December 2012

NMDC Newsletter: December 2012
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NMDC Newsletter: December 2012
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December 2012

Welcome to the monthly news update from the National Museum Directors’ Council.  In this issue:

And much more...


Diane Lees to be next Chair of NMDC

We are delighted to announce that NMDC members have elected Diane Lees, Director-General of the Imperial War Museums, to be the next NMDC Chair.  Diane will take over from Dr. Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum and NMDC Chair since 2009, in April 2013.  There have also been staff changes at the NMDC. Following her maternity leave Lizzie Glithero-West has returned to work at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, from where she was on secondment to the NMDC. Suzie Tucker and Katie Childs have both been confirmed as permanent in their NMDC posts of Head of Strategy and Delivery and Projects and Policy Manager respectively. Christine Toogood continues to support the team as NMDC Administrator. The NMDC office will move to the Imperial War Museum London in April 2013.  We are also pleased to announce that Kate Smith is joining the team as Editor of the NMDC newsletter.  Kate has extensive experience of writing, research and web development for museums and cultural organisations and has recently worked on projects for the Museum of London and British Museum.  Kate takes over from Emily Candler who is leaving to take up a new role at the Financial Ombudsman Service.  The email address for any news contributions or suggestions remains [email protected].

NMDC delegation to Brussels

A delegation of 22 senior representatives from NMDC member institutions visited Brussels on November 15th and 16th. Delegates met officials from the European Commission, representatives of the Flanders Government, the British Council in Brussels, and museum representatives from across Belgium. The visit was organised by the UK office of the European Commission and allowed NMDC members to build stronger relationships and raise the profile of UK museums in Brussels. 

NMDC session at Museums Association Conference

Working with the British Council and the V&A, NMDC organised a session at the 2012 Museums Association Conference on working in India. The session was attended by about 80 people and featured contributions from the Horniman Museum and Gardens, the British Library and the V&A exploring different ways of working with Indian partner museums. It was chaired by Henrietta Lidchi, Keeper of World Collections at National Museums Scotland, and panelists were Sujata Sen, Director of British Council East India, Tasneem Mehta, Director of the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai, and Martin Roth, Director of the V&A.

NMDC supports the proposed Orphan Works Solution

NMDC has written to members of the House of Lords to illustrate the extent of the problem of orphan works in UK museum collections and ask them to support measures in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill which would allow the creation of an orphan works solution. The Bill reached Report Stage in the House of Lords on November 14th and will now go into Committee Stage to be discussed in detail. As this is a complex issue, NMDC has produced a briefing about the problem of orphan works in UK museum collections and this can be read here.

NMDC response to Select Committee inquiry on creative economy

NMDC has responded to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry about the UK's creative industries. The response can be read here.


The Chancellor's Autumn Statement

The Chancellor of the Exchequer made his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons on 5th December. Key points for museums and the cultural sector include:
  • Government departments will receive a 1% cut in 2013/14, and a 2% cut in 2014/15;
  • A Spending Review will take place in the first half of 2013 to consider funding for 2015/16 and beyond;
  • Public sector pay will rise by 1%;
  • The GREAT international marketing campaign will receive an additional £22m for 2013/14;
  • £50m investment to create 12 "super-connected cities" to provide super-fast broadband to homes and businesses; 
  • A £600m increase in investment in science infrastructure;
  • £6m for creative and digital skills to help the UK’s creative industries contribute to economic growth;and
  • Funding for UK Trade and Investment will be increased by over 25% a year.
More details about the Autumn Statement are on the DCMS website and the HM Treasury website.

Newcastle City Council proposes major cuts for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

NMDC member Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) is encouraging people to respond to Newcastle City Council’s online consultation on its budget proposals, which include cutting all the Council’s funding to the Great North Museum and the Hatton Gallery – around 12% of the total funding for these venues - and a 50% reduction, over three years, in the Council’s funding of the Discovery Museum, Tyne & Wear Archives and the Laing Art Gallery.  The Council has set out its plans to make overall cuts of £90m over three years in response to Government funding cuts, greater demand for services and rising cost pressures.  Iain Watson, Director of TWAM said: “Obviously this will have an impact on the services we can deliver to people in the region – our learning programmes for schools and families, the exhibitions we stage and the work we do with community groups in the North East will all be looked at as we work to deal with reductions in funding. I understand that this is not a decision which Newcastle City Council wished to make but has been forced on it by the local government funding position. I sincerely believe in the positive impact that museums and galleries – and wider arts and culture – has on the local and regional economy, and the lives of people who live in the North East. Over 1 million people enjoy and learn from museums and galleries in Newcastle every year.”  Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums In a blog entitled Newcastle Council’s 100% Arts Cuts: A Personal Response one local resident describes the difference the city's museums, arts and libraries have made to her life and her feelings about the cuts. Newcastle and Me

Culture Secretary defends Government arts funding policy

The Culture Secretary and leading arts figures both published opinion pieces in the run up to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.  In an opinion piece for the Evening Standard on 28 November, Maria Miller MP wrote "much of what we’re hearing from the arts world is close to pure fiction. Accusations that this Government neither likes nor supports the arts are disingenuous in the extreme."  Responding to criticism earlier in the month from Sir Nicholas Hytner, Director of the National Theatre, Ms Miller said it "it is outrageous to claim, as Sir Nicholas recently has, that the Government has done next to nothing to encourage philanthropy”. Sir Nicholas is one of a number of leading arts figures who have been openly critical of the level of arts funding in recent weeks.  Interviewed in the Guardian on 1 December, Sir Nicholas challenged the Culture Secretary to find common cause with the arts world and shake the perception that she "is not prepared to fight our corner”.  He continued, "Maria Miller must appreciate that I speak with some experience and know what's going on… We are facing the same situation as we endured between 1979 and 1992 when 25% of regional theatres closed down. That is what will happen. We are right at the edge. It's the clear truth. I know."  Evening Standard   The Guardian


Legacy Giving - Cultural sector needs to get better at asking

Removing Barriers to Legacy Giving, a report by Roland Rudd, Chairman of the Legacy10 campaign was published on 19 November and was the first of three independent reports into philanthropy, commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.  The report proposes a ten-point plan to boost philanthropy and legacy giving to benefit the arts and heritage in the UK;
  1. All three main political parties should agree a "non-regression" pledge in their 2015 manifestos which commits them to leave the existing Inheritance Tax reduction for legacy-giving untouched until the 2020 Parliament and beyond.
  2. The Government should create a charities "tsar" to review and streamline policymaking on charities across Whitehall Departments.  The review should also include the duplications inherent in the charities sector and suggest new structures where appropriate.
  3. Secure a commitment from key adviser organisations to compel their members to raise philanthropy, and in particular the Inheritance Tax benefits of legacy giving, when discussing tax planning and will writing with their clients.
  4. Companies in the FTSE-250 should be persuaded to provide financial advice and assistance to any employee who wants to make a pledge to charity in their will.
  5. Government should implement targeted tax breaks for giving as a way of creating lifetime donors who will later leave a legacy.  This should include a cut to the top rate of income tax for those who agree to make a planned, minimum period financial commitment to a charity. 
  6. Government and Charities should jointly:
      -  Oversee and create an online iTunes U training programme, made available for free to all legacy fundraisers across the UK; and
      -  Plan a virtual legacy-giving academy to help share best practice in this area
  7. Every registered charity in the UK should be required by the Charity Commission to provide evidence in its annual report of a legacy-giving strategy and the current income level from this activity.
  8. People nominated for honours in the field of business should need to provide firm evidence of charitable giving and/or volunteering of time.  Related to this, there should also be more honours given for philanthropy.
  9. A new award should be created and supported by the Government, recognising the contribution of individuals who have shown exceptional innovation in the field of legacy-giving.
  10. The organisations that Arts Council England supports should demonstrate philanthropic fundraising, including legacies.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller MP welcomed the report, suggesting "the economic climate means that philanthropic support for the arts, especially through legacies, will be ever more important in the years to come.”  Ms Miller called on the sector to do more: "Too many companies and organisations in the arts and heritage world still have no legacy giving scheme in place.  So, they need to get better at asking for this kind of support.  I want many more cultural organisations to benefit from legacies, and we will be happy to help make this a core element of greater giving to culture across society as a whole” Legacy 10  DCMS

Philanthropy Beyond London – CEOs need to prioritise fundraising

Philanthropy Beyond London, the second of three philanthropy reports commissioned by DCMS was published on 28 November.  The report by Peter Phillips, Chair of Birmingham Opera Company, makes 19 recommendations to encourage higher levels of philanthropy and increased fundraising capacity in the culture and heritage sector outside London.  Cultural organisations outside London, currently receive only 20% of cultural philanthropy.   The report makes 19 recommendations to regional cultural organisations, the Government and Arts Council England, including:
  • Leadership of fundraising should be a key priority for Chief Executives.
  • Friends schemes should focus on development of individual members to higher levels of giving. Smaller organisations should consider joint “artform” or heritage membership schemes.
  • Arts Council England and DCMS should consider ways of raising public awareness of the charitable status of cultural organisations, underlining their place alongside other charities deserving of people’s support.
The third report on digital giving and tax aspects will be published later this month.   DCMS

Art Fund publishes A guide to giving art

The Art Fund has published A guide to giving art, to celebrate the introduction of the Cultural Gifts Scheme which comes into effect next month.  The Scheme will enable individuals to donate works of art to the nation and, in the process, reduce their income tax or capital gains tax bill by 30% of the item’s value. For the first time, companies will also be able to donate art or art collections and receive a 20% reduction in their corporation tax bill. The guide, produced with the support of UBS, provides for the first time a coherent summary of the various ways in which art and cultural objects can be transferred to public collections, tax efficiently.  The guide explains Acceptance in lieu, Conditional exemption for works of art from Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax, private treaty sales, and other ways to make gifts to museums and galleries, as well as the new Cultural Gifts Scheme.  It uses real life case studies to explain the various ways to give and associated benefits.  Hard copies are also available from the Art Fund.  Art Fund

Charities launch Big Lottery Refund Campaign

The Directory of Social Change has launched the Big Lottery Refund Campaign, arguing for a return of £425 million to the Big Lottery Fund, following the end of the Olympics.  The campaign argues that the £675m of Lottery funding transferred in 2007 from the National Lottery distributors to the public sector funding package for the London 2012 Olympics Games should now be repaid immediately rather than over 25 years.  The Campaign has secured an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons, sponsored by Jim Cunningham MP, calling on the Government, as a first step, to return the £377m unspent contingency in the public sector funding package to the National Lottery distributors rather than to the Exchequer.  The Campaign also calls attention to changes to the terms of the original Memorandum of Understanding between the Government and the Mayor of London regarding the return receipts from the sale of land to Lottery distributors.  The receipts from the sale of Olympic Park Land will be repaid over a 25 year period, with the first receipts likely to the National Lottery distributors in the 2020s and the full £675m repaid by 2030/2031.  Big Lottery Refund  

Second edition of the Charity Tax Map published

The Charity Tax Group (CTG) has launched the second edition of the Charity Tax Map, a detailed study which outlines the impact of taxation on the charitable sector.  The Charity Tax Map:
  • Gives charities details of the 17 different taxes to which they could be subject;
  • Looks at the associated compliance requirements;
  • Identifies the various tax reliefs available to charities;
  • Sorts the taxes and reliefs according to the activities charities undertake in a unique Charity Tax Map matrix;
  • Provides charities with a valuable tool to ensure they know which reliefs and taxes apply to them; and
  • Helps charity trustees assess when they need to take professional advice.
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#museums2012 - Social media, social justice and Scottish independence debated at MA Conference  

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Scottish Cabinet secretary for Culture and External Affairs, opened the Museums Association Conference in Edinburgh on 8 November by outlining her vision for museums in an independent Scotland.  Declaring that she wanted to “protect our strong cultural spend”, Ms Hyslop said that “independence gives me the chance of further protecting museum budgets”.  She continued, “We want to be independent in order to be more international, and nowhere is that more important than in the cultural sector.” Philanthropy, natural history expertise, museum thefts and disabled access were among the topics debated at the conference.  Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, gave a keynote speech arguing that museums need to respond to the changes in society and "rediscover their social dimension and return to original ideas – they must provide consistency and security when so many people’s dreams turn to dust..." Social media is now a big feature of the conference, as well as a major topic of discussion.  This year the Twitter presence was bigger than ever with the hashtag #museums2012 trending in the UK at one point.  The MA’s online archive of the conference includes a round-up of the best blogs, a Storify of top tweets and videos of key note speeches. Next year's conference #museums2013 will take place at the BT Convention Centre, Liverpool on 11-12 November.    Museums Association

Art Fund questions legal ownership of “Old Flo”

The Art Fund is backing the campaign to keep Henry Moore's sculpture Draped Seated Woman on public display and has questioned whether the London Borough of Tower Hamlets has legal title to the sculpture.  Henry Moore sold the sculpture, known as "Old Flo", to the London County Council in the 1960s at a greatly reduced price on the condition it was displayed within the area. In a statement on 29 November, the Art Fund said: “Our research suggests that works of public art were handled separately from land and buildings when both the London County Council and the Greater London Council were dissolved. For this reason our lawyers have been in touch with the Council to ask for more information, which they have so far failed to provide.”  Tower Hamlets have called the Art Fund’s actions a “desperate publicity stunt”.  The Art Fund argues that “if this sale goes through unchallenged then it sets a precedent for other councils to follow suit, leaving our public spaces bereft of art.”  It is encouraging people to email the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, sign an online petition and display a "Save Old Flo" poster.  The Museum of London has proposed that its London Docklands site display the sculpture, which is currently on loan to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.  Art Fund

Children takeover museums across the UK

Over 1500 children and young people – from toddlers to young adults – took over 85 museums on Takeover Day 2012 on 23 November.  Directors, curators, web designers, caterers and front of house staff were replaced by children as part of the event, orchestrated by independent charity Kids in Museums and the Children's Commissioner, where the aim is to give young people the chance to experience a meaningful role within museums.  Kids in Museums  Children's Commissioner

51 items of cultural significance acquired by museums and galleries in lieu of tax

Arts Council England has published the Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) Scheme Report 2010-12 which sets out 51 cases of major cultural significance that have been allocated to the nation's public museums and galleries over the past two years.  The scheme, administered by the Arts Council, allows those who have a bill for Inheritance Tax to offset part of those taxes by donating important cultural, scientific or historic objects to the nation.  The cases in the report include two paintings by 18th century English painter Sir Joshua Reynolds; two watercolours by JMW Turner; the only known Ottoman jade tankard to be held in a UK collection and a comprehensive archive of the works of the author JG Ballard.  In 2010/11, cultural objects worth a total of £8.3 million were allocated to national institutions, and in 2011/12, £31.3 million. The acceptance of these objects has settled £24,950,413 worth of tax. Over the past decade, approximately £215.4 million of cultural worth has been donated to the nation.  Arts Council

Substantial increase in export license applications referred to expert advisers

DCMS has published annual statistics on the operation of the export controls on objects of cultural interest. The data reveals a substantial increase in items referred to expert advisers:  33,236 items, with a total value of £1.97 billion, were issued with export licenses after they had been referred to an expert adviser in 2011-12, up from 19,686 items (£1.49bn) in 2010-11.  A further 13,002 items, with a total value of £7.87 billion, were issued with export licenses after the Export Licensing Unit at Arts Council England, was satisfied that they had been imported into the UK within the past 50 years. In 2011-12, 18 cases were stopped by expert advisers and referred to the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA). Half of these of these were subsequently withdrawn by the owner: 6 before consideration by the Committee and three before the Committee's referral to the Secretary of State. Two cases are still in process. The Committee recommended deferral of export licenses for the remaining seven cases, all of which it judged to be objects of national importance. These had a combined value of £74.6m.  Four of these resulted in acquisitions by institutions or individuals in the UK (with a combined value price at deferral of £29.8 million).  Export licenses were issued for the remaining three items, which have a total value of £44.8m.  DCMS

Rise in finds demonstrates success of the Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme

The Portable Antiquities and Treasure Annual Report, published on 3 December, shows that 97,509 finds were recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) in 2011 (an 8% rise on the previous year), with 970 Treasure cases being reported in the same period (up by 12%). The PAS website ( now features 820,000 finds with nearly 400,000 images from across England and Wales contributing enormously to the archaeological record. Last year 463,160 people used the website and database, and it also won best research/online collection at the Best of the Web awards 2011 at the Museums and the Web conference. Major finds highlighted in the report include:
  • An extremely rare late Iron Age helmet from near Canterbury, Kent;
  • The second largest hoard of Roman solidi (gold coins) ever found in Britain;
  • An important hoard of Viking Age gold and silver metalwork; and
  • A boar mount associated with Richard III.
Britain’s Secret Treasures, which highlighted 50 finds recorded through the PAS, was screened on ITV1 in July, with the series being watched by an average of 3.5m viewers and a peak audience of 4.2million.  British Museum

What Next? A National Conversation event: 5th February

What Next? is a collective of arts and cultural organisations aiming to promote engagement with and support of the excellent cultural work that happens daily across the UK.  The collective hopes to maximise the effectiveness of resources and contacts, as well as arguments and ideas, to find better ways to communicate more widely the power of the arts and culture.  What Next? will be holding an event to discuss the promotion of cultural work and how most effectively to do this on 5th February in Central London. To register attendance go to the Eventbrite page.

Cultural Heritage recognised in EU Horizon 2020 plans

In response to lobbying from the European cultural heritage sector, including a petition of 6000 signatures, the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITER) of the European Parliament has confirmed that ‘Cultural Heritage’ has been included as a priority in the proposed €80bn Horizon 2020 funding programme from 2014. The inclusion of cultural heritage in Horizon 2020 takes the form of a series of amendments focusing on the contribution of culture to research excellence, social cohesion and growth.  Collections Link

Art without Frontiers: Art Fund Debate 2012

Leading figures from the art world took part in the Art Fund Debate 2012 at the British Museum on 7 November, discussing Britain's future on the world art stage. Speakers included Paul Ruddock, Chair of the V&A; artists Michael Craig-Martin and Marc Quinn; Iwona Blazwick, Director of the Whitechapel Gallery; and Alain Seban, Chairman of the Pompidou Centre in Paris.  A full review of the event can be found on the Art Fund website.  Art Fund

Get involved with Climate Week 2013

Cultural organisations are being invited to take part Climate Week (4-10 March 2013), the UK's biggest climate change campaign. Arts Council England suggests this is a great opportunity to highlight cultural organisations' development of sustainable working practices and projects, and provide insight into how environmental sustainability issues are being raised and tackled through arts and culture.  As well as organising events to tie in with the week, organisations can put forward their current activities for the Climate Week Awards, which will recognise the most inspirational and impressive actions taking place in every sector of society.  Arts Council Back to top


Collecting evidence on the impact of the EBacc

The Cultural Learning Alliance is urging secondary school teachers to fill in their survey on the impact of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). Research published by the Department for Education in October revealed there is already a decline in the number of young people studying the arts from age 14, and there is some evidence that some schools are already cutting drama, art, design and technology courses as a result of the lack of inclusion of the arts in the EBacc. The survey is intended to provide robust evidence about the impact of the EBacc on the provision and prioritisation of arts and cultural subjects in schools, and to inform the campaign for cultural learning.  Cultural Learning Alliance  The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has launched the Bacc For the Future campaign in response to concerns about the exclusion of creative subjects such as Music, Art, Design and Technology, Drama and Dance from the proposed EBacc. Further details about the campaign, including a petition, are available on a dedicated website.  Bacc For the Future

Using digital technology for learning

The fifth in the Arts Council's Arts Digital R&D podcast series is now live on the Arts Council's iTunes and SoundCloud channels. Podcast 5 focuses on how organisations can use digital technologies for arts and cultural education and learning, not only for children and young people but also for those outside the formal education system. The podcast include news of innovative projects at the British Library, Tate and National Trust, and the discussion panel includes Dave Patten, Head of New Media at the Science Museum.   Arts Council

Relationship between education and creativity

The latest edition of the Cultural Learning Alliance newsletter has a useful summary of recent publications examining the purpose of education and its relationship to creativity.  These include the publication of written evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s inquiry into the creative economy; Pearson's new international school league table report The Learning Curve, which rates the UK 6th in the world; and First Steps, the CBI report on the future of education. Cultural Learning Alliance Back to top


Maria Miller says “tourism is cornerstone of growth”

Culture Secretary Maria Miller MP gave her first keynote speech on tourism on 6 November, welcoming delegates to the World Travel Market in London.  She assured delegates that "this Government recognises that tourism is a cornerstone of growth.  Currently our fifth biggest industry, many think it could be our fastest growing sector over the next decade”.  Ms Miller went on to describe early forecasts on the financial returns from investment in the GREAT campaign as “really encouraging" and said "we're also working hard across Government to reduce any perceived barriers to tourism. To make clear that not only is Britain a great place to experience, but also an easy place to visit. To create the right conditions for both inward and outward tourism to thrive."  DCMS

Domestic overnight holiday trips up 13 % in August but 2.5% down for year to date

Figures released by VisitEngland on 3 December showed that the number of domestic overnight holiday trips taken in England in August rose by 13% compared to 2011, with just under 8m trips taken in that month.  The latest results from the Great Britain Tourism Survey also show that holiday spend totalled almost £2bn during August – an increase of 20% compared to the same period last year. Considering the whole of Great Britain, domestic holiday trips were up 11% in August and spend increased by 12%. For the summer as whole (June, July and August), the total number of holiday trips taken in England was the same as 2011 (17.8m), but total holiday spend was up 7% to £4.5billion.  The growth in August may have been caused in part by domestic holidaymakers delaying their holiday trips following poor weather in June and July. For the year to date (January-August), domestic holiday trip taking in England is down 2.5% compared to the first 8 months of 2011; however, holiday spend for the same period is up 4%, and both volume and value remain above pre-recession levels. The national tourist board also published results of its latest Tourism Business Monitor, which reveal that both accommodation businesses and Visitor Attractions are “turning a corner after a challenging summer.”  Attractions in particular have shown improvement since the low in July, with 81% ‘very’ or ‘quite’ satisfied with performance in September and October.  VisitEngland

Culture is a key theme in new VisitEngland marketing campaign

VisitEngland has announced plans to launch eight marketing campaigns in 2013 to boost domestic tourism.  The campaigns will cover the four key themes of countryside, heritage, culture and coastal, and will run in partnership with destinations from all over England as well as national commercial organisations. The themes were informed by research undertaken by VisitEngland which found there was still a lack of knowledge of the type of holidays on offer in England. The themed campaigns will run on radio, in newspaper supplements, and via social media and PR and will be funded by £2m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) plus contributions from partners.  This marketing activity is phase two of a three-year investment project called ‘Growing Tourism Locally’.  Funded by £19.8million from the RGF, the project aims to generate £365million in additional tourism spend over the three year period and inspire more Britons to take more holidays at home.  VisitEngland

English Tourism Week 2013

VisitEngland is calling on the industry to get involved in English Tourism Week 2013, which takes place from 16-24 March. The inaugural English Tourism Week in March 2012 saw over 500 special activities and promotions celebrating tourism in England.  English Tourism Week  


The Holidays at Home are GREAT campaign scooped best In-House Consumer Campaign at the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) Awards.  The UK's biggest ever domestic tourism marketing campaign beat off competition from organisations such as John Lewis, Specsavers, and the Co-operative Bank. VisitEngland worked with Government and the tourist boards of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the campaign which included a TV ad starring well-known actors and the website. Back to top


Helping arts and cultural organisations develop their audiences

The Arts Marketing Association and Audience Agency are hosting a programme of workshops and surgeries from November 2012 until spring 2013 to help arts and culture organisations develop their audiences.  This is part of a three-year programme which Arts Council England has commissioned to collate, share and implement best practice in audience development and marketing across the sector.  The commission is part of Audience Focus, a £7.5 million programme in which Arts Council England are investing until March 2015 to ensure that more people are able to experience and be inspired by arts and culture. The programme is designed to help organisations understand, retain and grow their audiences.  Arts Council England

Supporting Practice in Participation

Arts Council England has awarded funding for "Supporting Practice in Participation”, a new initiative to support regional museums in England who want to forge participatory relationships with the public. The project will be led by the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past at the University Of York (IPUP), working in partnership with the Diversity in Heritage Group the Collections Trust, and the British Museum.  It aims to encourage museums, heritage institutions, and arts organisations to share expertise in developing innovative and exciting ways for the public to participate. The project partners will create a portal to be hosted on the Collections Link website, providing museum professionals with research and resources, and arrange skills and knowledge-sharing meetings around England. The British Museum will also support dissemination in the museum sector in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.  IPUP

£150m for employer training schemes

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock MP announced on 20 November that businesses across the country can bid for a share of a £150 million pot designed to allow employers to create the training schemes they need to grow their companies.  The fund is the second round of the Employer Ownership Pilot. Heart of England Attractions Ltd was one of 34 consortiums that won a share of £70m in the first round announced in September. Two NMDC members, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and Birmingham Museums Trust, have played leading roles in this project which will develop the tourism workforce of the West Midlands with a focus on young people, apprentices and early career development. The second round will support businesses to improve the skills of their current and future workforce; and also support industrial partnerships to take wider responsibility for skills development in a place or sector.  The deadline for applications is 28 February. BIS

Creative & Cultural Skills to run Creative Employment Programme

Arts Council England has announced that the National Skills Academy, the delivery arm of Creative & Cultural Skills, will be the national provider for the Creative Employment Programme. The programme, with up to £15m funding before March 2015, will provide unemployed 16-24 year olds with paid opportunities to access on-the-job training, skills and experience that potential employers will value. The Creative Employment Programme will create: 1,600 Young Apprenticeships targeted at 16-18 year olds; 2,900 Creative Apprenticeships targeted at 16-24 year olds; and 2000 paid internships through a new Internship Academy in partnership with New Deal of the Mind.  Arts Council  Creative & Cultural Skills

Review says Apprenticeships should be more focused on the needs of employers

The Richard Review of Apprenticeships, commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, was published on 27 November, and made a series of recommendations designed to ensure a flexible, high quality and genuinely employer-led apprenticeship system.  Key themes and principles include:
  • Apprenticeships should be targeted only at those who are new to a job or role that requires sustained and substantial training;
  • There should be a more rigorous focus on the outcome of an apprenticeship, with more flexibility on the process;
  • Recognised industry standards should form the basis of every apprenticeship.
    All apprentices should reach a good level in English and maths before they can complete their apprenticeship;
  • Government funding must create the right incentives for apprenticeship training; and
  • Far greater diversity and innovation in training should be encouraged.
Creative & Cultural Skills, the cultural sector's Issuing Authority for Apprenticeships in England, has welcomed the report and in particular the "calls for greater flexibility within in the system, a coordinated push to improve the awareness and reputation of apprenticeships, and acknowledgement that an apprenticeship should be defined as a new job role offering long-term career prospects.”  BIS  Creative & Cultural Skills

Monument Fellowships for retired museum specialists

The closing date for the current round of Monument Fellowships is 7 December.  This is potentially the last round of Fellowships the Museums Association will be running.  The Fellowships are designed to enable retired museum specialists to work with former colleagues, their successors and the wider museum community to share and develop knowledge and skills.  Museums Association

UK and Indonesia agree cultural exchange programme for creative industry

The Governments of the UK and Indonesia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a cultural exchange programme, looking especially at building capacity and skills in the creative industries. Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries Ed Vaizey MP and Dr Mari Elka Pangestu, Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, signed the agreement at 10 Downing Street on 31 October.  The two Governments will “cooperate in forms of exchange of information, showcase, capacity-building, education, training, research, and development" in music, film, fashion, architecture, art and craft, design, animation, games, digital development, culinary and other agreed areas.  DCMS


Laura Pringle, a Carpentry Apprentice at the RAF Museum Cosford, won 'National Intermediate Apprentice of the Year’ at the National Awards Ceremony at The Skills Show, NEC Birmingham.  RAF Museum Back to top


Royal Armouries Director General and Master

The Royal Armouries announced on 19 November that Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley has resigned as Director General and Master, with immediate effect. Lieutenant-General Riley, who joined Royal Armouries in 2009, said: “After 3 and a half years with the Royal Armouries, which have included exciting developments at the White Tower and at Fort Nelson near Portsmouth, it is time for me to move on and develop my academic career and to fulfill other roles that I have been asked to pursue, such as my work for the International Criminal Court.  I also need time to recover from the treatment I am currently undergoing for cancer. I would like to thank all those at the Armouries with whom I have had the pleasure of working for their good wishes and, in return, I wish them the very best for the future.” Chris Walker will continue to act as Interim Chief Executive and Accounting Officer until a permanent replacement is appointed.  Royal Armouries

Director of Public Engagement at Natural History Museum

Justin Morris will be the new Director of Public Engagement at the Natural History Museum, responsible for all aspects of public programmes including visitor services, education and exhibitions.  Justin is currently Director of Operations and Projects at the British Museum, where he has worked for most of the past 17 years, with a two year period working for the John Lewis Partnership fast-track senior management training scheme.  A starting date for Dr Morris will be confirmed in due course. He replaces Sharon Ament, who held the role for 12 years and is now Director of the Museum of London.  NHM

Ann Sumner appointed as Executive Director of the Brontë Society

Professor Ann Sumner, Director of Birmingham Museums Trust, has been appointed as Executive Director of the Brontë Society.  Her new role will involve  day-to-day management of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, which houses the largest collection of Brontë material in the world, as well as leading the international literary Society and promoting a contemporary arts programme.  Professor Sumner will take up the post in February 2013.  Brontë Society

Historians, writers and former generals join WW1 Advisory Board

Culture Secretary Maria Miller MP has announced the names of the first fifteen members of the World War 1 Centenary Advisory Board. The Board will oversee the progress towards – and delivery of – the Government’s nationwide programme of events and educational initiatives to mark the centenary of World War I in 2014.  The announced members are writers Pat Barker and Sebastian Faulks; historians Hew Strachan, Professor Michael Burleigh and Sir Deian Rhys Hopkin; former Chiefs of the Defence Staff Admiral Lord Boyce, Field Marshall Lord Guthrie and Air Chief Marshall Jock Stirrup; General and Lord Dannatt, former Chief of the General Staff; politicians Sir Menzies Campbell MP, Jeffrey Donaldson MP, Dr Andrew Murrison MP and Lord King of Bridgwater; David McDonough, Chairman of the PR consultancy The McDonough Partnership, and the Very Reverend June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury.  Further members of the group will be confirmed in due course, including a Scottish Government representative, while others may be co-opted as and when required by the Chairman.  DCMS


Chris Case, a senior Fire and Rescue Service officer has been reappointed as a Royal Armouries’ Trustee for a second term by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP. Back to top


Fitzwilliam succeeds in campaign to secure Poussin

The campaign by the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Art Fund to raise £3.9m to acquire Poussin’s Extreme Unction (c. 1638-40) has succeeded, thanks to a grant of £3m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and major public support. Almost £1 million was raised in donations from the public and charities, including £692,000 from supporters of the Fitzwilliam Museum, a £100,000 grant from the Art Fund and a further £142,000 donated by almost 3,000 individual Art Fund members. These donations and grants mean that the Fitzwilliam Museum can now take advantage of the opportunity provided by the Government’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme to acquire the painting for £3.9m instead of its market value of £14m. For the Museum, this will be the most significant Old Master acquisition in nearly a century.  The campaign was supported by the National Gallery, where the painting has been on display for the majority of the campaign.  Art Fund   Fitzwilliam Museum

Cyrus Cylinder travels to the US

The British Museum has announced that one of its most iconic objects, the Cyrus Cylinder, will tour five major museum venues in the United States in 2013. This will be the first time this object has been seen in the US.  The Cylinder was inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform (the earliest form of writing) on the orders of the Persian King Cyrus the Great (559-530 BC) after he captured Babylon in 539 BC. It is often referred to as the first bill of human rights as it appears to encourage freedom of worship throughout the Persian Empire and to allow deported people to return to their homelands. It was found in Babylon in modern Iraq in 1879 during a British Museum excavation and has been on display ever since. The tour is supported by the Iran Heritage Foundation.  British Museum

V&A opens new permanent gallery for furniture

The V&A has opened its new Dr Susan Weber Gallery, the museum's first gallery dedicated to furniture. It is also the only gallery worldwide to tell the story of furniture production through the way each piece was made and the people who made it. The gallery, designed by NORD Architecture, displays more than 200 outstanding pieces of British and European furniture, from the Middle Ages to the present day, as well as examples of American and Asian furniture.  Digital labels with a touch-screen interface provide additional content and context for each object.  V&A

New gallery brings together the treasures of the Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum has opened the Cadogan Treasures Gallery, a new permanent exhibition displaying 22 of the most valuable and significant objects from the Museum's collection of 70 million specimens.  Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was guest of honour at the grand opening of the new Gallery on 28 November.  NHM

Museums receive major donation of modern and contemporary art

Philanthropists, Eric and Jean Cass have donated an outstanding modern and contemporary collection, worth £4 million, to museums around the UK through the Contemporary Art.  Earlier this year the Contemporary Art Society invited seven museums to research the  Eric and Jean Cass’s collection and to pitch to receive clusters of works that complement or enliven their current collections. Gallery of Modern Art (Glasgow), Hepworth Wakefield, Leeds Art Gallery, National Museum of Wales (Cardiff), Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Edinburgh), The Royal Pavilion and Museums (Brighton) and Wolverhampton Art Gallery have all received works and are planning programmes of associated events and talks to emphasise the magnitude of Eric and Jean Cass’s generosity.  Contemporary Art Society


The consumer Magazine Which? has recommended visits to St Fagans: St Fagans: National History Museum, National Museum Cardiff, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, National Museum of Scotland and the British Library in its top ten Christmas attractions. Which? Magazine asked 4,239 of their members for their views on UK visitor attractions. For the second year running, St Fagans: National History Museum came top of the ‘Museum and Art Galleries’ category with a customer score of 93% based on overall satisfaction and the likelihood to recommend.  Which? Back to top

Our jobs website now includes the latest vacancies from NMDC’s new member organisations around the UK.  Current vacancies include:
  • Temporary Exhibition Facilitators, Science Museum
  • Client Manager, National Archives
  • Head of Exhibitions and Digital Programmes, National Army Museum
  • Conservation Technician, National Galleries of Scotland
  • Annual Fund and Appeals Manager, Victoria & Albert Museum
  • Membership Manager, Royal Museums Greenwich
  • Head of Collections and Exhibitions, National Media Museum
  • Postdoctoral Researcher in Biodiversity Genomics, Natural History Museum
For details of these jobs and many more visit Back to top

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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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