BBC’s Art That Made Us Festival announced in collaboration with museums and galleries
The BBC has partnered with museums and galleries for a new ‘Art That Made Us’ Festival, which will run for 10 days in February 2022. Coinciding with a new major series on BBC Two of the same name, it will spotlight examples of the creativity included in UK collections, with programming including talks, displays, tours and workshops. Events will be promoted through the BBC’s networks, stations and digital platforms, to help cultural organisations draw in audiences, as well as on Culture24’s Museum Crush with BBC branding. All museums, galleries, libraries and archives are welcome as Festival Partners and no institution is too big or event too small. NMDC is among the stakeholders, alongside, Art UK, Art Fund, AIM, The Black Curriculum, Culture24, Libraries Connected, MA and the Scottish Libraries Information Council. The related ‘Art That Made Us’ television programme will be a new cultural history of the British Isles from the earliest recorded period to modern times, with each programme featuring eight – ten objects from museums and heritage sites that contribute to the narrative. BBC, BBC (sign up as Festival Partner)
On the Front Line: Arctic Museums and Climate Change
Coinciding with COP26, a virtual symposium ‘On the Front Line: Arctic Museums and Climate Change’ will convene speakers from museums located in or representing the Arctic to address climate change and the imminent threat it poses to the indigenous communities they serve. Two sessions cover the impact of climate change on indigenous communities and the collections and programmes that explore indigenous ways of life, with panelist from museums in Canada, Finland, Greenland, Norway, Sápmi, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. There will also be a keynote from Dr. Jago Cooper and Dr. Amber Lincoln who recently organised the exhibition ‘Arctic Culture and Climate’, with moderation from NMS Director Dr Chris Breward. The event is hosted by the National Nordic Museum in partnership with the Alliance of American Museums, NMDC, and the International Council of Museums. The event takes place on 2nd November from 3 – 5pm GMT, and the programme will be published by 12th October. Tickets are free. National Nordic Museum
NMDC is very pleased to welcome a new Administrator to the staff team, Eneque Charles. Eneque has previously worked in the HR and visitor services departments at Royal Museums Greenwich, where she worked closely with RMG’s executive team, and has a degree in history.
From mammoths to the Telford torc: BM and Shropshire Museums create new Partnership Gallery
The British Museum and Shropshire Museums are entering into a new partnership to create a renewed gallery at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, telling the story of the wetlands of the Shropshire Marches from the end of the last Ice Age to just before the arrival of the Romans. The Partnership Gallery will allow for greater display of the museum’s nationally significant Bronze Age collections, alongside a series of related loans from the British Museum. Star objects include three remarkably well-preserved woolly mammoth skeletons, discovered in a gravel pit near Condover, Shropshire in 1986 and estimated to be 12,800 years old. Iron Age items including the Telford torc and Claverley Stater Hoard will also be more prominently displayed. There will be opportunities for skill-sharing between both organisations, with British Museum curators advising on the redisplay. The new gallery is planned to open in 2024, but a Spotlight Loan of a gold pendant, found in Shropshire in 2018 and dated 1000 – 800BC is running at Shrewsbury Museum until early December this year. Jill Cook, BM’s Keeper for the Department of Britain, Europe & Prehistory said “being able to work with Shrewsbury and British Museum collections, data from the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and forensic evidence from recent excavations, it will be possible to explore the changing landscape, ecology and inhabitants over a period of some 10,000 years.”British Museum, My Shrewsbury, Finds database (Telford torc), Finds database (Claverley Stater Hoard), British Museum (Spotlight Loan)
NLS leads partnership to preserve fragile record of Covid-19 health information and misinformation
The National Library of Scotland is leading a new project to archive and explore online resources about the Covid-19 pandemic. The £231k project is funded by the Wellcome Fund, supported by the British Library and titled 'The Archive of Tomorrow: Health Information and Misinformation in the UK Web Archive'. NLS’s Joseph Marshall said “health advice, data and scientific evidence have been contested, revised, used and misused with dramatic and sometimes tragic consequences, and yet the digital record of this is fragile and difficult to access. How easy will it be in a few years’ time to source the tweets, blogs and news stories from the past 18 months and will we be able to make sense of it all? These are the questions we’ll be asking.”NLS
Museum of Childhood becomes Young V&A – and moves from nostalgia to a focus on under 14s
The V&A Museum of Childhood has been renamed Young V&A as part of a £13m makeover. The aim is to shift its focus from a social history institution where parents and grandparents relive their childhoods, to one focused on the interests and needs of under 14s. Over 70% of the costs have already been raised through private sources. V&A Director Tristram Hunt said that the new plan was shaped by the creative education needs of young people post-Covid-19. “The worry with the pandemic is that all the catch-up language is about lots and lots of maths and English classes, and not thinking about the social isolation and digital consumption and the need to getting back to looking at objects, playing, social interaction in a civic space. All these components we have slightly lost sight of.” When the museum reopens, young people will be invited to develop creative skills through performance, play and design, with an amphitheatre-style stage in Imagine, a free-play construction area in Play, and a working Open Studio in Design. The museum will reopen in 2023. Times, Museums Journal, Young V&A
New Science Museum gallery celebrates the work of technicians – from creating film visuals to building robots
The Science Museum has announced a major new interactive gallery ‘Technicians: The David Sainsbury Gallery’ that will open in autumn 2022, aimed at 11 – 16 year olds. It looks at the activities technicians perform, such as operating a manufacturing robot, creating visual effects on a blockbuster film set, fixing a wind turbine fault and analysing medicines in a laboratory. The gallery especially focuses on advanced manufacturing, creative industries, health science, and energy networks. Although 1.5m people work as technicians in the UK, few young people have a good understanding of what they do or aspire to work in the field, so the hope is that the gallery will generate greater interest in this career pathway, where 800,000 additional workers will be needed in coming years. Science Museum Director Sir Ian Blatchford said “technicians are long overdue their time in the spotlight, as one of the country's most vital teams, driving economic growth in an amazing range of sectors… [This is particularly important] at a time when young people are demanding better and earlier careers advice and the chance to shape a greener and more diverse economy.” Science Museum, Science Museum (press release), Evening Standard
Correction: Last month, we said that the National Archives project to archive 10 million MOD records would generate 33 linear km of records each year – in fact it will produce 33 linear km of records over the whole six years of the project. NMDC
Images this month come from the Fitzwilliam Museum's 'Gold of the Great Steppe' exhibition, which is now open and runs to the end of January. It explores the Saka culture of Central Asia, which flourished 2,500 years ago, is largely unknown outside Kazakhstan. It will present artefacts from the extraordinary burial mounds of the Saka people of East Kazakhstan, especially its gold work which frequently features animals both real and imagined. Guardian, Telegraph, Fitzwilliam Museum
ACE publishes the first Delivery Plan for its Let’s Create strategy
ACE has published the first Delivery Plan of its ten year Let’s Create strategy, outlining its priorities for the period 2021 – 24. Publication of the plan was delayed for a year due to the pandemic. Key points include:
It is built around five themes: a ‘fit for the future’ cultural sector, strengthening a place-based approach, increasing support for individuals, helping the sector work internationally, and how ACE will change.
Funded organisations are expected to use the delivery plan as a ‘blueprint’ to reset themselves to better support communities. A range of tools, development initiatives and funding will include the Reset & Innovation programme which will support cultural organisations to explore new business models, innovate around their mission, undertake mergers and establish shared service partnerships.
The plan identifies 54 priority places that will receive increased staff support and investment over the next three years. These range from Barrow in Furness to Enfield, South Tyneside, Peterborough, South Somerset and the Isle of Wight.
Internationally, ACE commits to helping the sector rebuild partnerships post-pandemic, and address the ‘significant disruption’ to existing ways of working for the cultural sector in the aftermath of Brexit.
It will take steps to make ACE itself more ‘inclusive and relevant’, creating a Youth Advisory Board, setting targets for a workforce, leadership and governance more representative of the country and undertaking an environmental review, with a launch to coincide with COP26.
In a blog, ACE’s Chief Executive Darren Henley said “by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where every one of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences.” ACE (twitter), ACE (Let’s Create ten year strategy), ACE (Henley blog), ACE (priority places), ACE (themes), Museums Journal
Launch of major £14.5m projects in the Towards a National Collection research programme
Towards a National Collection is a five-year Arts and Humanities Research Council funded research programme, exploring how thousands of disparate collections could be better connected in the future, for use by both academics and the public. After some initial pilot projects and events, AHRC has announced that it will invest £14.5m in five projects, using and developing emerging technologies, including machine learning and citizen-led archiving. Each project involves collaboration between a higher education institution and GLAM sector organisation and has up to a dozen partners from the UK and beyond. Tate, V&A, British Museum, BFI, National Museums of Scotland, National Trust, The Art Fund and Van Abbemuseum are among those involved. The five projects are:
‘The Congruence Engine: Digital Tools for New Collections-Based Industrial Histories’ – led by Science Museum Group and creating a prototype toolbox for everyone interested in industrial histories.
‘Our Heritage, Our Stories: Linking and searching community-generated digital content to develop a people's national collection’, led by the University of Glasgow.
‘Transforming Collections: Reimagining Art, Nation and Heritage’. Led by the University of the Arts London, with museum partners including Birmingham Museums Trust, Manchester Museum and Tate, the project addresses the idea that a national collection cannot be imagined without addressing structural inequalities in the arts, engaging debates around contested heritage, and revealing how contentious histories are innate in objects. The aim is to surface suppressed histories, amplify marginalised voices, and re-evaluate artists and artworks ignored or sidelined by dominant narratives.
‘The Sloane Lab: Looking back to build future shared collections’, will look at the vast collections of Sir Hans Sloane in public institutions, including the British Museum, British Library and Natural History Museum. Led by University College London and TU Darmstadt, it will create ‘the Sloane Lab’ – a digital online resource open to researchers and the public.
‘Unpath'd Waters: Marine and Maritime Collections in the UK’ will explore, and link together histories of the sea from Bronze Age wrecks to modern seaside resorts. Led by Historic England and English Heritage, it will make many records available for the first time.
Outcomes of each project will provide evidence-based policy recommendations that will guide digital investment policy within the UK. AHRC’s Executive Chair Professor Christopher Smith said “this moment marks the start of the most ambitious phase of research and development we have ever undertaken as a country in the space where culture and heritage meets AI technology. Towards a National Collection is leading us to a long term vision of a new national research infrastructure that will be of benefit to collections, researchers and audiences right across the UK.” Towards a National Collection, TaNC (twitter thread), TaNC, (project detail), Museums Journal
‘Excellence in Essex’: Firstsite Colchester wins Museum of the Year 2021
Firstsite, a contemporary arts organisation in Colchester, has won Art Fund’s £100k Museum of the Year Award for 2021. The gallery is ten years old and shows a diverse mix of historic, modern and contemporary art from around the world. It has also developed strong relationships with artists and the local community, dispelling the exclusiveness sometimes associated with contemporary art. During the pandemic, it lent its building to Community 360 to run a food bank, and created art packs which were downloaded 92,000 times and led to an art exhibition in people’s windows to create a nationwide gallery. It also offers free school meals in its café every school holiday. Its response to Black Lives Matter includes a downloadable work commissioned from Elsa James and the Super Black festival, celebrating black culture in Essex. Art Fund Director and Chair of judges Jenny Waldman said “they are an outstanding example of innovation and integrity. At their core is powerful, engaged contemporary art, housed in a gallery that gives space for everyone, from artists to NHS staff to local families and refugee groups. They exceeded all our expectations. Here is a small organisation thinking big and caring for their local community. Here is excellence in Essex.”
The other shortlisted museums were: Centre for Contemporary Art Derry- Londonderry Experience Barnsley, Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds and Timespan in North East Scotland, which will all receive £15k as a runner’s up prize. Art Fund, Art Newspaper (collection of articles on shortlist), Firstsite (film), Arts Industry, Art Newspaper, Museums Journal
Digital Culture Network invites entries to its first Digital Culture Awards
ACE and Digital Culture Network are launching the first Digital Culture Awards – celebrating digital and tech innovation in arts and culture. They invite entries to eight categories including digital storytelling, digital inclusion, income generation and emerging digital leader. There are no prizes, but there will be recognition for winning projects and in-kind support from tech sector partners in some categories. The deadline for applications is 10am on 8th November. Digital Culture Network
Brighton Museum wins Society for Museum Archaeology award – with a few days to apply for 2021
The Elaine Evans Archaeology Gallery at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery has been announced as winner of the Society for Museum Archaeology Annual Awards for Excellence 2020. Opened in 2019, it includes reconstructions of the faces of the earliest Brightonians, alongside sound, film and images. There are still a few days to apply for SMA’s 2021 awards, which close at midnight on 10th October. Royal Pavilion & Museums, SMA (apply for 2021)
Museums among the winners in Riba’s architectural awards, from IWM Paper Store to Aberdeen Art Gallery
Museums were among 54 winners of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) National Awards 2021. They include the Paper Store at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford and the refurbishment of Aberdeen Art Gallery, with Tintagel Castle Footbridge in Cornwall and Windermere Jetty Museum also nominated for the prestigious Stirling Prize. Museums Journal
National Consultation: Empire, Slavery and Scotland’s Museum
A public consultation has been launched into the views of people in Scotland on empire, slavery and Scotland’s museums – in particular, how the 200 year period when the wealth of the country was entwined with imperial trade and conquest should be discussed and represented. The consultation is run by an independent steering group led by Sir Geoff Palmer, sponsored by the Scottish Government. It is one strand of the wider £159k research programme of the ‘Empire, Slavery & Scotland’s Museums’ project, which will report to the Scottish Government in 2022. Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said: “museums should be inclusive and accessible spaces, where anyone is able to explore the more complex and challenging aspects of our history.” Sir Geoff Palmer said “I am a descendant of chattel slaves who were enslaved in Jamaica, 1655-1838. Many of the slave plantations were owned by Scots and Scottish surnames dominate Jamaica’s telephone directory… Please support this consultation process because its results will influence our recommendations to the Scottish Government. The aim is to improve the role which our museums and galleries play in informing the public of Scotland’s historical links to chattel slavery, empire and colonialism and the significant contributions Scotland’s black ethnic communities make to Scotland today.”MGS, National Consultation (open to responses from anyone in Scotland), Museums Journal
Also: The University of Strathclyde in association with Museums Galleries Scotland is running a survey on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) for those employed in Scottish heritage settings. MGS
Covid 19: Changing Culture? – CCV presents research on the new cultural landscape
The Centre for Cultural Value has announced a conference ‘Covid 19: Changing Culture?’ which looks at how the pandemic has shaped the sector over the past 15 months, based on data from its research programme. It draws from evidence collected with the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre and The Audience Agency. A full programme will be announced in coming weeks – join CCV’s newsletter to stay in the loop. The event takes place on 17th – 18th November. Tickets are £25, with some free to freelance practitioners. CCV, CCV (newsletter signup)
Digital Culture Network autumn programme: from CRMs to mobile marketing and Instagram
Digital Culture Network has published its programme for October and November, with topics including mobile marketing 101, growing an Instagram audience and the GoodCRM for arts, culture and charities. Events are free. DCN
The Centre for Cultural Value is holding an event presenting new cultural evaluation principles, evolved over the past year with a group of cultural professionals. It makes the case for a shift of focus from learning over outcomes, and towards the viewpoints of participants. The event takes place on 13th October from 2pm and is free. CCV
The Sporting Heritage Conference 2021 will cover topics including understanding audiences, memories, neurodiversity and evaluation as well as introducing a Sporting Heritage toolkit. The event takes place from 20th – 21st October and is free. Sporting Heritage
Spark! – new course for those leading independent museums in difficult times
The Association of Independent Museums is launching a new programme ‘Spark!’ to offer development for those in leadership roles in independent museums, particularly if they have experienced difficult times in the past 18 months. Guided by experienced consultants, a cohort of 12 will share experiences and take part in action learning sets and workshops online, as well as individual mentoring, with a look at topics including Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, recasting roles for returning volunteers, supporting your Board and senior management team – and leaving and moving on. The course runs from November 2021 to January 2022. It is largely funded by AIM, but participants are asked to contribute £50. The deadline for applications is 12th October. AIM
A webinar hosted by The Space, looking at the possibilities opened up by immersive technologies for cultural collections. Case studies include Heritage Storeys - A VR experience at the Herbert in Coventry, where visitors explored the history of the museum's ichtyosaur skull in a time-travelling lift; The National Holocaust Centre and Museum’s Forever Project, capturing testimony from Holocaust survivors, and Cornish Tales – an immersive audio experience, using stories, songs and oral histories from the archives of Cornwall Museums Partnership. The event takes place on 21st October from 11am and is free. The Space
ACE investment principles for those working with children and young people
The creative education group A New Direction is holding a series of webinars looking at ACE’s four investment principles of ambition and quality, dynamism, environmental responsibility and inclusivity and relevance. The series will help organisations understand the principles and embed them into their plans. All four events are free and run from November 2021 to February 2022. A New Direction
MuseumNext is holding a digital learning summit, showcasing 40 speakers over three days and looking at the rapid development of new post-pandemic platforms and forms. Topics include creating successful hybrid events, videogame toolkits for teachers and imagining a new model for museum field trips. The event takes place from 18th – 20th October, with early bird places now extended until 8th October. Tickets range from £25 - £240, with a pricing structure offering significant reductions for students, freelances and teams. MuseumNext
Museums in six regions of England plus Wales are invited to take part in a new Equity and Inclusion course. Over ten online sessions from November 2021 – March 2022, participants will cover how equity and inclusion relates to audiences, workforce (whether paid or voluntary) governance and programme. It will teach how to use language in the area with confidence and remove internal and external barriers to better practice. Run in partnership with NoBarriers, it will help each organisation create its own action plan and offer one to one support. The deadline for applications is 5pm on 21st October. AIM
The British Institute of International and Comparative law is offering a short course introducing cultural heritage as an international legal concept, considering how it fits within the international human rights framework. It will discuss threats to cultural heritage, including trafficking, armed conflicts, and development. It will also cover international instruments that have been adopted over the past decades to protect cultural heritage, and a session focused on restitution matters, considering past return processes. The event takes place over five sessions from 8th – 12th November, tickets are £275. BIICL
RAISE: Chartered Institute of Fundraising tailored fundraising training for arts and culture
The Chartered Institute of Fundraising is offering a four year programme of training and events, aimed specifically at those working in arts and culture. The RAISE programme is funded by ACE, and strands include networking, events, attendance bursaries, mentoring for early career fundraisers, and opportunities to gain professional qualifications. The programme is run in partnership with the Chartered Institute's Cultural Sector Network, Black Fundraisers UK and Young Arts Fundraisers. Chartered Institute of Fundraising
New Scottish digital development courses for leaders, teams and individuals
Museums Galleries Scotland is launching two strands of training, to develop digital skills for individuals and across organisations, both aimed to create people-centric confidence, rather than impose top-down new practices. The options are:
‘Digital Literacy for Leadership’, co-funded by MGS and Art Fund, which will support up to 15 organisations across Scotland. In each, an organisation leader and digital leader will work together on the vision and practical aspects of delivery. Training will begin in April 2022 and last for 18 months, with a minimum of six training days. The deadline for applications is 29th
‘Talking Digital Coaching Conversations’ is a pilot programme to help people have greater understanding of digital in their roles and organisations – helping to give confidence and identify the next steps on each person’s digital development journey. The programme begins on 7th December and last for five months, including 1-2-1 coaching sessions and mentor check-in sessions. It is especially aimed at people in the Scottish museum sector with low skills and/or confidence around using digital skills and software. Applications open on 18th October and close on 31st
DASH survey helps organisations see their digital strengths and weaknesses
The Digital Attitudes and Skills for Heritage (or DASH) survey is running for a second year, giving participants insight into the digital skills and attitudes of staff and volunteers. This structure then gives insight to identify areas for improvement. When an organisation signs up, a survey link arrives within a week to be shared by teams so that every member of staff can anonymously complete the survey. Participants need to collect at least ten survey responses but this can be a mix of staff, volunteers, trustees, and consultants for smaller organisations. The survey is funded by NLHF and available in English and Welsh. The deadline for completing the form is 1st November. DASH survey, DASH survey (FAQs, including survey questions)
Also: ACE has published a new report on ‘Digital Inclusion and Exclusion and the Cultural Sector’. Taking its quotes largely from theatre, it also draws from a cultural sector-wide literature review and points out that although 2 million people are ‘offline’, there are 17 million more who only use it for very limited purposes. ACE/Good Things Foundation
Export bar for 17th century busts of Aristotle and Homer
Two marble busts showing Aristotle and Homer, dated to the early 17th century have received an export bar. Attributed to sculptor Giuliano Finelli, they are from the art collection of the Earls of Derby and have been valued at £850k + VAT. The export bar runs to 20th December, with a possible extension to 20th March. Gov.uk
‘Collaborate’ fund supports joint research between cultural sector and academia
The Centre for Cultural Value is launching a new grants scheme, ‘Collaborate’ aimed at supporting joint research between cultural sector practitioners and academics. Pilot project participant Becky Parnell of Manchester Camerata said “there are so many questions that those working in the cultural sector want to answer, but we don’t have the time, the expertise, the space, particularly in the current climate to investigate those questions. So this felt exactly what we needed.” The programme will support around 15 projects, with grants from £5k - £15k. The fund opens to applications from the cultural sector from 18th October – 24th November, with a round for academics to apply from 6th December – 26th January. There is a webinar for those interested on 12th October. CCV (overview), CCV (webinar), CCV (guidance to discover what research already exists before planning an application)
ACE’s Capital Investment Programme helps adjust buildings for tech, environmental and post-pandemic recovery purposes
ACE has opened a new Capital Investment Programme, to help non-national museums in England adjust buildings in ways that will be widely beneficial, including creating greater safety post-pandemic, improving access, seizing technological opportunity and reducing environmental impact. Grants of £100k - £750k are available, and ACE is open to applications by partners. Museums must either be accredited or working towards accreditation to apply. The fund is open for Expressions of Interest for three weeks – from 5th – 26th October (closing at noon) – with the application process then open from 10th November – 13th December ( closing at noon) ACE, MDNW
Partner Up fund invites organisations to find ‘unlikely allies’ to create art for social change
A new ‘Partner Up’ fund is offering up to £30k per project for ‘unlikely’ partnerships to create high profile art for social change in communities, encouraging arts and non-arts organisations to work together. The fund is a collaboration between Take Note Labs, Collaborative Change and Footwork Trust. Applications open on 5th October. Take Note
New stories, new audiences fund offers up to £15k for small museums
Small museums with up to 20,000 visitors are invited to apply for up to £15k from AIM’s ‘New Stories, New Audiences’ Fund, to help them stay relevant to audiences and increase impact. Projects might include new interpretation, a small exhibition, new tours, volunteering opportunities or creating art works. The closing date for applications is 31st October. AIM
Loneliness Engagement fund opens for funds up to £50k
The Government has launched its Loneliness Engagement Fund, which offers £15k - £50k to philanthropic and charitable organisations with a track record of working in this area, and able to offer activity specifically addressed to loneliness (general group programming is not sufficient). It is particularly aimed at 16 – 24 year olds, disabled, unemployed and lower-income people, those living alone or with mental health conditions. The deadline for applications is 13th October, and funds must be spent by March 2022. Gov.uk
Art Fund’s ‘Reimagine’ fund closes soon - with first round recipients creating projects around Minecraft and mindfulness
The third and final round of the £2m Reimagine fund will close on 11th October. Through it, the Art Fund offers £5k - £50k for work which supports organisations as they reimagine their work post-pandemic, as well as helping them build expertise, capacity and connections within and outside the sector. 22 applicants shared £660k of support in the first round, including Norton Priory Museum and Gardens, which will revisit its Augustinian roots to provide a 21st century place for well-being and mindfulness; a community quilt-making group at Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute and the Story Museum's 'Young Curators: Minecraft Museum' which will co-curate three new Minecraft realms inspired by collections, with 14 - 18 year olds. Art Fund (apply), Art Fund (first round successful applicants), Arts Industry
'We’ll need glitter, lots of glitter' National Gallery offers My Little Pony trail using AR app
The National Gallery has unveiled a My Little Pony themed AR treasure hunt of its galleries, as part of a partnership with Netflix as it launches the film ‘My Little Pony: A New Generation’. The app will allow visitors to wander the galleries transforming iconic horse paintings such as Stubbs’ ‘Whistlejacket’ into the cartoon animals, created by children’s artist Rachael Saunders. The film is described by Apollo’s ‘curmudgeonly’ journalist Rakewell as ‘hav[ing] a sense of humour about itself’ as it calls for ‘glitter, lots of glitter’ in the trailer; other commentators have been less open-minded, criticising the partnership as ‘mawkish and banal’. The National Gallery commented “the unrestricted funding that this provides enables the gallery to continue to work to deliver on core objectives, and enable free access to art for everyone.” The maxwell museums newsletter points out that with My Little Pony owners Hasbro worth $4bn and Netflix valued at $200bn, this is likely to be a profitable revenue stream for the National Gallery for a modestly sized project. maxwell museums (newsletter signup in footer), Belfast Telegraph, Apollo, MuseumNext
British Museum mints NFTs of 200 Hokusai works, with platforms springing up keen to work with museums
The British Museum has released non fungible tokens for digital postcards of 200 works by Katsushika Hokusai from its collections. The plan is a partnership with the new NFT platform LaCollection, which launched in late September, which will specialise in museums and institutional collections. The Hokusai postcards will feature very well-known works such as ‘The Great Wave’ and previously unseen images from his recently re-discovered ‘The Great Big Picture Book of Everything’. Sales of British Museum NFTs on the LaCollection site will be a mix of fixed-price and auctioned pieces – with the museum and platform also getting a cut if the NFTs are subsequently resold. BM Licensing Manager Craig Bendle said “we are very excited to partner with LaCollection and explore innovative ways to engage with the growing NFT market, it is so important that as a museum we continually adapt to new markets and find new ways of reaching people that we may not reach through traditional channels.” Earlier this year the Whitworth announced it would be minting NFTs both as the underpinning of an exhibition, and to fund work for social good, including its environmental programme. Meanwhile the Hermitage Museum in Saint Peterburg has auctioned NFTs, both turning a profit and exploring how the art and NFT worlds intersect. A second platform, Pass it Down, has also recently launched specifically to work with museums and cultural organisations. However, there remains concern about the high carbon footprint of the cryptocurrencies through which NFTs are sold, and the difficulty in getting accurate data on the environmental impact of transactions. Guardian, Art Newspaper, Museum Next (Pass it Down), British Museum, Art News, (carbon footprint and NFTs), Fast Company, UK Fundraising (Whitworth), Art Newspaper (Hermitage)
Curator creates feature film on climate crisis drawing from NLS collections
National Library of Scotland curator Dr Emily Munro has created a new feature length touring film which explores our historic relationship with the causes of the climate crisis. 'Living Proof' draws from film, photography and written records held by NLS to bring together voices including corporates, news reporters, protesters and the general public from across time. The film will be shown at around 20 venues across Scotland this autumn before and during the United Nations COP26 climate summit. Emily Munroe said “I made the film to contribute to the conversation on climate breakdown and recovery. Decisions taken in the past continue to reverberate in our society and it is vital that we understand both the origin and the impact of these as we work out what to do to preserve life on our planet. Films such as ‘Power for the Highlands’ (1943) tell us how the government tried to tackle the problems of energy and job shortages in Scotland after the Second World War by implementing a huge hydroelectricity plan. But less grandiose productions, such as ‘On Site Torness’ (1979), document the importance of non-violent collective action to our environmental story. I look forward to sharing this film with communities throughout the country.” NLS
Floodlight your building in green for WWF’s #ArtForYourWorld campaign – or join in on Instagram
The World Wildlife Fund and curatorial collective Artwise are partnering for a COP26 campaign event, #ArtForYourWorld, encouraging environmental awareness and work between the art and nature conservation worlds. Museums and galleries are invited to floodlight their buildings with green light on November 5th, and also to take part in a social media campaign on Instagram. Those already signed up to take part include Tate Modern, Hastings Contemporary, Chiswick House & Gardens, the Natural History Museum, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales. Art For Your World
#MuseumCarbonStories social media campaign runs to November
The #MuseumCarbonStories social media campaign is underway, an opportunity for museums to share what actions they have been taking against climate change – whether that is in building maintenance, the circular economy and reusable materials or public engagement and exhibitions. There is a new theme each week, with biodiversity and animal welfare until 10th October, followed by green technology, clean air and energy, light bulb moments and what will we do next. The campaign is being run by the Roots and Branches programme, which plans to train hundreds of museum professionals to become carbon literate over the next year. MDNW
V&A and BMT latest museums to unveil zero carbon plans – from buildings to travel policies
V&A has announced ambitious targets to reach net zero carbon in the next few years, aiming for 2035. Its plans include a low carbon travel policy covering object transport, business travel and employee commuting, which should reduce travel carbon by 30% by 2022. The museum will also use its exhibitions and programming to raise the issue. Meanwhile Birmingham Museums Trust, which has had an environmental policy for a decade is now unveiling a more public one – with a plan to reach net zero carbon by 2040 – or faster if it can. Inspiring the Birmingham public to take action hand in hand with the museum is a crucial part of the strategy. Museums Journal, BMT (climate pledge), BMT (short film)
Museums programming events and exhibitions about environmental sustainability and the climate emergency before or during COP26 are encouraged to list them on the Culture at COP website. Created by several partners including Museums Galleries Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland, the site promotes cultural events from across the whole of the UK and internationally – whether in person or online. Culture at COP
Good Journey: how to become a cycle friendly museum and increase car-free journeys
Cycling has increased by 300% since the beginning of the pandemic, with bicycle sales up by 63%, and a greater proportion of women and families getting around in this way. MGS has published a succinct guide to help museums become more cyclist friendly, pointing to support funds and organisations specific to Scotland, but also giving more general advice applicable everywhere. It suggests setting an initial target of 10% of visitors arriving by bike, and making more space available for a variety of bicycle types, including tricycles. Meanwhile the website Good Journey lists cultural sites which offer support for arriving at their venue car free. Blenheim Palace is among the success stories, having grown its car free visitors by 500% in a few years, from 5.5k in 2017 to 30k in 2019. MGS, Good Journey (promote car-free journeys to your attraction), Guardian (women’s cycling trips increase by 50% in 2020)
Tate offers a snapshot of its sustainable shop – from vegetable inks to recycled polyester
Tate has created a brief overview of the steps it is taking to become part of the circular economy – creating new revenue-generating products, without adding to waste and landfill. It is inviting consumers to bring in an old t-shirt for recycling, to get 10% off a new Tate t-shirt made from organic materials or recycled polyester and vegan inks. Books and prints are also produced on FSC certified or recycled paper, and the gallery has banished plastics from its packaging. Tate
Economic and tourism benefits of environmental sustainability at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum
A case study describing the new, environmentally friendly Robert Burns Birthplace Museum offers a picture of the multiple benefits of its green technologies. Its green roof, planted with sedum, cools the building in summer and heats it in the winter; an earth-to-air heat exchanger provides space conditioning throughout the year, and Douglas Fir timber cladding is local to Scotland. This has created a space where the museum’s 5,000 collection items are well preserved and mostly on open display to the public, while the building itself and its environmental innovations have become part of the attraction and public programming. The museum has significantly increased tourism to Alloway and Ayrshire, with 300,000 visitors each year, as well as creating 50 full and part time jobs. MGS
Also: SWG3, a nightclub in Glasgow, is piloting a new technology which uses heat given off by dancers as an energy source that can be stored for weeks. The BODYHEAT project involves installing boreholes to transport and store the heat. Glasgow Times
'Worst flooding in two centuries' swamps Ljubljana cultural institutions
In the latest instance of sudden and severe flooding in Europe, 96 litres of rain fell in one hour on the Slovenian capital Ljubljana on 29th September, resulting in the flooding of its cultural institutions. Floods entered the galleries and storage of the Moderna museum, causing extensive damage to infrastructure, although staff were able to move an exhibition of Picasso graphics in time to prevent damage. Meanwhile SNG Drama Ljubljana posted images of water cascading down its staircases. The flood is the worst to take place in the country for two centuries. Art Newspaper
Former Science Museum Director changes position on oil sponsorship
Climate scientist and former Science Museum Director Chris Rapley has resigned from the museum’s advisory board, in opposition to its ‘willingness to accept oil and gas sponsorship’. This is a shift in his view since he worked closely with Shell on the Science Museum climate exhibition, ‘Atmosphere’, in 2011. He now says that “given the reality of the climate crisis, the need to abolish fossil fuels as quickly as possible, and analyses such as the recent Carbon Tracker Report which bring into question the commitment of the oil and gas companies to do so, I disagree with the group’s ongoing willingness to accept oil and gas company sponsorship.” However, he added “it is a matter of judgment whether uncompromising public protest or ‘soft diplomacy and persuasion’ offer the best way to influence their actions. The Science Museum Group has adopted the latter approach and I respect the Group’s right to arrive at that decision.” Responding, SMG Director Sir Ian Blatchford said “we respect his decision to step down from his advisory role and he will remain a critical friend, his view much valued in our assessments.” City AM, Belfast Telegraph, Evening Standard, M+H, Museums Journal, Art Newspaper
Smithsonian visitors invited to swim with the (virtual) orcas
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in the US has created a new AR experience, ‘Critical Distance’, in which visitors experience life inside an endangered orca pod, as it deals with marine noise pollution and vessel disturbances to hunt for food and survive. The aim is to create a greater sense of connection with marine life, after which visitors are encouraged to support marine conservation. Blooloop,
Julie’s Bicycle environmental report measures the progress of ACE-supported cultural organisations
Julie’s Bicycle has published its environmental report for 2019 – 20, covering 636 National Portfolio Organisations funded by ACE, up to the first fortnight of the pandemic. It also tracks results from 30 Spotlight organisations, building-based groups – including museums - with particularly high emissions, seeking to make steeper cuts. It found that:
During the year, ACE-funded NPOs undertook 7.5m km in touring, used over 1bn litres of water, and produced 5,263 tonnes of waste. However, 47% of electricity was procured on a green tariff.
By discipline, combined arts produced 31% of the total sectoral footprint, followed by museums (24%), theatre (17%) and visual arts (15%) – with the size of each discipline and its reliance on buildings or touring as a factor.
Total energy use from electricity and gas decreased by 12% compared to 2018-19 (based on consistent data from 346 buildings).
Investment in green tech is up 4%, with 17% of organisations now using renewable technologies such as solar photovoltaic panels and electric vehicles and/or EV charging points. Meanwhile company vehicle ownership is down, replaced by car club schemes or low emissions taxi services.
The Spotlight group of sector leaders on environment reduced its emissions by 18% since the previous year.
Organisations reported wider benefits to environmental action: 48% had financial benefits, 67% said it improved team morale and 43% had reputational benefits.
70% of NPOs are on their way to eliminating single use plastic.
29% (up from 23% the previous year) are including environmental themes in their artistic briefs.
As the UK moves into a post-Covid period, 65% of organisations are expecting a greater emphasis on environmental issues, and for the pandemic to create an openness to change and new practice. Additionally, the Colour Green Lab was launched in 2021, for creatives of colour to explore the issues and the intersect of culture and climate justice. Julie’s Bicycle, Julie’s Bicycle, Julie’s Bicycle (Colour Green Lab), Julie’s Bicycle (Spotlight programme)
National Archive publishes new guidance on orphan works
The National Archives, working with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), has published guidance on the Orphan Works Licensing Scheme (OWLS) for archives. The aim of the guidance is to provide advice and practical steps for custodians of archival collections on the reasonable searches to identify rights owners that are required by OWLS. The reasonable search, a relatively small, predictable cost where there is a single right holder, becomes daunting when collections featuring hundreds of different authors are under consideration. But this guidance intends to provide a pathway through the process to enable custodians to license materials from their collections with confidence, secure in the knowledge that they are following an approach agreed by the IPO. The Chief Executive and Keeper of The National Archives, Jeff James, said: “this guidance can help archives and other cultural sector bodies open up their collections containing Orphan Works, to digitisation projects and other licensed re-uses. It’s all part of maximising access to and use of our wonderful collections, enhancing their value for us all”.National Archives
Successfully managing archives in museums: a new short guide
The Association of Independent Museums has published a new short guide, ‘Successfully Managing Archives in Museums’, in partnership with the National Archives. It helps museums identify which parts of the collection meet the definition of an archive, and when these will have particular collection care needs. AIM
The National Archives is hosting an event aimed at archives, conservation professionals interested in promoting environmental sustainability in the sector. It includes case studies of recently-completed projects and actions to take now. The event takes place on 8th and 10th October over two 90 minute sessions, and is free. National Archives
New report shows how Covid-19 reduced number of working class employees in culture
The Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre has published a new report as part of its three-year ‘Class in the Creative Industries' programme’. Focusing particularly on advertising, fashion, publishing and screen, it also gives insights for creative industries as a whole, including museums. It found that:
Only 58% of people in creative occupations feel that their job is secure, compared to 77% of the workforce as a whole.
The number of people from working class backgrounds in museums, galleries and libraries declined by 2.4% from June – September 2020, from 37.1% to 34.7%. The figures suggest that the greater the pandemic hit on a particular sector, the greater the exit of working class people: for Film and TV, the decline was 4%.
37% of those working in museums, galleries and libraries said they had undertaken an unpaid internship, similar to Film and TV (36%). Advertising and Marketing was the highest at 46%.
If the creative industries were as diverse as the economy as a whole, an additional 263,200 would be working in the sector.
Social mobility commission launches diversity and inclusion toolkit for the creative industries
The Government’s Social Mobility Commission has produced a new ‘Socio-economic Diversity and Inclusion toolkit’ for employers in the creative industries. With partners across the sector, including the Museums Association, it addresses how to overcome inequalities in employment. Currently, 52% of those employed are from high socio-economic backgrounds, although they make up only 37% of the population – and the prevalence of unpaid internships has made taking first steps impossible for those who cannot afford to work for free. Family and social connections can also shape who gets hired for project work. Data shows that together museums, galleries and libraries recruit the highest proportion of people from working class backgrounds in the sector at 37% (though in 2020 that fell to 34.7%), and advertising, music, performing and visual arts the lowest at 23%. The toolkit explains how organisations can benchmark progress, and lists ‘must have’ interventions – including removing qualification barriers, using inclusive language, addressing the barrier created by unpaid internships, having progression interviews with all staff and reducing progression through informal networks, which give unfair advantage to those from privileged backgrounds. Museums Journal, Gov.uk
Creative Majority report call for sector-wide action on equality of access to the cultural sector
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Creative Diversity, has published a new report ‘Creative Majority’ which looks at the transformations the sector will have to undertake to be meaningfully inclusive. Recommendations include:
Government should do more to draw attention to the provisions of the Equality Act 2010, and should also consider the calls from AHRC and Creative PEC for a Freelance Commissioner.
ACE and BFI should make funding dependent on strict compliance with the Equality Act.
Organisations should set targets for creative diversity, including in the freelance workforce.
Giving those responsible for EDI time and resources to be proactive in recruitment networks and thoroughly understand the sources of a diverse candidate pool.
DCMS should disseminate toolkits supporting access to jobs within the creative economy.
Work to stop the informal networks, hidden decision-making processes and ‘gut reactions’ that still dominate parts of the creative economy, from creating barriers and discrimination for those outside those networks.
Organisations should not use unpaid interns or hire contractors that do so.
They should also offer flexible work, job sharing, working from home and part-time work as default for all positions, or give clear reasons why not.
APPG Chair, Baroness Deborah Bull said “change will only happen if equality, diversity and inclusion are not left to any one individual or team but are understood as the responsibility of everyone, at every level of every creative organisation: firmly rooted at the heart of business, funding, engagement and commissioning plans.” Arts Industry, Kings College London (full report), Broadcast
Review of DMOs in England calls for more structured approach to better support tourism recovery
An independent review of Destination Management Organisations has reported back to Government with proposals to make the bodies more structured and clearer in their purpose. Recommendations include:
Moving away from the ‘DMO’ term which is confusing for some, and instead refer to ‘nationally accredited Tourist Boards’, which it suggests should be headed by VisitEngland, with new funding for its leadership role.
The Government should also offer central funding to the restructured group of bodies for work that fits with Government priorities including sustainability, skills, inclusive tourism and levelling up.
Rapidly introducing a previously proposed Tourism Data Hub, so that local authorities can develop the visitor economy supported by relevant information.
DMOs should diversify their Boards and income streams, and keep staff skills up to date.
Tourism policy currently cuts across a variety of departments, again creating a disjointed and confusing picture. It suggests that Tourism Minister should be elevated to a Minister of State position, who will either draw together responsibilities previously sitting under other departments, or be responsible for teams working across multiple departments.
AIM Chair Andrew Lovett welcomed the review and its recommendations as useful to revitalising the sector post-Covid. He said “ensuring DMOs have a cohesive approach across England, deliver above and beyond marketing, can access quality data, and are a strong voice in regional decision making is essential to making the most of the vital place tourism can play place in the recovery.”AIM (summary), Gov.uk (full report), VisitBritain
Liverpool seeks to regain World Heritage Site status – while stressing its loss has not affected tourism
The city of Liverpool, which was stripped of its UNESCO World Heritage Site status in the summer, is now planning to try to get it back in a scaled-down approach, potentially covering the ‘Three Graces’ (the Royal Liver building, Cunard building and Port of Liverpool building along the waterfront) and St George’s Hall – although the city is still internally discussing its plans. However, Liverpool’s Head of Heritage Preservation and Development, Alan Smith, said that tourism had not been impacted by the loss of the World Heritage Site label. Guardian
Rethinking visitor numbers and international tourism
The Musée d’Orsay in Paris is among those recalibrating to a new reality with a long term prediction of fewer international tourists – a situation also faced by many UK national museums. Its new President Christophe Leribault comments “the museum public has changed a little… [There are] a lot less foreign tourists, of course, but also more young people who, unable to travel or go out, have rediscovered museums. In fact, I believe this is a good time to refocus. Orsay can no longer be a tourist factory. The French, the Parisians in particular, and the public usually inhibited by museums, must be able to reclaim places.” Meanwhile, at an event in London, Tate Director Maria Balshaw said that the group will not prioritise visitor numbers, because of the climate impact, especially from those flying – which forms the largest fraction of Tate’s carbon footprint. She said “of course I don’t want to stop visitors to a museum. But the idea that you can define the best museum by the most people coming — I do want to challenge that.”. She added “we all should be doing this, but until the last two years many parts of the sector weren’t doing it or were still pretending it’s not really their problem”.Evening Standard, Art Newspaper
British Council faces closing up to 20 offices, from Australia to Namibia
The British Council is expected to close up to 20 of its offices and cut 20% of its staff. A British Council spokesperson said “due to the impact of Covid-19 on our commercial income, which we previously used to subsidise programming, and an overall decline in our grant budget compared to pre-Covid levels, we face a significant funding gap. As a result of a ministerial decision, we will no longer be able to spend Grant-in-Aid in as many countries as we do today.” The British Council is still assessing what this will mean in each country, but it is proposing:
Remote programming from a neighbouring country in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland.
An end to programming in Afghanistan, Australia (following completion of the UK/Australia cultural season in 2022), Belgium, Canada, Chile, Namibia, New Zealand, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, USA and Uruguay.
Its ODA grant has reduced from £161m pre-covid (2019-20) to £143m in 2021-22 which is an 11% reduction.
The non-ODA grant for 2021-22 is £36m (in comparison to £19m pre covid, 2019-20). However, combined with the reduction of commercial income which was impacted by the pandemic, which it previously used to supplement its non-ODA budget, this is a 20% reduction in total non-ODA budget compared to 2019-20. Its teaching revenue is not expected to pick up again until 2023.
Announcing the change in the Commons, Foreign Office Minister Nigel Adams argued that the British Council could still make an impact ‘in a digital world’ without an office in country. Former British Council Director Arts Graham Sheffield was among those criticising the cuts, saying they are at odds with a vision of Global Britain. He added “nothing beats going to a play, a talk or a workshop, doing it online is a poor substitute. It could be an adjunct to live work but never a replacement”. The British Council All Party Parliamentary Group also called for no further closures in a recent report.Arts Industry, Art Newspaper, Taitmail, Politico, British Council (APPG report), Art Newspaper (comment from artists)
If you were forwarded this by someone else, and would like to sign up to receive the NMDC newsletter monthly in your inbox, visit our website here and drop your email address in the box to the right of the page.