The NMDC team is incredibly sad to announce that our Newsletter Editor Kate Smith passed away peacefully on 15th November.
Kate has been a much loved member of the NMDC team since 2012. She worked on many different projects for NMDC over the years but her main role was editing the monthly NMDC newsletter and managing our press and social media, a job she carried out with astuteness, wit and professionalism. Kate was in regular touch with a large network of people as part of her work for NMDC, and we know how widely and deeply she is missed across the sector by the number of lovely messages we’ve received. She was consistently reliable, pragmatic and cheerful which made her a joy to work with. Kate’s many other achievements across the museums and cultural sector during her career are detailed in an obituary by her friend and colleague Babs Guthrie in the Museums Journal.
Kate was thoughtful, eternally curious, wise and kind. She was a passionate promoter of heritage and particularly of marginalised people and stories, with a brilliant and wry sense of humour. We feel very lucky to have known and worked with her. She will be dearly missed at NMDC and beyond.
The Horniman Museum and Gardens returns looted Benin bronzes to Nigeria
The first six of 72 objects were repatriated from the Horniman Museum and Gardens to Nigerian authorities on 28th November. A ceremony was held at the museum to formally transfer ownership of the 72 items to Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments. During the ceremony, two brass plaques, a brass hip ornament, two ivory objects and a carved wooden box frame were handed over. The Horniman’s Chair of Trustees Michael Salter-Church said that the signing over of ownership “does not represent the end of the process”. Director of the Horniman Museum Nick Merriman said that “I think we’re seeing a tipping point around not just restitution and repatriation, but museums acknowledging their colonial history – and that’s better history, I think”. Horniman Museum and Gardens, BBC, Museums Association
National Museums Scotland to transfer memorial pole to Nisga’a Nation
A memorial pole brought to Scotland nearly a century ago will be returned to its place of origin in what is now British Columbia, Canada. The House of Ni’isjoohl Memorial Pole has been on display in what is now the National Museum of Scotland since 1930. During a visit from a delegation of Nisga’a representatives to Edinburgh in August, a request for its transfer to the Nisga’a Nation was made. The request was formally agreed on 30th November by the Board of Trustees of National Museums Scotland and was subsequently approved by the Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture. Dr Chris Breward, Director of National Museums Scotland said: “We are committed to promoting understanding and dialogue with respect to those parts of the Museum’s collection associated with our nation’s colonial history and its difficult legacies. The fact that our Trustees have agreed to this request demonstrates our readiness to act on this commitment. We are pleased to have reached this agreement and to be able to transfer the Memorial Pole to its people and to the place where its spiritual significance is most keenly understood. We hope this is not the end of the process but the next step in a fruitful and ongoing relationship with the Nisga’a.” Sim'oogit Ni'ijoohl (Chief Earl Stephens) of Nisga’a Nation said: "In Nisga’a culture, we believe that this pole is alive with the spirit of our ancestor. After nearly one hundred years, we are finally able to bring our dear relative home to rest on Nisga’a lands. In means so much for us to have the Ni’isjoohl memorial pole returned to us, so that we can connect our family, nation and our future generations with our living history." NMS, The Art Newspaper
TWAM receives £24,980 grant from Peter Sowerby Foundation
Tyne and Wear Archives & Museums has received a grant of £24,980 from the Peter Sowerby Foundation to support arts and heritage activities for older people in residential and clinical care settings. The grant will allow TWAM’s communities team to create bespoke online training for health and social care professionals. Carers will learn how they can use two existing resources to enrich their day-to-day work with older people: museum object loan boxes and the Museums, Health and Social Care activity pack created by TWAM and Northumbria University. Keith Merrin, Director of TWAM is quoted as saying “We are very grateful to the Peter Sowerby Foundation for funding this vital work. The grant allows us to continue developing strategic partnerships with the Health and Social care sector. Together, we are harnessing the power of museums to respond to the urgent needs of the local community”. Tyne and Wear Archives & Museums
RAMM part of new wellbeing scheme connecting older people with culture in Exeter
Wellbeing Exeter, Age UK Exeter and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery are joining together in a social-prescribing project to improve wellbeing for older people. The project will see two new roles being created that link older people with creative and cultural opportunities in the city, including the museum, arts activities, historic buildings, libraries and cultural events. Lead Councillor for Arts and Culture at Exeter City Council Cllr Laura Wright said that the programme “builds on a decade of learning from RAMM’s well-developed dementia-friendly programme and will help us better understand the needs of older people in our community”. Exeter City Council
RAF Museum and Telford & Wrekin Interfaith Council sign Memorandum of Understanding
In mid-November the Royal Air Force Museum celebrated Interfaith Week by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Telford & Wrekin Interfaith Council. RAF Museum CEO Maggie Appleton said that “Telford & Wrekin Interfaith Council and the RAF Museum share a commitment to explore ways to harness our knowledge, people and spaces to bring those of all faith, and of no faith, together. We are keen to harness the RAF Museum collection for everyone’s inspiration, learning and enjoyment and this Memorandum of Understanding underlines our intent and formalises our partnership and friendship”. Plans are already underway for a large collaborative event to be held at the Museum in 2023, bringing together diverse local communities and celebrating the new partnership. RAF Museum
Also: In celebration of the Royal Air Force Museum’s 50th Anniversary, five artefacts spanning five decades have been made available for adoption in honour of the late Queen Elizabeth II. The new anniversary artefacts have each been chosen by a curator to tell the story of the museum and its early years, including two objects with a special royal connection. RAF Museum
New National Portrait Gallery wing thanks to £10m gift from The Blavatnik Family Foundation
As part of its refurbishment, the National Portrait Gallery will get a new wing when it reopens in 2023 after it received a £10m gift from The Blavatnik Family Foundation. The Blavatnik Wing will host more than 100 years of British portraits in nine galleries as part of the gallery’s Inspiring People project. Director of the NPG Nicholas Cullinan said the gallery was “incredibly grateful” for the donation and that “The Blavatnik Wing…will be at the heart of our redevelopment”. The Guardian
Also: This month former NMDC Chair and Science Museum Group Director Sir Ian Blatchford was profiled in the Financial Times and Natural History Museum Director Doug Gurr was interviewed in The Times. FT, Times
Art UK, Collections Trust and the University of Leicester have started work on a new Museum Data Service, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, that will transform access to collections information across the museum sector. The new service is due to launch in Autumn 2023 and will pool millions of object records and share them as the raw material for countless public and research uses, as well as providing high-level information about each collection.
The first major user of data from the new infrastructure will be Art UK, which already brings more than 300,000 artworks, from 3,400 collections, to an online audience of over 4.5m people a year. The Museum Data Service will allow Art UK to scale up its operation adding millions more artworks over time. Art UK will also build a new state-of-the-art e-commerce platform to generate much-needed commercial income for its partner collections. Collections Trust will use its longstanding relationship with hundreds of smaller museums to help them make the most of the new service, and broker data-based projects that demonstrate the Museum Data Service’s game-changing potential for the UK museum sector as a whole. The University of Leicester’s new Institute for Digital Culture completes the partnership, bringing a research dimension to the design and use of the service, the data expertise and technical capacity of a leading university, and a bridge to longer-term infrastructure ambitions for the wider digital humanities. This project is being developed thanks to the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Digital Accelerator for Arts and Culture, which has since 2021 supported over 100 institutions. Art UK
Launch of report on the impact of diversity initiatives on curatorial roles
Museum X and Culture& published their report ‘It’s About Handing Over Power’ on 9th November, which looked at the impact of diversity initiatives from 1998-2021 and was commissioned by the Art Fund. The report argues that most diversity initiatives in the UK arts and heritage sector have failed to make the curatorial workforce more representative. The launch event was held at the V&A and heard from keynote speaker Suzanne Alleyne along with panel discussions on expanding the curatorial skill set across institutions, engaging freelance curators and how to future-proof careers in the curatorial realm, and the current funding ecosystem including commercial models and decolonising philanthropy. Museum X, Culture &,Museums Association
LGA Commission finds culture is key to recovery and prosperity
The final report of the LGA’s Independent Commission on Culture and Local Government ‘Cornerstones of Culture’ was on published on 8th December. The Commission, chaired by Baroness Lola Young with 16 Commissioners including Sara Wajid, Co-CEO of Birmingham Museums Trust, was set up in March 2022 to explore the role of local culture in levelling up and supporting recovery from the pandemic. It considered evidence across four themes: sustainable and inclusive economic recovery; health inequalities; social mobility, cultural education and creative skills; and place.
The report identifies four key ‘cornerstones’ essential to a healthy local cultural ecosystem – capacity, leadership, funding and evidence – and sets out recommendations for councils, regional bodies, cultural arms-length bodies and national government. It calls for immediate action to safeguard the future of local cultural infrastructure in the context of rising costs, as well as a longer-term action plan including:
Access and inclusion: Locally accessible and inclusive cultural infrastructure for all, addressing the structural inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic.
Creative growth: Removal of barriers to growth of creative industry clusters and micro-clusters to support the development of the creative sector as an engine of post-pandemic growth.
Cultural education and pathways to creative employment: Access for all in all places to a high-quality cultural education and routes into the burgeoning creative industries from schools through to further and higher education and employment.
Health and wellbeing: A strategic approach to health and wellbeing in place that recognises the preventative and health benefits of culture in supporting our national recovery.
The Commission has also published 50 case studies to demonstrate the role of publicly funded culture and the benefits to communities in a wide range of areas. LGA (report) LGA (case studies)
Nottingham Castle Trust goes into liquidation, while City Council says it will reopen the Castle as soon as possible
The board of Nottingham Castle Trust announced the museum’s immediate closure to visitors on 21st November, with Tim Bateson and Chris Pole of Interpath Advisory nominated to act as liquidators and formally wind up its affairs. The closure comes a year after a £33mn revamp of the site failed to bring in expected visitor numbers. Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis who has responsibility for the city’s culture portfolio has said that “The council’s immediate priority is to work with the appointed liquidators to support those staff at the castle who have been affected by this sad news, and to safeguard the site and its collections while it is not operational.” He added that “we will reopen the castle as soon as possible”. In a statement, the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) said that they were ‘concerned’ by the recent closure and that they hoped that the closure would be a ‘short-term albeit essential measure’ and that Nottingham City Council will consider establishing a new charitable trust to operate the Castle in due course. Nottingham Castle, The Guardian, The Telegraph, BBC News, Museums Association, AIM
Mapping Museums on how the pandemic has changed the way that UK museums use Twitter and Facebook
The latest study by Mapping Museums Blog found that there was no sustained increase in social media use on Twitter and Facebook as a result of the pandemic. COVID-19 restrictions had an immediate two-fold effect on museums’ social media activity. On the one hand there was a fall in the number of active museum social media accounts between April 2020 and May 2021. On the other hand ,the museums that remained active posted more than before the pandemic. Mapping Museums Blog
VAT Refund Scheme for museums and galleries now open
The VAT Refund Scheme for museums and galleries allows museums and galleries to claim back VAT incurred on most goods and services purchased in order to grant free rights of admission to their collections. The closing date for this round of applications has been extended until 5pm on 1st March 2023. Application forms should be requested by emailing [email protected]. To be considered for inclusion in the scheme museums or galleries must:
Be open to the general public for at least 30 hours per week, without exception;
Offer free entry, without prior appointment;
Hold collections in a purpose-built building;
Display details of free entry and opening hours on the museum or gallery website.
Recommendations made by the Senedd Committee for Culture
The Welsh Parliament’s Committee on Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations recently published a report on the impact of increasing costs on culture and sport. The report included recommendations such as:
The Welsh Government should urgently work with the National Library to resolve its concerns about the “very serious risk to the collections”
The UK Government should provide sports and cultural venues with support with energy costs beyond the six months of the initial scheme.
The Welsh Government should initiate emergency discussions with the UK Government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to call for a UK-wide support package to support the culture and sport sectors in response to cost-of-living pressures.
The full report and list of recommendations can be accessed here.
Government rules out changing the law for the return of Parthenon marbles
The Guardian reports that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has ruled out changing a law that could prevent the British Museum from handing the Parthenon marbles back to Greece, ‘after it emerged that trustees have held secret talks with the Greek Prime Minister about the future of the artefacts’. According to the Greek newspaper Ta Nea, Chair of the British Museum George Osborne has been holding talks with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis since November 2021 over the possible return of the sculptures. Sunak’s official spokesperson has said “We have no plans to change the law, which prevents removing objects from the British Museum’s collection apart from in certain circumstances”. The Guardian
On 27th November, Wellcome Collection closed the Medicine Man gallery which had been part of the Collection since it opened in 2007. The Collection said that the closure of Medicine Man was the result of several years’ research and reflection, and is the next step in updating how they display items from the collections. The Collection will take time to consider how the space will be used in the future and will continue to display potentially sensitive or contentious items, including those from Medicine Man, in ways that provide greater context for visitors and facilitate further research. Wellcome Collection, Twitter
Planned industrial action called off by the National Coal Mining Museum
Workers at the National Coal Mining Museum (NCMM) in Wakefield, Yorkshire, have called off planned industrial action after the charity agreed to a pay rise of up to 10.5%. The museum closed during the October half term when union members staged a five-day strike after receiving a pay offer that was less than half of the £2,000 increase they had requested in light of the cost-of-living crisis. NCMM offered full-time workers a revised pay settlement of £1,650 plus a one-off cost of living payment of £350 with part-time staff to receive a pro-rate increase. Unison Wakefield district branch secretary Sam Greenwood said, “Museum staff took a stand and have achieved a wage rise that goes some way towards helping them through the cost-of-living crisis”. Museums Association
Sessions from the MA’s 2022 conference in Edinburgh are now available online for delegates to watch any sessions that they may have missed. Conference themes included addressing the climate crisis, leading through change and decolonising museums, with sessions including:
‘A New Deal for Museums’: members of the English Civic Museums Network led discussion on how the sector needs to do things differently in response to major issues facing society including the cost of living crisis, pressure on public funding, Covid recovery and the climate crisis. Speakers gave provocations on issues including collections, governance, workforce, and commerciality. CEO of Museums Northumberland Rowan Brown questioned whether it is still reasonable or realistic to commit to preserving collections for posterity, and proposed the idea of carbon cost-informed disposal; Phil Walker, Head of Culture at Gloucester City Council, suggested that councils should no longer run museums; and Director of Tullie House Museum Andrew Mackay talked about the need to grow commercial income, as the current business model for local authority museums is not sustainable. Also: On 9th November 9th Rowan Brown spoke on Front Row on BBC Radio 4 about the need for museums to reposition themselves to survive. The session can be listened to here [at 19:32 minutes]
‘Our Shared Cultural Heritage’: participants in the OSCH project, which works with young individuals from South Asian communities in the UK and abroad to engage with the museum and heritage sectors, spoke about their experiences in museums as an underrepresented group. They emphasised that decolonising work in museums continues to be an important necessity, and urged the sector to continue to push for diversity and inclusion via permanent staff opportunities for people of colour and by placing greater value in their work and contributions with fair pay. Our Shared Cultural Heritage
‘Reclaiming the narrative – violence against women and girls’ looked at addressing domestic abuse within the context of the cultural sector. Participants discussed how museums can assist in drawing attention to those who suffer domestic abuse and their potential to become safe spaces for support and their stories. Chris Harris from the Broxtowe’s Women’s Project talked about how museums can improve and support individuals experiencing domestic violence by implementing policy and procedures via HR and internal training of staff, and how BMP “work with museums to share women’s voices via creative exhibitions.” Safer Museums Twitter, Broxtowe’s Women’s Project
AIM project to provide support to museums in Wales
A new project run by the Association of Independent Museums will provide support to museums in Wales to deliver the Culture, Heritage and Sport goals and actions in the Anti Racist Wales Action Plan (ARWAP). The project ‘Re: Collections – Anti Racist Museums Wales’ will provide museums with bespoke consultancy, mentoring, workshops, grants and the chance to share experiences and learning. AIM will work with the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust which is a specialist library and archive, focusing on the study of race, migration and thinking about race; anti-racist activism and the fight for social justice. Participants in the programme will benefit from workshops, consultancies and mentoring all focused on supporting museums to build the skills and confidence to meet the goals of ARWAP, and grant funding will support museums to deliver projects that use these skills. Details on the scheme, including the application process, will be published by AIM in December. AIM
Following on from the Theatre Green Book which was published in 2021, the Arts Green Book provides clear and practical guidance to help make cultural buildings more sustainable. Arts Council England and the Greater London Authority have supported Theatre Green Book authors Renew Culture and Buro Happold to create the Arts Green Book for buildings. The Book explains sustainability options, identifies actions that can be considered as ‘easy wins’, as well as those that will take longer and require a bigger investment, and gives targeted advice for different areas of the cultural sector. Common issues, such as the difficulties posed by historic building use, are investigated. A free survey tool aims to help organisations develop an initial plan for sustainability. Arts Green Book, Greater London Authority, Buro Happold
ICOM Germany released a statement condemning ‘attacks on works of art in international museum collections’ arguing that the activists responsible ‘severely underestimate the fragility of these irreplaceable objects, which must be preserved as part of our world cultural heritage’. The statement was signed by 92 of the world’s leading cultural institutions, including the British Museum, the National Gallery and the V&A.
ICOM then released another statement which wished to ‘acknowledge and share both the concerns expressed by museums regarding the safety of collections and the concerns of climate activists as we face an environmental catastrophe that threatens life on Earth’. They emphasise the role of museums as ‘key actors in initiating and supporting climate action’. ICOM Germany, ICOM, Museums Association, The Art Newspaper, ArtNet, ArtNews, blooloop
NEMO report published on museums in the climate crisis
The Network of European Museum Organisations has published a new report on how museums and policy makers can contribute to the sustainable transition of Europe. The Museums in the Climate Crisis report makes seven recommendations for the sector, based on the findings of a survey carried out earlier this year with 578 museums in 38 European countries. The survey found that despite eight in 10 museums in Europe acknowledging climate change and sustainability as important strategic topics, only one in four were contributing to local or national sustainable policies. Lack of funding was identified as the main challenge, with only two in 10 museums using a green energy supplier. The full report can be read here. Museums Association
Also: NEMO's webinar Museum Action for Climate Empowerment is now available to watch online. Organised to coincide with COP27, the webinar is designed to inspire museum professionals to start or continue fighting climate change. NEMO
Ki Culture and GCC's International Climate Control Conference
On 1st and 2nd December, Ki Culture in partnership with Gallery Climate Coalition held a virtual two-day conference on international climate control. The conference highlighted the issues and solutions for climate control in the sector, showcased latest research and scientific data, highlighted best practice in the field, and brought together all stakeholders for a holistic view on the issue. The sessions can be watched back on YouTube here and here.
University of Cambridge Museums’ Focus on Conservation 2022: Facing Climate Change Conference
Between 29th November and 2nd December, University of Cambridge Museums held a virtual conference in conjunction with the Leibniz Research Network Preservation on climate change’s threats to the preservation of cultural heritage. The conference explored sustainable pest management, protecting collections and heritage from climate change, using more environmentally friendly conservation methods and incorporating these themes into conservation education. The sessions will be made available to watch back in early 2023. University of Cambridge Museums
Veronica Ryan has won this year’s Turner Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious awards for visual arts which aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. Ryan has created the UK’s first permanent artwork to honour the Windrush generation. Aged 66, Ryan becomes the oldest artist to win the prize. Ryan creates sculptural objects and installations using containers, compartments and combinations of natural and fabricated forms to reference themes such as displacement, fragmentation, alienation and loss. The jury awarded the prize for the “personal and poetic way she extends the language of sculpture”. Ryan’s Windrush commission consisted of three sculptures of Caribbean fruits – Custard Apple, Breadfruit and Soursop – made in bronze and marble. The other nominees for the 2022 Turner Prize were Heather Phillipson, Ingrid Pollard and Sin Wai Kin. This year’s award ceremony, along with an exhibition of the work of the four nominees, was held at Tate Liverpool. The Guardian, Financial Times
Major new public sculptures announced for Wakefield city centre
Wakefield Council have announced that they will unveil a series of monumental public sculptures in Wakefield city centre by five leading British artists, including newly commissioned site-specific works. The selected artists are: Halima Cassell, Andy Holden, Annie Morris, Ro Robertson and Jason Wilsher-Mills. The city centre public sculptures programme has been made possible due to a £1mn investment from DCMS, administered by ACE, specifically to commission outdoor contemporary sculptures that animate the city centre. Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Arts Council England's decisions in the recent National Portfolio Funding process have continued to cause debate in the press, with particular focus on the decision to cut English National Opera’s (ENO) from its national portfolio, with a proposition instead to relocate the organisation outside of London to Manchester. ENO’s Chief Executive said that ACE had deployed “baffling narratives” in defending its decision as Darren Henley defended the decision by saying that ACE wanted to “support a bright, if different, future” for the company. Writing in the Arts Professional, CEO of MeWe360 and Create Equity Kevin Osbourne argued that ACE had achieved significant improvement in the proportion of its funding going to Black – and Brown – led organisations and so its funding decisions should not be reversed. A protest with figures such as actor Juliet Stevenson and former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell took place outside DCMS in response to recent cuts made by ACE. The Guardian, The Guardian, Arts Professional, The Guardian
MPs from across the political divide have criticised the implications of ACE’s National Portfolio for 2023-26. In a Westminster Hall debate, former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and former Shadow Secretary of State for Culture Harriet Harman said that the way ENO had been treated was “shameful” while Chair of the APPG on Opera Bob Neill called for “a proper strategic review of opera provision”. The DCMS Select Committee are holding a session on 8th December where ACE’s Chief Executive Darren Henley has agreed to attend and answer questions on its funding decisions and future strategy. Hansard, Arts Professional, DCMS Select Committee
ACE has selected 40 organisations to be funded as Investment Principles Support Organisations (IPSOs) for its 2023-26 National Portfolio. IPSOs effectively replaces the current portfolio’s Sector Support Organisations, which offer support services to organisations in the sector. IPSOs will take over the sector support role from SSOs next March. 19 former SSOs have missed out on funding in the new portfolio, including The Audience Agency, which had its audience data contract handed to consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers and Creative and Cultural Skills. There are 40 IPSOs in the 2023-26 portfolio, equating to 4% of funded organisations. They will receive more than £98mn per annum collectively. Arts Professional
Also: University of Cambridge Museums released a statement in response to the 50% cut to their NPO funding where Luke Syson, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum said that “While there is no doubt that this significant reduction to our current level of Arts Council England funding represents a major challenge, we’re grateful for the support announced today, especially given the difficult times that many people are facing”. University of Cambridge Museums
In his Autumn Statement on 17th November the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt maintained funding for departmental budgets, meaning there will not be cuts to DCMS or MHCLG budgets as feared. Other announcements included confirmation of continuing business rates reliefs for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure which will benefit museums. A consultation on reforming the audio-visual creative reliefs was also announced; however the Museum and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief, which currently has a sunset clause due to expire in March 2024, was not mentioned.
Chairman of the Local Government Association, Cllr James Jamieson responded to the Statement saying that “while the financial outlook for councils is better than we feared next year, councils recognise it will be residents and businesses who will be asked to pay more” and that “councils want to work with central government to develop a long-term strategy to deliver critical local services and growth more effectively. Alongside certainty of funding and greater investment, this also needs wider devolution where local leaders have greater freedom from central government to take decisions on how to provide vital services in their communities”. Local Government Association, Gov.uk
DCMS/Wolfson arts funding to make museums and galleries more accessible for people across the country
33 museums and galleries across England are set to receive a share of £4mn from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund. The funding will help make museums more accessible through initiatives like building ramps and improving displays. There will be a particular focus on helping organisations to be more sustainable and adopt energy saving measures. 26 of the 33 museums are outside of London. Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said “Thanks to this combination of public funding and private philanthropy, these awards will help people who may have previously found visiting museums and galleries difficult and make sure everyone can enjoy and engage with the wonderful collections and exhibitions they offer”. NMDC members who have received funding include: the Museum of the Home which will receive £200,000 for Homes Through Time Redux, The Wallace Collection which will receive £50,000 for the creation of a new display space and relocation of the cloakroom, the Natural History Museum which will receive £100,000 for Mammals Galleries Project, Tate St Ives which will receive £54,300 for Barbara Hepworth Museum Accessibility Ramp, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery which will receive £150,000 for enabling the redisplay of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s Ancient Civilizations Galleries, Temple Newsam which will receive £140,100 for What the Butler Saw: revealing treasures, improving access and creating capacity at Temple Newsam House, Kelham Island Museum which will receive £45,000 for More to See and Pickford’s House which will receive £71,700 for The Reimagined Home: Changing views of Home, Work and Family for an Inclusive, Digital Age. Gov.uk
British Council awards £14m of Cultural Protection Fund to protect cultural heritage at risk due to conflict and climate change
In partnership with DCMS, the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund has announced a new £14m grant for 17 projects, including those protecting heritage at risk from climate change. The funds will be awarded across 2.5 years for projects protecting tangible and intangible heritage put at risk from climate change and conflict. The announcement was made at a meeting of the International National Trusts Organisation at COP27 in Sharm-El-Sheik. British Council
Also: the British Council and the University of Cambridge are providing new funding for two 12-month research fellowships on cultural relations and climate action. British Council
British Council opens applications for proposed UK/Poland season
Ahead of a proposed UK/Poland season in 2025, the British Council is offering grants of £2,500 to start conversations and establish partnerships in order to start developing potential activity. The grants are primarily for travel-related costs for representatives of UK and Polish organisations in the arts and creative industries to undertake scoping visits to each other’s country. Applications should be submitted by 4th January 2023. British Council
Royal Museums Greenwich will mark Lunar New Year on 21st January 2023 with a series of events at the National Maritime Museum. Lunar New Year has been commemorated at the National Maritime Museum for over 20 years and aims to give visitors a chance to engage more deeply with the Asian objects in RMG’s collection and celebrate the long relationship between Britain and Asia. Royal Museums Greenwich
Clore Leadership and the CGA's conference ‘Governance Now’
Clore Leadership and Cultural Governance Alliance’s annual conference exploring the critical issues in cultural governance returns as an in-person event on 8th February 2023 at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham. This conference will include keynote speeches from Sir Nicholas Serota and Andrew Lovett among others. More information including how to purchase tickets can be found here.
On 14th December, Rebuilding Heritage will host a webinar entitled ‘What Does Fundraising Look Like for 2023?’ The session will be hosted by expert fundraiser Gill Jolly at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising and will examine how the nature of fundraising is likely to change in light of current challenges faced by the heritage sector. Free places on the webinar can be booked here.
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is re-launching its Where Next? scheme for submissions in January 2023. The original Where Next? pilot scheme was launched in 2020 which invited applicants to apply for funding to support AHRC’s interdisciplinary scoping studies, which would form part of the AHRC ideas pipeline. The 6 projects funded through this pilot reflected some of the most forward-thinking and innovative research within and between disciplines. The relaunch of Where Next? is an opportunity to help shape the AHRC’s current and future priorities. AHRC is hosting an event on 25th January for people to find out more about the submission process for this scheme, how AHRC will process submissions and how they will develop ideas. You can find more information and sign up to join the event here. AHRC
The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January is ‘Ordinary People’. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has asked museums and galleries to mark the day, perhaps by lighting up your building in purple as part of the national ‘light the darkness’ moment, by asking a Holocaust or genocide survivor to come to speak at an in-person or online Holocaust Memorial Day activity, or by using Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s blog template and social media graphics to promote Holocaust Memorial Day across your social media channels. Any questions can be emailed to [email protected] and HMDT’s museum and gallery activity guide can be found here. Holocaust Memorial Day
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has given an update on the feedback received through its strategy engagement. Four themes emerged from questions about what people wanted prioritised in funding: conserving, protecting and saving heritage; responding to the climate and nature crises; inclusion, diversity and accessibility; and financial resilience. The new 10-year strategy will be launched early next year. NLHF
On 24th November, the Heritage Alliance held a discussion on the topic of ‘Heritage in 20 Years: what will matter most?’ The interactive event heard from leading experts on themes such as industrial heritage, climate change and heritage careers. Heritage Day 2023 will take place in two parts on 1st and 2nd March and will offer conferences, clinics and networking. The Heritage Alliance
Business Support Programme 2023 to deliver a comprehensive resilience and leadership training programme for heritage organisations in Scotland
Museums Galleries Scotland, Built Environment Forum Scotland, and greenspace Scotland have developed the Business Support Programme 2023 which will deliver a comprehensive resilience and leadership training programme for heritage organisations across Scotland. The programme aims to invest in individual and organisational capacity through a focus on building confidence and knowledge in business practice. The programme is free and a bursary payment will be made to all participating organisations to help with the costs of taking part. The programme will be virtual, starting in March 2023 and will last for 9 months. It will support 20 heritage organisations and is open to organisations across the wider heritage sector in Scotland, including museums, galleries, built environment, greenspaces, and community heritage. The deadline for applications is 12noon on Monday 12th December. Museums Galleries Scotland
Rebuilding Heritage to offer a new free support programme to heritage organisations
Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Rebuilding Heritage is offering a new free support programme aimed at giving heritage organisations tools to weather the cost-of-living crisis and its associated challenges. Consultancy sessions will be 1-2-1 and organisations may apply for support in one or more of the following areas: fundraising, business planning, strategy and finances, and communications. The aim of the sessions is to provide organisations with bespoke and expert guidance from professional consultants. The application deadline is 12th December, and the support will be delivered between January and March 2023. Rebuilding Heritage
Catalyst Cymru: Broadening Horizons to run free coaching for heritage organisations on dealing with change and uncertainty
Catalyst Cymru: Broadening horizons provides support to micro, small and medium sized heritage organisations and organisations running a heritage project to broaden their income streams and reach new audiences and people. Organisations approved for coaching will be eligible to apply for a grant up to £3,000 to support organisational development while receiving free coaching on how to deal with change and uncertainty. Catalyst Cymru: Broadening Horizons is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and is run by Wales Council for Voluntary Action in partnership with Cwmas. The project is also supported by Ethnic Minorities & Youth Support Team Wales, Disability Wales and Pride Cymru. To register your interest in participating and to be sent an application pack, email [email protected]. Wales Council for Voluntary Action
V&A event recording now available: Heritage Craft in India
The online event recorded in November which explored the traditions of craft heritage in India, as well as the significance of contemporary production in the country today is now available to watch back on YouTube.
Caro Howell has been announced as the new Director-General of Imperial War Museums. Howell will take over the role on 1 May 2023, with the outgoing head Diane Lees remaining in post until 31 March 2023. Howell has been the director of London’s Foundling Museum since 2011, where she has helped the museum build audiences and establish new relationships with care-experienced young people. Howell was awarded an MBE in June of this year for her services to museums. In response to the news, Howell said “I feel very honoured to be asked by the trustees of IWM to become the new Director-General. Under Diane Lees’ leadership, IWM has transformed the ways in which conflict and its impact are explored. IWM is unparalleled in its ability to trace complex ideas across centuries and continents, held in stories, objects and emotions that speak to us all”. Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said, “I congratulate Caro Howell on her appointment. She brings a wealth of experience to the role and is well placed to continue Diane Lees’ excellent legacy. We look forward to working with her and supporting the important work of this public institution”. Imperial War Museums, Museums Association
Art curator, writer and broadcaster Kathleen Soriano has been elected as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees at Art UK, the digital home for the UK’s national collection of art. She will be supported by new Vice-Chair, George Entwistle, former Director-General of the BBC. They both take up their posts on 16th December. Art UK
Art UK’s Sculpture Project wins the Apollo Digital Innovation of the Year award
On 6th December, Art UK won the Apollo Digital Innovation of the Year award from the international magazine which has paid tribute to major achievements in the arts for 30 years. Art UK won the award for the Sculpture Project, which has been five years in the making and makes it possible to explore over 13,500 public sculptures from across the UK online. Over 500 volunteers played a huge role in the success of the Sculpture Project, taking over 140,000 photographs of works by renowned artists including Barbara Hepworth, Antony Gormley and Henry Moore as well as many lesser-known sculptors’ works. As well as recording sculptures outdoors, Art UK also aimed to catalogue all sculptures of the past 1,000 years held in public collections. The site now showcases over 50,000 records of sculptures in total. Art UK, Apollo [behind paywall]
TWAM and Nexus win at the North East Culture Awards
A collaboration between Nexus (the public body which owns and manages public transport in the region) and Tyne and Wear Archives & Museums to make school holiday activities affordable for families across the Metro system has won a North East Culture Award. TWAM, Nexus
Art Fund launches call for the next Museum of the Year
Applications are now open for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023. The winner’s prize money have been increased for 2023 and beyond to £120,000, with £15,000 going to each of the four other finalists, bringing the total prize money to £180,000. In addition, there is the opportunity to work more broadly with Art Fund during the prize campaign and beyond. The increase in prize money marks the 120th year of the Art Fund supporting museums. The judges have been announced as artist Larry Achiampong; historian and broadcaster Mary Beard; owner of Hustle Crew and art Fund trustee Abadesi Osunsade; director of National Museums Liverpool Laura Pye; and Art Fund Director and Chair of judges Jenny Waldman. The deadline for applications is noon on 19th January 2023 and a shortlist of five museums will be announced in late May with the winner revealed in July. Art Fund, Museums Association, Museums and Heritage Advisor
National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh gets annual Freelands Award
The seventh annual Freelands Award has been given to the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh. The prize enables the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to host the first UK museum show dedicated to the Tanzanian-born artist Everlyn Nicodemus, which is due to take place from September 2024 to May 2025. The £110,000 award - £30,000 of which goes to the artist – is given to a UK arts organisation based outside London to present a major show, including significant new commissions by a mid-career woman artist. The Richard Saltoun Gallery in London represents Nicodemus and says that her work is “centred on personal and cultural trauma…while her research and curatorial interests focus on the history of Modern African art”. Twitter, The Art Newspaper