Technicians: Science Museum announces Marvel among the partners for its new gallery
The Science Museum has announced that movie makers Marvel Studios will be one of four partners working with it on its new gallery ‘Technicians: The David Sainsbury Gallery’ which is opening in November. It will also be collaborating with the NHS, National Grid and the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to show the vast range of jobs that technicians perform. Around 1.5m people work as technicians in the UK, with careers spanning archaeology, veterinary nursing and welding – but the roles are often poorly understood by the public, meaning that too few young people aspire to follow this career path. Part of the new gallery will be a reconstruction of Shuri’s Lab from the film ‘Black Panther’, where visitors can re-enact the role of film set lighting technician. Other jobs featured include technicians who make bespoke drugs for patients, operate wind turbines or pilot remotely operated vehicles on the floor of the ocean. Education groups can already book ahead to visit the gallery from November 3rd. Evening Standard, M+H, Science Museum
NHM's planned science park site to support research from food security to the climate emergency
The Natural History Museum has reached an agreement to open its major new science and digitisation centre at Thames Valley Science Park in Shinfield, part of the University of Reading. The new £180m facility will enable major international scientific collaboration, generating big data and contributing to insights into major world issues from global advancements in food security to biodiversity conservation, medicine discovery and addressing the climate emergency. The centre was previously planned for Harwell Campus – the shift will provide better value for money, and the chance to collaborate with new and existing partners including The British Museum, which also has space on the site.
This will be the largest collections move by the museum since the 1880s, with 27 million specimens (from mammals to corals and molluscs) being transferred, representing a third of NHM’s collections, alongside 5,500m of library and archive material. The bespoke accommodation will prevent collections from decaying – and open up new space at NHM in London for visitors and galleries. The centre, which should be completed by 2026, has been funded by DCMS as part of the Government’s priority to invest in R&D. NHM Director Douglas Gurr said “The University of Reading has a world-class reputation for teaching and research and there is enormous scope for collaboration on shared areas of scientific specialisms from climate science to agriculture and forestry, biodiversity loss and emerging diseases. We look forward to joining the lively community of ambitious, knowledge-based organisations at Thames Valley Science Park and forging closer relationships with institutions already based there.”NHM, BBC, Museums Journal
Birmingham Museum Trust mansion becomes site for new campus for neurodivergent young people
Aston Hall, a Grade I listed 17th-century mansion which is part of Birmingham Museums Trust, will become home to a new campus for neurodivergent young people. Pinc College, a network of colleges for creative SEND education will occupy a new base in the stables of the visitor attraction. Students aged 16 – 25 will pursue an art-based education as well as getting access to arts opportunities across BMT’s nine other museum and heritage sites. Kimberley Biddle, Museum Manager for BMT’s Historic Properties, said: “Aston Hall is a magnificent setting, and we look forward to the students exploring the richness of the building as part of their creative learning.”BMT
RAMM About Town: Exeter Museum partners on consultation on the future of the high street
The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter is among the partners for a new pop-up public consultation on the future of the high street, ‘RAMM About Town’. The programmed pop-up space is based in a former GAP shop on Exeter High Street for a month until 11th June. Inside, visitors are given information charting the evolution of the street over the past 2,000 years, alongside opportunities to create their own ideas for the city centre in LEGO and Minecraft sessions. To give perspective, there will be the opportunity to handle some of RAMM’s related collections and a presentation from the local archaeology project A Place In Time. Other partners are University of Exeter, Exeter City Council and Art Work Exeter who are together thinking about how high streets can evolve. City Council Director of Planning and Development Ian Collinson said “we are excited to offer the public the opportunity to let us know what they think about the future of their High Street, in a fun and creative way. The feedback we receive will feed into the Exeter Plan, informing the development of our wonderful city.”RAMM
Images this month: ‘once in a lifetime’ acquisition for Derby and a Coronation Park at Beamish
Derby Museum and Art Gallery has been gifted ‘Self Portrait at the Age of About Forty’ by Joseph Wright of Derby, through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme, plus other major donations including £2.27m from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. The museum describes it as a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to acquire an exceptional work, which also contains a sketch of his most famous painting ‘An Experiment on the Bird in the Air Pump’ on the verso. Meanwhile, timed for the Platinum Jubilee, Beamish has just opened its Coronation Park as part of its 1950s town, complete with playground, miniature golf course, sandpit, giant draughts board and football area. BBC, ITV, Beamish, Derby Telegraph, Guardian, Derby Museums
Third Art Fund directors’ survey on pandemic impacts track ‘plans beyond mere survival’
The Art Fund has published its third survey of museum directors, tracking the two years since the start of the pandemic, and its impact on museums. The latest survey shows museums moving beyond survival mode and into recovery, with some positive developments, but also lasting fragility at both a personal and organisational level. The report shows that:
Visitors are at 61% of pre-pandemic levels, but with noticeable losses of international and older audiences. The latter were backbone visitors for many museums during the week, and formed the majority of coach parties. Their absence has made audience profiles look younger, while leaving income and overall footfall significantly down. There have also been more demands and tensions between visitors in the pandemic aftermath.
Positive trends among visitors include new local audiences, increased dwell time, greater spend per visitor and a shift to cashless, digital engagement on site and continued strong outdoor provision.
Income is at 68% of pre-pandemic levels. Long-term survival concerns are down from 2021, when 9% of museums were very concerned and 47% concerned; but they are still relatively high at 4% and 34% respectively in 2022. 40% currently express confidence in surviving long term.
The 2021 report recorded exhausted and overstretched staff – now in 2022, 57% of museum directors say that there has been an increase in staff mental health struggles, and that addressing this is a priority. This is especially so in national, local authority and university museums.
Many museums say they have staffing and capacity problems: 59% cite fewer volunteers, 46% staffing restructure, and 44% difficulty recruiting.
One in ten museums is now involved in the restitution or repatriation of collections, with university museums leading the way because of greater freedoms and strong international connections.
The challenges cited as the top concern for museums are earned income shortfalls (40%), lack of staff or capacity (34%), maintaining buildings (32%), low visitor numbers (28%). Over half to two thirds of museums also expressed these as general concerns as well.
In her overview of the findings, Sarah Philp, Art Fund’s Director of programmes and policy, points to the need to support mental health, adding “as the impact of redundancies begins to be felt, there is a risk to the range of services museums can offer their communities, and to the ability and expertise to care for collections that underpin these services. There is perhaps more ambition than ever across the sector, but it can only be achieved by a well-supported workforce.” Art Fund, Museums Journal
Breaking the link between commuting and cultural attendance? – visitor figures in the era of working from home
Most cultural audiences attend events that are either near where they live or where they work. The logic of the shift to homeworking is that cultural institutions closer to suburbs and dormitories will get the benefit of new audiences, at the expense of locations that used to see an influx of commuters (e.g. outer compared to inner London, or Bradford compared to Leeds). A new briefing from the Audience Agency looks at whether this trend will continue, and the likely results.
All the signs are that homeworking is long term: only one in six of those who worked from home during the pandemic will not be doing so in the next three months, while 58% expect to do so ‘most or all of the time’.
One in four of the whole workforce are expected to mostly work from home in future, and these people are more likely to be Londoners (52%), those with degrees (46%), in higher managerial or professional roles (43%), with dependent children (52%) or neurodivergent (55%).
Almost half of those working from home are spending less as a result, and are more likely to have disposable income.
Adapting to this new reality (especially for areas losing out on commuters) might include tracking engagement patterns between local and non-local audiences, and renewing focus on locals; finding out if your core audience is more likely to work from home; and changing times, venues and formats to adapt your programme to people’s new lifestyles.
Also: DCMS has published provisional figures for visits to the largely national museums and galleries that it sponsors for the first quarter of this year. Figures were 1.4m for January, 2.0m in February and 1.9m in March. Immediately pre-pandemic in Jan – March 2019, figures ranged from 3.4m – 4.2m. This is consistent with gradual visitor return (especially during half term) but with a loss of international visitors in particular. Gov.uk
Culture in Crisis recommendations: how to rebuild post-pandemic
A consortium of cultural sector analysts has presented 12 new recommendations to Government, outlining how to support recovery and development post-pandemic. Produced by the Centre for Cultural Value, Audience Agency and Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, ‘Culture in Crisis: Recommendations for Policy Makers’ discusses actions that can be taken by local as well as national government, and broadly covers workforce and skills, purpose and place, and innovation and sustainability. Points include:
Pandemic impact on the workforce was uneven, with under 30s, disabled people and people of colour squeezed out, while some well-networked people with digital skills and higher degrees were in greater demand than ever. Those working in finance, administration and HR were often tempted away into better paid sectors. To address these imbalances, the group proposes establishing a ‘Creatives Connect’ network so creatives can advocate for their interests; appointing a ‘Commissioner for Freelances’ in the Cabinet Office, given that a third of the sector are self-employed; providing skills training especially around admin, fundraising and HR; and developing a comprehensive equality strategy led by DCMS and the Minister for Women and Equalities.
Place-based culture making has gained greater status through the pandemic, but it is still difficult for grassroots organisations to apply to some funds, or benefit from a trickle-down effect. The report proposes developing a new ‘Culture Forum’ – a place where communities can set creative and cultural priorities, and be part of decision making. It also recommends more funds channelled to areas with the highest level of need (similar to ACE’s Levelling Up for Culture Places) and commissioning further research into culture supporting local socio-economic needs.
Digital delivered to some extent, for some organisations, during the pandemic as an alternative way of reaching people. But “it has not been the great leveller that the cultural sector hoped it might be”, with digital reach most typically finding existing audiences. Some less digitally savvy organisations and audiences were even more shut out. To develop the future of digital, and give wider access, the report proposes creating a UK-wide Digital Arts Strategy – building from the Government’s existing Digital Strategy, with an eye to helping smaller creative organisations. It also asks for the Government’s R&D tax relief programme to include arts, humanities and social science, and for direct investment to approaches that are demonstrably reaching new audiences.
Additionally, the report suggests preparing for any future emergency by creating a crisis communications framework for the creative and cultural sector. Anne Torreggiani of the Audience Agency says “These recommendations put this learning [from the pandemic] to work, with concrete policy suggestions for a more secure, regenerative cultural sector better able to make vital contributions to communities, civic life and people’s well-being.”Audience Agency
National Trust and English Heritage discuss addressing slavery and welcoming back visitors
Chief Executives of both the National Trust (Hilary McGrady) and English Heritage (Sir Tim Laurence) have given interviews this month, touching on how addressing slavery and ‘culture wars’ issues have affected both interpretation at sites and the overall direction of their respective heritage bodies. English Heritage has recently reopened Marble Hill House built in the 1720s by Henrietta Howard, following a major restoration project. Her experience of domestic abuse and hearing loss in her late 20s has been the context for work with modern survivor groups and disabled people respectively. However, the house was also built largely on the proceeds of slavery, and Laurence says “telling the story of Marble Hill without making the link to the slave trade and to mahogany would be wrong, in my view. We’re telling it like it is [ . . .] The transatlantic slave trade was one of the most appalling things in British history. But there’s another important side of it, which is: it shouldn’t dominate. This place is all about how you build a beautiful house, what was going on at the time, the design of that wonderful garden, and making all of that available to the local community.” He adds that ‘we’re very close to the National Trust’ and does not see the English Heritage approach as in contrast to NT’s. Meanwhile, visitors are returning, but English Heritage expects 5 million this year, compared to 6.2 million pre pandemic, and it is missing inbound tourism spend and not now expecting to break even until 2025.
Hilary McGrady says that the past two years have been the toughest of her career, first laying off staff because of the pandemic, then facing newspaper attacks for NT's publication of research on slavery and country houses. This reached a point that the Trust hired a public relations company because it was under ‘very significant attack’. However, she now believes it has turned a corner, and internal research reveals that only 12% of members were disappointed by the slavery report. McGrady is now pursuing plans to broaden the Trust’s appeal beyond ‘traditional white, middle-class, middle-aged membership’ – in part by emphasising its urban assets, including the council house where Paul McCartney grew up, alongside stately homes. It is expecting to reach a record 6 million visitors within the year. She says “the vast majority of our members are really happy with the line of travel. That’s why they’re joining. That’s why they’re maintaining their support and giving us their money… We have to change carefully, but we have to keep changing because the demographics of this country are changing.”FT (English Heritage), Times (National Trust)
Also: Research from King’s College London’s Policy Institute shows that awareness of culture war issues has grown rapidly among the public in the past two years. Recognition of the word ‘woke’ has risen from 49% to 66% since 2020 and ‘cancel culture’ from 39% to 60%. Writing for The Times, James Marriott argues that this shows that even if a relatively small number of people argue about these matters, especially on Twitter, they eventually set the tone for debates in wider society. Times
Heritage Solidarity Fellowship for Ukraine (and other signposting sites)
Europa Nostra has opened a Heritage Solidarity Fellowship for Ukraine, in partnership with the Global Heritage Fund. It offers €500 each to heritage professionals in Ukraine who have been affected by war. The first deadline has passed, but a new round will be opening shortly, and individuals, heritage institutions and NGOs can submit names. Other useful signposting sites offering ways to support Ukrainian heritage and heritage workers are being run by NEMO and ICON UK. With many museum professionals still working in Ukraine struggling to get salaries, and beyond the help of the Ukrainian Culture Ministry, Olha Honchar, Director of the ‘Territory of Terror’ museum has set up the Museum Crisis Center. This group gives funds pragmatically where it can help, both to support museum staff and protect collections. Europa Nostra, NEMO, ICON UK, Hyperallergic (interview with Olha Honchar)
Museum directors condemn the dismissal of Jarosław Suchan in bid for control by Polish Government
A group of leading international museum directors has condemned the dismissal of Jarosław Suchan as the Director of the Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz by the Polish Government. The dismissal is the latest in a string of removals by the country’s ruling Law and Justice Party and is widely seen as an attempt to get greater control of the country’s museums and the stories they tell. Tate Director and NMDC Chair Maria Balshaw said that she “stands with all the directors of the Bizot Group and condemns this dismissal”. Glenn D Lowry, Director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York has written to Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister to say that Suchan is a “distinguished scholar and widely respected colleague” who has “done so much to give modern and contemporary Polish art the international recognition it deserves”. Suchan himself sees his dismissal as part of an international picture: “There are two tectonic plates that are crashing at the moment. One is created by this neoliberal hegemony and the other is defined by populistic politics. Even in those countries where democracy is much stronger and much better rooted in history, you see some dangerous tendencies.” Art Newspaper
Podcast: saving Ukraine’s heritage, and using the Red List
A recent episode of The Art Newspaper podcast looks at work to safeguard Ukraine’s heritage, from institutions across Europe and within the country itself. It also interviews ICOM’s Sophie Delepierre on the usefulness of the Red List, capturing the areas where a list of potentially looted artefacts can act as a prompt: “I don’t say it’s stolen, I say it’s vulnerable. So open your eyes, double check the documents – because it’s on the red list.” Relatedly, Ukrainian antiquities that were illegally exported to the UK are to be displayed at the British Museum, and will be returned to Kyiv when it is safe to do so. Meanwhile, cultural destruction continues – 262 sites were estimated to be damaged in late April, that had risen to 367 by 28th May. Art Newspaper, Ukrainian Ministry of Culture (twitter), Art Newspaper (British Museum display)
NEMO climate change and museums survey – for museums and freelancers
Museums and freelancers are invited to complete NEMO’s Europe-wide survey on museums and climate change. The work aims to map the status quo of European museums’ transition towards sustainability during the climate emergency. Responses will be used to advise policy makers and share good practice. The deadline for submissions has been extended to 22nd June. NEMO
2022 Visitor Attraction Website Survey – benchmark against the local and national picture
Backed by ALVA and ASVA, the agency Rubber Cheese is running a 2022 Visitor Attraction Website Survey. It aims to track how the pandemic has changed online bookings and hybrid experiences, while uncoupling visitor attraction data from the wider travel and tourism industry, which skews the picture currently available. The survey takes 15 minutes to complete and will allow participants to benchmark against national averages, deep dive into specific attraction types in particular locations, see what good looks like, and build a case for future website investment. Rubber Cheese is making a donation to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal for every completed response. Rubber Cheese,
Covid-19 and Brexit: how have cultural spaces been affected in London?
The Mayor of London is running a survey to discover the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit on cultural spaces in the capital. It is inviting those who run or use cultural spaces, from arts to libraries and museums to give insights into current challenges and what support venues need. The deadline for responses is noon on 13th June. Mayor of London
The International Council of Museums is also running a ten minute survey to assess how museums are coping with the pandemic and its aftermath. Findings will be compared to previous data from 2020 and 2021. The deadline for submissions is 12th June. ICOM
Digital leadership - infrastructure & process (online seminar)
In the latest of Culture24’s seminars discussing digital for senior leaders of UK heritage organisations, Dr Lauren Vargas and guests will explain how, with the right leadership, digital tools, systems and processes can empower heritage organisations’ activity, services and capacity. Speakers will explore topics including the three digital literacies needed to create conditions for change, the power of assessing and analysing digital capacity and maturity, and why emotional intelligence is important. The event takes place on 14th June, 3 – 4.30pm and is free. Culture24 (book), Culture24, (watch recording of previous webinar on digital skills, literacy and capacity)
Wikimedia projects: an introduction for cultural heritage organisations
Wikimedia UK has received funding from NLHF to help cultural and heritage organisations develop skills around digital preservation using Wikipedia – which, with 22 billion visits per month, is one of the most widely read sites on the planet. The group is running a series of events from June to October to teach interested museum and heritage organisations how to get involved; from ‘potluck’ editing sessions, to a repeating one hour webinar explaining more about the process. Wikimedia (FAQs), Wikimedia (events signup), Wikimedia Connected Heritage (newsletter signup),
Ageing Artfully, Going Global: work with older audiences
As recent Art Fund research shows, older audiences are often the backbone of museum weekday audiences, but have been slower to return post-pandemic. The conference ‘Ageing Artfully, Going Global’ looks at what organisations have learned about engaging with older audiences over the past two years, and how to take that forward, with examples of good practice from around the world. Partners in the project include the Baring Foundation – which has supported significant work on culture and older people in the past few years, alongside the Creative Ageing Development Agency for England, City of Helsinki and Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The event takes place online on 9th June and is free. Creative Ageing Development Agency
Last year the creative collective Urge X worked with the Design Museum to conduct an environmental audit of its exhibition Waste Age. The work aimed both to reduce the exhibition’s carbon footprint and measure its impact. Now a panel drawn from Urge X, The Design Museum, V&A and V&A Dundee will build on that work with a discussion of the paradigm-shifting approaches designers and museums can take, leading new thinking. The event is free and takes place online from 1pm on 9th June. Design Museum
NEMO training – decolonisation in museums, with Colston statue behind the scenes tour
The Network of European Museum Organisations is inviting museums to apply for its new training ‘Who’s Afraid of Decolonisation’, taking place in person in Bristol and offered in partnership with the MA, SS Great Britain and Bristol Museums. This International Training Course will explore what decolonisation in museums means and will introduce some of the theories and activities which inform the practice. It will explore how to approach the topic straightforwardly, while not shying away from its inevitable controversies. The afternoon will include a behind the scenes tour at M-Shed where the statue of Edward Colston is currently kept, following an exhibition and public consultation about its future. Those from NEMO member organisations will receive priority booking and up to eight will receive travel grants of €5 – 600. Non-members can participate for a fee of €250. Applications are open until 15th July, with the event itself taking place on 16th September. NEMO
A number of people working in museums and heritage have received Queen’s Birthday honours:
Iain Watson, formerly Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and NMDC Vice-Chair, receives an OBE for services to culture and to the community in North East England. Chronicle Live
Bernard Donoghue, Director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) receives an OBE for services to tourism and culture. Blooloop
ACE CEO Darren Henley receives an OBE for services to the arts.
Miranda Lowe, Principal Curator of Crustacea at the Natural History Museum receives a CBE.
V&A Chair Nicholas Coleridge receives a CBE.
Chief Executive of Creative UK, Caroline Norbury receives an OBE for services to the creative sector. Creative UK
MBEs were awarded to Foundling Museum Director Caro Howell; Phil Phillips, New Media Development Manager at National Museums Liverpool; Roger Pickett, Founder of Essex Fire Museum; Michael Loomes of The Story of Scouting Museum; Lindsay Collier, Founder and Trustee of The Walthamstow Pumphouse Museum; and Rachel Semlyen, who founded the Yorkshire Air Museum and Allied Air Forces Memorial at Elvington. BBC, Gov.uk (full list), M+H (museum and heritage)
Winners announced for M + H Awards – from ‘Reimagining Reality’ to shopping in 1900
The winners of the 2022 Museums + Heritage Awards have been announced, across 17 categories covering all aspects of museum work. The winners include:
IWM’s Second World War and Holocaust Galleries were Permanent Exhibition of the Year, described as an “outstanding, game-changing, global exhibition, with decolonisation at its forefront” – while embracing many difficult stories. IWM (WW2), IWM (Holocaust Galleries)
The Museum of Homelessness Secret Museum won in the Temporary or Touring Exhibition under £80k category, for ‘courageously redefining what exhibitions can be’.
The NLHF sponsored Sustainable Project of the Year award went to Cornwall-based creative events company Discovering42 for its Rediscovering Reality science exhibition. Based in Bodmin, it features interactive artworks created from unwanted materials to generate interest in sustainability and help visitors think about how waste contributes to climate change. Exhibits include a bike-powered record player and a rainforest mirror room. Cornish Times, NLHF
Commonwealth War Graves Commission War Graves Week won best use of digital (UK) for work harnessing big data to tell local and personal stories.
York Archaeological Trust, won in the Community Engagement Programme category for ‘Archaeology on Prescription’ described as ‘scaleable and actively changing lives’. York Archaeology
Oxford University Museum of Natural History won in the partnership category for ‘Meat the Future’, with its combination of research, engagement and commerce to immersively engage audiences. OUMNH
Beamish won Shop of the Year with its ‘innovative and profitable’ 1900s town market stalls.
Bradford chosen as City of Culture 2025 after a bid strongly shaped by its young people
Bradford has been announced as City of Culture 2025, after a competition that attracted a record 20 bids. Bradford 2025 Chair Shanaz Gulzar said “Bradford has been overlooked and underestimated for so long – it’s now our time to shine.” One of the most diverse and youthful cities in the UK, one in four of Bradford’s residents are under 18, its bid was shaped by the involvement of young people. The city’s cultural assets include the Bronte Parsonage, Saltaire UNESCO World Heritage Site and the National Science and Media Museum. It has also recently received £4m to develop Bradford Odeon into a 4,000 seat music and entertainment venue, Bradford Live. Bradford will receive £270k to develop its plans, and for the first time the three shortlisted cities – Durham, Wrexham and Southampton, will each receive £125k to support development of elements of their bids. Bradford 2025, Guardian, Gov.uk, BBC, Guardian, Arts Professional
The British Museum and Marsh Charitable Trust have opened applications for this year’s Volunteers for Museum Learning Award. It recognises the innovation, dedication and excellence of volunteers in engaging the public. There will be 12 regional winners, who will each receive a £500 prize, and national winner who receives an additional £2k. Volunteers can apply themselves or a member of staff can apply on their behalf; multiple entries from the same museum, gallery or heritage site are welcome. The deadline for applications is 8th July. Marsh Charitable Trust
Nearly half of Gen X and Millennials have already considered making legacy donations
Although charities have traditionally concentrated on older donors for legacy fundraising work, new research shows that 45% of people in Gen X and Millennial generations have considered leaving a legacy. However, a large proportion – 87% of Millennials and 70% of Gen X – have not yet written a will, representing a donor development opportunity among younger people. The data comes from a survey of 500 people aged 26 – 55 by YouGov. UK Fundraising
LTM’s new range and pop up shop celebrate the opening of the Elizabeth Line
The Elizabeth Line has opened in London to rare, near-universal adulation, and London Transport Museum has been benefiting from the interest. As well as launching a range of products in the line’s distinctive mauve shade, from handbags to sofas, it set up a pop up shop at platform level on the day of the line’s opening. M + H, LTM
Tank Museum uses YouTube and Patreon to develop a funding stream from remote fans
The Tank Museum’s online presence has always attracted a following of armoured warfare enthusiasts across the world, most of whom will never visit its physical site. However, as Head of Marketing Nik Wyness describes in a new case study, since 2017, it has been able to significantly monetise this relationship with advertising revenue from YouTube where it has 340,000 subscribers – and since 2020 by building over 1000 supporters on Patreon. This delivers £6.6k every month – which was particularly a lifeline in the first year of the pandemic. Wyness comments that “Patreon isn’t perfect. It was (and remains) more oriented towards the individual content creator than the provincial British registered charity” – for example, it can’t take Gift Aid and costs 5 – 12% in fees. Nevertheless, it has created “an engaged online community of content consumers that is prepared to financially support an institution they respect” – a model of monetising digital in the longer term that has worked out in practice. Association for Cultural Enterprises, (h/t Digital Things)
Funding to support fundraising training for groups and networks
Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy is offering a new round of funding to networks and fundraising groups to help them improve skills. The grants will contribute towards development of new training events (either virtual or in person), conferences, seminars or meetings, with the aim of strengthening arts fundraising skills and building strong partnerships across the sector. Applicants can ask for support for any relevant expenditure between July - November 2022. Particular priority areas are wellbeing for fundraisers, place-based fundraising especially around ACE Priority and Levelling Up for Culture Places, ethics, recruitment and retention and green fundraising. The deadline for applications is noon on 24th June. Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy
Cultural Protection Fund large grants open call for work in 16 countries
The British Council has opened a new round of the DCMS-funded Cultural Protection Fund, aimed to keep cultural heritage safe internationally – from archaeological sites to intangible cultural heritage. It is seeking expressions of interest for large grants between £100k - £2m for multi-year projects in 16 countries at risk from conflict, instability and/or climate change in the Middle East and North Africa, East Africa or South Asia. Applicants must be working with a local partner based in the country concerned. 51 projects have previously been funded in 12 countries, including work by the British Museum to create a cross-platform alliance against the looting of pharaonic antiquities from Egypt and Sudan. The deadline for EOIs is one minute to midnight on 30th June, with full applications due on 12th August. British Council, British Council (previously funded projects)
Also: Ukraine will not be eligible for Cultural Protection Funds this year, although the scheme contributed £60k via the Prince Claus Fund in 2021 – 22. Art Newspaper
ACE resources for culture-related local authority applications to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund
Local authorities can make applications to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, in partnership with local businesses and cultural organisations. ACE has published culture and creativity resources that will be useful to local authorities putting in bids with a cultural dimension. These offer data and research on culture as a way of enhancing communities and place, people’s life chances and skills and for supporting local business. ACE
Welsh Government announces £750m in new funding for libraries and museums
Dawn Bowden, Wales’s Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport has announced new funds of £750k to help the country’s local museums and libraries upgrade their facilities, with a particular focus on digital improvements, increasing access and addressing sustainability. Plans for libraries range from Makerspaces to a VR hub, a wellbeing garden and educational reading and support hub. Funding will also support Newport Museum and Art Gallery’s decarbonisation project and help Monmouthshire County Council preserve and give access to collections at Shire Hall. Bowden said “the Welsh Government remains committed to supporting these important services that fulfil a valuable role at the heart of community life. This fund will widen access for our communities, promote cultural engagement, provide learning opportunities and support community cohesion, sustainability and prosperity.” Welsh Government
22 artists receive commissions from IWM’s £2.5m 14–18 NOW Legacy Fund
IWM has announced the 20 cultural organisations and 22 artists who will receive a share from its £2.5m 14–18 NOW Legacy Fund, to create artworks exploring the impact of war. The fund was created from IWM’s share of royalties from the Peter Jackson film ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ which featured re-colourised footage of WW1 from IWM’s collections. £250k each goes to The Hunterian in Glasgow; Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea; Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead; Ulster University in Derry-Londonderry; and Leicester Museums. 15 member organisations from IWM’s War and Conflict Subject Specialist Network also receive £20k each. Commissions include Chicago-based Michael Rakowitz creating a monument to anti-war activism at the Baltic, and Glasgow-based artist Cathy Wilkes expanding her body of work at the Hunterian. IWM Director-General Diane Lees said that she hopes that the work “will kick-start cultural dialogue as we recover from the wide-reaching impacts of Covid-19”.Art Newspaper, Art Industry, IWM (applications for final seven opportunities open until 1st September 2022)
Places of Science awards granted – engaging the public with locally connected science stories
36 small museums have each received £3.5k ‘Places of Science’ awards from the Royal Society – to tell the story of local connections to scientific achievement. Recipients include Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, which will be creating a public artwork using recycled materials to highlight ‘The Dinosaur on Your Doorstep’, celebrating the area’s deep past. Linlithgow Heritage Trust will run a lecture series on figures including chemist David Waldie, and Mansfield Museum is partnering with Sherwood Observatory to give children an experience of stargazing. Royal Society, Museums Journal
35 projects in England are sharing £500k for work commemorating Windrush Day on 22nd June. The National Maritime Museum, Garden Museum and community partners receive £36k for the project DESCENDENTS, which includes music, dance, food and storytelling. Local councils, libraries, community groups and arts organisations are also delivering events. Gov.uk, Gov.uk (full list)
National Museums Northern Ireland has returned a number of human remains and sacred objects to Hawaii in a handover ceremony at Ulster Museum. Provenance research indicates that Gordon Augustus Thomson removed the items from burial caves in the 1840s and gave them to a Belfast institution in 1857. Chief Executive Kathryn Thomson say that National Museums NI is re-evaluating its World Collections on an ‘ongoing basis’. Museums Journal
Royal Albert Memorial Museum Exeter has returned 19th century items to Siksika First Nation, which once belonged to Isapo-Muxika, known as Chief Crowfoot. The Siksika delegation is interested in building relationships with other museums in the UK that hold Blackfoot artefacts. Exeter City Council, Museums Journal
Recent research by the Art Fund reveals that one in ten museums in its survey are now engaged in restitution or repatriation work, particularly those which are part of universities. Art Fund
V&A and City of Bayeux agree knowledge sharing plan for Bayeux Tapestry
Plans made in 2018 for the Bayeux Tapestry to tour to the UK fell through when it was found to need extensive conservation and to be too fragile to travel. It is now most likely that major work will not be carried out until 2024, when the Bayeux Museum itself is closed for refurbishment. However, V&A has now reached a Memorandum of Understanding with Bayeux Museum to share research and expertise. Some of this work will centre around 180 glass negatives of the tapestry taken in 1872 and now in V&A’s collection. Museums Journal
Department for Education commits to Cultural Education Plan in 2023
In March, The Department for Education published its first White Paper in six years, which included a commitment to create a National Plan for Cultural Education by 2023. DfE will work alongside ACE and DCMS on the plan, which it hopes will give better opportunities to young people who want to pursue careers in the creative industries. DfE’s commitment reads: “as part of a richer school week, all children should be entitled to take part in sport, music and cultural opportunities. These opportunities are an essential part of a broad and ambitious curriculum, and support children’s health, wellbeing and wider development, particularly as we recover from the pandemic.” A decade ago Darren Henley (now Chief Executive of ACE) wrote a review of cultural education for Government, leading to the publication of a National Plan in 2013: however the final result came with no investment or delivery structure (unlike Henley’s original proposals): the new plan has the potential to be a far more effective approach. A working group has now been gathered, which includes Arm’s Length Bodies such as Historic England and the British Film Institute, alongside ACE and Government departments. Cultural Learning Alliance, CLA (20 year cultural education policy timeline)
Also: A New Direction will shortly be convening a conversation on arts in schools and beyond, in a time when the number of pupils taking GCSEs and A Levels in arts subjects is declining. It invites colleagues across arts and education to take part. A New Direction
DCMS considers new data platform on the value of culture to the wider economy
A new scoping study commissioned by DCMS has recommended that a new shared data platform is needed, to better understand how cultural work benefits wider society. It says that currently evidence is ‘fragmented, often inaccessible and incomplete’. It suggests a phased approach, beginning by linking data from large bodies such as the Charity Commission, Companies House, HMRC and the Office for National Stastics – but then extending to ACE, NLHF and others. The Audience Agency’s Patrick Towell who was a co-author of the report, says this would help sector bodies support Government policy developments and better represent sector needs. He said that data is largely already out there to be collected, and should not create additional reporting burdens. He added "what we saw with Covid was all the arm's length bodies, sector bodies, trade associations and representative bodies giving data to DCMS. Everyone was coming together and pooling their data which gave a much more complete picture of the sector than anyone had ever had. It was with that fuller picture that the argument for the Cultural Recovery Fund was made." DCMS (better data on the cultural economy scoping study), Arts Professional
Creative PEC seeks a new home with an IRO for its next five year run
AHRC has announced that it will fund the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre for a new five year run. Creative PEC will continue to offer insights bridging the gap between academia, policy and industry. However, the body is now seeking a new home with either a Research Organisation or Independent Research Organisation (IRO) after spending its first five years as part of Nesta. Expressions of Interest in acting as a host from 2023 should be sent to AHRC by 4pm on 21st July. Creative PEC, AHRC
ICOM publishes new draft definition of a museum, in an attempt to find universally acceptable wording
In 2019, an attempt by the International Council of Museums to update its definition of a museum led to a rift among members, broadly between traditionalist and progressive wings of the organisation. Some museums in less politically free countries also feared that definitions highlighting social justice or activism would make them vulnerable. Now members have cast votes to choose a new proposed option - which emphasises both the central role of collecting and preserving tangible and intangible heritage, and the requirement for museums to act ethically, inclusively and sustainably. This definition will be voted on in August at ICOM’s Extraordinary General Assembly in Prague. Museums Journal, ICOM (proposed new definition)
Also: ACE and The National Archives have signed a collaboration agreement to 2024, to share expertise on libraries, archives and museums, including a focus on diversifying workforces, developing digital capacity, expanding audiences and making collections more accessible and visible. National Archives
New Public Bodies Review programme process for all ALBs in England
All arm’s length bodies in England are to be reviewed under a new Public Bodies Review Programme, including ACE, BFI and Historic England. Jacob Rees-Mogg, Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency said that the review should include considering ‘whether [a body] should continue to deliver all of its functions’. The process is also expected to identify ‘efficiency savings’ of at least 5% according to The Stage. However, speaking to a DCMS Select Committee Culture Minister Nadine Dorries said that there was no agenda to abolish ACE, adding "if there were a proposal to abolish the arm's-length body that distributes [arts] funding, what we would probably need is an increase in the number of civil servants to do that distribution. So I think the argument that we need to reduce the number of civil servants and reduce the arm's length body kind of compete with each other.” Art Newspaper, The Stage, Arts Professional, Gov.uk (guidance – Public Bodies Review Programme)
Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy Senior Fellowship Programme
Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy has opened the ninth year of its Fellowship programme, aimed at leaders and senior staff whose work includes fundraising and development. To date, the programme has supported 96 Fellows, who remain part of the alumni network, to raise millions in new income. The course will centre around developing business and financial insight into charitable and enterprise organisations, reimagining fundraising fit for the future, ideas exchange, and guidance on how to collaborate with the mainstream charity sector. The deadline for applications is noon on 24th June. Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy
Ireland begins its Basic Income for the Arts scheme
Ireland is launching its groundbreaking Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme. Initially, 2,000 artists and creative workers selected at random will receive a weekly €325 (£270) from Government to carry out creative work. Around 9,000 people applied to the scheme in total. Arts Industry points out that there is a history of no strings support for artists in Ireland – especially the Aosdána scheme, created 30 years ago by the Irish state to “provide a stipend to those of its more distinguished members who struggle to make a living from their work”. That scheme currently funds almost all the country’s most notable literary figures. However, the idea of stipends for artists is gaining traction beyond Ireland, especially in Australia and Canada. Arts Industry
Also: ONS data shows that payrolled workers in the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors have seen a median payrise of only 2%, the lowest in any industry sector, despite vacancies trebling for these posts in the past year. This compares to a 6% median average for the UK as a whole. Arts Professional
Creative UK and Mayor of London collaborate on ‘Redesigning Freelance’
Creative UK and the Mayor of London are collaborating on a new ‘Redesigning Freelance’ programme to deal with systemic inequalities and encourage under-represented groups to enter and stay in the sector. A virtual event on 11th July will give freelances across creative industries to prioritise and develop ideas to create a more sustainable model. Bookseller
Stoke on Trent City Council goes ahead with large cuts to museums, despite public protest
In January there was public protest when Stoke on Trent City Council announced that it would be cutting 19 roles across its potteries museums, closing Gladstone Pottery Museum in winter to pursue filming opportunities, and making savings of £560k. At the time, the Council issued a statement downplaying cuts and arguing that these changes would ‘support the modernisation of the service’ and not damage the city’s role as ‘the world leader in ceramics’. After some renegotiation, the final result has been 12 redundancies to date, some winter school openings for the Gladstone Pottery Museum and cuts almost as high as first anticipated, at £479k per year. It is not yet certain what will happen to two specialist pottery curator posts. The Council has been criticised both by a volunteer, and the local Heritage Network which called the Council ‘tone deaf to the widespread and vociferous public criticism’. The Council has not commented since the redundancies. Stoke on Trent was one of ten areas identified as high priority for support by Government, which then successfully applied to the Levelling Up Fund. However, it was one of four that spent none of the new funding on culture. Museums Journal, NMDC, (coverage from January), Stoke Sentinel, Arts Professional
Also: Friends of Down County Museum in Northern Ireland have expressed concern that the site may be downgraded and lose staff, during a strategic review by the district council. Museums Journal
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