus closure. The site also recently received £447k from the Cultural Recovery Fund. CEO Iain Standen said that he now expects the organisation to ‘weather the current crisis and survive into the future’. Steve Hatch, Facebook’s Vice President for Northern Europe said "the historic achievements of Alan Turing and the Bletchley team have benefited all of us greatly, including Facebook, and we're thrilled to help preserve this spiritual home of modern computing."Sky News, Bletchley Park (press statement), Bletchley Park (restructure), M + H
More museum sector jobs losses have been announced as sites grapple in particular with much reduced footfall for their commercial offer. New announcements this month include:
The National Trust has said that there will be fewer compulsory redundancies than it had first anticipated, but that it is nevertheless undergoing the ‘biggest redundancy consultation in its 125 year history’ with 514 compulsory and 782 voluntary redundancies, including hour paid staff. It will retain roles focused on helping children learn and will keep curation specialists as well as creating new specialist roles for land use, soils and carbon reduction. It aims to save £41m for non-payroll costs, including reducing marketing and pivoting from print to digital and reducing travel. £124m of projects will be deferred or stopped. National Trust
The Museum of London announced in early October that it needs to make £2m in savings next year. It is in consultation with visitor experience and commercial teams on redundancy as well as looking at a senior restructure. It expects that around 10% of staff will be affected. The museum said that it would continue with its development plans at West Smithfield, which it described as “one of the most significant cultural projects in Europe”, likely to offer “significant economic and social benefits, contributing to London’s post Covid recovery”. M + H, Museum of London (statement)
The Science Museum Group is also facing redundancies having lost £23m this year. Director Sir Ian Blatchford said that ‘ongoing restrictions and the deep impact on international tourism’ mean that the effects may continue for several years. M + H, Museums Journal
Birmingham Museums Trust has also confirmed that it will be cutting 48 full time roles, or 25% of its workforce. The museum has managed to save some posts through new income-generating initiatives. Museums Journal (scroll)
Job Retention Scheme extended: with provision for rehiring workers
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced an extension to the Job Retention Scheme in which workers can be furloughed on 80% of their wages if unable to work because of the consequences of Covid-19. Full detail of the revived scheme will be published on November 10th, but key points include:
The scheme will run until 31st March 2021 and as before will offer 80% of salaries up to £2.5k for those furloughed from work, with employers paying NI and pension contributions.
The Job Support Scheme will be postponed and the Job Retention Bonus not paid in February.
Those employees made redundant in advance of the original planned end of the JRS on 31st October can be re-hired and placed on furlough extension.
A third grant will be available under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, offering up to £7.5k for the period November - January, calculated at 80% of average trading profits.
MA Redundancy Hub offers resources for all involved in the process
The MA has published a collection of articles and resources for all involved in consulting on redundancies. This includes MA’s Managing in Crisis Facebook group and Workforce Covid Support Group as well as a tracker of latest redundancy consultation announcements and Benevolent Fund. Museums Journal
MGS becomes intermediary for the Kickstart Scheme and tops up pay to Living Wage
Museums Galleries Scotland has said that it will be applying to become an Intermediary for the Government’s Kickstart employment scheme. The scheme offers Government funded six month placements for 16 – 24 year olds on Universal Credit or at risk of long-term unemployment. MGS is hoping co-ordinate at least 30 placements and thus create enough scale for museums to take part. It also intends to top up all placements to the National Living Wage of £9.30/hour. Interested museums should fill out the EOI form by noon on 16th November. MGS, Gov.uk
Weston Jerwood creates cultural sector jobs for those from low socio-economic backgrounds
The Weston Jerwood Foundation is working with 50 organisations from 2020 – 22 to offer job opportunities for ‘outstanding artists, curators, producers and creatives’ from low socio-economic backgrounds. The posts now being advertised include a Curatorial Assistant at Museums Sheffield, Assistant Creative Project Producer at Dulwich Picture Gallery and Programme Assistant at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. One previous participant said “the placement made things possible for me that were just totally impossible and out of my reach otherwise.” Weston Jerwood Foundation, Weston Jerwood Foundation (short film), M + H
Museum Freelance report gives first snapshot of self-employment in the sector
The support and advocacy group Museum Freelance has published the results of its survey of 314 people self-employed across museums, libraries, galleries and archives. The report aims to fill a gap for robust data about this segment of the workforce and allow them to be recognised as an 'integral part of the sector's ecosystems'. Although the 2016 'Character Matters' report on sector employment suggested that 4.8% of workers are freelance, that figure is likely to be higher now, as opportunities shift to part time and short term projects. Respondents to the survey were 83% female, 94% white and half work part-time, alongside study or other employment. 89% strongly agree that they enjoy freelancing, but only 12% agree that the sector is good at supporting freelancers. The survey also gave insights into pay: a majority (56%) charge a day rate of £201 - £400, but a third of the sector charge under £200, and many point to a lack of understanding among employers of the costs implicit in a day rate. However, freelancers reported enjoying the flexibility and variety of their careers, citing other main challenges as 'imposter syndrome' and balancing time and competing interests. Museum Freelance
Taking Part statistical release for museums in 2019 – 20
DCMS has published Taking Part statistics for most of the sectors where it has oversight for 2019 – 20. Only the last week of the period was affected by lockdown, so these figures reflect the pre-covid situation. DCMS says that face-to-face data collecting did not take place in April 2020, hence that data won’t be available in the September 2021 release. Figures for museums show:
51% visited a museum or gallery in 2019 – 20, a figure similar to the previous year.
29% of the whole population visited once or twice in the year, with much smaller numbers attending more regularly (0.5% once a week, 4% once a month, 17% three or four times per year).
Visiting a museum or gallery website was up by 5% to 32% in 2019 – 20, with most (75%) doing so to find out about an exhibition or event.
A steady 54 – 55% of people aged 25 – 74 visited museums; only 45% of 16 – 24 year olds visit, and 36% of over 75s.
People who described their ethnicity as ‘mixed’ were the most likely to visit a museum (63%) followed by White (53%), other (42%), Asian (43%) and Black (28%).
Relative affluence and security markers make it more likely that people will visit a museum with homeowners (56%) more likely to visit than renters (32%) and workers (56%) visiting more than those not working (45%).
There is no significant difference in museum visiting by gender, or by urban and rural populations.
Taking Part statistics for other DCMS areas - 99% of under 45s now on social media
Figures for other DCMS areas including heritage, libraries and digital have also been released.
Statistics for the arts showed a similar level of engagement to previous year, at 76%. There is a relatively even spread of participation by age group, from 73 – 81% taking part from 16 to 74, dropping away to 64% among over 75s. There is a larger variation by deprivation, with the most deprived areas showing 59% engagement vs 83% in the least deprived.
A separate report showed that most children (96%) engaged with the arts during the year.
Library use has held broadly steady since 2016 – 17 and is currently at 34% - which still reflects a long term decline since 2005 – 6 when it was at 48%. Asian (at 42%) and Black and Other groups (both at 38%) were the most likely to use libraries, with White people the least likely to use them at 30%.
73% visited heritage sites (a figure which has remained similar for years), with the most popular reasons for attending being spending time with friends and family, or an interest in heritage. 5% of respondents had volunteered in a heritage setting in the previous 12 months. White people (at 75%) were much more likely to visit than Black (41%) or Asian people (60%).
Statistics for internet use showed that 93% have the internet in their household. 55% expressed a level of distrust in private firms in processing their data, and 37% distrusted Government. 65% had not used an emerging technology in the previous year, and only 20% had used a VR headset. 16% used an AR app in 2019 - 20. Predictably 95% of 16 – 24 year olds say they have a ‘high ability’ to use the internet, falling to 33% among over 75s.
A separate report on social networking sites showed that use was up 3% in the past year to 87%, with 51% accessing them several times per day and 29% once per day. Virtually all under 45s use social media to some extent (99%), dropping to 74% among 65 – 74 year olds, and 38% of those 75+.
Visits to archives are around 3% of the population in the past year, similar to 2018 – 19 (nb: for this sector there is a data sheet only and no narrative).
VocalEyes publishes results of its 2020 Museum and Heritage Access survey
VocalEyes has published the results of its 2020 Museum and Heritage Access survey, which measures how far the sector has developed in serving museum visitors with access needs. The previous 2018 survey was built around an audit of online access information: the 2020 survey shifted focus to look at the opinions of those who have access needs when visiting UK museums. Run from March 2020, the survey is based on asking people to reflect on pre-lockdown visiting experience. Findings include:
7 in 10 disabled visitors check online for information beforehand, only 1 in 5 would visit without having accessed such information.
52% had at least sometimes changed their minds about visiting because a facility they needed was not advertised; 46% say they have arrived to find staff have no knowledge of the facility they require.
The most popular cited access needs were an accessible toilet (53%), blue badge parking (47%), quiet times (44%), step free access (42%), audio description (39%) and provision for a personal assistant or companion (39%).
The top three things that would improve visiting experience are more access information (both online and by phone and email), more accessible events, ranging from audio-described to autism friendly, and better staff awareness.
Almost everyone surveyed (96%) said they wanted to visit more regularly. Where accessible events are provided, these are very popular, with 73% describing them as very important.
VocalEyes Chief Executive Matthew Cock emphasises that many of the changes that would improve access do not need ‘capital or major investment’ but are instead a matter of leadership, achievable with ‘creativity and collaboration’. VocalEyes is advocating #BuildingBackForAll on twitter, emphasising that access cannot be overlooked as the sector recovers from the coronavirus. VocalEyes
RSA and NLHF publishes Heritage Index, collating data from across museums and heritage
For a third time, RSA and NHLF have collaborated on a Heritage Index, drawing together 120 data points from already published statistical sets to create a picture of where heritage is flourishing in the UK and which places have potential to develop. This updates a previous report from 2016. As RSA’s Hannah Webster comments, the purpose of the index is not to highlight places that are ‘worst’ or ‘best’ for heritage – shaming some areas for a lack of historical sites, but rather to create a tool to track potential across a very wide range of heritage assets – which include parks and gardens and events which draw attention to overlooked sites – as well as well-visited infrastructure. She also adds that there is a new impetus to seek out local heritage strengths “lockdown has forced us to think more intensely about our local areas, and we’ve seen a colossal uptick in staycationers this year” Areas identified with high heritage development potential include Castle Point, near Southend, Chorley in Lancashire, and Redditch, Worcestershire. RSA, RSA (blog), M + H
CEBR report assesses how quickly the cultural sector will recover post Covid-19
A report commissioned by ACE from the Centre for Economics and Business Research in early October has assessed the extent of damage to culture through Covid-19 and likely recovery time. It found that:
GVA for museums is down £387m or 26.3% compared with what would be expected without covid, a higher percentage than the 23.1% reduction across culture in general. Music, performing and visual arts are also among the worst affected, down 25.8%.
The report estimates that £825m support from the Cultural Recovery Fund administered by ACE has helped culture to recover around a year sooner than it might have done – by 2022 rather than 2023.
Culture24 digital transformation report looks at instilling confidence across the workforce
Culture24 has written a report for Europeana discussing how positive digital transformation can take place in galleries, libraries, archives and museums.
It argues that Digital transformation does not necessarily consist of having access to the most cutting edge technology, commenting “it isn’t organisations that struggle to adapt to digital change, it’s the people within them. Real innovation lies in changing people’s working rhythms and building their confidence.” It is therefore important to address the ‘digital divide’ between the individuals and cultural organisations that feel welcomed by the digital environment, and those who feel threatened. Zak Mensah, newly appointed as joint CEO of Birmingham Museums Trust says “towards Christmas every year I tell people that our teams will give them advice on what technologies to buy for Christmas, to make sure they make the right choices because if they've got really expensive pieces of technology at home that don't work for them they're only going to be more scared when they come to work. And so I try and advise people on how to get the right laptop, the right mobile phone, because once they're comfortable with those things it's easier to import that across to their work environment.”
The report also looks at how agents of change can emerge (who may be ‘connectors’ at any level of the organisation). The Lab format can also act as an agent of change, with examples including Waag’s Future Heritage Lab in Amsterdam and Dark Matter Labs, which touches on culture as it discusses how to transition society in the light of technological revolution and climate breakdown.
It points to the digital social space as a place where issues of ‘equity, inclusion and access’ are playing out, and how digital culture itself is driving social change. It argues that no position that a GLAM takes can be truly politically neutral, and that organisations need to both equip staff with the skills to operate in these environments, document change, and identify their own voice and purpose.
The report includes a helpful index of useful funds, skilling up programmes and resources for creating good digital leaders. Europeana (full report), Dark Matter Labs, Future Heritage Lab, Medium (‘why digitally literate leadership is so important right now’)
DASH report captures view of digital from those working in heritage
The Digital Attitudes and Skills for Heritage (DASH) report has been published by NLHF based on survey responses from 4120 staff, volunteers and trustees of 281 heritage organisations. It gives a snapshot of attitudes to digital across the sector, although with a majority (68%) working for smaller organisations of less than 50 people. The report found that:
Levels of digital skills were relatively high, but there is poor knowledge of issues such as accessibility and copyright.
Most people had successfully grasped zoom and digital conferencing during lockdown, but confidence in ‘using social media to promote an event’ was relatively low at 53% of staff, 38% of trustees and 28% of volunteers.
For trustees, age and either a disinterest in learning digital skills or a fear that they might not learn the right ones were issues, sometimes compounded by poor rural connectivity.
Staff pointed to barriers including existing clunky IT systems and organisations too small to invest in digital. One commented “there's lots of online training out there; the time-consuming bit is tracking down what you want”.
The top reported short-term needs were around creating content, such as videos and podcasts (25%), marketing and communications (23%) and community building (18%).
NLHF’s recommendations include creating networks and communities of practice, particularly as many in the sector value learning in face-to-face settings and swapping skills, rather than just being pointed at online resources. Currently only one in six heritage workers get a chance to share their skills with others. It also suggests embedding conversations about digital into recruitment and appraisal, and having an organisation-wide skills audits to give clarity about strengths and needs. Volunteer roles aimed at attracting ‘digital enthusiasts’ may also be a positive step for some organisations. NLHF