November 2013

NMDC newsletter: November 2013
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NMDC newsletter: November 2013
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 ... and much more

Section headings | Arts Councils plan for hard times | Members news | National treasures | Mapping the territory: tech | Funding and awards | Events | Evanescing collections | Employment and volunteering | Finding audiences | Creative industries | Capital crimes: London and cultural funding| Education | Valuing tourism | Historical bodies| Appointments: heave away, you rolling kings | Jobs | And finally... |

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  Arts Councils plan for hard times
 

Arts Council England launches revised ten year plan

Arts Council England (ACE) has produced a new ten year plan, replacing the one originally written in 2010.  Chief Executive Alan Davey said that the body wanted to integrate plans relating to museums, galleries and archives since the 2010 plan was written before their expanded role. The plan has five main strands:
  • Excellence is thriving and celebrated in the arts, museums and libraries
  • Everyone has the opportunity to experience and be inspired by the arts, museums and libraries
  • Resilience and environmental stability
  • A diverse and appropriately skilled leadership and workforce
  • Every young child should have a chance to experience the richness of the arts, museums and libraries.
Introducing the plan, Alan Davey says: “When we published Achieving Great Art for Everyone in 2010, people were sceptical at the notion of a ten year framework.  The world will change, they said. How can something like this be valid over a ten year period?  Well that was just the point.  I wanted us to have a clear set of ambitions for the arts, knowing things were going to change, knowing money was going to be tight, that technology was going to change the way artists worked and audiences participated.  Knowing that in short, we would be sailing on stormy seas.” Issuu (full text), Arts Council

Welsh and Irish Arts Councils both face cuts

Arts Council Wales is to have its funding cut by 3%, while the Arts Council in Eire faces cuts of 7%.  The Irish losses of £14.3m are offset by £14.5 of lottery money, but this is earmarked for very specific schemes to generate jobs.  Arts Council Wales Chairman Dai Smith clearly regards the 3% cuts as a good result in the financial climate.  He said “funding reductions are never welcome, but under the circumstances, we are very pleased with this outcome and see it as an important signal of the Welsh government’s commitment”. As in England, Welsh local councils are facing cuts too, which have led some, like Cardiff, to plan large cuts to local arts programmes. However other councils, like Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Neath Port Talbot, are increasing spending as part of their bid to become UK city of Culture in 2017. Classical Music Magazine, The Stage, Arts Industry (subscription only), Irish Times Back to top

  Members' news
 

Nelson, Navy, Nation

The National Maritime Museum has opened its new Nelson, Navy, Nation gallery, telling the story of the hero and the surrounding culture.  Items on display include Nelson’s uniform, and an amputation knife and bullet forceps.  RMG

HLF grant helps towards the creation of ‘Albertopolis’ at the V&A

The V&A’s plans for a new underground gallery beneath Exhibition Road have been helped with a grant of £499k from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  The whole project, which also includes a new outdoor cultural space ‘Albertopolis’, will cost £42m of which £30m has been raised. The work should be completed by 2017. The scheme will have a strong element of skilling up young workers: Three apprentices will be employed to work with the Museum’s collections and the historic building, while also studying for a Diploma in Cultural Heritage. HLF

National Media Museum ‘must change to survive’

Science Museum Group Director Ian Blatchford has said that the National Media Museum in Bradford needs to ‘change to survive’ and that it will undergo radical change over the next five years, including rethinking of exhibitions, education and the physical building.  The museum was at risk of closing earlier in the year, had government cuts been any deeper. Blatchford remains upbeat about the potential of the museum which he says could be ‘one of the most successful in the country’. BBC

Directors takes the long view as Tate Britain reopens

Tate Britain will fully reopen on 19th November, with new chronological galleries, a new cafeteria and upper floors that have been opened for the first time since a disastrous flood in 1928.  Sir Nicholas Serota recalls how his predecessor Charles Aitken found object cases floating around the gallery after the Thames breached the wall of the Embankment.  Meanwhile Penelope Curtis talks about the rehang of the Collection and walks viewers through 500 years of art in a short film.  Tate, Tate (short film on rehanging the collection)

Ashmolean outpost: museum extends to Worcestershire village

A generous antiques dealer in the Worcestershire village of Broadway has given the Ashmolean a free 50 year lease on a building known as 'The Tudor House' allowing them to open a new independent museum there. The 17th century former coaching inn was for many years an antiques shop, but when the business closed in 2008, the owner wanted to create an alternative landmark for the village.  A Trust has been created to run the museum, and a selection of the Ashmolean's one million objects are now on display. Museums + Heritage

Sixty Thames Valley Museums create joint marketing project

Museums across the Thames Valley, including Oxford Aspire, have acquired Arts Council England strategic funding for a digital marketing project. They hope that the resulting website ‘Thames Valley Museums’ will encourage local visitors to explore all the other museum options on offer. They also hope it will attract new audiences.  Launching the site, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said “over five million people already visit these museums every year and it is exactly this sort of collaboration that will further increase visitor numbers, encourage greater opportunities for international tourists and showcase the sheer range of subjects these museums cover.” He later tweeted that all regional museums should consider similar schemes. Oxford Aspire, Thames Valley Museums

Tell us about your major 2014 events

Press officers: if the Director of your museum (or consortium of museums) is a member of the NMDC, we would be grateful if you would send us details of your major highlights for 2014, so we can publish a roundup online in December/January.  These will typically be large exhibitions, but a smattering of other exceptionally innovative or interesting short-term programmed events will also be of interest.  Please email material to [email protected], ideally by the end of November. Back to top

  National treasures
 

Two ways to possess Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry’s funny and revealing Reith Lectures have so far explored the pretensions of ‘International Art English’, given an analysis of the power of galleries and auction houses, and explored the risks of sincerity in an ironic age.  His lectures continue on BBC Radio 4, with filmed highlights online. Perry is also one of the ten artists announced as part of the 2014 Museums at Night season, in which museums can bid for an artist to create a piece of art at their venue.  Culture24 say “Grayson is very open to suggestions, ideas & proposals from venues, but if you want to be in with a shot of winning, think fun with a capital F.”  Other artists include: Spencer Tunick whose work features multiple nude figures in public settings; the live artist, sculptor and film-maker Amy Sharrocks; and Fred Deakin who would like to run a ‘day-glo game show party’ based on museum collections. BBC, Museums at Night, Arts Council

Angels in the architecture

English Heritage have announced the first winners of its new ‘Angel’ award for people who have worked to save their local heritage.  Four winners included the Save Hadlow Tower Action Group, Ivy House Community Pub Ltd (who rescued the eponymous pub in Southwark), Malcolm and James Nattrass for saving Low Slit Mine in Bishop Auckland, and the St James’ Restoration Fund which saved a church in Leicestershire.  The 17th century church was nearly sold off as it required £250k of repairs and had started to fall down. One of the heritage angels says “One of the surveys discovered that this flat area that the church is on had actually been created in Roman times.  And I thought if someone has been worshipping on this spot since then, some of that – spirit – must be in this place.  And I thought ‘not on my watch, it doesn’t close’.  That was my personal reaction.” After work, which involved all 200 people in the local village, the church is now fully restored. Youtube, English Heritage, Youtube (short films of 17 shortlisted projects) Back to top

  Mapping the territory: tech
 

V&A launches new interactive map

Paper based visitor maps are still essential equipment for many large museums: the V&A’s new digital version for laptop, ipad or smartphone allows a depth of detail impossible on paper.  Visitors can drill down for data drawn from events and collections databases across the museum’s websites as well as locating the lift and the loo. It allows users to touch selected rooms for more information, and use pinch and zoom, drag and drop, to find their way around.  Digital Manager Andrew Lewis says “although it looks like an app, it's really just a very clever web page. It is HTML5 and will work with all up-to date devices.” V&A (digital map), V&A (blog), V&A (tech blog with more detail)

First steps to opening up collections digitally

In the wake of the Collections’ Trust Open Culture’ conference, blogger Julie Reynolds pulls together advice from the event on first steps in opening up collections digitally. Among the speakers was Historypin’s Nick Stanhope who suggested that "people will do great things with collections when they are open; you’ll find out loads more about your collection". Collections Link

Cyark offers grants to laser fragile heritage sites into history

Last month we reported how the Science Museum had preserved a precise 3D image of its old Shipping Gallery prior to its removal, using laser technology.  Now the organisation CyArk is offering the same service to 500 vulnerable sites across the world.  Grants will be available for laser digitisation, with deadlines for expressions of interest at the end of every quarter. The first deadline is 31st December 2013. CyArk is already working on dozens of projects, from Pisa in Italy to the Parthenon, Ninevah, Mount Rushmore as well as recording prehistoric rock art in Drakensberg, South African. CyArk

Survey: help ‘Enumerate’ build a better picture of digital in museums

‘ENUMERATE’ is an international initiative to build a better body of evidence about digitisation and digital preservation in the museum sector. It provides funders and politicians with accurate information to inform their funding programmes. The organisation is now running a second phase survey and urges museums of all sizes to take part at: http://www.enumerate.onderzoek.nl/.  Participants will receive a link to an online dashboard tool to allow them to anonymously benchmark their organisation against  others across Europe. Enumerate Back to top

  Funding and awards
 

Five projects funded by digital R&D scheme

A £7m fund backed by ACE, Nesta and AHRC to champion good digital ideas in the arts has announced the first five recipients.  They include an ‘immersive installation’ by the performing arts company Extant, which responds to touch and aims to break down the barriers between sighted and unsighted experience of the arts. Digital R&D

ACE arts funding schemes open

ACE has announced new application rounds for the following funding schemes:
  • The third round of the Renaissance Strategic Support Fund opened on 3rd October for activity taking place in the 2014/15 financial year.  It supports museum projects which emphasise sustainability, resilience and innovation;
  • The Designation Development Fund is open until 12th November for bids relating to the two years from April 2014.  The fund will offer up to £700k next year to ensure the long term sustainability of designated museum collections;
  • The large capital investment fund is now open for round three until 10am on 12th December. £55m is available; and
  • The small capital investment fund is open until 10am on 19th December with available funds of £12m.  Bids are invited for £100k – £499,999
ACE (strategic support fund), ACE (designation development fund), ACE (capital investment programme)

Arts & Business launch bloggers award

Arts&Business has opened a request for nominations for its bloggers award 2013 for all who blog professionally in the cultural sector.  The deadline for entries is 1st December. Arts&Business

Arts against loneliness and poverty: £1m scheme in Northern Ireland

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has launched a new arts scheme specifically aimed at countering the poverty, isolation and loneliness of many older people in the country.  The programme is supported by various government departments as well as philanthropists and will run for the next three years.  The programme will include training for artists and health staff in working with people with dementia. Arts Council Northern Ireland

Small grants in Scotland for 2014 ‘Festival of Museums’

Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) is offering grants of £300 - £1500 for museums taking part in their 2014 ‘Festival of Museums’.  At least 25% match funding is required.  MGS

Recognition Fund awards announced

MGS has announced the winners of £300k in funding. They include awards to the Burrell Collection in Glasgow to further research some of their paintings, research into fossils at the Elgin Museum, and support for better collection storage solutions for West Dunbartonshire Council and Aberdeen City Council. MGS

Unlimited funds announced

Arts Council England, ArtsAdmin and SHAPE have announced a fund of £1.5m for work specifically commissioned from deaf and disabled artists.  'Unlimited II' is a successor to a similar project which ran during the Cultural Olympiad. It will run for three years. Unlimited

Boatbuilding

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has announced a £3.75m HLF grant to create a Boatbuilding and Heritage Skills Training Centre which will allow them to teach a new generation how to build boats, alongside craft from history. RMG, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (boatbuilding), PHD (Mary Rose), HLF Back to top

  Events
 

Cymal professional development

Free development events for Welsh museum professionals this month include succession planning, using rhyme and working with children under 5 years old.  Cymal

US Natural History Collection Care conference comes to Wales in 2014

The US-based Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections will be holding its annual meeting in the UK on 22nd–28th June 2014.  This only happens once every few years.  The Society’s central aim to improve the preservation, conservation management and perception of natural history collections to ensure their continuing value to society. The meeting is a busy mix of fieldtrips, technical sessions, workshops and social events run over the course of a week. At its heart are two days of talks, tradeshow and demonstrations. UK natural history collaboratives are highlighting the usefulness of participating. SPNHC,

Watch FutureFest for free

Professional crystal-ball-toters Nesta recently ran a conference on what the world will look like in coming decades – with speakers ranging from Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees to Lily Cole, plus many commenters on the the digital future.  Now all the talks are online and available to watch for free.  Nesta,

Teaching peace with Hadrian’s Wall?

A new conference run by Tullie House Museum and drawing together academics, historians and Médecins Sans Frontières will explore whether Hadrian’s Wall can be used as a tool for modern peace-making by comparing ancient frontiers with modern borders.  The conference is on 25th November with a ticket fee of £40.  Eventbrite, Tullie House,

British Museum conference links museums with ‘supplementary schools’

There are around 5,000 supplementary, complementary, community and Saturday schools in Britain which teach everything from national curriculum subjects to religious studies and specific languages.  A British Museum conference on 22nd November 2013 (11am – 4.30pm) will explore the opportunities for museums to partner with these groups.  There will be practical workshops in the afternoon.  The deadline for booking is 8th November. Full details from [email protected]

Free collections skills seminars selling out fast

The Collections Trust are offering seminars in London, Bristol, York and Norwich for small or medium sized museums who would like essential updates and advice on collection management topics. It includes sessions on Using Museum Standards and Building Digital Capacity.  The London event has already sold out and there is a waiting list. Collections Trust

No Boundaries: redrawing the cultural map

The last of the ‘State of the Arts’ conferences organised by ACE will take place on 25th and 26th February 2014, simultaneously in London and Bristol.  Organisers say “the cultural map is being re-drawn… by new behaviours, new technologies, new models of funding and new local, national and global thinking. No Boundaries is an open symposium on the role of culture in 21st century society bringing together leaders and activists in a debate.” They offer ‘playful, unexpected moments’ and seek papers and ideas for discussion. No Boundaries, Arts Council,

Unspeakable: a symposium of LGBT histories

Curators will come together from across the country on 7th December to discuss LGBT projects in museums and archives at London Metropolitan Archive.  Organisations presenting include the National Portrait Gallery, Rainbow Jews, Gloucestershire Archives, the People’s History Museum and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Tickets are £10. Eventbrite

Join the Happy Museum Wellbeing Research programme

The Happy Museum will be working with 'happiness economist' Daniel Fujiwara of London School of Economics to discover what it is about museums that makes people happy.  They are inviting museums to participate in the rigorous research.  In return, museums will be able to find out whether they are making their visitors happy and if so what factors generate happiness.  It will also create evidence that can be used to show funders. Happy Museum Also: Happiness research will be one of four strands highlighted at MuseumNext.  If you have a happiness project that you would like to pitch for inclusion, please contact MuseumNext before 15th November. MuseumNext Back to top

  Evanescing collections
 

Four UK buildings on World Monuments Watch List

Each year the World Monuments Fund publishes a list of sites ‘in need of timely action’.  This year’s 67 strong list includes terraces in Bethlehem, gas lights in Berlin and four locations in the UK:  Battersea Power Station, Deptford Dockyards, Sulgrave Manor and Grimsby Ice Factory.  The Ice Factory is the only example in the world to retain its early Edwardian machinery and has been abandoned since 1990. Battersea Power Station has also languished for years and remains one of the most visible derelict sites in the UK.  However, The Heritage Alliance says “There are plans afoot for each - residential development at the Dockyards, huge regeneration schemes in Battersea and Grimsby, and a 'heritage-led' business plan for Sulgrave Manor.”  This is Grimsby, BBC, World Monuments Fund, ALVA Also: UNESCO and the European Union have signed a memorandum of understanding to allow them to work together more closely on a number of fields including heritage and culture.  Projects include protecting cultural heritage in Egypt, currently under severe threat from political unrest in the country.  Europa

‘Save our China’ seeks to preserve Riesco Collection – but two thirds already lost

When Croydon Council resigned from the Museums Association last month, its sale of objects worth £13m from the Riesco Collection of Chinese ceramics seemed inevitable.  Now a local group, ‘Save our China’ is raising money for a Judicial Review of the decision.  It includes many Croydon Labour councillors.  The group say they are already substantially on the way to their £20,000 target.  Croydon Council have voted to push ahead with the sale despite receiving advice from their own lawyers that it ignored their own agreed policy and that they risked a court challenge. Maurice Davies for the Museums Association said “I am delighted there is going to be a Judicial Review.  This will give Croydon Council an opportunity to revisit the decision, which on reflection it may want to do”. However it has emerged that of the 650 pieces donated by Riesco to Croydon in 1959, 39 have been stolen, 89 lost and 392 sold in the 70s and 80s.  Only 230 now remain.  Inside Croydon, Riesco.org (the Save our China campaign including donation link), Museums Association, Museums Association (Riesco losses)

‘Old Flo’ once again heading for the auction house

After a stay of execution while ownership of Henry Moore’s Draped Seated Woman aka ‘Old Flo’ was disputed, Tower Hamlets Council are again intending to sell the piece in hope of raising £17m.  The Museum of London and Arts Fund say they will continue their campaign to save the statue. Museums Association

Hyslop steps in over Moray Council library closure plans

After reducing its arts budget to zero, we reported last month that Moray Council was also planning a draconian cut to its library services, with seven of 15 public libraries earmarked for closure.  Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Fiona Hyslop has now stepped in, urging the Council to reconsider.  She said “I am very concerned that Moray Council….does not see, in these times of austerity, how much of a lifeline these services can be to the elderly, people with disabilities, those looking for work, and families on low incomes where a £10 round trip to the library is not feasible or where the journey on public transport is not practical. The potential equality issues are grave and I welcome the news that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s Public Sector Duty Panel will be considering the issue in October.” Scottish Government

Wolverhampton Council plans cuts and closures for museums

A museum, art gallery and archive in Wolverhampton all face shorter opening hours as the local authority seeks to save £250k over five years.  Walsall local council is also considering completely closing Walsall Museum to save £70k.  Wolverhampton Council said it was facing the most severe financial challenge in the authority’s history. Arts Industry (subscription only link), Express and Star, BBC, Museums Association

Huge cache of paintings stolen by the Nazis discovered

A collection of 1,500 paintings including works by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall which disappeared at the end of the Second World War have been discovered in Munich.  Many were declared degenerate by the Nazis and confiscated, or were the subject of forced sales from Jewish owners.  The paintings were all in the house of 80 year old Cornelius Gurlitt the reclusive son of a Munich art dealer.  Gurlitt is reported to have kept them in a darkened room amongst tins of food, occasionally selling a picture when he needed funds.  Although German authorities made the discovery in 2011 it has only been announced now, perhaps because the worldwide restitution claims that will now follow are likely to be very complicated.  BBC, Guardian Also: 140 items have been identified in Dutch Museum collections which may also have been the subject of Nazi forced sales. Art Newspaper Back to top

  Employment and volunteering
 

IWM may privatise visitor services

Imperial War Museums is the latest to consider a more business oriented model in the face of government cuts, and in anticipation of even more cuts in the next two years.  The museum is currently comparing the costs of its 200-strong in house visitor services team against a privatised model.  Tenders were received in October and will be considered by IWM in coming months.  The museum generates 50% of its income from commercial activities and saw a cut of £2m in government grant from 2011 to 2012.  Guardian, Museums Journal,

Archaeologists retreat into history?

A new report from English Heritage shows that the number of working archaeologists has shrunk by 30% since 2007/8, and by 16% compared to the workforce in 2002/3. 4,792 people are currently estimated to work in the profession.  The proportion of women has however risen over time, from 35% in 1997/8 to 48% today.  Archaeologists are now also more likely to have private sector employers. English Heritage

A whole new meaning for ‘crowd sourcing’ as English Heritage recruit conservation army

Beginning next autumn, English Heritage will be recruiting an army of volunteers to carry out surveys on all 345,000 of the UK’s Grade II listed buildings.  Volunteers have already surveyed 5,000 buildings during pilots for the scheme – with professionals checking the results.  Half of all volunteers were retired, each surveyed an average of 13 buildings per day and had 1.5 days training.  English Heritage is now convinced that the approach will give reliable results.  An app is being developed to record the results. EH Chief Executive Simon Thurley said “it means we will eventually get, for the first time, a complete picture of the condition of all England's listed heritage. We can use this information to decide how best to deploy our national expertise to help owners and all those tackling heritage at risk on the ground. And we'll have a grass-roots network to spread understanding and appreciation of local heritage so that less of it becomes at risk in the first place.” English Heritage,

Creative Scotland announces senior team restructure

After four months in post, Creative Scotland CEO Janet Archer has announced a restructuring of her senior team, which she describes as a ‘first step’ towards further changes.  She said “I want to build up a better knowledge bank of expertise within the areas we serve - the arts, screen and creative industries”.  Creative Scotland is now recruiting for five new senior posts. Creative Scotland,  Back to top

  Finding audiences
 

20% more arts at the BBC and new life for ‘The Space’

The BBC’s new Director-General Tony Hall has committed the corporation to 20% more arts coverage, often in collaboration with major arts institutions. Hall has a history of championing innovative arts projects intended to reach beyond middle class culture vulture audiences. The pilot digital arts project ‘The Space’ which was launched by the BBC and ACE in 2012 is likely to re-launch in spring 2014. It will be “asking new and emerging talent, and established artists, to develop their idea for art on a digital platform”. Big names from Artangel to the British Library, Tate to Cornerhouse have already signed up. Tony Hall said  “I know this is going to have a profound impact on arts in this country. We had great success when we ran the pilot together last year and I felt passionately then that it was something we needed to develop”.  A poll for Guardian Culture Professionals showed some ambivalence because of the limited reach of the project’s pilot. BBC, Arts Council, Arts Industry (subscription only), Taitmail, Guardian, BBC Media Centre (full speech)

New ‘audience finder’ harnesses Big Data

The Audience Agency has launched an ambitious new digital project to collect audience data from cultural organisations across the country and use it to create a countrywide, reliable picture of how different segments of audience behave.  They hope that by harnessing such a large cache of statistics, they will be better able to predict audience behaviour and help with more informed decision making in the cultural sector. Audience Finder, BOP

Happy Museum evaluates its first two years

The Happy Museum Project has received £300k of funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to explore two themes: how museums promote wellbeing and happiness, and how they can become sources of thinking about sustainability in the face of climate change and diminshing resources. They have now published an evaluation of the pilot. They say "[the evaluation] is about learning as much as advocacy, and so explores challenges openly.  It aims to find out about the process and the purpose of change in a peer led national programme and for museums re-imagining their role.  As such, we invite comment on what's included here." The report says that they have established a strong community and good practice with initial projects, but its reach remains small. It has created cultural change, especially where Directors are involved.  Messages about sustainability have had less impact on audiences, except in cases where this has been the explicit message of an exhibition.  Future plans include more locally driven projects, more action research, but also academic research to give the work a more rigorous underpinning. Happy Museum Back to top

  Creative industries
 

Supporting the creative economy report published

A Commons select committee has published its report on creative industries and copyright. In it, the committee warns that insufficient protection from copyright theft may harm business.  John Whittingdale MP said "We are unimpressed by Google's continued failure to stop directing consumers to illegal, copyright infringing material on the flimsy excuse that some of the sites may also host some legal content."  The committee also called for greater recognition for arts education and prison sentences for copyright thieves in line with those handed down to those who steal physical items. Parliament.uk,

'Enterprising Libraries' copy British Library model

Ten libraries are sharing a £450,000 grant to help make local libraries incubators for the business ideas of local people. The scheme is based on the British Library's Business and Intellectual Property Centre, and is funded by Arts Council England. Gov.uk Back to top

  Capital crimes: London and cultural funding
 

London: devouring the lion’s share of cultural funding?

A new report, self-funded by its authors, has tracked back through 20 years of government funding and argues that London is getting an unsustainably large slice of available support.  The arguments in Rebalancing our Cultural Capital include:
  • 75% of public arts funding is in the hands of ACE and the DCMS, a proportion likely to increase as local authorities are squeezed.  51% of ACE’s funds were spent on London last year, with 90% of DCMS’s additional £450m going to London
  • Around 90% of money given to the arts by philanthropists is spent on London, and the capital also benefits from £27m spent by the mayor
  • High travel and accommodation costs “render access [to London events] unaffordable for a very high proportion of England’s more distant populations.”
  • Digital access is a ‘two way street’ and can’t be used as an excuse for concentrating culture in the capital. 
One of the report’s authors, David Powell said “As a Londoner, my instinct has long been that there was inequity between London and the rest of England, but on close inspection, the historical and current record looks pretty shocking even when making due allowance for the additional investment in national and international infrastructure proper to a capital which is one of the world’s great cities.” The authors are offering to make themselves available at What Next? regional meetings to answer questions. Meanwhile Paul Cutts from the new cultural giving platform DONATE suggests that his technology may be a solution. Arts Professional, Guardian, Guardian,

Young Londoners missing out on culture

Despite the huge amount of culture available to young Londoners, research by A New Direction shows that many from disadvantaged backgrounds are missing out. Among the findings are:
  • 46% of young people from higher social grades are more likely to say their first memorable cultural experience was organised by their parents, compared to a 30% response from those from lower social grades.
  • Schools are particularly important for introducing young people to more ‘formal’ art-forms – such as art exhibitions, museum visits and
  • NEET young people are significantly less likely to engage than their contemporaries. 66% of 16-25 year olds in paid employment or undertaking an apprenticeship, training or internship had been to the theatre in the past year compared with just 44% of those NEET.
  • Engagement in cultural activities decreases as children get older, with rates of attendance declining sharply from age 16.
  • Young people from Outer London boroughs are less likely to attend.
An accompanying essay explores the idea that spiralling poverty over the last five years (especially in Outer London) may make even small charges for culture prohibitive.  A New Direction welcome thoughts and solutions from readers. A New Direction, A New Direction (essay on the findings)

Scottish Independence ‘bad for the arts’

Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran has argued that it will harm the arts if Scots vote for independence next year, making it more difficult for funds and collections to cross borders. Perhaps hoping that influential cultural figures would help campaign against independence, she said  “ I don't believe that throwing up barriers between nations serves our culture well. Art is not narrow and self interested, and in next year's referendum I'm hoping that Scotland's artists, writers and musicians choose a future of working together.” Arts Industry (subscription only) Back to top

  Education
 

Arts organisations in the driving seat: the future of cultural education

Althea Afunshile, Deputy Director of Arts Council England has given a speech outlining the approach and ambitions of the Arts Council in helping all of England’s 12 million under 18s participate in the arts.  She emphasised the importance of partnership working: “we’d like to see more diversity of provision, more local input, with fewer instances of arts organisations offering ‘pre-cooked’ productions to schools”. The Arts Council is also piloting partnerships with English Heritage, HLF and British Film Institute in Bristol, Barking and Dagenham, and Great Yarmouth. Meanwhile Southbank Artistic Director Jude Kelly said that arts organisations have to take charge to make sure that children get a cultural education.  She said “I no longer believe I should foist that on to government, or even on to formal school education, because I have no evidence that all of those other rights [racial, sexual and gender equality] were ever made real first by governments or through education systems. They were made real through the grass roots upwards.”. ACE, ACE (full transcript of Afunshile speech), The Stage,

Arts for entrepreneurship

The Telegraph reports on an American study which has linked different kinds of childhood education with the probability of going on to become an entrepreneur or hold a patent on new inventions.  The study found a strong link between arts education and business success: those who went on to own patents or companies received up to eight times more exposure to the arts when they were at school than the general public.  Researchers say that arts education helps create ‘out of the box’ thinking. Telegraph,

London museums invited to host a ‘creative conversation’

Design students from Kingston University with support from the Collections Trust are seeking 10 -12 London museums to take part in a ‘Creative Conversations’ project.  The students are offering to find solutions to museums’ display and communications problems using illustration and animation techniques learned on their acclaimed course.  The project is unfunded, so students would prefer museums in Zones 1-6: but collaboration with museums elsewhere in the South East may be possible partners. Get in touch with the project to enquire. Collections Trust Back to top

  Valuing tourism
 

ALVA calls for political parties to remember tourism in their manifestos

ALVA is among 35 tourism organisation to sign a letter urging political parties to remember the importance of tourism to the economy when writing their election manifestos.  They point out that although 10% of all UK jobs are connected to the tourism industry, government investment in tourism dropped by 25% in the ten years from 2001. Chair of the Tourism Alliance, Mary Rance said “The UK is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, bringing in billions of pounds of revenue, but government needs to move faster to stay with the pack. Visa reform, conference destinations, air passenger duty - these all prevent tourists from spending their money on our shores and Government can make direct improvements.” ALVA,

Welsh Government launches Faith Tourism Action Plan

Places of worship are among the most visited tourist attractions in Wales.  Building on this, the Welsh Government is the first UK nation to create an action plan specifically designed to further develop faith tourism.  Their ideas include targeted marketing websites and a pilgrim trail. However they say that the perception that many church buildings are locked may be a barrier. Welsh Government Back to top

  Historical bodies
 

Warrington Museum returns mummified Maori head

Warrington Museum has amicably returned a mummified Maori head to New Zealand. Museum manager Janice Hayes first made contact with Te Papa Tongarewa, the South Island national museums body, about the head in 2008.  It was probably sold to European sailors by members of a different tribe in the early 19th century.  Culture24

125 years of London medical records published

The Wellcome Collection has created a new website, London Pulse, bringing together medical officer reports from 1848 – 1972.  The 5,000 documents include “22 instances where corpses were kept in inhabited rooms for prolonged periods so as to be a nuisance” and one of “murder by drowning in a homicidal wash-tub”. The site also sheds light on the health costs to the poor of living in London, with low food standards and a high infant mortality rate.  London Pulse, Culture24 Back to top

  Appointments: heave away, you rolling kings
 
Julie Finch, Head of Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives is moving to Western Australia as project director for a new £428.3m museum to be built in Perth. Announcing the move, Australian Minister for Culture John Day cited the success of the Bristol museum MShed: "Securing Ms Finch’s expertise is a windfall for this project. Recently she was instrumental in leading the development of a vibrant new museum in Bristol’s city centre which attracted 750,000 visitors in its first year of operation."  Australian Government Rufus Norris is to succeed Sir Nicholas Hytner as the next Artistic Director of the National Theatre, starting in March 2015.  He is currently an Associate Director at the National.  New Statesman, The Stage Kerstin Mogull has been appointed Managing Director at the Tate.  She was previously Director of Strategy at Clear Channel International.  Tate The British Museum has four new trustees: award winning playwright Patricia Cumper; Grange Park Opera founder Wasfi Kani; Sir Deryck Maughan, a Senior Independent Director of GlaxoSmithKline; and Lord Sassoon, Chairman of the China-Britain Business Council.  Gov.uk  Back to top

  Jobs
 
See the full selection of current jobs at NMDC members' organisations here.

  And finally….
 
After ten years, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is reopening after an extensive renovation.  To celebrate, the museum created a 17th century flash mob in a local shopping centre, whose performance ended in a tableau of one of their most famous paintings: Rembrandt’s The Night Watch.  See horses, doves, drummers, a thief and some abseiling pike men do their stuff with style here: Youtube
 
 

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