Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums wins landmark business rate case
Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums has won a landmark case against the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) meaning that it will only have to pay nominal business rates for three of its museums: Shipley Art Gallery, Laing Art Gallery, and South Shields Museum. The VOA took a case to The Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal to argue that the museum’s rateable value should be based on the socio-economic value it provided to the community. The judgement said that value could not be based on a socio-economic benefits that accrue to the community and not the museum operator – and that it is in any case not possible to quantify the social value to the local authority of that public benefit.
The judgement provides TWAM with substantial backdated savings as well as future ones, and should change the way that most museums in England and Wales are valued for business rates – leading to savings, especially for loss-making institutions. However, rateable values will not be reduced automatically, so museums will probably have to go through an appeals process to get the benefit. This latest judgement is one of a series of victories for museums in court against the VOA, with the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, and the Yorkshire Museum receiving much reduced business rates in recent years. TWAM’s Head of Finance, Governance and Resources Jackie Reynolds said “we are delighted to see the original decision in our case being upheld. We fundamentally believe that museums should not be penalised with large rates bills for simply delivering the benefits that we clearly do for our local communities.” Colin Hunter of Lambert Smith Hamilton, who has advised museums in this and previous VOA cases said “this is an important case overturning the Valuation Officer’s approach to valuing museums which has been based on assertion that museums must have value and not on evidence. This case also has implications not just for museums but for other cultural venues such as theatres.”
Horniman, Oxford and Cambridge University museums plan for return of almost 300 Benin bronzes
The Horniman has announced that it will transfer ownership of 72 Benin Bronzes, looted by the British Expeditionary Force in 1897, to the Nigerian Government, following a decision by its Board of Trustees. The objects range from a brass cockerel altarpiece, brass bells and 12 plaques to everyday objects such as fans and baskets. The decision follows a request from Nigeria's National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) in January, which was followed by detailed research, establishing that the objects had been acquired through force. The Charity Commission has also backed the decision, which is the first of this kind from a Government funded museum. Speaking about the ethical issues in displaying the items in the past, Director Nick Merriman said “we have had examples of people from Nigerian descent who are quite upset, and we’ve had to train our front-of-house staff to talk to people about the objects. On the other hand, the largest diaspora group in our local community is Nigerian. There’s always been a case that it’s a good thing for the Nigerian community, and our visitors generally, to have an example of this major west African civilisation on display.” Now, although the bronzes will return to Nigerian ownership, Merriman is planning to ask to loan some of them back.
Meanwhile, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge have also agreed to return 213 Benin bronzes, following an NCCM request. These collections, which are likely to be the UK’s most extensive return of artefacts to date, are currently held at Pitt Rivers and the Ashmolean in Oxford and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge. MAA Director Professor Nicholas Thomas said “across the international museum sector, there is growing recognition that illegitimately acquired artefacts should be returned to their countries of origin.” The decision again ultimately lies in the hands of the Charity Commission, which has to weigh in “when a charity wishes to transfer property or assets due to a feeling of moral obligation”. However, it seems likely to agree to the transfer by the end of the year, given the Horniman decision and that it has previously signed off on the return of an ornamental cockerel from the University of Cambridge in 2021. Commenting on the changing situation, Arts Minister Lord Parkinson said that claims must be decided on a case by case basis and it is not for Government to 'tell the museums what the right or wrong decision is'. He added “it’s bad history if a nation sweeps things under the carpet and forgets them. It’s also bad history if you create new myths of wickedness and sins of the past. We have to confront the facts and learn lessons from them.”Art Newspaper, Horniman, Times, Telegraph
24 hour museum: Museum of London prepares ‘epic five month leaving party’
The Museum of London will be closing in early December, in preparation for its move to its new site at West Smithfield where it will reopen in 2026 as The London Museum. Its previous home at London Wall will then be demolished. In the five month run up to its closure it has a lively programme planned, including two headline exhibitions: ‘Grime Stories: from the corner to the mainstream’, co-curated with Roony ‘RiskyRoadz’ Keefe and ‘Harry Kane: I Want to Play Football’. There will also be behind the scenes tours and an emphasis on family activity – from a giant mosaic to creating a Roman temple in Minecraft. The programme will culminate with two celebratory festivals. One is aimed at families on 26th – 27th November and a second on 2nd – 4th December that will be centred around the past 50 years of London history. Director Sharon Ament said, “we are really gearing up for that last weekend. If there is demand, we will stay open 24 hours – we really want everybody who hasn’t been to the Museum of London to come and see it.” She also described her aspirations for the future style of the museum. She said “Museums generally work at a slower pace than most other channels, but what we want to do in our museum is be more journalistic, more rapid-response.” – citing as one example of that, the acquisition of part of the ’grand, magnificent, fascinating and disgusting’ London Fatberg that clogged London’s sewers in 2018. Evening Standard, Museum of London, Guardian, Museum of London (fatberg)
Also: The Museum of London has received three donations amounting to £7m from The Garfield Weston Foundation (£5m), the Schroder Foundation and Family (£1m), and the Wolfson Foundation (£1m) towards its new museum, bringing it close to its £40m initial target for redevelopment of the General Market at the West Smithfield site. Museums Journal
‘Giant bronze diplodocus and plants from the Jurassic’ – NHM fundraises for new garden
The Natural History Museum has revealed more details of the five acre urban garden which it is planning to surround its Exhibition Road site. Its main focus will be on getting children to enjoy biodiversity outside the classroom, with ‘outdoor galleries’ and a learning activity centre. Highlights will include a giant bronze diplodocus surrounded by plants from the Jurassic, and sensors to monitor and protect the site. The project is also hoping to raise £650k towards costs through a public fundraiser, with the option of getting names engraved on brass railings or a bench for gifts of £500 - £10k. Blooloop, NHM (fundraiser), Museums Journal
Images this month: Brighton Museums - from women's football to The Jam
Images this month come from Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton and Hove's summer exhibitions, including 'Misshapes: The Making of Tatty Devine', showing 100 pieces of statement jewellery and related artefacts at Hove Museum. At Brighton Pavilion designer Stephanie Smart will be presenting a 'Regency Wardrobe' - all crafted only from paper and thread. With perfect timing, ‘Goal Power! Women’s Football 1894-2022’ is showing at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, described as a ‘call to action’ as well as an exhibition, calling for audiences to actively grow football for all. Brighton Museum is also celebrating the short but enormously influential career of 'Aubrey Beardsley: A Brighton Boy', and album covers from The Jam. Royal Pavilion and Museums
First six months of new Participation Survey gives picture for closing months of pandemic lockdowns
The large scale Participation Survey has revealed visitor trends to culture and sport across England. It replaces the long running Taking Part survey, and has been in place since October 2021. The new approach is a mixture of a web based survey of adults over 16, combined with paper surveys for those not digitally engaged. Findings from the first six months to March 2022 show:
In person cultural engagement was 24% of the population for museums and galleries, 63% for heritage, 15% libraries and 87% for arts. This includes the period over December 2021/January 2022 where there were widespread closures and lockdowns in what is usually a busy period.
Digital engagement figures were not available for museums, but were 20% for heritage, 12% libraries and 27% for arts.
One in six adults, or 18% attended a live sporting event over the past six months.
55% said they took a holiday in England over the previous 12 months and of those 42% visited cultural, heritage or museum sites while away.
Asked about awareness of particular cultural events, knowledge of the Platinum Jubilee was highest at 72%, and UNBOXED (the £100m creativity festival) lowest at 4%.
Data from the participation survey will continue to be released on a quarterly basis. As it is new data, beginning from a new baseline, it cannot be directly compared to Taking Part statistics; nevertheless figures for visiting a museum at least once a year are much lower in the new dataset, roughly half of those in the pre-pandemic first quarter of 2019, with library in person visit numbers also down by more than half. However, this is very likely to be heavily affected by Covid measures. Gov.uk (overview), Gov.uk (headline results to March 2022), Gov.uk, (detail) Gov.uk, (technical reports)
DCMS launches restructuring and accreditation plan for Destination Management Organisations
Following the De Bois review of Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) last year, the Government is launching a new streamlining scheme to support the most effective tourism boards. Currently, the landscape is ‘overcrowded and fragmented’ with 46 DMOs of all shapes and sizes in the South East alone. Now DCMS will give £4m over three years to create an accreditation scheme run by VisitEngland, to support the highest performing DMOs. It is hoped this will make it easier for tourists to find high quality information. DMOs themselves will be renamed Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEPs). Running alongside this work will be a pilot tiering model in a region of England, which will take place over the next couple of years. Gov.uk, Gov.uk (response to DeBois review)
Creative UK and new music APPG issue proposals to support touring for UK creative industries post-Brexit
In a new paper for its members, ‘Creativity without Limits: Maximising the post-Brexit potential of the Creative Industries’, Creative UK has given an overview of changes it recommends to improve the working environment of a sector with a strong international dimension. It comments that “while the UK’s departure from the EU offers greater national regulatory flexibility, these benefits are yet to outweigh the financial, administrative and legal burdens for the sector.” Its points include:
Although there is provision for visa free travel for up to 90 days in any 180 day period to the EU, this is not sufficient for creatives. One way forward would be a Visa Waiver Agreement of the sort that already exists between the EU and some third countries, specifically for those in creative occupations.
It is vital to enter into urgent negotiation with member states that do not currently offer work permits or waivers.
The Home Office and HMRC should improve wait times for visas.
The creation of a Creative Support Fund with financial support for those unable to absorb additional costs in entering new markets.
There should be improved movement of goods, including better information for border officers on processes and procedures; a cultural waiver for road haulage limits; an UK-EU Carnet exemption to reduce the burden on cultural organisations moving goods without sale; and the designation of Eurostar as a CITES port, so that goods like musical instruments can be moved freely and affordably.
Future Trade Agreements must also enshrine, protect and/or improve the UK’s robust IP framework.
Data shows that Brexit has been particularly tough on musicians, with the number of UK artists booked for European festivals this summer down by 45% compared to 2017 - 19. Kevin Brennan MP, Chair of the new, 100 strong, All Party Parliamentary Group on Music, has launched the APPG's new report ‘Let the Music Move - A New Deal for Touring’. It calls for a ‘touring Tsar’ to deal with issues faced by touring cultural workers, and to orchestrate the current ‘discordant and confusing cacophony of regulation and red tape’. It also calls on Government to set up a Cultural Touring Agreement and a Transitional Support Fund to help UK music exporters deal with increased costs of trading in Europe post-Brexit. Creative UK, The House magazine, APPG for Music (full report), Music Week, Sky News, BBC
Restitution and Repatriation: a practical guide for museums in England
ACE has published a guide 'Restitution and Repatriation: a practical guide for museums in England', produced in close collaboration with the Institute of Art & Law, and drawing from existing case studies and practice. While there is no one process museums should follow, it offers a broad overview of issues to cover, emphasising the need for 'transparency, collaboration and fairness. Topics include provenance research and who to consult, developing a restitution policy for your museum and working through a claim. The latter involves understanding the other party, and assessing whether there are competing claims, and whether the request for restitution is being made on legal or ethical grounds. There are a variety of case studies - from the return of a Torah scroll from the Royal Cornwall Museum to Kehillat Kernow (the new Jewish Community of Cornwall) to the return of some spears from the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, which were originally taken from the Gweagal people in Australia by James Cook in 1770. The toolkit also points to key areas of law, and other separate guidance covering human remains and Nazi spoliation.
ACE emphasises that the report is not new policy, but is a reflection of existing policy and legislation and does not give preference to any possible outcome of a restitution or repatriation case. Above all, it is intended to be a useful, practical document for museum practitioners and decision makers to support what is an important and growing area of museum practice. ACE, Museums Journal,
British Museum seeks to ‘change the temperature of the debate’ on Parthenon Marbles
In an extensive interview with The Times, British Museum Deputy Director Jonathan Williams said that a new ‘cultural exchange’ could be possible with Greece over the long-contested Parthenon Marbles, with loans of the marbles to Greece and reciprocal lending of Greek treasures to the BM. He said “what we are calling for is an active ‘Parthenon partnership’ with our friends and colleagues in Greece. I firmly believe there is space for a really dynamic and positive conversation within which new ways of working together can be found.” The British Museum is talking in terms of loans that should be returned but Williams says “we want to change the temperature of the debate… we need to find a way forward around cultural exchange of a level, intensity and dynamism which has not been conceived hitherto. There are many wonderful things we’d be delighted to borrow and lend.” It remains to be seen whether the gap between respective requests for ‘return’ and ‘loan’ can be closed. However, British Museum Chairman George Osborne has said that he is convinced there is a ‘deal to be done’. Greek Culture Minister Lena Mendoni told The Times “the atmosphere has changed, with goodwill we can find a way forward for both parties.” although Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis added “baby steps are not enough. We want big steps.” Art Newspaper, Times, Museums Journal
Redisplay of Thomas Picton portrait goes ahead in Cardiff, accompanied by new commissions
Last year National Museum Cardiff removed its full length portrait of Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Picton from display for the first time in a century, to reconsider his legacy as part of the youth-led ‘Reframing Picton’ project. The museum said in a statement at the time that Picton “has previously been hailed as a public hero but is equally notorious for his cruel treatment of Black enslaved people and free people, and for sanctioning torture during his governance of Trinidad, from 1797 to 1803.” Now the work is going back on display, but framed in a packing case, in a side room and contextualised by two newly commissioned artworks, which will become part of Wales's national collection. These are by Gesiye a multidisciplinary artist from Trinidad and Tobago and Laku Neg, a four strong collective working in the UK. Other objects newly displayed as part of the reinterpretation include a newly acquired transcript of the trial of Picton in London in 1806; anti-slavery medals produced to support the late 18th century anti-slavery movement in Great Britain; and a medal from the 1819 Eisteddfod, won by Walter Davies in 1819 for an ode to Picton. In a statement the Reframing Picton project team said "one of our goals for this exhibition was to create a site of conscience rather than indoctrination. To create a dialogue between museums, the governments that fund them and the communities they serve. To create healthy ways of addressing trauma. We hope that this exhibition will encourage visitors of all backgrounds to listen and learn from the past, and to put these learnings into practice today." National Museum Cardiff, Guardian, BBC, Museums Journal
Sentences of up to ten years come into effect for damage to monuments
A legal amendment implemented in late June has created significantly harsher sentences for damage to monuments, as part of wider legislation shaping how police control protests. Previously, where damage was less than £5k, sentencing was limited to three months in prison and a fine up to £2.5k. Now those damaging statues can be tried in a Crown Court with sentences up to a decade, regardless of the cost of the damage. The 2020 Black Lives Matter protests were specifically given as a reason for the change in an outline of the law, distributed by the Criminal Law Policy Unit. Rudy Capildeo, a specialist in art law at Charles Russell Speechlys, told Artnet News“a political judgement appears to be being placed on the content of the graffiti rather than the act of vandalism itself.” The Criminal Law Policy Unit’s figures show that around 12 monuments per year were vandalised between 2007 – 17, or 0.12% of all statues. Capildeo makes the case that, in closing down argument, the new laws may be counterproductive as a means of protection. He said “how we view our statues and monuments is an important part of a larger conversation that we, like many other nations, are having about our identity in the 21st century. This dialogue is crucial to protecting our public statues and memorials and is actually one of the best ways of preserving them because it keeps them relevant.”Artnet
The MA is running a survey on workforce wellbeing, to shape its future campaigning, and because staff wellbeing is a good indicator of healthy and productive organisations. It is keen to get responses from all four UK nations, so that similarities and differences can be drawn out. The deadline for submissions is 17th August. Museums Journal
NLHF seeks feedback for its new heritage vision and future planning
NLHF is rethinking its vision for the next decade, as its current framework will end in 2024. It is seeking views, with a choice of a shorter survey for those interested in heritage or longer survey, for those working in heritage. The MA's Policy Manager Alistair Brown says that this will be a “really big opportunity for museums to make their case and ensure they are well represented in the new strategy”. The deadline is noon on 5th September. NLHF, (overview and questions) Museums Journal, NLHF
The National Survey of Scotland's Museums and Galleries – with related strategy events
Museums Galleries Scotland is carrying out a National Survey of Scotland's Museums and Galleries, supported by DC Research, its first major survey of this kind in 20 years. This will provide essential information on the strengths and weaknesses of the sector, inform the new National Strategy, support advocacy and drive the direction of the sector for a number of years. Every museum and gallery in Scotland should already have received a direct email invite to take part in the survey; please contact Dr Stephen Connolly at [email protected] if your institution does not have a link. Relatedly, MGS is running online strategy discussion events, designed for all the different types of museums in Scotland, with dates throughout August. MGS, MGS (strategy events)
CIMAM survey on modern and contemporary art museums meeting SDG targets
CiMAM, the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art, is running a survey to assess how far modern and contemporary art museums are acting to achieve nine selected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The chosen SDGs cover issues including education, gender, good work, reducing inequalities, sustainable cities, climate action and peace, justice and strong institutions. The survey takes ten minutes to complete with a deadline of 30th September. The results will be used for a report by CiMAM’s Sustainability and Ecology in Museum Practice working group. CiMAM
DCMS Select Committee: call for evidence on misinformation and trusted voices
The DCMS Select Committee has issued a Call for Evidence on misinformation and trusted voices, structured around six questions. These include asking which organisations are the most trusted in the UK, where you go to seek authoritative information on subjects from Covid-19 to climate change, the role and influence of National Academies, and whether the provision of authoritative information is currently responsive enough to address misinformation spread on social media. The deadline for responses is 15th September. UK Parliament,
House of Lords Select Committee seeks evidence on the future of the creative industries
The House of Lords Communications and Digital Select Committee is calling for evidence into the future of the UK creative industries. It is especially interested in how creative content production might be affected by machine learning and artificial intelligence, the digitisation of audience engagement, and how business models may shift significantly. It seeks views on how the sector will change in the next 5 – 10 years, what skills it will need to develop and what action is required from Government. The deadline for submissions is 2nd September. UK Parliament, UK Parliament, (research briefing on digital, arts and culture)
Nat Edwards has been appointed as new Director General of the Royal Armouries in Leeds, taking over from Edward Impey who retired at the start of the year. He is currently Chief Executive Officer at the Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds. Museums Journal
Alistair Hudson is leaving his post as Director of Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery at the end of 2022. He will become artistic-scientific Chairman at the Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM) in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Art Newspaper, University of Manchester, Museums Journal
Geraldine Collinge will become new Chief Executive at Compton Verney, after 12 years as Director of Public Programmes at the RSC for 12 years. She takes over from Julie Finch, who is joining the Hay Festival Foundation as CEO. Arts Industry, Compton Verney
AIM launches two part course on Setting Up a New Museum
AIM is running a two part online course on Setting Up a New Museum, led by Emma Chaplin and Heather Lomas, and complementing their publication of the same name. Topics covered include using best practice standards, an understanding of the world museums operate in, funding for new museums, museum management and governance, collections, purpose, visitor focus, leadership and finance. The events take place from 4 – 6pm on 7th and 14th September and are £150 for AIM members or £200 for non-members for both sessions. AIM
Heritage Digital offers in depth courses on digital planning and designing digital services
The Heritage Digital programme is offering two in depth courses of digital learning online, each divided into four x two hour modules, or 8.5 hours total. They are:
‘Making a plan for digital’. Centred around embedding digital into business planning and financial management, it also covers building and growing audiences and understanding data protection. It runs from 8th September – 20th
‘Designing digital services’ helps to develop a new digital service, or create a new one, and roll it out in an agile way. Modules cover understanding changing needs, design, delivery and evaluation, copyright and developing a roadmap. The course runs from 15th September – 27th
Centre for Cultural Value: Evaluation principles in practice workshops
Last year the Centre for Cultural Value developed new evaluation principles, aimed at creating an approach that helps develop genuine learning instead of ticking funder boxes while underplaying negatives. Now it is running three workshops to look at what this means in practice, with themes of committing to learning or change, listening to many voices and taking the creative approach. The workshops are free online on 30th September, 26th October and 1st December, running from 2 – 4.30pm. CCV (evaluation principles), CCV (workshop dates)
Leadership and digital maturity: in-person workshops delivered by Culture24 roadshow
Culture24 is offering free in-person workshops delivered across the UK, aimed to inform senior leaders and boards in the heritage sector of what they need to know about digital maturity. This session is tailored to the level of strategic understanding that board members, directors and senior leadership need, helping them to reflect and re-frame their leadership. It is being delivered as a roadshow across the UK, with six versions of the same session. There will be events in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, between 12th – 23rd September. Culture24
New round of Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy's Fundraising Culture Change programme
A new round of the Fundraising Culture Change programme has opened for organisations in England for 2022. It is a tailored consultancy package led by Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy Programme Director Michelle Wright, to support leadership teams, board members, staff and volunteers at arts, culture and heritage organisations to build new ways of working. The programme is bespoke to each organisation, so can be shaped to concentrate on whichever areas are most relevant. Topics might include fundraising and developing new workforce fundraising skills, partnerships, business models, income generation, and redefining ways of working to foster innovation and growth. The course can support up to five organisations over the period September 2022 – March 2023. ACE is supporting a significant proportion of the costs, therefore the price for organisations is £2k + VAT for those with a turnover under £3m, or £4k + VAT for those over £3m. The deadline for applications is noon on 19th August. Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy
Campaign for Learning: design thinking to develop your family offer
The Campaign for Learning is offering a workshop in design thinking to help create a better family offer at venues including libraries, museums, schools and early years settings. It will look at the six stages of design thinking, with an overview of free tools available. Workshop leader and CfL’s Deputy Director John Beattie is himself currently using design thinking to develop the National Centre for Family Learning, a new member association free for practitioners and professionals. The event takes place on 20th September from 2pm, tickets are £60 +VAT. Campaign for Learning
The Family Learning Festival is taking place from 15th – 30th October. Venues including museums and galleries are invited to register on the website, which also offers activity ideas, branding and potential funding leads. Family Learning Festival
The Museum of Walking has announced its annual Sound Walk September event, celebrating sound walks created around the world. There will also be online sound walk cafes, with opportunities to learn from new and experienced sound walk composers. The event will be working on the ground with the Gower Walking Festival in Wales (3rd -10th September) and offering Sound Walk September Awards for new submissions since last year. Museum of Walking
The Welsh Museums Festival is taking place this year from 22nd October – 2nd November, with three themes of riddles, treasure and Halloween. Accredited museums can apply for grants of £500, with a maximum of £1k per museum. Museums Journal, Welsh Museums Festival
The annual social media day which has run since 2010 as #AskACurator, is returning rebranded as #AskAMuseum on 14th September. The public are invited to ask questions of museums, galleries and archives around the world. As always, museums can join in by using the hashtag and encouraging people to send their questions.
Action Learning Cohort: Developing Anti-Racist Practice with Kids in Museums
Kids in Museums has launched a new Action Learning Cohort: ‘Developing Anti-Racist Practice in Museums with Families, Children and Young People’. It has been set up following a 2021 report by Beatfreaks showing that over half of young people from diverse ethnic backgrounds feel excluded by British culture. The Action Learning Cohort will help two people from each participating museum begin to address the problem. Over 12 months, the group will consider issues including creating equitable environments, being anti-racist, Black and Black British history, co-production with young people and working alongside communities. The cost of participating is £2k, which can be paid in two instalments. There may also be some fully funded places for museums in Wales, and your MDO or AIM may also be able to help with costs. The deadline for applications is 5pm on 5th September. Kids in Museums
Horniman to spend its £100k MOTY win on Resident Artist and children’s summer learning programme
Horniman Museum & Gardens has won the £100k Museum of the Year Award, the largest prize in the museum world. The judges were especially impressed by its ‘Reset’ agenda, prompted by the climate emergency, Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter – showing, as judge IWM DG Diane Lees puts it ‘how a traditional museum can reinvent itself through powerful ideas’. Its work in the past year has included beginning to fulfil its Climate and Ecology Manifesto, with the planting of a micro-forest against air pollution, creating an online community of Environment Champions and embedding sustainable gardening. It has also celebrated South London music with its 696 programme, from Afrofuturist to hip-hop, jazz and soul, created a youth panel of 14 – 19 year olds, offered Kickstart apprenticeships and has shared collections-based touring exhibitions, starting with Hair: Untold Stories at the Horniman. The Horniman plans to use its winnings on a three year Resident Artist programme, linking young musicians with its musical instrument collection as a stimulus for new work. It will also create outdoor learning activities for young people in the school holidays, especially aimed at those receiving free school meals. Art Fund Director and Chair of the panel of judges Jenny Waldman, said that the Horniman’s “ values are woven through everything it now does, with a passionate team breathing life and meaning into every object, performance, plant and animal. In many ways it’s the perfect museum, and I would encourage everyone to go and experience all it has to offer.” Museum Chief Executive Nick Merriman said “this award is a great endorsement of love as a motivation for the work that we do here; love for our communities and love for the world we all share”. The other four shortlisted museums -Museum of Making (Derby), People’s History Museum (Manchester), The Story Museum (Oxford) and Tŷ Pawb (Wrexham) - each received £15k. Art Fund, Horniman, Guardian, Art Newspaper, Times, Times, Art Newspaper, Museums Journal
Art Explora – Académie des beaux-arts European Award open for applications
Art Explora and Académie des beaux-arts are seeking submissions for their joint European Award 2022. It is open to applications from museums and arts organisations which have created projects that develop new dialogues between the cultural sector and audiences. For example, last year’s winners included a multi-sensory display, a project offering opportunities to take art home for the weekend, and V&A’s competition for students to submit solutions to current societal issues. Art Explora is particularly seeking projects that can be shared and scaled across Europe, innovating new engagement and participation, and crossing social, economic and geographic barriers. UK entries are welcome. There are three prizes of €50k each and one Audience Choice Award of €10k. The deadline for applications is now slightly extended to 7th September. Contact [email protected] with any queries. Art Explora, Art Explora (previous winners and shortlisted projects)
The tiny Brunel Museum on the south bank of the Thames is launching major capital works, having received £1.85m for its Brunel Museum Reinvented project from NLHF. Elements include restoring the existing Engine House, and creating a new gallery, building a welcome pavilion with a café and shop, developing an education programme and running free community events during the development. The work will be completed in 2025, in time for the 200th anniversary of the building. Brunel Museum, Brunel Museum, (Q&A), Southwark News, Museums Journal, Londonist, Brunel Museum
Also: Work has begun on a major transformation of the Maritime Museum in Hull, which is expected to reopen in 2025. Experience UK
Marking the 50th anniversary of the first UK Pride March, BBC Front Row went to visit the newly opened LGBTQ+ museum Queer Britain at King's Cross to look at its opening exhibition 'We Are Queer Britain'. It is based around themes of taking a stand, how queer people have communicated and found each other, and expressions of fears of loves. Collections on display include the 'scuffed and stained' door of Oscar Wilde's Reading Gaol cell, and by contrast Olly Alexander's exuberant rainbow costume from Glastonbury in 2019, plus political material like the Wolfenden Report and cartoons against Section 28. It also looks at 'multiple identities', and groups like Imaan, which champions gay Muslims. Director Joseph Galliano-Doig stresses that this is an important moment to have a LGBTQ+ museum, to represent all, see how far the community has come - but also to ensure that rights do not 'slip back' in the face of regressive forces. Meanwhile, a feature in the New York Times puts the new venue in the context of other European LGBTQ+ museums, and plans for a new museum in the US. BBC (from 14.30), New York Times, Queer Britain
The MA has launched a campaign, case studies and extensive resources to support museums in addressing the climate and ecological emergency. It has also created a steering group of sustainability specialists, and will embed climate issues across all of its other campaigns. This group includes Sara Kassam, Sustainability Advisor at UK Sport, Jacob Dafydd Ellis, change maker lead at the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner, and Rachael Rowley, Head of Resources at Museums Galleries Scotland. Its resources bank includes examples of existing climate exhibitions, including Wardlaw Museum’s ‘Dive In’ and the National Maritime Museum’s ‘Our Ocean, Our Planet’. It points to national and international networks, such as the Museums & Climate Change Network and Museum for Future as well as carbon calculators, films and other resource banks. Museums Journal
Resources from greenloop22 – from carbon neutral touring to the ‘last resort’ of offsetting
Visitor attraction news specialist blooloop has made talks from its recent online environmental conference greenloop22 available on its website. Talks include The National Gallery’s Chris Michaels speaking about sustainability and technology, and how carbon costs create challenges; creating circular economies that are ‘restorative and regenerative by design; building in sustainability in the enormous $650m expansion of the National Air and Space Museum; plus supply chains – and warnings for suppliers about likely future developments. Tim Pethick of Nomad Exhibitions spoke about how to create a carbon neutral touring exhibition, adding “this is where everything is moving. Everything is going to become more sustainable. Everyone is going to want to know what the carbon footprint of your work is, so the sooner you start to embrace that and get on that escalator of sustainable knowledge, the better”.Blooloop, Blooloop, (all talks for £24)
Also: The Art Newspaper's Louisa Buck also argues for caution in embracing carbon offsetting, arguing that 'all they will offset is your guilt'. However, she points to the Gallery Climate Coalition's approach of paying into a Strategic Carbon Fund, at a fixed rate per tonne. Art Newspaper,
Museums and galleries close due to heatwave (with some chance of more in August)
Museums were forced to close either individual galleries or whole buildings during the late July heatwave, when a record temperature of over 40 degrees was recorded in the UK for the first time. At the British Museum, some upper floor galleries were closed, and the building closed entirely at 3pm on 18th and 19th July. There were also some gallery closures at the V&A, although most areas remained open; all four sites at Royal Museums Greenwich closed early, as did the Thackray Museum, Leeds. Museums Journal also reports damage to collections, with one unnamed staff member saying “some of our objects in the collections, like the wax objects, are melting. Some of the glue holding things together is unsticking.” Another casualty of the heat has been school visits, many of which were cancelled in the face of the Red National Severe Weather Warning. However, some museums encouraged the public to take advantage of their cooler spaces, with Derby Museums Trust Director Tony Butler tweeting “Entry to all @derbymuseums is free. Museum and Art Gallery cafe has magnificent aircon, as do our gallery spaces too.” The difficulties faced by many museums reflect a wider UK building stock aimed at keeping warm rather than cooling down. Mortice Consulting’s Ben Melham told Museums Journal“all new development and upgrades of buildings and infrastructure needs to respond to both the current challenges and the forecast climatic conditions in 10, 20 or 30 years.” In the days following the heatwave, a meadow at the National Trust’s Mordern Hill Park was extensively damaged by a fire started by a disposable barbeque; the National Trust, like London Fire Brigade, is urging people not to use them in green spaces as it says ‘even the smallest spark can spread quickly in these dry conditions.’ There is also the possibility of a repeat of these heatwave temperatures during August, although this is far from certain. Art Newspaper (BM, V&A), Museums Journal, National Trust, Wimbledon Park, i newspaper
Also: In China’s Forbidden City, the roof has melted from its Cultural Relics Museum, closing it until further notice. Artnet
The view from Greece: making a national plan to address wildfires and heatwaves
Greece is among the European countries beginning to grapple with the effects of a changing climate on its museums and heritage, although its most intense experience so far was in 2021, with record temperatures in late July and early August. Widespread wildfires around the World Heritage Site of Olympia and its associated museum, which were both at risk but ultimately saved, point to the threats to world class heritage. Archaeological sites were also shut from noon to 5pm as temperatures exceeded 39 degrees. As a result of these experiences in the past few years, Greece is taking countrywide strategic steps to deal with a hotter future and its effects on museums and heritage:
A new accreditation scheme calls for museums to “to use all available means to reduce the environmental footprint of their building facilities and their overall operation, as well as to adapt to climate change”. Specific measures have not yet been outlined, but an online toolkit on coping with climate change in museums is to be published in June 2023.
There is a National Plan to address climate change impacts on culture, drawn up in 2019, and supported by €32m from the Recovery Fund. Its tasks to 2025 include creating a list of sites at risk, especially areas with monuments and archaeological sites. In phase two, by 2030, 35 Adaptation plans for monuments will be created and 30 museums in the care of the Ministry of Culture will be upgraded to address climate change.
Sofia Tsilidou of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports comments “as museums face the ever-increasing challenge of operating in stressful thermal conditions, their energy upgrade is considered necessary to ensure their smooth operation, to protect collections and to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the spirit of the Paris Agreement and national goals.”
Resources in brief: reducing carbon footprints online
A new resource published as part of Culture Hive’s Digital Heritage Hub looks at all aspects of creating a smaller carbon footprint for cultural websites and digital work – an important issue given that powering the internet will use a fifth of the world’s electricity by 2025. Issues include procurement, design including images, film, user journeys, font and embedding sustainability opportunities for visitors. Culture Hive
The Networked Condition is a resource supported by ACE, Julie’s Bicycle and others to measure the often hidden carbon footprint of developing and delivering artworks generated through digital technology. Its insights can be applied to livestreamed events, digital artworks or digital events. The Networked Condition
Act Green: audiences want cultural organisations to do more on climate
Consultancy Indigo, in partnership with pointOne has published research into audience attitudes about how cultural organisations are addressing the climate emergency. It is the result of 11,682 responses given to 58 arts and cultural organisations, although none were museums. It found that:
86% of arts audiences are concerned about the climate emergency, 10% higher than the wider population, with 94% saying they have made changes to their own lifestyles.
Only 17% believe cultural organisations place ‘great importance’ on playing an active role, although 57% believe they place ‘some importance’. 77% think cultural organisations should influence society on the issue.
72% are open to being nudged towards more sustainable food choices at the venue, and 90% think organisations should address plastics, recycling and building energy efficiency.
Although under 35s are slightly more worried, among arts audiences there is little variation by age in the degree of concern. However, younger audiences are 10% more likely to agree that cultural organisations should take action.
Design Museum’s Future Observatory creates Zero City+ climate emergency planning game
The Design Museum is collaborating on Zero City+ - a programme which uses an urban board game to improve how individuals, communities and institutions communicate with each other, especially around improving the design of urban areas in the face of the climate emergency. Although communities are often consulted on these topics, they usually lack agency to create change – something that the interactivity of the game aims to shift. Work on the ground is a collaboration between Urban Transcripts, a not for profit urban development consultancy and architecture staff at the University of Reading. It has so far played out in three different communities – a group of older people, students at Reading and The Garden of Earthly Delights in Hackney. Organisers says that the game approach has visibly transformative effects: “I knew some of the students already and I ended up seeing some of the more quiet ones with completely different eyes. They transformed in front of me by speaking up, advocating and feeling very strongly about climate change. It was amazing seeing that transformation in the span of two or three hours.” The project is one of 15 supported by the AHRC and Design Museum partnership for the major Future Observatory project, and offers a model for museums engaging in big, transdisciplinary approaches which empower the public. The museum is also now seeking four new design researchers in residence, in another strand of the Future Observatory programme, to consider the theme of Islands. The deadline for applications is 19th September. Design Museum, (Zero City+), Design Museum, (Future Observatory newsletter signup), Design Museum (latest from Future Observatory), Design Museum, (islands), Garden of Earthly Delights
National Gallery launches new Roblox 'Keeper of Paintings' free game for children
The National Gallery is launching a new digital game aimed at 7 - 11 year olds called 'The Keeper of Paintings and the Palette of Perception', which can be played at home or in the gallery itself. Participants in the Roblox based adventure learn about paintings and curate their own collections in a personal online gallery space while moving through the ranks from Apprentice to High Keeper. Players are assisted by the Keeper's sidekick, Claws Monet, while seeking routes through to hidden worlds. The game was designed with help from more than 80 children through the gallery's Children's Advisory Group. Head of Digital Lawrence Chiles said: “we are always looking to extend the opportunity to take the Gallery’s collection to audiences in new and innovative ways. The fact that they can learn about the paintings on a platform they find familiar, fun and engaging is great to see.” National Gallery (press release), National Gallery
'Online Nation 2022' shows a game-playing nation, online for an average four hours a day
Ofcom has published 'Online Nation 2022', its annual look at how adults in the UK engage online. Findings this year include:
The internet is a major part of daily life for UK adults, with 94% having access at home. However, this declines with age: a fifth of over 65s don't have home internet, compared to only 1% of 18 - 34s.
The average use per adult per day is four hours, with four Meta-owned apps (Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Telegram) as the most popular UK smartphone apps.
58% of 13- 64 year olds in the UK watch video game related content, and 39% of over 16s play games online making it a powerful route to reaching audiences.
Although 62% of users have seen something potentially harmful online in the past four weeks (with 27% encountering scams, fraud and phishing), 67% of over 13s believe the benefits outweigh the downsides of the web.
Charity Digital has published its report on digital skills in charities in 2022. The report shows a still fairly large proportion (42%) lacking excellent ‘basic’ digital skills, such as email and video calling, though 80% have fair attainment, with larger charities well ahead. The top skills gaps, cited by more than 40% of all questioned are digital fundraising, analysing data to inform plans, learning about users through data, SEO and undertaking user research. Nine in ten respondents want to work for organisations which are improving their digital skills. Charity Digital Skills Report
ACE funding round ‘most over-subscribed to date’ with reduced sums for London
ACE has revealed that it has received 1,730 applications for National Portfolio Organisation status for the period 2023 – 2026, or more than double the NPOs it currently funds. Budgetwise, applications are about 50% above ACE’s available funds, with £655m requested and around £428m available. However, ACE has not confirmed the annual budget for this funding round but says that the figure will rise. An ACE spokesperson said “we have a particularly high volume of applications based in London, where we will be reducing our investment as set out in government’s instruction to us following the Levelling Up White Paper’s publication.” In June, the Director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris warned that the movement of spend out of London could have unintended consequences, arguing that faced with cuts it would have to reduce touring productions and schools programming beyond the capital. He said that NT spends £4m more on its nationwide work than its whole £16.7m grant, adding “we have in-depth programmes in many places and we focus on areas of low arts engagement – Sunderland, Doncaster, Wolverhampton, Salford, Wakefield. So cutting our money here will directly affect what we can do.” ACE is planning a Transition Programme, which will offer temporary support to those no longer receiving NPO support in the new round. The application portal for this runs from 7th November 2022 – 28th February 2023. Museums Journal, Guardian, ACE (Transition programme)
New round of the CCV Collaborate fund promotes work between academia and culture
The Centre for Cultural Value is launching the second round of its Collaborate fund, which brings together the cultural sector and academics to develop collaborative research projects. Funding of between £5k - £20k is available for work which opens up new ways of thinking, builds networks and develops skills in collaborative research. The new round opens on 12th September. National Museums Liverpool was one of five bids successful in the first round. It has been working with Sophie Oliver, Lecturer in English at the University of Liverpool on the theme of ‘Gender stories’, looking at how objects from the past can address the complexities of gender today. CCV (Collaborate), CCV (previous funded projects)
Capital grants up to £300k launched for museums, archives, libraries in Wales
The Welsh Government’s Culture Division has opened its Transformation Capital Grant Programme for 2023 – 24, to support the modernisation and upgrade of facilities at independent and local authority museums and at libraries and archives across Wales. Two bands of capital grant are available: up to £150k in Band A for improving the environment, collections care, visitor experience and long term sustainability, and up to £300k in Band B for larger strategic projects including major building work or partnerships. There are two rounds to the process, beginning with an Expression of Interest stage. The deadline for submitting EOIs is 5pm on 9th September, which can be sent to [email protected]. Welsh Government (guidance), Welsh Government (application form)
The Anti-racist Wales Culture, Heritage and Sport Fund 2022 - 2023
The Welsh Government has opened its Anti-racist Wales Culture, Heritage and Sport Fund 2022 – 23 which is open to museums, libraries, archives heritage and sport and will fund activity to deliver against the Government’s Action Plan on this topic. Funding conditions are as follows:
All applicants must demonstrate how they deliver against Action Plan with proposed activity.
£5k - £150k per project per annum is available from October 2022 to March 2025, with projects running for a maximum of 30 months and beginning by December 2022.
The funding for 2022 - 23 is for revenue costs only. A limited amount of capital funding is available from April 2023 - March 2025 only. The Welsh Government recommends that capital makes up no more than 10% of the proposed funding.
Typical revenue costs include salaries, cost of premises hire, transport and subsistence, events related cost and insurance. Capital costs include the purchase of equipment, digital software and infrastructure and exhibition build costs.
Examples of areas that can be funded under the grant scheme include using collections to improve access for Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, mentoring, community projects, permanent and temporary exhibition development, websites, research and engagement and outreach.
Also: Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales has rolled out a new branding, with an approach that includes moving away from ‘museum speak’ and embracing its identity as an activist museum on topics from Black Lives Matter to the climate emergency. It will also be leading with Welsh language for the first time – with its logo Amgueddfa Cymru in Welsh. Museums Journal
Front Row discusses the options for funding museums including endowment funds
In a segment on the BBC’s Front Row, Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of NLHF and Kim Streets, Chief Executive of Museums Sheffield discussed various approaches to funding museums, against a landscape where direct grants from Government have decreased in the past decade. McGuinness described how from 2017, NLHF began a match funding scheme to help museums build endowment funds, with 15 projects sharing £10m. The hope was to increase the maturity of this kind of funding in the sector, which was previously relatively rare, especially among non-nationals. There have been success stories, including Derby Museums Trust, which in June met its first £2m target (£1m NLHF + £1m match funding), allowing it to generate £80k - 100k per year, but others have been less successful in reaching match funding targets. Kim Streets, who is also part of the English Civic Museums network, said that few members could afford a dedicated fundraising team, and that an ‘all hands on deck’ across all parts of museums was a typical model. She added that fundraising is always easier when there is a new specific object (for example, a capital project) for people to give to, and harder for ‘business as usual’. She also discussed the trade offs of when to charge: for Museums Sheffield, charging general admission would mean turning museums that the public can regularly pop in to visit, into a far less frequent once a year event, and therefore a poor trade off. However, she adds that this does not prevent museums from charging for individual exhibitions, seeking donations or making a profit in shops and cafes. BBC (Front Row – from c.26 minutes)
Churchill Fellowship launches new Arts and Communities category
The Churchill Fellowship is offering places on a new theme of arts and communities from the autumn, and invites applicants to take part in its ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to spend up to two months anywhere in the world discovering new ideas and best practice alongside leading practitioners. The Fellowship covers all expenses and travel costs. Fellowships are open to all UK resident citizens aged 18 or above, regardless of their qualifications, background or age, and the assessment process is based around future possibilities not past achievements. The scheme prioritises those who would not receive funding from any other source, and Fellowship research can be undertaken in person or online. For the new Arts and Communities theme, the Fellowship is particularly interested in projects that facilitate collaboration and co-creation between communities, creatives and other sectors to achieve this. Applications across all artforms are welcome, including curation, policy, education traditional arts and science. The Churchill Fellowship is running 11 themes in total this year, including climate change and rural communities. Application open on 13th September. Churchill Fellowship, (arts and communities overview), Churchill Fellowship, (blog), Churchill Fellowship, (current themes)
Space for Change – peer learning group for those working in creative learning
A New Direction has launched the ‘Space for Change’ peer learning group for all whose work is focused on children and young people and who have influence to make change possible. That might range from freelance practitioners to department leaders or those running a company. The group will meet monthly from September 2022 – February 2023 and cover priority areas for the creative learning sector. The deadline for Expressions of Interest is 9am on 8th August. A New Direction
After a hiatus due to the retirement of its previous manager, Jim, The University of Leicester's popular Museum Studies Jobs Desk will be back online from 11th August. It will continue to be free to use, and is already open for new ads. University of Leicester
Hourly pay falls over a decade for heritage workers – as museums also face a cost of living crisis
New research by the Prospect union found that there have been sharp falls in hourly pay across the heritage sector since 2011. The union, which drew the comparative data from recently advertised heritage roles found that pay for archivists and curators had (adjusted for inflation) fallen from £19.75 in 2011 to £16.23 in 2022; conservators have also lost around £2,750 per annum in the real value of their salary in the period. In its statement on the cost of living crisis, the MA said that ‘museum workers need pay settlements that will enable them to keep pace with the cost of living’. It also points to the increased financial pressures on museums themselves from energy bills, and from audiences who are now more likely to be deterred from visiting by cost of living than any other factor, especially in the 35 – 54 age group, according to ALVA research in early June. Museums Journal, ALVA (visitor sentiment – see pages 5 and 19), Museums Journal
ACE launches new Creative Health and Wellbeing Plan
ACE has published a new Creative Health and Wellbeing Plan, covering the period 2022 – 24, and focusing on how it will work within health and social care. Although it has already been involved in the field, including supporting the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance, it believes there is more that can be done. Data around health inequalities is ‘a major indicator of those places and people with least power’ – and ACE hopes that by using this data to direct its resources, it will be able to reach people unlikely to access culture. This is a paradigm shift away from ‘health projects’ as an add on, and towards a more integral approach. Actions include evolving the Thriving Communities Fund (which launched as a £1.4m pilot last year), working more closely with the National Academy of Social Prescribing, including aiming to create senior cultural posts at the agency, working with the NHS on training resources, entering into data sharing agreements and measuring public opinion. There will also be work to build skills development for health and wellbeing practitioners, and especially support those who are working in challenging settings. ACE, Arts Professional, ACE (online creative health resource hub), ACE (case studies)
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