Glasgow Life Museums returns seven artefacts to New Delhi
On 10th January Glasgow Life Museums became the first UK museums service to repatriate items to India after having returned seven objects to New Delhi. The objects include a 14th-century ceremonial Indo-Persian tulwar (sword). The artefacts will go on display at the Archaeological Survey of India. Dignitaries from the High Commission of India in London were welcomed by Glasgow Life in August 2022 for a transfer of ownership ceremony. The delegates visited Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to sign an agreement confirming the repatriation of the objects, six of which were stolen from temples and shrines across India during the 19th century. The seventh was bought after a theft from the owner and all were gifted to Glasgow’s civic museum collections. The transfer of ownership took place after Glasgow City Council approved a recommendation made in April 2022 by the cross-party Working Group for Repatriation and Spoliation to return 51 items to India, Nigeria and the Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge Lakota Sioux tribes in South Dakota, US. Glasgow Life Museums has been working on these repatriations alongside the High Commission of India since January 2021. Glasgow Life
Transformation of the National Science and Media Museum
Sound and Vision is a £6million project to build two significant new galleries at the Science and Media Museum. The galleries, accompanied by a programme of activities, will showcase key objects and stories from the museum’s world-class collections of photography, film, television, animation, videogames, and sound technologies. The museum is working in close consultation with local communities in Bradford to make the museum the cultural cornerstone as Bradford becomes UK City of Culture in 2025. Sound and Vision also complements the city’s ambitious culture strategy ‘Culture is our Plan’ and supports the wider region’s commitment to building a digital economy. To facilitate the works, the museum will be closed from June 2023 until summer 2024, with the new galleries set to open in winter 2024. The project has already received initial support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. National Science and Media Museum
NPG announces line up of major exhibitions to mark its reopening in June
On 25th January the National Portrait Gallery announced that after the largest redevelopment in its history, its doors will reopen on 22nd June with a programme of major exhibitions, including displays of pioneering female photographers, such as Yevonde, Julia Margaret Cameron and Francesca Woodman, new work by David Hockney, paintings by leading Black artists including Michael Armitage, Kerry James Marshall and Amy Sherald, and never-before-seen portraits of The Beatles, taken by Paul McCartney. NPG
Exeter City Council’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum won the Gold Accessible and Inclusive Tourism award at the Devon Tourism Awards. This category recognised organisations providing memorable visitor experiences for everyone, particularly those with accessibility requirements, and demonstrating excellence across every aspect. RAMM’s Audience Development Lead Helen Hartstein, who accepted the Dartington crystal trophy on the night said “We are delighted to have won Gold in the Inclusive and Accessible Tourism category, and grateful to the Devon Tourism Awards for this recognition. Since the museum’s redevelopment in 2012 a great deal of thought has gone into the layout of the galleries, and our teams have created fantastic accessible resources and an abundance of online content to ensure the museum can be explored from home”.Exeter City Council, Devon Tourism Awards
As part of nationwide industrial action, multiple museums closed due to a one-day strike on 1st February by members of the Public and Commercial Services Union. Among the museums that closed were the British Museum and the Museum of Liverpool, while there was also disruption at National Museums Scotland. The strikes were part of what PCS called a “significant escalation of industrial action after a month of strikes over pay, pensions, redundancy terms and job security”. Museums + Heritage Advisor
Images this month: Manchester Museum set to reopen to the public
Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester, will reopen to the public after a major redevelopment on 18 February. To celebrate, a series of unmissable events has been planned including a lecture from David Olusoga, Museum Lates, a Film Night, a Family Big Weekender on Earth Day, a celebration for Vaisakhi, and British Science Week.
MGS launches new strategy with new funding support
Museums Galleries Scotland has launched their 2023-2030 strategy which outlines a shared vision that “Scotland’s museums and galleries are thriving, connected, and resilient organisations which are agile in embracing change. Trusted and valued by the widest diversity of Scotland’s people, our collections, and the shared stories we tell, are accessible and inclusive to all”. The strategy supports museums and galleries to meet changing environmental, economic, and social contexts and to strengthen their invaluable role at the heart of Scotland’s communities. At the strategy’s core is the need to ensure that Scotland’s museum and gallery collections are cared for, accessible, and shared through strong partnership working, both within and outside the sector, collaborating on vital and relevant work across the culture, arts and heritage sector as well as Scotland’s wider social and economic economy. Culture Minister Neil Grey spoke at the launch and announced an extra £500,000 funding to support the new strategy.
Also: Historic Environment Scotland is also consulting on a new strategy for Scotland’s historic environment. The current consultation draft is the product of months of engagement with people and organisations across Scotland and they want help from the sector in testing and improving on it. The online consultation can be found here and closes on 20th February. Museums Galleries Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland
AIM announce the launch of new grant scheme AIM Connected Communities
The Association of Independent Museums has announced the launch of AIM Connected Communities, which is a new grant scheme to help widen the participation in volunteering and tackle loneliness. The scheme will run until 2025 and is funded through DCMS and ACE as part of the Government’s £29million Know Your Neighbourhood Fund which targets support at 27 disadvantaged areas across England. £5million of the funding is to be invested in supporting people to participate in volunteering and connect with others through expanding the existing offer of arts, culture and heritage activities across the 27 KYN target areas. Details on eligibility and the application process will be published soon. AIM
Also: AIM Director Lisa Ollerhead has published a look ahead for AIM members to the potential challenges for 2023 and highlights key areas where AIM can help here.
Recipients of Round 2 of Government’s Levelling Up Fund announced
On 18th January, more than 100 projects were awarded a share of £2.1 billion from the Levelling Up Fund to create jobs and boost the economy. Successful bids in culture, museums and heritage include: the project formerly known as Eden Project North in Morecambe. It is the largest of the bids at £50 million, and is hoped to transform Morecambe’s seafront; £20 million in Harlow to create a new music and arts venue, £7.1 million investment to modernise Leek’s Victorian market halls, upgrade its local library, museum and exhibition space, and build a new swimming pool.
Some criticism has arisen over the spread of the cash across the country, as London boroughs are set to receive more than Yorkshire and the north-east of England. Shadow Levelling Up Secretary Lisa Nandy called the allocation of money a “Hunger Games-style contest”. Nottingham City Council leader David Mellen said the announcement was a “big disappointment” as none of Nottingham’s three bids were successful. Mellen said that “All three Nottingham bids were very strong and clearly aligned to what the Levelling Up Fund is meant to be about”. The city’s Labour MPs Alex Norris and Nadia Whittome also criticised the outcome. Conservative mayor for the West Midlands Andy Street called on ministers to justify why “the majority” of bids in his region had been rejected, and said that the funding announcement was “just another example as to why Whitehall’s bidding and begging-bowl culture is broken”. Analysis by The Guardian found that Conservative marginal seats have received 1.5 times the amount of funding per person than all other constituencies, while constituencies that won under the Conservative landslide in 2019 have been awarded almost twice as much per person as other seats. Gov.uk, Museums + Heritage Advisor, The Guardian, BBC, BBC
Arts Council England’s programme for 2024-26 will move from nine regional providers to a new model with five delivery partners across England which will be known as Museum Development London; Museum Development Midlands; Museum Development North; Museum Development South East; and Museum Development South West. The partners will be brought together to share insights and learning under a national programme, known as Museum Development England. Each area will have a Museum Development provider which may be delivered by one organisation or several partners with a good understanding of their area. ACE is running an application process to decide who will deliver these programmes. The changes follow a review of the programme, and a move to ensure the restructure fits the delivery of ACE’s strategy ‘Let’s Create’. For more information on the programme and for information on how to apply to become a delivery partner is available here.
Research into admissions pricing policy in museums and its impact
The Association of Independent Museums and partners Arts Council England, Museums Galleries Scotland, the Welsh Government, NMDC and the Art Fund have commissioned DC Research Ltd working in partnership with Durnin Research Ltd to deliver ‘Research into admissions pricing policy in museums and its impact’. The research is exploring admissions policies and pricing strategies in the UK museums sector and involves assessing the impact of charging (or not) for admissions as well as investigating different pricing strategies. The findings from the research will be used to develop guidance for museums which will help them to make informed decisions on admissions charging for their organisation. One of the main aspects of the project is this survey of museums. The survey can be accessed here and should be completed by 3rd March.
Art Fund and AIM’s new research report on leveraging the power of emotions
Art Fund and AIM have published a new research report exploring how museums can leverage the power of emotions to build greater public support across campaigning and museum work. The report explores insights on which emotions most powerfully drive public support for campaigns with recommendations to inform successful campaigning. It also provides tools for museums, funders, and sector support organisations, wanting to build longer term emotional connection with their audiences. The full report can be read here. A free webinar will be run on 22nd February between 2pm and 3:30pm where different ways to create campaigns that resonate emotionally will be explored. Places on the webinar can be booked here. Behavioural research and insights consultancy M.E.L. undertook the research.
On 24th January, Art Fund launched The Wild Escape, which is the largest ever collaboration between the UK’s museums. Supported by Arts Council England, the project aims to inspire hundreds of thousands of children to visit museums and respond creatively to the threat to the UK’s natural environment by looking for animals featured in museum collections and creating their own wildlife artworks. The children’s animals will be brought to life in a newly imagined epic-scale artwork, created by leading immersive games studio, PRELOADED, which will be unveiled on 22nd April – Earth Day 2023. Led by Art Fund, the project will bring together 500 museums across the country in partnership with the WWF, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the National Trust and English Heritage along with world-leading artists and environmentalists. It is one of the largest museum projects ever funded by ACE. The Wild Escape is open to every primary school age child to take part whether in class, through a visit to their local museum or online, from now to July. Hundreds of museums, galleries, and historic houses will host special activities for families connecting to the environment and biodiversity. The project aims to create a new relationship between museums and the natural world aiming to shape the lives of the children who participate. The Wild Escape
Also: Museum Development UK, the network of national Museum Development providers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, has awarded over £400,000 as part of The Wild Escape grant programme to over 130 museums, galleries, and historic house, and 7 further consortia projects of museums enabling them to participate in this major new project. Applications are now closed for The Wild Escape small grants, however museums, galleries and historic houses can still participate and benefit from a wide range of resources and project opportunities developed as part of The Wild Escape programme. For full information, visit here, or contact [email protected]. Museum Development UK
Whitechapel Gallery X Gallery Climate Coalition symposium on climate crisis
Tickets are now available for the symposium Climate Crisis >> Art Action. Featuring voices from leading visual arts and environmental organisations as well as change-makers from beyond the sector, this two-day symposium tackles the critical environmental issues facing the UK’s public arts institutions.
Through a day of panel discussions and presentations, followed by a day of action-focused workshops, the event will provide context and clarity by pooling expertise and data to identify solutions, equipping participants with the knowledge and ambition to take effective action.
The event takes place on 2-3 March at the Bishopsgate Institute and tickets are available for £25 - £65 from Whitechapel Gallery’s website.
Arts Council England has announced a review into the Government Indemnity Scheme. The current GIS guidelines were last reviewed in 2016, and since then, several external factors have impacted on the operation of the scheme and the capacity of museums to work within its requirements. ACE has appointed Lorraine Finch, founder of LFCP, to review the environmental conditions which apply under the Government Indemnity Scheme. The aims of the review are: to test whether the conditions remain fit for purpose; to explore future expectations of the scheme; and to recommend any changes to the requirements of environmental conditions for loans. The first step is a desk-based evaluation, which is due to report by March 2023. ACE will consult with the sector in advance of rolling out any changes. ACE
Building on the Natural History Museum’s mission to create advocates that are informed, confident and motivated to make wise decisions, between the 20th and 25th March, NHM is running a free programme of inspiring workshops, panels and talks called Generation Hope: Act for the Planet. The programme is created in partnership with young people, for young people aged 16+. Booking tickets is essential as there are a limited number of spaces for each event. Some of the events on offer during the week include: a talk on why gender equality matters in the planetary emergency; a talk on the role of the media in the climate crisis; a workshop designed to equip communities with the communication tools required to amplify their cause; and an evening workshop looking at how young people can leverage policy and politics to combat the climate crisis. More information and how to book here.
The Royal Museums Greenwich Board of Trustees has elected Lance Batchelor as Chairman of the Museum. He took over the position from Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope on 19th January 2023. Lance is the Chairman of several UK-based technology and services businesses. Prior to this he was CEO of a number of well-known companies including: Tesco Mobile, Domino’s Pizza plc and Saga Cruises. He is the lead external director on the Royal Navy’s board. He served as a submariner in the Cold War and now holds the honorary rank of Captain RN. He previously spent eight years as a trustee of the National Gallery, where he was also the Chairman of the National Gallery Company. RMG
New Culture Secretary, reorganisation of BEIS and a new department
In a reshuffle and reorganisation of government departments on 7th February, Lucy Frazer became Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Frazer replaces Michelle Donelan who had held the brief since September 2022. Frazer practised as a barrister in commercial law before becoming an MP.
Michelle Donelan has moved on to become Secretary of State at the restructured Department for Business and Trade. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been split into the aforementioned department and a new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to be led by Grant Shapps MP. The shake-up has received some criticism, including from former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries. Museums Association, The Art Newspaper, GOV.UK
Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest Recruiting for Two Members
DCMS Public Appointments is recruiting for two new members of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest. Committee Members Peter Barber and Christopher Rowell are coming to the end of their terms after 8 years providing advice and contributing to the success of the work of the Committee. Their specialisms are Manuscripts and Archives and Furniture and Historic Houses. The deadline for applications is 15th February. More information and how to apply is available here.
NEMO’s Practical Guide for Digital Basic Cataloguing
On 7th February, the Network of European Museum Organisations published its ‘Practical Guide for Digital Basic Cataloguing -10 Principles’, which aims to be a tool for museums to turn to when organising digital information and creating a digital strategy. The guide does not go into detail about the type of information that should be part of a digital collection, but instead offers insights into how to process and prepare already defined information for digital cataloguing. The guidelines can be scaled to fit any organisation’s resources in terms of staff and finances. The guide can be read here. NEMO
The Virtual Reading Rooms (VRRs) Toolkit is a resource for all collection-holding institutions, including libraries, archives, and museums, which are interested in setting up a VRR consultation service or are at the early stages of VRR development. VRRs constituted part of the emergency response of libraries and archives to the challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Through VRRs, many institutions were able to provide geographically remote access to collections and learning materials to a worldwide audience. In October 2022, Research Libraries UK in collaboration with its partners Association of Research Libraries, Council of Australian University Librarians, The National Archives UK, The British Library, Jisc, OCLC Research Library Partnership, held an international sprint relay symposium on ‘Creating a community-driven toolkit for the development and delivery of Virtual Reading Room services’. This community-driven toolkit constitutes the collaborative output of the symposium and is based on intelligence gathered through talks, discussions, and interactive sessions where delegates from across Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America shared their experiences in developing and running VRRs for the benefit of the sector. The toolkit can be accessed here.
Ticket booking is now open for ICOM UK’s annual conference, this year taking place at Glasgow City Hall on 17 - 18 April. The conference theme is ‘addressing the legacies of colonialism nationally and internationally’ and it will look at the big questions around reparations, climate justice, restitution, education and what these topics mean to museums.
The programme details and speakers will be confirmed over the coming weeks but tickets are now available for early booking at Eventbrite from £40 - £95.
The ICOM UK conference is a collaboration between ICOM UK, NMDC and Glasgow Life, with support from National Museums Scotland, Museums Galleries Scotland and Barker Langham.
The next Cultural Enterprises Conference and Trade Show will take place in Harrogate on 9-10 March. Featuring a topical and varied programme, inspirational speakers, a curated Trade Show, and great networking events, the Cultural Enterprises Conference brings together learning and experience from all types of cultural venues across all areas of cultural income generation. Get inspired with new ideas and fresh thinking, source bespoke and ethically sourced gifts, and connect with world renowned arts, cultural and heritage organisations. Free bursary places available, as well as discounted hotel rates and train travel. Find out more here.
This year’s Heritage Alliance’s Heritage Day is in two parts – 1st and 2nd March 2023. Part 1 on the morning of 1st March will be a virtual session, which will focus on knowledge-sharing and skills. Part 2 is in person at The Charterhouse in London on the afternoon of 2nd March and will hear from current and future sector leaders for sessions built around vision, leadership and horizon-scanning for the next few years for heritage. The virtual programme can be found here and places can be booked here.
There is a two-year deadline to make a claim from the end of an organisation’s financial year, therefore many museums and galleries will need to submit claims before 31 March 2023. Two ‘how to’ webinars are being offered to provide support to more organisations to claim the relief, and to do so while the rate of relief is temporarily inflated.
The webinars will take place on zoom, on Friday 24 February and again on Wednesday 1 March 2023. Tax experts RSM will lead the sessions and will talk through eligibility, what can be claimed and how to make a claim.
The webinars are open for anyone to join and can be booked via this link. The two webinars will cover the same content so no need to book onto both sessions.
On 16th March, the Arts Marketing Association are holding an event which aims to provide tools to welcome more people into your organisation. The day will explore practical approaches to the principles of audience development. Attendees will interrogate current approaches and identify which audiences are not being welcomed and how to adapt to meet their needs. The event is pitched at marketers at officer and manager level. More information including how to book can be found here.
The Visitor Studies Group is continuing their VSG Mentorship Programme in 2023 to support emerging audience researchers and anyone who has had audience research responsibilities recently added to their role. This is an opportunity to encourage best practice, share expertise and expand colleagues’ knowledge and networks. Applications are now open to anyone who would benefit from this programme, regardless of whether you are a researcher at the beginning of their career or an established professional who has only now started dealing with audience research and evaluation in their role. More information including on how to apply can be found here.
Booking is now open for Touring Exhibition Group’s online workshops taking place in February and March. Advance booking is encouraged as each online workshop is limited to 20 participants to ensure active participation, provide individual guidance, and to encourage networking. TEG workshops are £59 for TEG members and £89 for non-members.
TEG Online Strategic Interpretation Planning for Engaging Exhibitions Workshop: 1st February and 8th February 1pm-4pm each day. This popular workshop provides participants with the tools and resources to develop an effective and layered interpretative strategy and plan, to guide the development of their visitor experience in temporary and touring exhibitions. More information and to book here.
TEG Online Partnership Agreement Workshop: 28th February and 7th March 9:30am-12:30pm each day. This online workshop focuses on how to devise an agreement for projects that involve the collaboration of two or more partners. More information and to book here.
TEG Online Commissioning Agreement Workshop: 23rd March and 30th March 9:30am-12:30pm each day. This is a brand new TEG workshop for 2023, which draws on the TEG commissioning agreement resource and template that is only available to TEG members outside of this workshop. This workshop is for organisations and individuals who want to manage, formalise and get the most out of a commissioning relationship. More information and to book here.
VocalEyes’ Digital Volunteering Forum aims to address the growing trend of digital and remote volunteering in the arts and heritage sectors and beyond. Speakers at the event will bring expertise gained through running successful digital volunteering projects, and will offer advice and answer questions on best practice. Through a mixture of presentations and panel discussions, VocalEyes seek to empower organisations to explore a range of aspects of digital volunteering, how to make it inclusive and accessible, and question the future of volunteer engagement in the arts and heritage sectors. The forum is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of Heritage Access 2022. More information and to book here.
Emerging Chairs: 22nd February and 1st March, 10am-1pm. This course is designed to support Trustees to take the leadership step into Chair roles and aims to give participants the confidence to know how to take on this key leadership role within a charity and how to develop effective boards. More information and to book here.
Essentials in Crowdfunding: 27th February and 6th March, 10am-1pm. This course explores the key skills needed to develop and launch a successful crowdfunding campaign. It is aimed at those with a specific project in mind which they’d like to support through crowdfunding, those who think they may want to run a crowdfunding campaign in future, and those interested in developing knowledge about how crowdfunding works. More information and to book here.
Essentials in Legacy Fundraising: 15th and 22nd March, 10am-1pm. Leaving a gift to a charity in a will is usually the largest donation an individual ever gives. Legacy gifts can play a major role in organisational resilience, beneficiary impact and donor satisfaction but is a sensitive area that needs to be handled with care. More information and to book here.
TikTok for Arts Fundraising: 21st and 28th March, 10am-1pm. This course explores TikTok as a platform, and its potential to grow new audiences and support your organisation in fundraising. This course is aimed at those with a professional TikTok account who are interested in further exploiting the platform for audience engagement and fundraising, as well as those new to the platform who would like to find out more about using it in the future. More information and to book here.
Kids in Museums announces National Museum Youth Summit
The charity Kids in Museums has announced plans for a new event about the future of museums and heritage designed and delivered by and for young people. On 12th May between 11am and 4pm at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, young people across the UK are invited to attend this one-day event, which is being planned and led by the Kids in Museums Youth Panel. The event will include discussions of current best practice in work with young people and panel discussions about the future of young people’s work in museums. The results of the discussions will be fed back to the sector by Kids in Museums and form the core of their advocacy for young people in museums. Booking for the event will open in March, but there is an open call for speakers and panellists. For more information and to submit a proposal for a case study presentation or to apply to be a panellist, visit here.
CVAN London x INIVA Report on Anti-Racism and Equity in the Visual Arts
The Contemporary Visual Arts Network and the Institute of International Visual Arts have published a report on Anti-Racism and Equity in the Visual Arts. Written by artist Dr Jack Ky Tan, the report explores how arts organisations may establish and support anti-racist and equitable working practices. The project was started following increasing reports of racist incidents experienced by artists and cultural workers in the sector, and the desire expressed by CVAN’s members to create a meaningful, proactive response to bring about change. The report can be read here.
Culture24’s next Let’s Get Real research programme
Between June and February 2024, Culture 24’s next Let’s Get Real action research programme will focus on using digital to add value for our audiences and organisations. Culture24 is looking for thoughts, insights and feedback on the sorts of questions they might be helping the cultural sector to grapple with. Thoughts on this can be shared here. Culture24, Twitter
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities is seeking views on how they might develop new national planning policy to support their wider objectives. As well as seeking views on updating the National Planning Policy Framework, they are also seeking views on a proposed approach to preparing National Development Management Policies and how policy might be developed to support levelling up, and how national planning policy is currently accessed by users. The consultation can be responded to here and the deadline is 2nd March. Gov.uk