March 2011

NMDC Newsletter: March 2011
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NMDC Newsletter: March 2011
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Welcome to NMDC’s monthly news update.  In this issue:


NMDC joins new initiative to improve sharing of skills and expertise across UK museums

NMDC has joined bodies representing museums of all kinds to collaborate on a new programme of work, which aims to increase and improve the sharing of skills and expertise across the UK museum sector. The Association of Independent Museums, Collections Trust, the Museums Association, the National Museum Directors’ Conference and the University Museums Group have committed to working more closely together to enable museums of all types to better share their skills and expertise throughout the professional and volunteer community through a joint Sharing Expertise group. At a challenging time for museums this collaboration aims to help make existing resources work harder, ensuring a greater impact and a more sustainable future for the UK museum sector.  This work will also examine how frameworks should operate within national strategies of the devolved nations. Two initial elements of this work are already underway and due for completion by the end of April 2011:
  • Assessing current practice to share knowledge and skills around collections and their management and developing proposals for a framework to do this better.  This work is being led by the Museums Association, with funding from the Monument Fellowships scheme and Creative and Cultural Skills.
  • Reviewing current mechanisms and scoping capacity for sharing expertise by national museums, in all areas of museum operation and management.  This work is being led by the National Museum Directors’ Conference.
The findings of these projects will inform next steps in the initiative.  For more information see the NMDC and Museums Association websites.

NMDC work on philanthropy 

NMDC has been coordinating work on philanthropy with colleagues from organisations across the cultural sector in response to the variety of initiatives and consultations emerging from Government on the topic, in particular:
  • Jeremy Hunt’s 10 point plan on philanthropy announced on 8th December 2010;
  • The Green Paper issued by the Cabinet Office as part of its cross-departmental review on encouraging social action;
  • The Government’s proposed review of tax incentives for philanthropy; and
  • The independent Philanthropy Review led by Thomas Hughes-Hallett.
Following on from a successful meeting in February, where there was agreement on a number of top priorities for short and long term change, a paper was produced as a general framework that everyone can use as a basis for response.  NMDC has submitted a response to the Giving Green Paper. Simplifying tax reliefs
The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has been conducting a review of current tax reliefs, allowances and exemptions, with a view to identifying those that should be simplified or repealed. NMDC, with the Art Fund and MLA, submitted a response in defence of a number of important areas for our sector. These include ensuring that their consideration includes a public interest test, and more specifically emphasising the value of Conditional Exemption, Private Treaty Sales and Acceptance in Lieu. We also welcome the Government’s commitment to simplifying the administration of the Gift Aid system and offered some comments. The OTS published its review of tax reliefs on 3 March in which it proposed that all Inheritance Tax reliefs should be reviewed as part of a wider Inheritance Tax policy review.  OTS Review  NMDC response  Back to top


Government matches philanthropy funding for £8m investment in museums

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Wolfson Foundation have announced a further £8m capital investment for museums over the next four years through the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Fund.  The fund will hold two bidding rounds in the 2011-15 spending review period, each awarding £4 million.  Bids will be invited for the first round of funding in April 2011.  The fund, which was first established in 1990, supports renovation and improvements of displays, public spaces, access, interpretation and environmental controls.  The DCMS/Wolfson Fund previously awarded £28 million to 217 projects across England between 2001-2009.  DCMS

State of the Arts conference calls for creative collaboration and bravery

At the annual State of the Arts conference on 10 February, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP stressed the importance of “the creative ecology - an alliance between the subsidised and commercial arts; the professional and the voluntary arts; and the arts and the creative industries.”  He said he would not step in to challenge local funding decisions.  Instead, he said that the challenge for the arts was to work “with their local authorities.  Persuade a Council leader that the local library or the local theatre or the local arts centre is a fundamental part not just of the arts in their area, but their entire community, and that it can deliver more than just an arts service, it can deliver health, education, social services and act as a hub for the community.”  Dame Liz Forgan, Chair of Arts Council England (ACE) said ACE’s response to the funding cut included “making braver decisions” and taking “creative advantage of the trust placed in us for regional museum and library development so we see culture in the round.”  She expressed frustration with the Government’s demands for a 50% cut in administrative costs, describing the ACE staff as “entrepreneurs, impresarios, coaches, investigators and marriage brokers” not “simply ATM machines for doling out dosh.” In a panel discussion, Sandy Nairne, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said that he would “make great praise for the elegant U-turn.  We've seen U-turns on schools sports, U-turns on forests – we need selective U-turns, we need it on cultural education, we need it on tuition fees, we need it on heritage and we need it on investment in the arts.” The State of the Arts Conference was streamed live on the web and was the top trending topic on Twitter in the UK on 10th February.  The RSA also commissioned four “provocation” papers in advance of the conference to prompt debate, including Arts Funding, Austerity and the Big Society by John Knell and Matthew Taylor.  State of the Arts Conference

Ministers face the cuts: Culture

As part of a series on the impact of cuts to public spending, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme gave cultural leaders a chance to raise concerns with Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP on 3 March.  NMDC Chair, Michael Dixon, said that museums were “working very hard on philanthropic giving and working hard on generating our own commercial income”, but that “a 15% cut to national museums does actually take us back 5-6 years in terms of our funding”; it was important to “think in terms of the long term.”  Responding, Mr Vaizey said that “spending cuts are being made to get us through the next four years and reduce the deficit.  They are not a direction of travel where government is beginning to withdraw from funding national museums.”  He concluded: “It depresses me frankly that people will simply say, ‘it's doom and gloom, the arts have been cut’.  It’s just not an accurate portrayal of what is going on there.”  BBC Radio 4 Today, 3 March  

MLA and Arts Council England outline ‘road map’ for Renaissance

Arts Council England (ACE) and the Museums, Libraries and Archives (MLA) Council outlined plans on 4 February for the funding of Renaissance in 2011/12 and a 'road map' for development of the programme in future years.  Sir Andrew Motion – current Chair of the MLA – has been appointed to ACE's National Council as an observer.  The principle agreements include:
  • MLA retains responsibility for 2011/12 funding decisions, but decision-making on budgets with a longer-term impact will be shared with the ACE;
  • ACE will announce its long term plans for Renaissance in autumn 2011, in time for the 2012/13 budget making process.  Applications for Renaissance funding for 2012-15 will open in September and funding decisions will be announced by the end of 2011;
  • ACE supports the MLA's vision for a reshaped Renaissance and 2011/12 as a transitional year.  ACE will consult the museums sector during the spring and summer before taking final decisions on the new shape of Renaissance, with the aim of creating a coherent cultural offer that encompasses the arts, museums and libraries;
  • ACE will review the role it expects Core museums to fulfil within the museums sector alongside the role of those organisations with whom ACE will forge a strategic relationship in its new National Portfolio funding programme
  • ACE will continue the V&A and PRISM funds and invest in them via the Renaissance budget
  • ACE and MLA are committed to the continued delivery of the statutory services connected with cultural property, such as acceptance in lieu, export licensing and government indemnity.  MLA/Arts Council statement

Details of 2011-12 Renaissance funding announced

MLA has released details of how Renaissance funds will be allocated in 2011/12.  The bulk of the funding, £34.5m out of £45.6m, will go directly to the Hub museums in grant aid.  A further £2.8m is set aside to enable the completion of projects approved in this year’s business plans and already underway in Hubs.  (For comparison, Hub museums received £43m in 2010/11 out of a total £51m Renaissance budget).  The remaining Renaissance funds in 2011/12 will be split as follows:  
  • Museum development - £3m, plus over £300,000 to support Accreditation process;
  • Supporting Designated collections - £400,000 (was £1.55m in 2009/10);
  • Collections purchase: V&A Purchase Grant Fund - £600,000 and PRISM - £150,000 (was £900,000 and £250,000 in 2009/10);
  • Subject Specialist Networks - £120,000;
  • Collections Trust and Culture 24 - £300,000;
  • Portable Antiquities Scheme, managed by British Museum - £1.25m
There will also be funding for innovative projects and 2012 activity such as Our Sporting Life, Stories of the World, Kids in Museums and Museums at Night. Towards the end of 2011, responsibility for all Renaissance funds will transfer to the Arts Council.  MLA website

MP probes decision to abolish MLA

David Cairns MP has asked a number of Parliamentary Questions about the Government’s decision to abolish MLA and the extent to which the decision was based on consideration of other options, consultation, assessment of cost savings or an equality impact assessment.  Responding to these questions Ed Vaizey MP said that the decision to abolish MLA “was taken on the basis that the potential for cost savings outweighed the potential liabilities.”  He also said that “the role of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has been reviewed on a number of occasions in the past including the MLA Peer Review of 2004 and the Renaissance Review in 2009” and that the “decision to abolish the MLA was made with reference to these previous reviews and within the context of the Government review of public bodies.”  Hansard Also, in a Parliamentary debate on libraries in Walsall South on 28 February, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP expressed his “support and admiration for the leadership of Roy Clare, the chief executive of the MLA”.  He also said the national debate about library closures was “in a slightly perverse way ... welcome because it reminds not just honourable Members but local councillors how passionately local people care about their libraries.  Perhaps it reminds all of us not to neglect a service that perhaps we have taken for granted in the past.” Hansard record

House of Lords debate arts funding

The House of Lords had two and a half hour debate on funding for the arts on 3 February.  Peers from television, the arts, museum trustees and former Ministers spoke passionately about the importance of the arts and their fears about the long term impacts of proposed funding cuts.  Baroness (Joan) Bakewell gave her maiden speech describing the uplifting and life changing effect access to libraries and arts in Manchester had on her family.  Former Culture Secretary, Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville suggested the Government was taking a gamble by expecting private philanthropy to fill the revenue gap.  Former Arts and Education Minister, Lord Howarth of Newport called for funding cuts to be phased saying the Government should nurse the arts through to the recovery phase of the economy.  Baroness (Floella) Benjamin called for a review of arts for children in England.  Hansard

Dates announced for end of CABE and UK Film Council

Ministers have announced plans to expand the Design Council by bringing in some of the activities, skills, knowledge and expertise from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).  The merger is supported by the Royal Institute of British Architects and by Chairs of both organisations.  Paul Finch OBE, Chairman of CABE, said: “This very positive move will place architecture at the heart of the economy as a driver for competitive businesses and places.”  The Design Council will cease to be a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) but will retain its charitable status and become an independent not-for profit organisation incorporated by Royal Charter.  The target date for the transition is 1 April 2011.  CABE is currently sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), with additional funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). DCMS's Spending Review announcement on 20 October 2010 announced that DCMS funding for CABE would end in 2012.  DCLG website The British Film Institute will become the Lottery distributor for film from 1 April and the UK Film Council is expected to close on 1 July.  DCMS

Cultural Leadership Programme to close this month

Arts Council England has decided to close the Cultural Leadership Programme (CLP) at the end of March and will create a new Leadership and Organisational Development Team from April 2011 to consolidate the work currently delivered by both the CLP and its Organisational Development teams.  During 2011/12 ACE will continue elements of the Cultural Leadership Programme including Clore Fellowships and Clore Short Courses, and the CLP website will be maintained as a source of leadership development insights.  Cultural Leadership Programme

Arts & Business publishes full report on private investment in arts

Last month we reported headline figures from new Arts and Business research which showed that private investment in culture stood at £658 million in 2009/10, a 3% decrease from the previous year in real terms, but that private investment in museums rose by 13%.  Arts and Business have now published their full report, which reveals that:
  • 38% of the sector receives no private investment;
  • English regions (excluding London) have seen a15% fall in business investment and 17% in philanthropy;
  • Only around 20% of FTSE 100 companies currently invest in the arts.
Arts and Business  Back to top


Google Art Project enables new view of masterpieces and museums

The National Gallery and Tate Britain are partners in the new Google Art Project launched on 1 February, which enables people to discover and view more than 1,000 artworks online in extraordinary detail.  Art Project is the result of an 18-month collaboration with 17 of the world’s most acclaimed art galleries and museums, including the Louvre, Uffizi and Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as Tate and the National Gallery.  The project involved selecting one famous artwork per institution to capture in super high resolution including the National Gallery's The Ambassadors (Hans Holbein the Younger, 1533) and Tate's No Woman No Cry, (Chris Ofili, 1998). Super high resolution or ‘gigapixel’ photo capturing technology, with 7 billion pixel images, enables the viewer to study details of the brushwork and patina beyond that possible with the naked eye. The Google Art Project also included building 360-degree tours of individual galleries using Street View ‘indoor’ technology.  Google Art Project   National Gallery

Artfinder website offers new way to discover and share art

ArtFinder has created a new website to help people find and share art.  The website provides access to paintings from artists, galleries, museums and collections around the world and uses new tools including 'Magic Tour' and 'Art Shuffle' to introduce people to works they may like based on previous selections.  Artfinder also enables users to build their own art profile, receive personalised recommendations based on what they like and share and discuss art via Facebook and Twitter.  The website has now been launched in Beta, and the finished website will be launched in May.

Building digital capacity for the arts

The Arts Council and BBC Academy, the BBC’s centre for training, have announced details of a new collaboration which aims to help arts organisations create compelling and high quality arts content and make sure arts leaders of the future can use web and broadcast technologies, such as internet protocol TV, to the fullest extent possible to make world class arts available to new and bigger audiences.  The initial programme will run from March 2011-August 2012 will include a series of practical seminars and workshops, a BBC online guide to commissioning audio visual content, 12 facilitated masterclasses and an online resource of filmed and streamed content.  Arts Council


A new report by Forrester Research estimates that the revenue created from customers buying and downloading apps to Smartphones and tablets will reach $38 billion by 2015. The global market for Smartphone apps alone has grown from $1.9bn in 2010 to $4.5bn in 2011.  New York Times


Joint Director for Manchester's top galleries

Manchester City Council and the University of Manchester have announced a new collaboration in which Dr Maria Balshaw will become Director of the Manchester City Art Gallery as well as the University's Whitworth Gallery.  Moira Stevenson, the current Art Gallery Director, retires this year.  The Heritage Lottery Fund has also just announced £8m funding for a major expansion of the Whitworth Art Gallery.  The project will double the size of public space at the Gallery and include a new study centre, cafe and Learning Studio opening into the art garden.  University of Manchester

Building Innovative Arts Partnerships

Sky Art has published a report highlighting innovative collaborations between the arts and commercial organisations, including those which have used new technology to create interactive experiences with participants around the world.  The report features case studies based on recent – and current – Sky Arts collaborations with English National Opera, Artichoke / Antony Gormley and English National Ballet. It also spotlights groundbreaking partnerships with Secret Cinema, YouTube, Google and the V&A's collaboration with onedotzero and CBS Outdoor.  Sky Arts

Museums Association Board elected with record turnout

6,160 Museums Association members voted in the e-ballot for the newly constituted Board last month.  The successful candidates are:
  • David Anderson, Director-General, of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales;
  • David Fleming, Director of National Museums Liverpool
  • Sally MacDonald, Director of University College London Museums and Collections
  • Sam Mullins, Director of the London Transport Museum
  • Isabel Churcher, Project Manager: Renaissance, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
  • Gaby Porter, independent consultant; and
  • John Orna-Ornstein, Head of London and National Programmes, British Museum.
The elected members will now nominate a further four representatives to the Board on the basis of their expertise and experience.  The new Board will meet at least six times a year to determine the strategic direction of the Association.  Museums Association

National museum visitor numbers 1990-2010

In response to a written parliamentary question from Chris Ruane MP, Ed Vaizey MP provided visitor figures for each of DCMS's sponsored museums and galleries from 1990-2010.  Since the introduction of free admission in 2001, visits to museums which previously charged have increased by 128%--rising from 7.2 million to 16.3 million in 2009-10. The 20 year dataset shows however that some of the most dramatic rises in visitor numbers were at those museums and galleries that were free throughout the period: visits to the National Portrait Gallery, Tate, Wallace Collection and Horniman Museum have more than trebled since 1990.  Hansard Record

Balancing risk – the cost of loans insurance

A working group of Collections Mobility 2.0, the European Commission-funded project aimed at facilitating lending between museums within the EU, has found that commercial insurance can account for as much as 15% of an exhibition budget.  Frank Bergevoet, co-ordinator of Collections Mobility 2.0 told The Art Newspaper that lending museums "over-evaluate risks" and "insist on cover against risks of damage or loss that they do not have when the works of art hang on their own walls".  The research found only seven reported claims out of 5,605 loans which were covered by state indemnity schemes from 2003-08, with compensation paid amounting to only €80,000. Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery who led the operation to recover two stolen Turner paintings for Tate, told The Art Newspaper that Directors have to “try to balance different kinds of risks”.  The Art Newspaper  Collections Mobility 2.0

Wonderful Things: Learning with museum objects

A new book Wonderful Things brings together some of the latest ideas about how to use objects for learning including over 50 games for all age ranges. The book aimed at teachers, museums professionals and other educators was funded by MLA and is available free to download. Wonderful Things


The Science Museum has launched new exclusive group tours hosted by the Museum's specialist curators. Each tour will run for up to an hour and cost £7 per person for groups of 10-20 people.  Science Museum As part of its adult education programme, Sir John Soane’s Museum has arranged “Soane in Rome”, a unique painting holiday and study tour, giving the chance to relive the age of the Grand Tour and follow in the footsteps of Soane himself.  The tour has been arranged in association with the British School in Rome.  Sir John Soane's Museum The Crafts Council and Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery (BMAG) will work together to deliver a major contemporary craft exhibition - Lost in Lace - in autumn 2011 as part of the Craft Council's biennial Fifty:Fifty Programme.  BMAG were picked from a shortlist of three institutions on the strength of their proposal to present an ambitious exhibition featuring twenty international artists, designers and makers who will explore the relationship between textiles, specifically lace, and architecture through site-specific installations.  Crafts Council The Collections Trust has launched a new, enhanced version of its popular Collections Management Software Survey to help museums make the most of their purchasing budgets.  Collections Link Back to top


V&A reveals Exhibition Road project designs

The V&A unveiled on 2 March the design proposals by the seven architectural teams shortlisted for the V&A’s Exhibition Road Project with a display of the models in the Sackler Centre.  The Exhibition Road Project is the V&A’s ambition to create a purpose built new gallery in which to present the Museum’s high-profile programme of temporary exhibitions, a public courtyard set within the beautiful historic facades of the V&A’s Grade 1 listed buildings and a new entrance on Exhibition Road. The new gallery will be below street level with a courtyard above that will house a café and be used for installations and events. V&A

Tate Modern project milestone

The Tate Modern building project reached a key milestone on 25 February: the handover of the switch house, part of an electricity substation to the south of the Turbine Hall, from UK Power Networks to Tate.  The transfer, the culmination of a five year partnership, enables work to begin to create an entrance to Tate Modern providing a new link from the City and the Millennium Bridge directly to south London.  Tate Modern’s new building will draw a large proportion of its energy needs from heat emitted by UK Power Network’s new transformers within the remaining substation.  Tate


After undertaking extensive feasibility work, the Trustees of the British Postal Museum and Archive (BPMA) have decided not to continue with plans to develop a new base in Swindon, Wiltshire, because of significant changes to funding expectations, particularly from corporate partners. The HLF gave the project a stage one pass early last year.  Hugh Bayley MP asked four Parliamentary Questions in the House of Commons on 1 March about the Government’s plans to safeguard the future of the Royal Mail’s archive collection, deposited at the BPMA.  BPMA   Hansard HRH The Princess Royal officially opened the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art at the University of Glasgow on 9 February.  The new Centre includes assets from the Textile Conservation Centre at the University of Southampton which closed in 2009.  University of Glasgow The Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim - reputed to the be the world's richest man - opened the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City on 1 March to house his 66,000-piece art collection. Named after his late wife, the Museum includes the largest collection of Rodin sculptures outside of France.  Soumaya Museum


Review proposes smaller National Curriculum

The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove MP, has announced a review of the primary and secondary National Curriculum in England.  The Government’s intention is for the Curriculum to be slimmed down and give “individual schools... greater freedom to construct their own programmes of study in subjects outside the National Curriculum.” The first stage of the review will consider what “essential knowledge” children should be taught within the statutory programmes of study which will remain for, English, mathematics, science and PE.  It will also review whether any other subjects that are currently part of the National Curriculum - art and design, citizenship, design and technology, geography, history, information and communication technology (ICT) modern foreign languages and music - should remain compulsory, and whether they should have statutory or non-statutory programmes of study and if so at which key stages. The second phase of the review, starting in early 2012, will produce draft programmes of study for any of the subjects the Government chooses to include, to be taught from September 2014.  The closing date for comments on the first stage is 14 April.  Department for Education

MPs launch inquiry on the ‘Big Society’

The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC), chaired by Bernard Jenkin MP, has launched an inquiry on the Government’s flagship policy of the “Big Society”.  The Committee is calling for evidence on a range of issues including
  • the impact and consequences of reductions in public expenditure on the Government’s ambitions to deliver its vision for the Big Society;
  • the appropriateness and capacity for the voluntary and community sector to deliver local public services;
  • governance and accountability issues arising out of different organisational forms of social enterprises and co-operatives; and the participation of voluntary sector and community groups in greater public service provision; and
  • potential conflicts with other aspects of public service delivery, such as individual focus of personalised public services or universal provision and uniform standards of public services (i.e. avoiding postcode lotteries).
The deadline for responses is 18 March.  Select Committee

Tourism Strategy proposes boost for destinations outside London

The Government’s new tourism strategy, launched on 4 March, aims to exploit the opportunities of next year’s Olympics and Diamond Jubilee to help attract an extra 4m overseas visitors over the next four years and bring in an extra £2bn of spending.  The strategy includes forewords from both the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, who notes that the 200,000 tourism industry businesses in the UK "provide £52bn of our GDP, 4.4% of our jobs, and have made tourism one of our fastest growing sectors."  The document says “we can’t rely solely on our culture and heritage to maintain Britain’s ranking as an attractive tourist destination” and its recommendations are intended to strengthen the UK’s “visitor economy’s performance in the other key areas where we’re relatively weak.”  The proposals include:
  • consulting on whether to move the first Bank Holiday in May to create either a new St George’s Day holiday in England (or St David’s Day in Wales), or a Trafalgar Day bank holiday in the autumn half term;
  • broadening the “tourism offer” by creating “alternative destinations with enough top-quality visitor attractions to provide a visitor experience to rival London”.
  • helping to improve staff skills in the sector through extra apprenticeships and courses;
  • making tourist visas simpler, faster and more convenient to obtain;
  • modifying the existing Tourist Boards to become smaller industry-led partnerships between tourism firms and government;
The strategy also sets out proposals to utilise digital technology to improve quality and raise productivity by supporting customer review websites rather than the Government-sponsored ‘star rating’ scheme.   The strategy does not cover the parts of the tourism industry which are dealt with by the devolved administrations.  DCMS

Select Committee inquiry into regeneration

The Communities and Local Government Committee is to conduct an inquiry into regeneration, following the publication by the Government of Regeneration to enable growth: What Government is doing in support of community-led regeneration.  This publication sets out a new approach to regeneration, “putting residents, local businesses, civil society organisations and civic leaders in the driving seat and providing them with local rewards and incentives to drive growth and improve the social and physical quality of their area”.  The closing date for written evidence is Friday 18 March 2011.  Select Committee


The Government has launched a new website, 'Contracts Finder', which will display every central government tender opportunity. In a statement, the Prime Minister also said that to “reduce the time and bureaucracy in competing for a government contract”, the Government will “seek to eliminate the prequalification process for lower-value procurements.” Contracts Finder In response to a question from Chris Ruane MP requesting data on the number of volunteers in public libraries, Ed Vaizey MP said that in 2009-10 there were 16,710 volunteers in libraries in England, and that they contributed 528,718 volunteer hours.  Hansard, 28 February Video clips of Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey answering a third round of questions sent to him by email have been published on YouTube.  The questions cover libraries, internet service providers, S4C, short films, internet TV and access to opportunities.  DCMS Back to top


Make a job, don't take a job: building the creative society

“Make a job, don’t take a job” should become the rallying cry for the creative sector according to a report on creative entrepreneurship published by New Deal of the Mind.  The report argues that the high percentage of freelance workers in the creative sector could be turned to an advantage and sets out how the Government's New Enterprise Allowance could benefit the creative sector. New Deal of the Mind report

Record year for London Theatre box office takings

More than 14 million theatregoers – a total of 14,152,230 – attended a performance in one of London’s major venues last year, only the second time this mark has been reached. Although audience figures were down by 0.79% the previous year, 2010 was a record year at the box office, with theatres taking £512,331,808, contributing £76,304,737 to the treasury in VAT receipts. Society of London Theatre

New collaboration to tackle “Heritage Crimes”

Crimes and anti-social behaviour that damage England's historic environment will for the first time be tackled in a much more coordinated way through a new initiative launched by English Heritage on 11 February. The Alliance to Reduce Crime against Heritage (ARCH) is a voluntary national network under the strategic guidance of English Heritage, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service and includes representatives of some 40 organisations.  English Heritage

Coordinating Heritage Open Days

English Heritage seeking another organisation to take on the national coordination of Heritage Open Day from next year.  English Heritage is prepared offer funding to the new host organisation for three years to ensure the programme is fully embedded.  Deadline for submissions of interest is 8th April 2011.   English Heritage


NESTA have created a map of the UK's creative clusters, identifying areas which host clusters of creative businesses promoting innovation and economic growth across their region. This infographic supplements NESTA's Creative Clusters report which published in November.  NESTA


Artefacts still missing from Egyptian Museum

Amid the unrest in Egypt, 18 antiquities - including two statues of Tutankhamun - were reported missing from the Egyptian Museum in Tahir Square, the centre of the protests against former President Mubarak.  Four of these are reported to have since been found.  In an interview with Der Spiegel on 22 February, the Egyptian Antiquities Minister, Zahi Hawass, said “Overall, we have to thank God that we got off relatively lightly.”  On 5 March the Independent report that Minister Hawass, who is also a well known archaeologist, had expressed his intention in early March to resign from the new Government in protest at its failure to prevent looting, saying “our antiquities are in grave danger from criminals trying to take advantage of the situation.”  Der Spiegel   The Independent Meanwhile, Tunisian authorities have discovered mosaics, frescoes and other artefacts from the country's museums in the homes of the former President, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Many of these antiquities are reported by the Art Newspaper as having come originally from the Bardo Museum, which holds the largest collection of Roman mosaics in the world. Revised inventories are being drawn up for the country's museums, most of which, it is reported, were well protected during the uprising.  The Art Newspaper

Christchurch earthquake reveals time capsules

Following the earthquake on 22 February, rescuers searching the remains of Christchurch Cathedral in New Zealand discovered a metal cylinder and a glass bottle containing rolled-up parchment in the plinth of a statue, erected in 1867, of the city's founder. The items were handed to Canterbury Museum.  The Museum itself, which is in the City centre, remains closed until further notice.  Just two weeks before the 22 February quake, the Canterbury Museum launched a public campaign to capture people’s memories and thoughts about the earthquakes that rocked Canterbury in 2010 for a new time-capsule that was due to be buried later this year.  BBC News  Canterbury Museum

Greater autonomy for City of Paris Museums

The fourteen museums and heritage sites run by the City of Paris are to be removed from direct control by the municipality in 2012 and overseen by a new intermediary agency, allowing them more autonomy and the ability to invest their own income.  Referring to a current "lack of flexibility", the cultural affairs commissioner Christophe Girard emphasised that admissions to the institutions would remain free of charge.  City of Paris Meanwhile, over a thousand French curators have denounced the Government's "extreme free-market logic" in reducing public funding for museums. The report of the General Association of Public Curators quoted in Le Monde says that "it is an illusion to think that museums can finance themselves".  Le Monde


The Art Newspaper reports that a Norwegian businessman has joined forces with the City of Oslo to save the Norwegian Maritime Museum from closure. Christen Sveaas and the city authorities will each provide €95000 this year which will secure the museum's future until the end of 2011.  The Art Newspaper The International Council of Museum (ICOM) has launched a new website for International Museums Day, which takes place on 18 May.  The theme for International Museum Day 2011 is “Museum and Memory”.  The website provides a press kit and enables museums around the world to upload details of their events. Back to top

The Ministry of Justice has announced that Oliver Morley has been appointed to the permanent position of Chief Executive and Keeper of The National Archives.  Oliver has acted in the role since March 2010.  He first joined The National Archives in 2008, leading the team who launched the 1911 census.  The National Archives The Prime Minister has appointed German artist, Tomma Abts and the Lionel Barber, Editor of the Financial Times, as Tate Trustees.  The Prime Minister has also re-appointed Sir Howard Newby and Lady Catherine Chisholm as Trustees of the National Museum of Science and IndustryNumber 10 NESTA, the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, has announced the appointment of Geoff Mulgan as Chief Executive Officer.  Geoff will join NESTA in June after 6 years as Chief Executive of the Young Foundation and was previously director of the Government's Strategy Unit and head of policy in the Prime Minister's office, founder and director of the think-tank Demos.  NESTA  


European Museum of the Year Award

Five UK museums are among the nominations for the prestigious European of the Year Award 2011: Ulster Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Great North Museum, Florence Nightingale Museum and the British Music Experience.  The last time a UK museum won this award was in 2003 when it was awarded to the V&A for the British Galleries.  European Museum Forum

Art Fund Prize – long list announced

The long list for the Art Fund Prize 2011 was announced on 2 February.  Michael Portillo is the Chair of this year’s judging panel.  The ten contenders for the £100,000 prize are:
  • British Museum for A History of the World;
  • Hertford Museum, Hertfordshire for its development project;
  • Leighton House, London restoration project;
  • Mostyn, Llandudno, Wales for its gallery refurbishment;
  • The new People's History Museum, Manchester;
  • Polar Museum, University of Cambridge for Promoting Britain’s Polar Heritage;
  • The new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Alloway, Scotland;
  • Roman Baths Museum, Bath for its development;
  • V&A for its Ceramics Study Galleries;
  • Yorkshire Museum, for the York Letting in the Light redevelopment. 
The short list of four museums will be announced on 19 May and the winner on 15 June.  There is also a public poll enabling everyone to tell the judges who they think should win at

Clore Award for Museum Learning

A new award has been introduced this year under the Art Fund Prize umbrella: the Clore Award for Museum Learning.  Supported by the Clore Duffield Foundation, the £10,000 award will recognise and celebrate quality, impact and innovation in using museums and galleries for learning activities and initiatives.  NMDC members on the long list are the Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne for Culture Shock and the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth for Face to Face.  Art Fund Prize

Theme Parks and Visitor Attraction Awards

The Science Museum has won the Best Customer Service Visitor Attraction award at the 2010 Theme Parks and Visitor Attraction Awards.  W5, a wholly owned subsidiary company of the National Museums Northern Ireland, won Education Visitor Attraction of the Year.  More

DBA Design Effectiveness Awards

The design of the Great North Museum: Hancock won a gold award at the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards on 17 Feburary. The National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Take another look’ marketing campaign won a silver award.  DBA Awards 

Family Friendly Museums Award

Twenty museums around the UK are on the long-list for the Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award.  More than 100 museums were nominated for the award which is run by the charity, Kids in Museums.  The shortlist, which is chosen by a panel of museum experts, will be announced later this month and will be road-tested anonymously by families, who then pick the winner, which will be announced in April.  Kids in Museums Back to top

Our jobs website also has details of current vacancies at leading museums around the UK including:
  • Editor, National Portrait Gallery
  • Researcher in Insect Taxonomy, Natural History Museum
  • Visitor Services Assistant, National Museums Scotland
  • Corporate Membership and Loans Executive, National Maritime Museum
  • Facilities Manager (Mechanical & Electrical), National Galleries of Scotland
  • Retail and Admission Assistant (Alternate Weekends), Imperial War Museum
  • Sculpture Conservator, Tate.
For details of these jobs and many more visit

  And finally...

Mud, Sweat & Cheers – Oil Paintings victory over Dinosaurs

In one of this season’s most anticipated football fixtures, the combined forces of the National Portrait Gallery and National Gallery overcame a mud bath in Regent’s Park to beat the Natural History Museum’s finest 9-4.  The match on 27 February was watched by a brave band of supporters despite the pouring rain, and they were rewarded with some scintillating football.  Hat-tricks from Will Hopson-Hill and Jon Sheldon (IT and audiovisual wizards by day) saw the Galleries team to victory.  Both teams are now seeking opponents for matches throughout the summer.  If you think that your organisation is up for the challenge, email [email protected]

This newsletter can also be read online at ('',)

If you have any comments or contributions for the newsletter please send them to the Editor, Kate Smith, at [email protected].
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© 2012 National Museum Directors' Council