July 2014

NMDC Newsletter: July 2014
Download a PDF version for printing
  NMDC Newsletter: July 2014
  In this month's edition:  
  ACE announces five new Major Partner Museums

The big picture: £50m decrease in strategic funds as 75% of NPOs retain funding

Museums Galleries Scotland publishes first annual report

Survey: Local government, London and the arts

Javid calls for arts to be more accessible to poorer and BME groups

Labour launches young people and the arts consultation document

Working Internationally regional project launches

Art Fund launches ‘Art Happens’ crowdsourcing platform

Ellerman Fund offers £380k to strengthen regional museums

Larger museums ‘more likely to be run by men’

Tyne and Wear win at Collections Trust awards as their approach to enterprise pays off

Bristol receives ACE ‘exceptional funds’ as it becomes Green Capital 2015

Results of the ‘Growing Giving’ Parliamentary enquiry announced
  Section headings:  
  Arts Council England funding announcements 2015-18  |  Inclusion and the arts  |  Funding  |  Accessions and returns  |  Events  |  Retirements, appointments, honours – and a reinstatement  |  Staff, conditions and demographics  |  Awards  |  Tech  |  Dispatches from the Front  |  Environment  |  Philanthropy  |  Jobs  |  And finally...  
  Arts Council England funding announcements 2015-18  
Share: t f g back to top  
  ACE announces five new Major Partner Museums  
Arts Council England has announced that a total of 21 museums and consortiums will be Major Partner Museums (MPMs) for the 2015–18 period, up from 16 museums currently.  The new MPMs will be:
  • Museums Sheffield
  • Derby Museums in partnership with Nottingham Museums
  • Hull City Council in partnership with East Riding and North Lincolnshire
  • Black Country Living Museum in partnership with Coventry Museums
  • Penlee House Gallery and Museum, heading a consortium of six Cornish museums.
The overall budget for museums increased by £1.2 million, to a total of £22.7 million in 2015/16. Of the 16 existing MPMs only York Museums Trust saw a slight increase in funding of 0.2%, with the majority seeing cuts of between 5 and 15%. Birmingham Museums Trust will see a 44.5% cut, and Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton and Hove 30.1%. 
NMDC Chair Diane Lees said “We welcome the announcement of additional money for museums in a difficult funding climate, as well as a better geographical spread of funding. We are delighted that all of NMDC’s current Major Partner Museum members will continue to receive Arts Council funding, and look forward to inviting the five new MPMs to join NMDC’s membership”.   Museums Journal, Arts Council
Share: t f g back to top  
  The big picture: £50m decrease in strategic funds as 75% of NPOs retain funding  
Arts Council England presented a budget which sees 75% of NPOs retaining funding with cuts, as 46 organisations join the portfolio and 58 leave it.  Announcing the new budget at a press conference on July 1st, Alan Davey and Peter Bazalgette flagged up some headline issues:
  • 670 groups will share £340m a year.
  • Large organisations such as the National Theatre and Royal Opera had been guided towards making lower bids, typically by about 5%, to allow for greater support to smaller organisations.
  • Strategic funds have been reduced from £153m this year to £104m next year, and there will be considerably less investment in buildings and infrastructure.  There is also less money for building digital capacity.
  • There will be £10m available for grants to museums.
  • For the first time all organisations are being asked to take responsibility for the diversity of their workforce, moving beyond a box ticking exercise to a recognition that a wider pool of talent leads to better art. Bazalgette said that the arts sector already performs better for BME representation than other parts of the cultural sector: 6% of those working in media are BME, compared with 13% in the arts, from a UK population where 15% are BME.
  • Among arts organisations there has been a small shift in spending from 51% spent outside London to 53%.  Davey said that this represented ‘small but purposeful steps…without damaging London’s cultural offer’. With regard to Major Partner Museums, 9% is spent in London with 91% spent outside the capital.
  • Peter Bazalgette said that although he did not agree with everything in the Rebalancing our Cultural Capital report, it had created a ‘helpful and positive’ debate, and had inspired the Arts Council to add to existing capacity building ‘Creative People and Places’ scheme with a new Regional Ambition Fund from 2015, which will have a budget of £15m over the three year plan.
Responses to the announcements so far have included a sympathetic John Tusa arguing for ring fenced 0.5% government spend on the arts; theatre critic Lyn Gardner critical that the ‘status quo has prevailed’ in favour of London; and praise in the Telegraph for the ‘tough but admirable job’ of the Arts Council.  Losers in this round include the Wordsworth Trust in Cumbria, and the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond.
Guardian (live blogging of announcements), Arts Council, Guardian (John Tusa), Guardian (Lyn Gardner), Telegraph, Arts Council (funds for ‘building ambition and excellence)
Share: t f g back to top  
  Lottery money pays for National Portfolio Organisations for the first time  
The rules have been relaxed to allow lottery money to be used by ACE to fund National Portfolio Organisations for the first time.  Lottery funding for 2014/15 has already paid for £28.3m of children’s cultural activity and touring – in 2015/16 £60m of lottery money will go to NPO spend.  ACE Chair Alan Davey said that it was a pragmatic move in a tough funding climate, adding "The biggest proportion of our portfolio funding will still come from grant-in-aid, a vital part of the funding model" Arts Industry
Share: t f g back to top  
  Museums Galleries Scotland publishes first annual report  
MGS has published a report One Year On: Turning Actions into Advocacy describing its work in its first year as the national development body.  Listed achievements include:
  • £1.1m grant funding distributed for 150 museum projects;
  • £800k has been raised for skills development;
  • £422.4k has been raised for a 12 month internship scheme to begin in 2015; and
  • The body is also administering a £100k fund for museums to explore the impact of the FWW with communities.
Museums Journal (overview), MGS
Share: t f g back to top  
  Final hearings in the CMS Select Committee enquiry into Arts Council England  
The final hearings in the Select Committee enquiry into Arts Council Engand have taken place, with appearances by Ed Vaizey MP and (together) Arts Council Chair Peter Bazalgette and Chief Executive Alan Davey.  Much of the Arts Council’s presentation foreshadowed the comment and funding decisions announced for 2015–18 on 1st July.  Peter Bazalgette acknowledged the difficulties in raising money regionally saying, “it’s tougher outside London. It is harder to raise money, and it’s undeniable that there is much greater pressure for arts organisations outside London.”  He also argued that London is the ‘cultural capital of the world’ offering several times more culture than other major cities and offering a powerful benefit to the UK.  But he acknowledged that regional culture needed to be grown, adding “It’s a balance, and we are working on it”. Bazalgette also spoke about more support for the regions over time at the recent AIM Conference.
Alan Davey highlighted conversations held with the NMDC to encourage national museums to work in partnership across the country: “Some are very advanced in this way, like the Tate, V&A and British Museum”. 
Among MPs there has been a recurring interest throughout the hearings in the relative funding for ‘high’ art, particularly opera, and ‘people’s’ art, particularly brass bands. Davey pointed to a shift over time towards large institutions including the National Theatre and opera houses relying less on Arts Council funding as a proportion of their income. Parliament TV, Museums Journal
Share: t f g back to top  
  Ed Vaizey urges arts organisations to ‘raise philanthropic funds’  
Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey has provoked a strong response with comments about arts sponsorship given at the parliamentary enquiry on the Arts Council.  He said, "I can see absolutely no reason why every arts organisation in this country cannot raise philanthropic funds, I think there are all sorts of cultural, institutional barriers to that. I think that too many arts organisations think, 'well, we live in an area where rich people don't live, so they're not going to back the arts'. I think that is pathetic, frankly.
Phil Redmond, Chair of National Museums Liverpool said, "For arts organisation in London, it's much easier for them to find a big sponsor like a Sainsbury's, a BP, Shell or whatever… But once you come outside London it's extremely difficult to find that kind of national level sponsorship on a regular basis."  Figures published last year showed that 82% of arts sponsorship is for work based in London.  Arts Industry (subscription only), BBC
Share: t f g back to top  
  Survey: Local government, London and the arts  
London Councils has launched a survey supported by the Arts Council to discover how London local government supports, and can support arts and culture in the capital. The research includes the full range of artforms and museums.  The survey closes on 9am on July 9th and takes about ten minutes to complete. London.gov.uk
Share: t f g back to top  
  Inclusion and the arts  
  Javid calls for arts to be more accessible to poorer and BME groups  
Opening his first major speech since becoming Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid played with media reactions to his appointment by ‘confessing’ to being a banker with a picture of Margaret Thatcher in his office and a taste in culture which runs more to Star Trek than opera.  The rest of his speech however focused on various layers of exclusion that shut cultural audiences out.  He said:
“On one of my first days in this job I saw a graph that plotted visits to galleries and museums against socio-economic group. And as you moved down the socio-economic scale, so the number of visits declined too.  A lot of people who are paying to support culture through their taxes and lottery tickets seem to think that consuming it is simply not for them.  And working-class kids who do engage with the arts world face huge hurdles if they try to start a career in it.  Entry-level positions inevitably come with low pay or sometimes no pay, effectively barring access if you don’t have the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ to fall back on. For a sector that receives so much public subsidy, that’s unacceptable.”
He also highlighted the disproportionately low visibility of BME people both as audiences and providers of culture, saying “while 14% of the UK’s population is non-white, BME applicants were awarded just 5.5% of Grants for the Arts awards last year.”
Turning to funding, he praised Sir Michael and Lady Hintze for their £5m donation to the Natural History Museum, and said he would be encouraging more very wealthy people to follow suit, while helping to nurture fundraising in the regions where he acknowledged it was harder.  Gov.uk (full Javid speech), Museums Association, Classical Music Magazine, BBC, Telegraph
Share: t f g back to top  
  Harman calls for more effective arts outreach to children  
Speaking at the launch of a Labour consultation document on young people and the arts, Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman touched on many similar issues to Sajid Javid. 
She said, “whilst in better times, it might have been possible to fund the arts without consciously engaging public support, that just isn't the case now. When the NHS is struggling, and councils face agonising choices about cutting care for dementia sufferers, public funding for the arts is only sustainable to the extent that the public knows it matters to them. We all have to turn and address this big issue. If you are getting public money, people have to have a stake in what you do."
Labour is exploring making it a requirement of Arts Council funding that organisations should prove their effective outreach to younger generations.  Harman also criticised the fall in young people taking Arts GCSEs, saying that they needed both arts and science teaching to raise a nation of ‘problem solvers’. Guardian, Labour (full Harman speech)
Share: t f g back to top  
  Labour launches young people and the arts consultation document  
The Labour Party’s consultation document on young people and the arts asks a series of broad questions about the sort of standards that should be set for children’s creative learning. These include, for example, should the BBC have a particular commitment to children’s learning in the regions, or should every child learn a musical instrument, or attend a museum or theatre at least annually?  In the introduction, Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt MP implies that a Labour Government might undo many of the recent Tory reforms, which he describes as a “narrowing of the curriculum” compared with “every other OECD country [which] is drawing up broad educational frameworks with a stronger emphasis upon creativity, innovation and other ‘twenty-first century skills’ alongside academic basics such as numeracy and literacy.”  The consultation remains open until 17th July.  YourBritain (full document)
Share: t f g back to top  
  King’s College London’s short enquiry looks at 70 years of arts policy  
King’s College London has launched a short enquiry into the way that government has sought to shape the relationship between children and the arts since 1945. The report will be launched in September and include evidence-based calls for action. Director of Cultural Partnerships, Deborah Bull said, “We still lack national consensus on the importance of arts and culture in the upbringing of young people.  If we’re to genuinely make arts and culture equally accessible to all, we need to learn from the successes and failures of a succession of government policies and set out an approach that transcends party politics and recognizes that a child’s education stretches beyond a single government term.” Arts Industry (subscription only), King’s College
Share: t f g back to top  
  What’s useful about ‘Taking Part’?  
The Taking Part survey of cultural and sport statistics has run for a decade, and the contract for continued work is due for renewal in March 2015.  The team behind it are now seeking feedback on current use, and suggestions for improvements.  They are also exploring ways of updating data collection methods.
They are keen for feedback from across the sector, whether you use the findings for general awareness, developing policy or for operational decisions.  The questionnaire will close on Friday 18th July.  DCMS (Taking Part survey link)
Share: t f g back to top  
  Working Internationally regional project launches  
The Working Internationally Regional Project is funded by Arts Council England’s Renaissance Strategic Support Fund.  The project aims to facilitate regional and local museums and to develop the confidence and skills to work internationally.  The project is managed by a consortium of museum organisations led by ICOM-UK in association with the National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC), the Association of Independent Museums (AIM), the British Council and Heritage Without Borders (HWB).
The project will run from April 2014 to April 2015, with regional workshops taking place between September 2014 and January 2015.
The project has now entered the research phase and examples of international work of all types and scales from across the museum and heritage sector are sought.  If your museum or gallery is working internationally, or has plans or ambitions to do so, contact Dana Andrew, Project Co-ordinator, [email protected]
Share: t f g back to top  
  Art Fund launches ‘Art Happens’ crowdsourcing platform  
The Art Fund has launched a crowdsourcing platform devoted to projects in the cultural sector.  Like commercial versions, donors will receive small gifts or invitations to special events or private views in return for their support.  But the platform will charge no fee to participating institutions. 
The first five museums to take part in Art Happens are: Compton Verney, Warwickshire; The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, Shropshire; Jerwood Gallery, Hastings; St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff; The Bowes Museum, County Durham.  The projects are seeking between £10k and £25k: challenging but not enormous targets. 
The launch follows research, co-commissioned with NMDC, which explores what motivates museum visitors to give.  It found that although 93% of museum visitors give to charity, only 40% give to museums, many do not realise that museums need their donations, or they believe that the sums they can offer are irrelevant in the face of the huge costs of high value art.
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said, “Through Art Happens anyone can be a patron as well as beneficiary of the arts. It’s the start of a new chapter for UK museums in terms of both public fundraising and public participation.”  Art Happens, Museums Journal
Share: t f g back to top  
  HLF offers £50k for young people’s heritage projects  
The Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots project is now offering £50k for projects run by young people aged 11–25 in Wales, to tell the story of their heritage.  Young people applying should come up with an idea and work with a heritage or youth organisation: this could range from a school to local museum, or even a football club. Project so far include an oral history project with women of Pakistani, Bengali and Somali descent in the Cardiff area, which produced material for the Cardiff Story Museum, and a project (including a play) looking at experiences of WWII in Rhymney. Heritage Lottery Fund
Share: t f g back to top  
  AHRC funds ‘Museums on Prescription’  
AHRC has awarded £550.5k for a research project into ‘museums on prescription’.  Academics Paul Camic (Canterbury) and Helen Chatterjee (UCL) will explore whether social prescribing of museums to patients in primary care will help combat issues such as loneliness among the elderly.  The work will complement existing projects such as ‘Arts on Prescription’ and ‘Books on Prescription’.  A wide range of partner organisations include Age UK, the British Museum, Sir John Soane’s Museum and the New Economics Foundation. Canterbury University
Share: t f g back to top  
  Poet’s Home to receive £2.8m funding  
In 1917, poet Hedd Wynn (Ellis Humphrey Evans) won the bard’s National Eisteddfod Chair, but by then he had already been dead for six weeks, killed in action at Passchendaele.  Since then the Chair has been kept at his virtually unchanged Welsh cottage, now kept open informally to the public by his 85 year-old nephew. 
A £2.8m grant from the HLF will now safeguard the cottage’s future and turn it into a museum.  Dr Manon Antoniazzi, chair of the HLF committee for Wales, said, "Yr Ysgwrn gives a vivid impression of life in rural Wales during the FWW and serves as a memorial for not only Hedd Wyn, but the generation of young Welsh men who also lost their lives.” BBC
Share: t f g back to top  
  Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage scheme launched  
Heritage organisations in Scotland have launched a three year scheme to help the sector develop long term financial security. It is led by Arts & Business Scotland with Archaeology Scotland, Built Environment Forum Scotland, greenspace Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland, and is funded by £452.2k from HLF’s Catalyst scheme. It will deliver training courses, expert led events, networking opportunities, and information and resources online, all of which will be open to staff, volunteers and trustees in the sector.  MGS
Share: t f g back to top  
  Ellerman Fund offers £380k to strengthen regional museums  
The Ellerman Regional Museum and Galleries Fund is offering £380k in 2014/15 and is now open for applications. They say, “Many regional institutions hold important collections which have the power to inspire creativity, motivate artistic expression and stimulate local regeneration.  In the current climate they face major challenges from funding cuts and curatorial under-provision, reducing their scope to research and display collections and create new exhibitions.”  The fund is particularly looking for an emphasis on curatorial skills, backed by senior support and good financial management. First stage applications must be received by 3rd October, with decisions being made in Spring 2015. Ellerman
Share: t f g back to top  
  Accessions and returns  
  British Museum receives Richard Hamilton prints under Acceptance in Lieu scheme  
The British Museum is currently showing a selection of Richard Hamilton’s works in Room 90, which they have recently been gifted under the Acceptance in Lieu scheme.  They have altogether received 90 works on paper, which will transform their holdings of the artist’s work.  Many are illustrations of James Joyce’s Ulysses.  Arts Council Chair Peter Bazalgette said, “The Arts Council is proud that the AIL scheme has contributed to this amazing collection entering the British Museum where it can now be enjoyed by literally thousands of visitors.”  Arts Council
Share: t f g back to top  
  National Museum of the Royal Navy adds oldest warship to its fleet  
HMS Trincomalee, the oldest British warship still afloat, is to become a full subsidiary of the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN). Built in Bombay in 1817, it is the last of Lord Nelson’s frigates.  Other ships in NMRN’s keeping include HMS Victory, HMS Caroline (the sole survivor from the Battle of Jutland in 1916) and the newly refurbished  HMS Alliance, the UK’s only surviving British WWII era submarine.  John Megson, the Chairman of HMS Trincomalee Trust, warmly welcomed the news: “we are delighted to join the considerable firepower of the NMRN family. It demonstrates just how important HMS Trincomalee is, that she can hold her own alongside such illustrious ships.” HMS Trincomalee
Also: English Heritage and Cotswold Archaeology are to excavate the 17th century shipwreck the London which is rapidly breaking up on the seabed close to Southend on Sea.  They hope to retrieve as many artefacts as possible from the vessel which mysteriously blew up in 1665.  English Heritage
Share: t f g back to top  
  Spoliation panel ask British Library and V&A to return artefacts  
The Spoliation Advisory Panel has asked two national museums to return items in line with the Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act. The V&A will return three Meissen figures to the estate of the art collector Emma Budge who died in 1937, and whose family were deprived of the proceeds of the sale of the figures.  The V&A say that the circumstances of the sale did not emerge until the 1990s.  The British Library also accepted a recommendation that they should return or pay compensation for a wooden tablet known as the Biccherna Panel.  The Library is now engaging with the claimants with a view to retaining the panel in its collection.  Museums Association, Gov.uk
Share: t f g back to top  
   4.6m visit DCMS museums in April 2014  
New statistics show that there were 4.6m visitors to museums supported by DCMS in April alone – an increase of 3% on the same month the previous year.  Popular exhibitions such as Matisse: Cut-Outs at Tate Modern and Vikings: Life and Legend at the British Museum have helped to increase numbers.  Gov.uk
Share: t f g back to top  
  Museums Association conference 2014: early bird until end July  
The Museums Association Conference is taking place in Cardiff on 9th – 10th October, with early bird discounts available until 31st July.  The theme this year is Museums Change Lives. Keynote speakers include John Griffiths AM, Welsh Government Minister for Culture and Sport, Antônio Vieira, director of the Museu da Maré in Rio de Janeiro and a performance of Mat Fraser's Cabinet of Curiosities: how disability was kept in a box. There will also be a resilience room where museums can explore how to become more sustainable. Museums Journal
Share: t f g back to top  
  Festival of Archaeology  
The Festival of Archaeology is taking place 12th – 27th July with over 1,000 event across the country.  Participants include the Museum of London, Cadw, Manchester Museum, English Heritage and 400 other heritage organisations. It is still possible to register events to take part.  Archaeology Festival (organiser and application details)
Share: t f g back to top  
  Let’s Get Real conference  
Culture24’s next Let’s Get Real conference exploring museums and digital will take place on 18th September.  They are offering 99 early bird tickets on sale for £99. Their keynote speaker is Shelley Bernstein, of who Culture 24 say, “[her] work at Brooklyn Museum is internationally recognised for its creativity, community value and openness”.  LetsGetReal
Share: t f g back to top  
  Understanding Audiences event  
Oxford Aspire is running an Understanding Audiences event on 5th September, looking at how museums can nurture actual and potential, physical and virtual audiences.  Presentations from Oxford Aspire, the British Museum, Compton Verney and the Birmingham Museums Trust will lead to group discussions and networking.  Tickets are £25.  Oxford Aspire
Share: t f g back to top  
  Retirements, appointments, honours – and a reinstatement  
  Moves and appointments  
Sandy Nairne has announced that he will retire in February 2015 after 12 years as Director of the National Portrait Gallery.  During his tenure, the Gallery has seen a 500,000 increase in visitors, with two million now visiting each year. He said, “The gallery is in very good shape and will go from strength to strength."   Telegraph
Meanwhile National Gallery Director Nicholas Penney has announced that he will also retire in 2015 – remaining in post until a successor is appointed.  Museums JournalThe Art Newspaper
Legal expert and former press complaints commissioner Eve Salomon has been appointed as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Horniman Museum by Secretary of State for Culture, Sajid Javid. She takes over from Timothy Hornsby in mid-July.  Gov.uk
Sajid Javid has also appointed Dr Samir Shah as Chair of Trustees of the Geffrye Museum, from mid-June.  Gov.uk
Emma Dexter, Exhibitions Director at the Timothy Taylor Gallery, will replace Andrea Rose as Director of Visual Arts at the British Council from September this year.  British Council,
Businessman Tim Parker will replace Simon Jenkins as Chairman of the National Trust in November.  Museums Journal
Former Culture Secretary Chris Smith is to become the new Chair of The Art Fund in July, replacing David Verey.  Museums Journal, Art Fund
Writer and broadcaster Rosie Millard has been appointed Chair of the Hull City of Culture 2017 team.  Arts Industry (subscription only)
Share: t f g back to top  
  Knighthood for Michael Dixon in Queen’s Birthday Honours  
Natural History Museum Director Dr Michael Dixon will receive a Knighthood for his services to Museums. 
Also in the list this year were Antony Wilson, Project Director of the World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre at the British Museum, who received an MBE for services to museums. Former Chair of Museums Galleries Scotland Fiona Ballantyne has been awarded an OBE. Daniel Edward Harvey OBE, Chairman National Museums Northern Ireland, receives a CBE for services to museums. Guardian (Knights), Guardian (OBEs) Guardian (CBEs)
Share: t f g back to top  
  Foundling Museum trustees reinstated  
Last year, all the Foundling Museum’s trustees were dismissed, including artist Jeremy Deller and former V&A Deputy Director Jim Close.  It was the culmination of a series of moves through which the Foundling’s parent charity, Coram, had tried to retain greater control over the museum, and incorporate its accounts into its own.  Following the sackings in May 2013, the Attorney General stepped in, before passing the matter to the Charity Commission.  Now this intervention has led to a settlement with Coram and a reinstatement of the Foundling’s former trustees. 
The great challenge for the Foundling Museum is now fundraising – it has 13 years to gradually buy paintings displayed at the Foundling but currently owned by Coram, including Hogarth’s portrait of Captain Coram himself.  The Art Newspaper
Share: t f g back to top  
  Staff, conditions and demographics  
Share: t f g back to top  
  Larger museums ‘more likely to be run by men’  
Writing for the Guardian, Yasmin Khan outlines her research into gender demographics in the cultural sector, and asks whether the values of social justice and equality so often espoused by the sector are reflected in its power structures.  Her findings include:
  • 32% of current board members across ACE’s major portfolio museums are women.
  • 31% of NMDC’s directors are female.
  • The museum sector workforce has a greater proportion of women than men, about 60:40, but leadership is overwhelmingly male.
  • The international contrasts are complex.  In Poland, almost all major national museums are headed by women.  In Washington, Maryland there is a 50:50 gender split, but in the US more widely just 5 out of 33 prominent museums are led by women.
  • The larger the museum, the more likely it is to be led by a man.
Khan says that work-life balance is a frequently cited problem, quoting Caro Howell of the Foundling Museum who says, "The biggest issue is the perennial problem: salary versus childcare costs." Director of Derby Museums Trust (and the founder of the Happy Museum project) Tony Butler says, "Family-thoughtful organisations are better for all" and suggests that museums need to undergo a revolution in working structures.  Guardian
Share: t f g back to top  
  Plaque blues: English Heritage criticised for all male appointments  
The English Heritage Blue Plaques scheme, which was rescued from closure by an anonymous donor last year, has re-opened for nominations.  However, it has run into criticism after the five new appointments to its selection panel were male, mostly over 60 and non-historians: Peter Bazalgette, Greg Dyke, Philip Mould, Robert Winston and Brian Cox.  Professor David Edgerton and architectural journalist Gillian Darley have both resigned in protest.  Darley said, "Instead of a blue plaques panel, English Heritage are creating a white-men-off-the-telly panel, with a banker added.” Edgerton questioned whether the panel would have time to do more than rubber stamp selections, and whether they would have expertise to ensure that “plaques are awarded to people distinguished in all fields, including those currently under-represented”. English Heritage said that further appointments were being made adding “We are confident that, once complete, the panel will represent the full range of in-depth knowledge and expertise required to consider all the different blue plaque nominations”. Since then it has emerged that Bonnie Greer has also resigned from the panel after one meeting, citing concerns both about 'who won't be in the room when choices are made' and the proliferation of plaques, many informally and not through the English Heritage scheme, which make the plaques less 'special'.  English Heritage, Guardian, Daily Mail, Telegraph
Share: t f g back to top  
  Funding and visibility key to the ‘unstraight’ museum  
Reporting on the recent ‘Unstraight Museum’ conference, the Guardian wryly notes that of 55,000 museums worldwide, 312 are about Elvis, 12 are about lunchboxes and 2 are ‘unstraight’.  This is not due to a lack of interest: for example 10% of Tate’s 800-strong staff belong to its LGBTQ network, and 20% of its visitors under 20 describe themselves as LGBTQ.  However, funding is still lacking - many events are informal or ad hoc. Participants argued that LGBT events need incorporating in museum’s key performance indicators, and funders need attracting, particularly around issues of audience development.  Guardian
Share: t f g back to top  
  Strong support for strike at National Museum Wales  
92% of museum staff who voted in a ballot by the PCS union have voted for strike action at National Museum Wales, following proposals to cut premium payments for staff who work at weekends and on Bank Holidays.  Action took place at all seven of the museum’s sites, with three venues closing for two hours on Wednesday 18th June. An NMW spokesman said that budget cuts had forced difficult decisions over the previous 12 months but “no decisions have yet been made regarding the future of additional allowances paid to staff who work weekends and Bank Holidays”.  Museums Journal
Share: t f g back to top  
  Retiring curator who buys buildings appeals to defend Welsh architecture  
After more than 30 years, Gerallt Nash is retiring as a curator from St Fagan’s National History Museum in Cardiff.  His job has been to choose dozens of buildings from across Wales which are significant to social history, and get them moved brick by brick to the museum’s site.  A short BBC feature tells the story of his work, and explores the museum’s remaining wishlist, including an Italian cafe and a train station. Nash says “I feel passionate about the architectural legacy that we have, and that we probably should do more, that we’re losing [buildings] at quite an alarming rate”. BBC
Share: t f g back to top  
  Tyne and Wear win at Collections Trust awards as their approach to enterprise pays off  
The Collections Trust has announced the winners of their annual awards.  They are:
  • The Museum of London’s Unearthing London Boroughs project, which involved the community in telling histories of objects excavated in outer London boroughs.  Collections Practice winner.  Museum of London blog
  • The Public Catalogue Foundation’s Masterpieces in Schools project which brought original paintings by artists like Gainsborough, Lowry, Monet and Turner into schools.  Participatory Practice winner.  Public Catalogue Foundation
  • Hayle Oral History Project won the prize for work on a limited budget for its Hayle Churcks mobile phone app, which gives a guided history tour of the small Cornish town. HayleTalesHome
  • Jenny Webb of the Lightbox won the Young Collections Professional award.
  • Jamie Everitt, Collections Development Manager at Norfolk Museums Service won Collections Manager of the Year award.
Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums won the Enterprise in Museums Award, following a significant turnaround in its approach to enterprise in the last 12 months. It has seen concrete results already such as a 28% increased spend in the shop at Laing Art Gallery in the run up to Christmas, and good ticket sales for its first charging exhibition.  The organisation’s strategy was shaped by a Museum Rapid Enterprise Assessment in partnership with consultants Black Radley.  Director of TWAM, Iain Watson said, “We had a challenging start to the year with reductions in our funding and changes within the organisation…we knew that we needed to change our approach to enterprise.  It has been a big culture shift particularly as many of our staff are not from commercial backgrounds but we have embraced it and in the second half of 2013/14 and into this financial year we are beginning to reap the rewards.”  Collections Trust
Share: t f g back to top  
  RAF Museum wins PR award  
The RAF Museum has won in the not-for-profit category of the Chartered Institute for Public Relations awards, for its Raising the Dornier campaign, which covered the Museum’s successful lift of a German war plane from the ocean bed. The awards night saw 150 leading PR consultancies competing for 30 prizes.  CIPR said, “Changing the culture of an organisation to work positively with the media is central to any PR operation and a major reason for this entry winning…successfully planning for weather interruptions when lifting an aeroplane from the bottom of the sea and keeping the media on side lifted the image of the RAF Museum not only in public but also among the museum community. PR that prompts a donation from across the Atlantic when funds are running out due to the weather is good PR.”  The Museum’s PR work was led by Ajay Srivastava who said, “The Dornier campaign was challenging, exhilarating, complex and a historically significant project”.  RAF Museum
Share: t f g back to top  
  Scotland’s Enterprising Museum 2014 award opens for nominations  
Although nominations have closed for all other categories in the 2014 Arts & Business Scotland Awards, museums can still apply for the Enterprising Museum Award until 4th August.  Projects that have taken place in 2013/14 and are “innovative or entrepreneurial, delivering an ambitious high-impact museum related experience” are eligible. Last year’s winners, Glasgow Women’s Library said winning was very beneficial: “we have garnered a huge amount of goodwill, press and media attention, nominations for further awards and the invaluable support of Arts and Business.”  MGS, Art & Business Scotland
Share: t f g back to top  
  Europa Nostra Awards open for entries  
The Europa Nostra Award, which highlights outstanding achievements in heritage across Europe each year, is now open for entries.  There are up to seven prizes of €10k.  Nominations close on 15th October.  Europa Nostra
Share: t f g back to top  
  Ashmolean loses museum visitor data to hackers  
The Ashmolean has been in touch with nearly 8,000 of its visitors after their data was stolen by a computer hacker from the museum’s site.  No financial data was stolen, but names, addresses, emails and telephone numbers were taken.  A spokesperson for the University of Oxford said, “museum staff are working with staff of the University's IT services …to ensure there are no further such attacks." Mia Ridge, Chair of the Museums Computer Group, said that institutions had to balance the fact that outsourcing ticketing was cheaper and more efficient with the risk that ‘points of integration’ could cause vulnerabilities.  Museums Journal, Guardian
Share: t f g back to top  
  South West Collections Explorer brings visibility to smaller collections  
Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum has launched a new collections website, which will bring together the collections of small museums in the South West with their own extensive collections.  The site is still in beta, but 70 museums from Devon, as well as the Museum of Somerset, are already adding their material. The site is compatible with the Collections Trust’s online database and Europeana (the multi lingual European collections database).  Visitors can comment on the objects, share information on social media and easily add images to Pinterest.  South West Collections Explorer
Share: t f g back to top  
  Museums Association launches regional reps and web presence  
The Museums Association has appointed new regional reps for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions. Jane Wells, the MA’s membership officer, said that they would “improve the MA’s understanding of issues across the UK, feed into our policy and advocacy work, and react to issues raised by members on the ground.”  The MA has also launched new pages on its website organised by region allowing museum workers to network and drill down into events focused on their local area.  Museums Association (website), Museums Association (museum reps)
Share: t f g back to top  
  Dispatches from the Front  
28th June 2014 marked 100 years since the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and cultural organisations across the UK are moving towards the first major group of commemorations of the FWW.  @IWM_Centenary, @GreatWar100, @WW1Centenary, @WW1C and @Europeana1914 are among the feeds which are either tracking the whole conflict day by day, or dealing with major collecting or crowdsourcing projects associated with the period.  Projects include:
  • The Imperial War Museum’s massive Lives of the First World War website which launched in late May, and contains the war records of 4.5m people. They hope to expand on the data through a crowdsourcing exercise with the public. Lives of the First World War, Daily Mail
  • The National Library of Wales is running the W@W (Wales at War) project, supported by the Welsh Government, Royal Navy and HLF.  They will produce an online archive of the impact of the First World War on life and communities in Wales via a dedicated platform/app. Schoolchildren in Wales will use libraries and archives to publish biographies of 40,000 Welsh casualties of war.  Welsh Government
  • Three public commemorative events will take place in Glasgow Cathedral, Mons and at Westminster Abbey on 4th August. Gov.uk
  • Culture Secretary Sajid Javid joined 3,000 people from schools and community groups in writing a letter to the unknown soldier for part of an online exhibition.  Actress Sheila Hancock and playwright Caryl Churchill are also among those taking part.  Gov.uk
  • The Northern Ireland Office is supporting commemorations in the context of wider events of 1912–22, and with an emphasis on events that promote peace and reconciliation.  There will be memorial paving stones laid down in the hometowns of Victoria Cross recipients, and the HMS Caroline, based at Belfast is due to open in 2016 as a floating museum, following a £13.2m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Gov.uk
  • Meanwhile among the smaller projects, a modest £10k from HLF will help a local history group unravel the riddle of Cleenish Island: how 12 FWW veterans were granted land on the remote island, far from utilities or civilisation, and what happened next.  The island now has a population of two, but is littered with abandoned buildings.  HLF
Share: t f g back to top  
  Bristol receives ACE ‘exceptional funds’ as it becomes Green Capital 2015  
Bristol has received £744k from the Arts Council’s Exceptional Fund for projects of national and international importance.  The money will fund six arts and cultural projects which will help people understand sustainable living, as part of citywide activity as Bristol becomes European Green Capital 2015.  The projects will all have some international dimension and include:
  • The Festival of the Future City run by Bristol Festival of Ideas and bringing together writers, artists, think-tanks, government and the public, culminating in a four day festival in October 2015. 
  • A life size blue whale by the harbourside, made of fibreglass and recycled plastics by the local community and artists.
  • A theatre installation, The Drowned World, which will take place in a labyrinth of shipping containers and tell the story of the world in the aftermath of a disastrous flood.
Arts Council, Arts Industry (subscription only)
Share: t f g back to top  
  Anti-oil campaigners target more national institutions  
Campaigners against BP museum sponsorship have turned their attention to the National Portrait Gallery, publishing Picture This: A Portrait of 25 years of BP sponsorship to mark the oil firm’s longstanding support of NPG’s annual prize.  Kicking off with quotes from Brian Sewell and Desmond Tutu, they aim to make oil sponsorship as socially unacceptable as tobacco sponsorship now is in the arts: in 1989 NPG ended John Player’s support of the Portrait Prize 11 years before a ban on tobacco sponsorship was proposed.  Arts Professional, Platform London
Share: t f g back to top  
  Creative industries survey reveals passion for embracing sustainability  
Green arts group Julie’s Bicycle and BOP consulting have published the results of their wide ranging survey, Sustaining Creativity, which looks at 337 creative industries organisations, including 23 museums, and their relationship with ‘green’ choices.  They write, “This survey proves what anecdotally we already know: that this is a community that wants to come together, to learn from one another and scale that knowledge.  The combined force of all the creative industries working together is unsurpassed when it comes to crafting culture: as such they are key drivers for developing a sustainable worldview”. Findings from the report include:
  • The report identifies 65 ‘leader’ organisations who are doing the most towards sustainability.  These are mainly concentrated in the South East (40% of organisations surveyed in the area), Yorkshire (44%) and North East (50%)
  • There is an appetite for substantial collective action, particularly among non-commercial groups
  • Museums and music groups are the sectors most keenly feeling that making changes would be a challenge, and have a particular need to build a business case for sustainability
  • 61% of libraries and museums have seen benefit (9% great benefit) to making green innovations
  • Of all the sectors surveyed, museums said they had experienced the greatest financial benefit – with 52% experiencing some benefit and a further 26% great benefit
  • Museums are strongest on sustainability in their refurbishment and capital programmes.
The Lyric Hammersmith is the first arts organisation to be awarded a 3* industry green rating, with innovations including 100% recycling and a building lit by LED lights.  Julie’s Bicycle, Greenwise Business, Arts Professional
Share: t f g back to top  
  UK-wide Freecycle for Museums launched  
The design firm Urban Salon has masterminded a new Freecycle scheme for museums, with the aim of reducing the amount of display infrastructure thrown away at the end of exhibitions.  Alex Mowat writes: “to some extent, this reuse is already happening. In the recent Italian Fashion exhibition at the V&A, we reused many elements from a previous exhibition. The Barbican Art Gallery gave a second home to display cases we had designed for Royal Manuscripts at the British Library. However, this recycling tends to be ad hoc and time-consuming as the donor museum needs to find someone who needs a similarly proportioned exhibition element and who can pick it up on the exact day it gets removed from the end of a temporary exhibition. The odds on this happening are small.
The idea has already attracted support from the Museums Assocation, and the Freecycle page opened in mid-June. You can also contact [email protected] for more details. Design Week, Museums Journal, Museums Freecycle
Share: t f g back to top  
  English Heritage publishes review of National Heritage Protection Plan  
English Heritage has published a report on their consultation on the National Heritage Protection Plan.  They say they received a large number of responses which will now be fed into the 2015 – 20 planning cycle.  Key points include:
  • There is support for a unifying framework and a general agreement that the right threats, opportunities and priorities have been identified
  • There needs to be more clarity on roles and responsibilities for the organisations involved
  • There should be more opportunities for people to get involved
  • The presentation and language of the NHPP needs to be clearer
English Heritage
Share: t f g back to top  
  Philanthropist Sir Paul Ruddock emphasises importance of state funding for museums  
In a speech given as he was awarded the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award, Sir Paul Ruddock has emphasised the importance of state support for cultural institutions.  “To run institutions without a significant level of government support would be impossible,” he said. “I would not want to see government retreat from its role as a defender and protector of the arts.” Sir Paul and his wife Jill Shaw Ruddock have given tens of millions to the V&A, of which he is chairman, as well as the British Museum and Donmar Warehouse. He donated his €15k prize to the V&A to make a contemporary acquisition.  Evening Standard
Also: Nominations have opened for the 2014 Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy.  Each organisation can nominate up to three individuals or couples, until 5th September. Arts & Business
Share: t f g back to top  
  Results of the ‘Growing Giving’ Parliamentary enquiry announced  
A parliamentary enquiry into giving to charity, Growing Giving, has reported its findings which are now summarised in Creating an Age of Giving.  The enquiry was set up in response to the declining number of households giving to charity, and the ageing profile of those who give.  For example, 32% of households gave in 1978 compared to 27% in 2010 – and donations from under 30s fell from 8% in 1980 to 3% in 2010. Two thirds of all donations come from 9% of households.
The report writers acknowledge that young people in particular have less spare money in this economic climate, but say that this is not the whole picture.  Recommendations to reinforce a culture of giving throughout life include:
  • Schools should help children get involved in charities.
  • Student unions should commit to increasing their volunteering programmes.
  • The Small Charities Coalition should build on existing programmes to give young people experience of charities governance through trustee shadowing.
  • Giving in the workplace should be encouraged through schemes such as #GivingTuesday.
  • Business schools should encourage all MBAs to take part in a module on philanthropy, and executives should be asked to demonstrate a track record in social causes.
  • The government should introduce new schemes, from Living Legacies, to make it easier to give donations while still alive, to a Treasury-incentive backed schemes to help businesses match fund employee gifts to charity.
Growing Giving
Share: t f g back to top  
  Trust could run Merthyr Tydfil cultural services  
Merthyr Tydfil has become the latest council to consider handing cultural and leisure services to a trust in order to save £330k each year.  Cyfarthfa Park and Castle, which reopened in 2011 after a £320k restoration, is among the services being considered, alongside libraries and leisure centres.  A public consultation ran until late June.  BBC
Share: t f g back to top  
  Death, Dynasty and Discovery Centre opens in Leicester  
Following a final decision that the body of Richard III is to be interred in Leicester Cathedral, a permanent Richard III visitor centre is opening in the city to explore the King’s life and death and the archaeological expertise that helped to find him.  It opens this summer.  Richard III centre
Share: t f g back to top  
 Current vacancies on the NMDC jobs website include:
See the full selection of current jobs at NMDC members' organisations here.
Share: t f g back to top  
  And finally...  
july_2014_newsletter/recadd_nat_hist.jpgNMDC has cautiously embraced the innovations of the 19th century by adding a few images to our newsletter, and the innovations of the 21st with our website makeover.  Thanks to the new South West Museums Explorer project for providing pictures this month.  If you know someone who should receive NMDC news, they can sign up here. If you have news of interest to the whole sector that we should include, do email [email protected] 
Share: t f g back to top  
Download a PDF version for printing